By k | July 21, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my pen names broke out last week,
nearing New York Times Best Selling List
level of sales.

When this happened,
I did some things right.
I also did some things wrong.
This week, I’ll talk about these lessons
because they can be applied
to every ‘unexpected’ success.

And the first lesson is…
this WAS unexpected.
Yes, I invested in marketing.
Yes, I had a great product.
Yes, the price was right.

But I had that combination
with previous releases
and was unsuccessful.

The bulk of the sales also didn’t happen
when I expected them to happen.
The sales happened many days
after my marketing push.
The team
(because there IS a team
behind every book release)
thought they wouldn’t happen.
Then BAM, the sales went through the roof.

There is an element of luck
with every product release.
You can increase the odds
of being lucky
but you can’t guarantee it.

By k | July 20, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I often hear from innovators
and product developers
(and especially writers)
that they want their products
to be ‘perfect.’

They delay launching,
attempting to achieve this perfection.
This isn’t possible.

As Smart Time Management Tips
shares

“I believe that
you will never actually reach perfect
even though you can get close.
When you think you have reached perfect,
you have just reached
your boundaries of knowledge,
experience or competencies.

Therefore perfect is subjective
and what seem like 80% to you
might seem like 100% to others.”

My view of the ‘perfect’ story today
is much different
than my view of the ‘perfect’ story
ten years ago
because my knowledge base is bigger
and my expectations are higher.

Your product won’t ever be perfect.

By k | July 19, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Every story I write
has the same theme - tolerance.
Do I tell readers this is the theme?
Nope.
I don’t need to.
My books (products) reflect this belief.

Chick Fil A
doesn’t have to declare
to the world
its religious affiliations.
The fact that it isn’t open on Sundays
(and the wording of their promo material)
tells prospective customers this.

Did they have to share
their stance on homosexuality?
Nope.
I knew their stance
before they publicly declared it.

As an entrepreneur,
your business and your products
come from you
and
they likely represent your causes or beliefs.
(because it is difficult to separate the two)

Some businesses decide to go public.
This might garner them some publicity
and please like-minded customers.
It, however, might also force
NOT-like-minded customers
to make a stand.
They can’t pretend they didn’t know.

Incorporating your beliefs
in your product/business
can be a subconscious choice.
Being open about your beliefs
is a conscious choice.
Think before you make it.

By k | July 18, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In every business,
every job,
there are tasks we don’t want to do.

It can be challenging to delegate
all of these nasty/mind numbing/awkward tasks.
We have to do them.

So why not make them fun?

For me,
making bad tasks fun
starts with deciding they WILL be fun.

I’m not a morning person.
I post notes over the house
saying
“This will be a GREAT day.”
In the past,
by the time,
I arrived at work,
I believed it would be.
My co-workers thought
I was a morning person.

I also like to ‘keep score.’
If I have to compute my expenses
for the month,
I’ll try to guess the total
or I’ll make it a speed test
or I’ll award myself a point
every time an invoice ends in 9.

I might team up with other writers
in the same situation.
A day might be edits day.
We’ll compete
for how many edit points
we can address.

Life is too short
to do tasks you hate.
Either don’t do these tasks
or figure out a way
to love them.

By k | July 17, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my buddies
has been winning
every writing contest she enters.

She’s gifted.
She works hard.

She never finishes a story.

She has a huge collection
of contest winning stories,
stories editors have asked to see.
None of these stories have an ending.

If she doesn’t finish a story,
it doesn’t matter
how talented she is
or how hard working.
She’ll never be a published writer.

There are NO successful
unfinished projects.

Finish what you’ve started.

By k | July 16, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I’ve been posting daily
for months
in a large romance reader Facebook group.
The group is run
by two writers.

Yesterday,
I found out
that the group is uniform on one thing
– hating the type of hero I write.
I uncovered
that the two writers
actively recruit readers
who hate this type of hero.

I didn’t try to convert these readers.
I simply ended my membership
and will be concentrating my efforts
on another group.
(I’ll ask this new group
about this type of hero
before investing too much time there)

Your target customer
ISN’T everyone.
Accept that some groups of people
won’t ever buy your product
and
concentrate on the groups
that might.

By k | July 15, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Seth Godin
shares

“For me,
the trick is not to represent the client,
or the publisher,
or the merchant.
The trick is to represent the project,
to speak up for the project,
to turn it into what it needs to be.”

I completely agree.
I’d also add that
the key to representing a project
is understanding what the goal of a project
truly is.

The goal of a book launch
appears simple.
It’s to sell a zillion books, right?

That might be the goal.
Or the goal could be
- for the story to be read by the greatest number of people
(many people buy books and don’t read them)
- to make the author money
- to reach a certain group of readers
- to draw attention to a cause
- to sell the author’s consulting fees
- for the book to be on shelf in the author’s favorite bookstore
etc.

Each ‘project’ would have a different plan.

Represent the project
but know what that project’s goal is.

By k | July 14, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the lessons I learned
from the 2014 FIFA World Cup
is that,
yes, superstars matter.
They attract other quality players.
They inspire their teammates.
They push everyone around them
to be better.

But superstars don’t win games
on their own.
They NEED a team of strong players
supporting them.
They can’t play every second
of every game.
They can’t score goals
and defend the net
by themselves.

If you’re a superstar
(and if you’re reading clientk,
I suspect you are),
remember this.
Build a strong team around you.

If you’re managing superstars,
remember to manage
and support the entire team.

Superstars get the media attention
but strong teams win games.

By k | July 13, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Many experts tell us
that there are no ‘magical’ solutions,
that what works for one business
might not work for another.

I’m aware of this truth
but I LIKE having magical goals.
They drive me forward.

For example:
A writing buddy told me
that the first 2,500 Facebook friends
are the most difficult to find.
Once I reach that magical number,
the next 2,500 will be easy.

I was glad to hear this
because I had 250 Facebook friends at the time
and friending 5,000 readers seemed
like an impossible task.
2,500 was manageable.
I was already 10% there.

So I worked my a$$ off,
getting to the 2,500.
I’m there
and yes, nothing magical happened
EXCEPT I now have 2,250 more friends.
Gaining 2,500 more is doable.

It’s okay to have ‘magical’ goals,
as long as we don’t truly expect them
to do magical things.

By k | July 12, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

It doesn’t matter what your business is,
people will ask you to work for free.
They usually frame it
as ‘a great way to get exposure.’
“Complete the tax returns at no charge for the Mayor
and he’ll recommend you
to all of his friends.”
“Supply the county fair
with your home-made chocolates
for free
and thousands of people will see your company name.”

As a writer,
I’m often asked to work
for exposure.

“Write for this anthology.
There’s no payment
but a zillion readers will know your name.”

Even though I can sell
everything I write,
I still take some of these deals
BUT
I don’t take them merely for the exposure.

Why?
Because sometimes
(often)
this exposure doesn’t materialize
and then I’m truly working for nothing.

I always have another reason.

It could be gaining access to a big name writer,
someone difficult to approach
yet helpful to my career.

It could be because
the anthology supports a cause
near and dear
not only to my heart
but to readers’ hearts.

It could be because
it makes my publisher/super fan/the community
happy.

I also investigate the recruiter.
Does she only arrange
these work-for-exposure deals?
What is her track record
for gaining this exposure?
Why does she want me to work for free?
How is she pricing the final product?

And I consider
what I’m giving up
by taking the work for exposure gig.
Does this mean I’ll miss my publisher’s deadlines
or
I’ll delay a release readers are waiting for?

You’ll receive many work for exposure opportunities.
Evaluate each one carefully
before saying yes or no.