By k | August 21, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I recently signed with a big publisher.
The writing world is small.
Heck, the entire world is small.
I knew my other publishers
would hear of this signing.

So I contacted them.
I told them
that, although I was excited about this new publishing deal,
I was as excited about my existing publishing deals
with them.
I hoped to publish more stories with them
in the future,
and pointed out that the new deal
might grow my readership.

You know what?
All these publishers HAD heard
of my publishing deal
(although I hadn’t told anyone
outside of a small circle of friends).
One of these publishers
was wondering if I’d be giving up
my monthly release slot with them.
(that would be a big NO)

When you land that big customer,
consider using that news
as an opportunity
to contact your existing customers.
Reassure them
they’re important to you.

By k | August 20, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Recently, I was asked to get involved
with a situation
that was none of my business.
Two people I loved
were negotiating a transaction.

I asked what the problem was.

Both sides said
“There are no problems!”

Bullshit

No one gets a middleman involved
if negotiations are going
wonderfully.
Middlemen are a pain in the ass.
They slow down and complicate
every transaction.

And it was bullshit.
The two loved ones were on the verge
of severing their long term relationship.

I took the middleman position
(and ended up being hated for it)
because I loved these two people,
and I knew how terrible it would be
if their relationship broke down.

Otherwise, I tend to avoid it.

If someone asks you
to get involved in something
that is none of your business,
there’s a reason why.
THINK about saying ‘Yes.”

By k | August 19, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Forbes has a list
of 5 common yet deadly email errors.

The one I absolutely
have zero tolerance for
is the CC’ing Up

“Intention:
When you’re having an email exchange
with a co-worker,
and s/he escalates the conflict
by sneakily CCing a higher-up.
She’s resolving the issue efficiently
by letting a higher-up in on the conflict.

Perception:
She’s sneaky, conniving and
out to make them look bad.
Even more nefarious: the BCC.”

Except it doesn’t have to be CC’ing up,
it is CC’ing anyone not originally on
the email listing.

OR forwarding emails
without getting permission
from the people involved.

It takes mere minutes
to get permission to CC another person
or to forward an email to outsiders.
Take those minutes
and preserve your relationship.

By k | August 18, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I truly believe in the power
of Thank You.
I consider thank you’s a valuable resource
like time or money
except thank you’s are unlimited.

A simple thank you
will take you far.
It will immediately distinguish you
from the silent masses.

A thoughtful thank you
is one of the most powerful things
on the planet.

A thoughtful thank you
is specific.
Instead of saying
“That cover rocked.
Thank you.”
Consider saying
“I loved how the color of the heroine’s dress
tied into the title’s font color.
Thank you for creating my cover.”

A thoughtful thank you speaks
in the language of the recipient.
When I thank a cover artist,
I’ll talk composition and tone
and I’ll often reference famous works of art.

A thoughtful thank you
shows how the person’s act/product
ties into the greater good.
I always mention how important
a cover is for sales.

When you’re rushed for time,
of course,
send the simple thank you.

When time and effort warrants it,
consider sending a more detailed thank you.

By k | August 17, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In the May issue of Men’s Fitness,
Tyrese Gibson,
star of Fast & Furious Five,
shares

“You can often tell the way
your career or life is going
by looking at the five people
you spend the most time with.
Your inner circle is
a direct reflection
of who you are.
Change those
- if you aren’t all on the same page -
and it will change your life.”

I know, I know,
we’ve talked about this before,
and we will talk about it again
in the future.

Why?

Because it is true.

It is damn difficult to work all weekend
when your five best buddies
are sending you drunk texts
from their cottages.

On the flip side,
you will feel like a lazy bum
if you take the weekend off
and your five best buddies
are busting their humps
working to make their dreams come true.

So success is easy, right?
Simply surround yourself with five successful people,
and you’re likely to be successful too.

Sure, but WHY would these five successful people
want you to be one of THEIR five?
Ahhh… you see the challenge.
You have to earn your spot as one of their five.

Surround yourself with success
and justify your place in that circle.

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

A reader emailed me,
asking why I would promote
on my publisher site
when other authors don’t.

a) It increases sales
and
b) Because of the other perks

All the cover artists
know I’ll be promoting my story
so they take extra care with my covers.
All of the covers are good,
but mine are exceptional,
because the artists know it will be seen.

This goes for editing also.
All of the editing is good,
but the editing on my stories
is a tiny notch above.

I also get prime placement on the site
(the order in which the new releases appear).

My video game buddy gives perks
to his marketing partners also.
They are first people he contacts
when a special event happens.
They always get a spot
in the coveted Christmas e-flyer.
It is their schwag he gives out at conferences.

Treat your marketing partners well,
and they’ll happily market for you.

By k | August 15, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

My publisher releases 4 new stories
every week.
She knows that some writers
work the promo
(hosting events,
creating excitement on reader loops)
and some writers do nothing.

So what she does is
space out the releases
from the writers that promo.

This ensures
there is always excitement
around her sales site.

One of my buddies
sells video games.
He knows some game manufacturers
pony up resources for marketing,
and some don’t.

Yes, for the big games,
he releases them on the same day
as every other video game reseller,
but for the smaller games,
he spaces out the releases
so the manufacturers
are always helping him promote his site.

If you are a reseller,
track which suppliers promote
and which suppliers don’t,
and space the releases out
to create continuous marketing.

By k | August 14, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

You have a good day job.
You’re growing a business after hours.
Your business does better
and better
and better.
So when do you leave the cushy day job
and work the business full time?

You don’t have to decide now,
you say.
You’ll know when it happens.

Yeah, right.

Two dangerous things can happen.
You have a sucky day at the day job
and you quit way too early
Or
You get scared
and hang onto the day job too long.

Right now, I’m feeling the fear.
Lucky for me,
I set up perimeters years ago.
If I landed two contracts
with the biggest publisher
in my genre,
I’d pursue the writing full time.

I’ve landed those contracts
(and the publisher is asking for more stories).
I’m scared,
but friends are keeping me honest.

You won’t ‘know’
so put in perimeters now,
and assign gatekeepers to hold you to them.

By k | August 13, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A reader emailed me yesterday
and asked why,
if self publishing is so inexpensive,
writers don’t simply publish everything
and let the readers decide
whether or not the story works.

First, self publishing isn’t free.
There’s the cost of the cover,
and the cost of editing.

Second, readers will normally
only try an author once.
If they don’t like that one story,
they won’t buy any more stories… ever.

So by putting out stories that don’t work,
authors are reducing the number of readers
who will buy future stories.
Do that enough times,
and you won’t have much of a readership base
to sell to.

Businesses have the same issue.
I worked for a beverage company.
We launched a stinker of a product.
The next time,
we went to the grocery stores
with a new product,
it was a much tougher sell.
One chain gave us an outright ‘no’
BECAUSE of the previous failed product
(and I was working for a major company
with years of successes).

So yeah, try new things
but take every opportunity to decrease
the chances of
disappointing your customers.

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

The biggest trend
in publishing right now
is self publishing.
Established authors are self publishing
their backlists.
Brand new authors are self publishing
stories they can’t sell.

There is talk about
the importance of
great covers
and great editing.
But one thing that isn’t discussed
is the importance
of having someone
who will tell you
“This is a dumb ass idea”
or
“This story simply doesn’t work”
BEFORE all the other work happens.

I have 30 stories published.
I’ve written many more.
I thought all of them were wonderful.
They weren’t,
and luckily my publisher/editor declined to buy
the disastrous stories.

This is true of all new product development.
Product developers think
ALL their ideas are wonderful.

Which is why we often rely
on the executive team
to give proposed products
the thumbs up or the thumbs down.
We pitch them 5 products.
They give the thumbs up to 1 of them.

What if YOU are the executive team?
Then set up a team
consisting of people whose opinions you trust,
and give them the challenging task
of saying ‘no’.

It might be the best ‘no’
you ever hear.