By k | February 18, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yesterday,
as I was putting the finishing touches
on my alien/human love story,
I listened to two full hours
of Britney Spears songs.

Why?

Because that was what the radio was playing.
Last night was the release
of the video
for her new single
‘Hold It Against Me.’
To celebrate,
radio stations were playing her back catalog,
and
I’m certain iTune sales
of that back catalog
got a boast.

Whenever I release a new story,
I sell more of my older stories.
My new story isn’t a replacement
for my old stories.
They complement each other.

The more stories I sell,
the more of my back catalog
I sell with each new release.
(that is why
many romance writers claim that
the best promo is writing the next book)

With complement products,
more product development is almost always better.
With replacement products,
the opposite is often true.

When you’re designing products,
consider whether your new products
complement your older products
OR
replace them.

By k | February 17, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I interviewed yesterday
with a large, well-known company.
The manager asked me
why I wanted to work for the company.
I said because it was X company,
a market leader.

She made a face.

So I asked her how she felt about her company.
She spent the next fifteen minutes
telling me
about everything that was wrong with the company.

At the end of the interview,
my view of this company
had changed permanently.
I won’t be taking a position there.

This manager interviewed
at least a dozen candidates.
I suspect that all of us
got her tirade on the company she works for.

When you interview prospective employees,
you are representing your company.
The best people work for the best companies.
If you market your company as a ‘loser’,
the only individuals interested in being hired
will be ‘losers’.

Prospective employees sell themselves
in interviews
but the interviewer sells also.
You sell the role, and the company.
If you can’t do that,
you shouldn’t be hosting the interviews.

By k | February 16, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Rohit Bhargava has a wonderful post titled
4 Easy Ways To Show Your Expertise Online
(And yes, I find it ironic
that one of his tips is to create
‘how to’ content
yet he didn’t include ‘how to’ in his article title)

I like his suggestion to create a ‘content bomb.’
“One of my favorite terms
in the world of blogging
is what I call a “content bomb.”
This is essentially a piece of content
that can act as a land mine
(but in a good way).
It will sit online for days or months or years,
but when someone searches
for something relevant to it,
they will uncover this piece of content
and it will address their question
while also demonstrating
a deep level of expertise
on the part of the writer.”

The key to creating content bombs
is to make the content timeless.

We have that challenge in the novel-writing world.

We refer to what a technology does
(the heroine calls the hero),
rather than the technology
(the heroine uses a phone or handheld or…).

We don’t talk about current movies,
unless by broad genre.
We use classic movies instead.

Trendy speak is eliminated.
Only classic, long-lasting brands are referred to.

Basically, we try to guess
what readers will know a hundred years from now.

Make your online marketing last.
Make your content bomb timeless.

By k | February 15, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Every time I go for an interview
for a business gig
in a corporate environment,
the first thing I’m asked
is…
do I have this or that software experience?
Have I used Excel?
Have I used Access?
Have I used Accpac or Oracle Financial Analyzer or…?

This is a silly question,
and I always say yes,
I’m familiar with the software,
whether I know it or not.
(If I say no,
they won’t even give me an interview.)

I’m not a programmer.
I’m a finance gal.
Within the space of a weekend,
I can learn the basics of any finance tool,
and usually the basics are all I need.

If I’m stuck
or I need to do something fancy,
I simply do a Google search
on what I’m trying to do.

Are you eliminating otherwise qualified people
because they don’t know a software
your other employees spent a day learning?
(Because that is all the training
finance folks usually get on new software
before implementation)

Why?

By k | February 14, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Two months ago,
I received a certificate of recognition.
At the time,
I scoffed at the piece of paper,
telling a loved one
that the stamp used to send it
was wasted.

I still have that certificate of recognition.
And I’ve done more for that organization
than I would have done
if I hadn’t received the certificate.

Yes, a piece of colorful paper
caused this busy gal
to contribute more time
to an organization I’m not especially passionate about.

Recognition counts.

As Ned Hallowell says
“When a person feels recognized
and connected to the larger group,
she knows viscerally,
not just intellectually,
that she has made a contribution
others value.
Not only does this motivate her to do more
and try harder,
but it instills a desire to look out for the larger group….
It leads a person to do the right thing
even when no one is looking.”

Send out those thank you letters,
those silly certificate of recognition.
They work.

By k | February 13, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

The latest trend
in dance music
is for the artist to put his/her name
in the song.

Once you are an established artist,
if your name is needed
for listeners to recognize your songs,
you have a serious branding problem.

This is true for established writers also.
Give me fresh writing samples
from an unidentified assortment of
New York Times Bestselling romance writers
and I can tell you who wrote the pieces.

ClientK readers likely can recognize
a ClientK post
even if it appeared on another blog.

This should be true
of ALL products
from ANY established brand.

If you need your brand name
to identify who made your product,
you have a branding problem.
Branding problems create marketing problems.
Marketing problems create sales problems.

By k | February 12, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The most painful part of writing,
for me,
is editing.
It is also the most important.

In editing,
I receive all that critical feedback
that makes me a better writer.
Editing also polishes an okay story
into a brilliant story,
and that post-edit story will be the only story
readers (i.e. customers) will see.

I could delegate my edits to someone else.
It would save me some pain short-term,
but it would change my career path long-term.
It is a critical job
and, as boss of my own writing career,
I should do it.

In business building,
there are also painful yet critical jobs.

Hiring, for example,
is a long grueling process,
yet whom you hire,
especially at leadership levels,
will shape the future of your company.

Do these jobs.
Don’t bellyache about it.
Don’t delegate it.
Do it.

By k | February 11, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I recently subbed a story
to my publisher.
It was a push-the-envelope story
and had some rather raw scenes.

I fretted about this story.
I considered self-censoring it
to make it more salable.

My editor’s response?

“Don’t you dare.
Send it in as is.
If we have to dial it back,
we will.”

She did push back,
but not on all the risque scenes.
A couple of them were changed,
and one was eliminated,
but most of them remained whole.

The result is a story
that will still sell to the mainstream
and also breaks new ground.
It is a much better story
than it would have been
if I had chickened out
and made the changes.

Be bold.
Be fearless.

If your executive team or mentors or sounding board
asks you to dial it back,
consider it,
but don’t self-censor.

By k | February 10, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

A few months ago,
I posted about follow up emails.
In business follow up emails,
you should be business-like.
Emails are forever.

With follow up phone calls,
you can be less formal,
and more casual.
The trick to not being
a pain in the ass
with follow up phone calls
is
to make that call
more about them,
than you.

For example:

I’m trying to land a business gig,
and I call my placement buddy
every single week.

The first 10 minutes of the call
is about him.
I ask how his wife is doing
(she was recently in the hospital).
I ask about his kids.
I usually make a joke or two.
I pay attention to what he said
in the previous call,
and I refer to it.
I let him know that I care
(which I do but still…).

During the last 5 minutes of the call,
I ask if there’s anything I can help him with.

As far as I can tell,
he doesn’t consider me a pain in the ass
for calling every week.
He still takes my calls.
He calls me back promptly.

A good follow up call
refers to information the other person
commented on
in the previous call or meeting.
Focus on the other person first.
THEN address your wants/needs.

By k | February 9, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my blogs,
although I don’t allocate
much time to it,
spins off okay advertising revenue.
I believe that,
if I applied myself,
I could make some solid money with it,
not I’ll-never-have-to-work-again money,
but solid.

It is my back burner project.
I have bigger opps now,
(the I’ll-never-have-to-work-again money projects)
but if I ever run out of ideas,
it is there,
waiting for me.
I work on it
when I need a change
or
while I’m mulling over another problem.

It maintains itself
with a couple of weeks work
every year.

Why don’t I delegate
my back burner project
so it can grow bigger faster?

Because the real benefit
of a back burner project
is the fearlessness it inspires.

I go out and try my crazy ideas,
taking risks with my projects, and career,
knowing that if my world truly goes to shit,
I can fall back on this back burner project.
I’ll have something to do
(the fear of every doer
is running out of things to do)
and maybe some cash flow.

This assumption may be completely wrong
but it gives me the confidence I need
to be successful in other areas.

Confidence is important.
Do what you need to do
to maintain it,
even if it means keeping a project
simmering on the back burner.