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

The average person thinks
a writer’s job is to write.
That’s actually a very small portion
of a professional writer’s job.
75% of my time or more
is spent marketing and selling my books.

The average person thinks
an entrepreneur is a business version
of a mad scientist,
working alone in her lab
coming up with the next big thing.
The reality is
an entrepreneur is often a master saleswoman,
selling her ‘next big thing’
to investors, employees, customers, the media.

The conflict is
when we enter a field,
not knowing what the TRUE job is.

I didn’t realize how much marketing
writers must do
how little time is spent writing.
Do I want to be a TRUE writer?
Is there a way to change the ratio?
These are questions I’m asking myself.

This ’surprise’ would have been avoided
if I had asked a professional writer
a decade ago
how her time was allocated.

If you’re interested in a field,
ask a professional in that field
how she spends her time.

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

One of my most recent releases
is a serial.
Some readers love them.
Some readers hate them.

While promoting this serial,
I’ve been hosting quite a few contests.
The winners can choose
ANY book from my backlist,
serials, series books, standalone books.

What I’ve found is
many serial haters will choose
the first book in a serial.
They’ll then read the book
and post a terrible review,
spewing about how they hate the format.

They deliberately expose themselves
to a product
that won’t satisfy them
so they have a reason to complain.

If this happens with my products,
it also happens with your products.
You won’t ever make
some customers happy
because that’s not what they want.

By k | August 19, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Many people were shocked
that Robin Williams could be suffering
from extreme depression
and no one knew.
He was all smiles and happiness
for his fans and the camera.

Yesterday, one of my publishers
announced they were having financial difficulties.
Staff, including my editor, were laid off.
I have 16 stories with them
that I’ll likely never get back
and never be paid another cent for.

The sales for the second novella
in my 12 novella serial
also bombed.
That means the next 10 novellas
will have even worse sales.

Last night,
I went to an online party.
I joked.
I teased.
I made readers happy.

Because sad romance readers
don’t buy books.
They also won’t invest in a 12 novella serial
if they think the serial is in trouble.

I’m in a business.
Robin Williams was in a business.
You’re in a business.

Do our clients know the real us?
No, because they don’t WANT to know
the real us.
That’s one of the many reasons
we need family and friends
around us.

Yes, in public,
the show must go on.
In private,
get the help you need.

By k | August 18, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

“CNBC recently cited data
from the NPD Group
indicating that jeans sales
are down 6% year over year.”

6% doesn’t seem that significant
I heard this information
on multiple newscasts
multiple media outlets today.

The response from women
I talked with?

“Oh sh*t.
I’m out of style.
I’m still wearing jeans.”

Fashion is about trends
so announcing that a garment
is not selling as well
as it once has
signals the end of that trend.

I saw this with vampire romances.
Sales of vampire romances dipped slightly.
This dip was covered by media,
with talking heads declaring the theme out of style,
and then sales plummeted.
Readers didn’t want to be caught
reading an untrendy romance.

If you see a sales dip in your industry,
consider keeping that information to yourself
and planning for the worst case.

By k | August 17, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

When I run a contest,
I give winners a choice of my backlist.
The price of my backlist stories
range from 99 cents to $8.99.

When I first started doing this,
I was told by other writers
to exclude the higher priced stories
from my offer.
They told me that
readers would ALWAYS choose
these items.

I didn’t take this advice
because the trust between
a writer and a reader is sacred.
Readers have to trust a writer
to tell a great story.
So I’d rather overspend on one prospect
than forgo the goodwill of thousands of prospects.

This was a sound decision.
I ran over 100 contests this month
and not ONE reader chose an $8.99 story.

The majority of your customers
are honest, decent people.
Are you crafting your offers
for this majority
or for the one or two exceptions?

Seth Godin has a great post on this.

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

One of my writing buddies
insists on not interacting
with her ‘competition.’
She wants to be unique.

She might be unique
but she also makes a lot of mistakes.
Her sales build is slow.
She takes longer on each task,
each decision.

I, on the other hand,
consciously seek out best selling writers’
promotional events,
study their marketing campaigns,
subscribe to their mailing lists.

Am I unique?
Yes, in all of the ways that I care about.
In the ways I don’t care about
but readers do,
I’m the same.
I place my buy links in the same places
as other writers’ buy links.
I send my newsletter as often as they do.
I talk with my readers
in similar ways.

Learn from your competition.
Attend their events.

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

I was involved in a huge promo event
on Facebook.
A dozen writers were involved.
The organizers had a last minute problem
and the event was delayed by an hour,
throwing everyone’s schedules off.

The readers (attendees) didn’t care.
The writers were split into two groups

One group shrugged off the issue,
adjusted their schedules,
managed the situation.
Sh*t happens.
Often we can’t prevent
this sh*t from happening.

The other group threw a hissy fit,
adding drama to the situation,
yelling at the organizers
and refusing to even consider
a new time slot.

Before this issue,
I didn’t have much interaction
with the other writers.
During and after this issue,
I was grouped in with
the easy going, ‘professional’ writers.
Best selling writers considered me
one of them.
We’d bonded.

Disasters aren’t all bad.
They can be an opportunity to bond
with partners, customers, huge groups of people.
Try to maintain your professionalism.

By k | August 14, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

The goal of marketing
is to drive action.
Some possible actions are
signing a petition,
joining an organization,
buying a product.

When organizing a promotional event,
one of the first things
that should be discussed
and decided upon
is the event’s goal.

Don’t assume this goal is obvious.

I was involved with an event this week.
All of the organizers were writers.
They came up
with some brilliant ideas
on how to drive readers to the blog site.
When I asked
how we were converting these visitors
into book buyers
(what I assumed to be the goal),
I was told
that wasn’t the purpose of the event.

Decide what you want your marketing
to achieve

By k | August 13, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

A company recently approached me
asking me to fill out a survey
about the pricing of their products.

I answered the survey
as I suspect every customer did.
I said I’d like them to decrease pricing
and chose the lowest price offered
with every selection.

Asking customers about pricing
is a waste of time and energy.
It is like asking an employee
about her salary.
The employee always feels
she should be paid more.
The customer always feels
she should pay less.

So how do you determine the right pricing?
(or, more specifically,
the price elasticity of your product)
Trial and error.
Either with your products
or watching your competition.

The bad thing about this method is
it’s difficult.
It requires compiling and analyzing data.
The good thing about this method is
it’s difficult.
Not everyone will do it.

Question if asking customers about pricing
is worth the time and effort.

By k | August 12, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Whenever I try anything new,
I get scared.
Whenever I reach out to a new contact,
I fear rejection.
Whenever I launch a new project,
I fear failure.

I face fear almost every day.
And that’s a good thing.
Fear is necessary.

As Erika Napoletano

“What would happen
if we were all fearless?

Well, it’s possible
we’d all end up serial killers.
Not really the career path
I envisioned for my life.

If we really followed that adage
and chose to be fearless,
some unarguably dumb
and needless results
would come about:

- We’d make a slew of bad decisions
that could endanger our lives,
our families and our livelihoods.

- We’d unwittingly put those
who share the responsibility
for our success at risk
by not taking their needs
and the effects of
our decisions on them into account.

- We’d … die.”

For me,
the feeling of fear
signals that I’m trying something new,
I’m stretching my abilities,
I’m growing as a person.

Fear is a GOOD emotion.
Embrace it.