By k | February 29, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Today is February 29,
leap day.
Every four years,
we get the gift of an extra day.

And that is exactly
what today is…
a gift.

So what are you doing
with this gift?

Need ideas?
Review your New Year Resolutions.
Two months have passed.
What goals have you achieved?
What goals remain untouched?
Can you achieve one of your goals
today?

Use your extra day
to make your entire year
more successful.
Make this gift last
for a lifetime.

By k | February 28, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

We all strive to be perfect.
None of us are.
And frankly,
perfect people are annoying.
They aren’t real.
They’re fake.

In today’s media environment,
fake is NOT an image
any brand wishes to have.
No one trusts a fake brand.

So what do you do
when you make a mistake?
You own up to it
and you try to make it right.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone
shares

“I think vulnerability is essential.
For so long,
companies and brands thought
they needed to seem bulletproof.
I think when a brand uses Twitter,
they’re able to communicate
when they make a mistake.
I think when you do things like that
you reveal you’re open and honest
and willing to change
and admit to your mistakes.
I think brands are using it
to really build trust with consumers.”

Mistakes are not a bad thing.
How you DEAL with the mistake,
however,
is important.

By k | February 27, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the abilities
great product developers
have
is separating themselves
from their products.

We don’t often seek out
criticism of ourselves.
In order to develop a great product,
however,
we HAVE to seek out
and listen to
criticism
of that product.

And if the product isn’t worth launching
we also have to be able
to KILL that product.
If we view the product
as an extension of ourselves,
this is very challenging.

I love having pen names
for my writing
because these other identities
remind me I am NOT my writing.
Hell, I don’t even write.
My pen name writes.
I’ll happily kill one of the messed up stories
that beyotch writes.

Separate yourself from your product.

Leading Blog has a great post
on why identification
can lead to negative, disruption behavior.

By k | February 26, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m not sure why
some people are so secretive
about their techniques for success.

If a person REALLY wants to follow
in your footsteps,
your techniques will usually be easy to figure out
once you’ve had a few successes.

However those people are VERY rare.
Even if you wrote a book,
giving people a step by step outline
of how you were successful,
almost no one would follow that outline.
(unless it was damn easy)

Yesterday,
three writers separately asked me
how to increase sales.

I shared with each writer
what my editors shared with me.
The best way to increase sales
in romance
is to write books in a series.

Yep, that was my easy advice.
Set two books in the same town
or
give the hero in the first book a brother
and make the brother the hero of the second book
or
write two vampire books.

All three writers gave me reasons
why they couldn’t write
books in a series.
(none of their reasons
made any damn sense to me)

Of course,
keep top secret projects secret
and don’t blab information
you don’t want utilized.

But don’t be paranoid either.

By k | February 25, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my buddies
is a brilliant writer.
Unfortunately her sales are a fraction of mine.
Why?
Because she writes the stories
SHE wants to write
and then tries to sell them to readers.
I write the stories readers want.

A juice company
I once worked for
was getting their ass kicked
in the orange juice business.
Why?
Because they produced
orange juice from concentrate,
an easier juice to manufacture
but a juice customers didn’t want.
The competition produced
orange juice NOT from concentrate,
the juice customers actually wanted.

Giving the customers what they want
is a FAR easier sell
than convincing the customer
to want what you’re selling.

By k | February 24, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

One of the favorite things
for writers to worry about
is piracy,
baddies copying their e-Books
and reselling them.

The issue is…
publishers could fix this ‘problem’
tomorrow.
They have the technology to do this.

They don’t want to.
It isn’t a big enough issue for them.

Years ago,
I was stressing about a project.
It was going horribly.
There were delays, mistakes,
and many other issues.

I brought it up with my boss.
He wasn’t worried.

I explained how these issues
were killing the project.
He didn’t care.
I fumed. I tried to call favors.
He didn’t care.

A couple weeks later,
the project was killed.
My boss knew this.
He simply couldn’t tell me.

If your (normally intelligent) boss
isn’t worried about an issue,
ask yourself why.
Then ask yourself
if YOU worrying is a productive use
of your energies.

By k | February 23, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I belong to a large organization
catering to romance writers.

Large organizations change slowly.
It is challenging
to gain consensus
with so many people,
from so many different backgrounds,
involved.

The romance writing industry
is changing VERY quickly.
Only a year ago,
no respectable writer
considered self-publishing.
Now, almost everyone is considering
that route.

Unfortunately, the writing organization
has very narrow specifications
on which formats and genres and even word counts
they deem as acceptable.

They can’t keep up with the changes.
Sub-groups are inventing workarounds
as the organization falls more and more
out of touch
with the current writing environment.
If they don’t catch up,
eventually they’ll become extinct.

If you’re building a business
in a quickly changing industry
(and ALL industries are changing quickly),
add flexibility
so your business can also change.

Great businesses adapt to change.

By k | February 22, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

During
Black In America: The New Promised Land
- Silicon Valley,

one of the mentors
pointed out that
young white guys land more tech funding.

So what did he do
as NOT a young white guy?

He hired a young white guy
to pitch his company to venture capitalists.

One of my writing buddies
writes gay romances.

She’s not male OR gay
so she hires hunky males
(often they’re gay)
to pose with her at book signings.

Her fans love attending her events.

Yes,
it would be wonderful
if we were judged on results alone
but we don’t live
in that imaginary world.
We live in a world filled with bias
and hurdles.

Life is easier when we acknowledge bias
AND develop an action plan
to overcome it.

By k | February 21, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

During the panel after
Black In America: The New Promised Land
- Silicon Valley,

the value of execution is stressed
again and again.

Chris Genteel,
Diversity Business Development Manager
at Google,
talks about Angela Benton,
the accelerator’s founder.

“It was incredible
the speed with which
she moved to that,
which is something that
at Google,
we know something about,
which is moving really quickly
and when you see
someone like that
who so embodies the spirit of tech
which is quick
and get it done,
you know you HAVE to partner.”

Notice that Angela moved first.
She took action first.
She executed first.

THEN she landed a significant partner.

Prove you can do.
Prove you can execute.
Words can lie.
Action rarely does.

Get started.

By k | February 20, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

During
Black In America: The New Promised Land
- Silicon Valley,

upon arrival,
the entrepreneurs were asked to pitch
at their first meet and greet event.

The entrepreneurs were shocked
and completely unprepared.

The potential investors
were, of course, appalled.
Individual after individual
pointed out
that entrepreneurs should
ALWAYS be ready to pitch.

An author buddy attended a dinner
on Saturday.
She lucked out
and sat beside an agent.
The agent asked her to pitch
her latest book.

My buddy froze.
She didn’t have a tagline.
She didn’t have a catchy blurb.
The agent was unimpressed
and didn’t ask to see her book.

If you sat beside someone right now
who had the ability to help you
with your dream,
could you sell her on helping you?

ALWAYS be ready to pitch.