By k | October 21, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Erika Napoletano

“When personal brands hit a wall,
it’s generally for one of a few reasons:

Me, toos.
We see others doing something
and think we should be doing it, too.

We think it’s something we said,
so we start cleaning up language,
holding back opinions
and putting on filters.
But there could be other reasons
people kick you out of their inboxes.

You got bad advice.
Someone told you
that being yourself wasn’t enough
or a good thing,
so you decided to be someone
or something else.”

I’m definitely guilty of me-toos.
I see a genre doing well in romance
and I get ideas for stories in this genre.
This is dangerous
because readers normally stick to
their favorite genres
and it takes 10,
some say 20,
stories to build a name in a genre.

Know who you are.
Embrace who you are.

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

As Seth Godin shares

“In a world that lacks
so many traditional gatekeepers,
there are fewer people than ever
to say no to your project,
your idea,
your song.
If you want to put it out there,
go ahead.”

What this means,
is that your business partners
will likely try anything too.

A big publisher came to me,
asked me to write a year long project
with monthly releases.
They were very specific
about what they wanted.

I knew this was a huge undertaking,
a grueling 18 month project for me.
What I didn’t know was
they were just throwing this idea
out there.
Covers were stock art.
Editing was minimal.
Marketing was non existent.

Their investment was low.
My investment was very high.
Their let’s just try it approach
almost cost me my writing career.

In this try anything culture,
put extra effort
into judging how invested
your partners are
in projects.

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

Large companies
don’t have much of a choice.
If they want a presence on Facebook,
they are forced to set up a profile,
snag likes from their customers or prospects
and then pay to access
these people.

As entrepreneurs,
we have options.
I use my personal profile
instead of a profile.
Yes, there’s a cap
of 5,000 friends
but I haven’t reached
that many likes on my page
and I reach far more people
than I would ever reach on my page.
Readers love it also
because it implies a closer relationship.

Some of my buddies are now
setting up groups.
Readers join these groups
and they have an option
of receiving an email
of every post.

Examine your options
with Facebook.

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

When I worked in Fortune 500 companies
and I had a cross-functional project
I really wanted to launch,
I was very conscious
of the order of approvals.

1) I would first approach
my manager.
I’d pitch him the project,
tell him I’d take total responsibility
for it
(yes, I put my job on the line
for each project).
All I would request from him
was permission
to pitch it to our V-P.
He normally agreed
because hey, if it was a bad idea,
our V-P would turn me down.

2) I would then pitch the project
to my V-P,
mentioning that I’d already spoken
to my manager.
Again, I offered to take full responsibility
for this project.
All I would ask of my V-P
was the opp
to pitch it to the V-Ps
affected by the cross-functional project.

3) Then I would pitch the project
to the other V-Ps individually,
pitching to the V-P less affected first,
mentioning that I’d already spoken
to my V-P.
I’d offer to take full responsibility.

Why would I pitch individually
rather than pitch to everyone
at once?
Wouldn’t a group pitch have been more effective?

Maybe but it would have resulted in a no.
As Seth Godin shares
“If you work in an organization,
the underlying rule is simple:
People are not afraid of failure,
they’re afraid of blame.”

With individual pitches,
the V-Ps could blame each other.
With group pitches,
they’d have to take some of the responsibility.

The order of your pitches
can be as important as
the pitch itself.
Think strategically.

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

I always have humor
in my romance novels.
However, I also
always ensure
there are sad moments,
scenes that will make readers cry.


Because humor is very subjective.
You might think
the physical humor
of The Three Stooges
is funny.
I don’t.
I love puns and word play.
Many readers don’t.

What you find funny
says a lot about you.
You can be judged on this.
So readers are very hesitant
to recommend a funny book.

Sadness, however, is universal.
The heroine’s beloved dog dies.
Almost every reader will think
this is sad.
She can safely say to a buddy
that she found the book sad.
The buddy won’t judge her
because she’s supposed to find it sad.

So well written sad books,
in the romance world,
are more likely to be recommended
and go viral.

Remember this
when crafting marketing campaigns.

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

With one of my pen names,
I took a couple of days off
social media.
I had scheduled updates
but I didn’t interact with readers.

When I returned,
some readers were upset.
They told me
that they looked forward
to my updates
and missed that entertainment.

And I realized…
their entertainment
is supposed to be
buying and reading my books,
not reading the free content
I post on social media.

I was giving too much.

Remember what you’re selling.
If it’s entertainment,
you want to give them
a sample
with social media,
not fulfill ALL
of their entertainment needs.

Leave them hungry
for the product you’re selling.

By k | October 15, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I recently attended
an online reader event.
Writers were told
we’d be bounced from the event
and basically shamed
if we promo’ed.
One website addie
would put us on the blacklist.

So we provided excerpts
without buy links,
book covers
without website addresses,
talked about all of the extras
we give readers
without letting them know
where they could get
these extras.

It was a disaster.
Readers were frustrated
as hell.
Many of them privately messaged me
and I gave them the links
they needed.
F*ck the organizers.

Customers and prospects
want the option to buy.

That bit about 80% content
and 20% promo?
That doesn’t mean
you send out 100% content pieces
80% of the time
and 100% promo pieces
20% of the time.

That means stick 2 lines of promo
(a website and a tagline)
at the bottom of 8 lines of content.

Give prospects a next step.

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

Writing is my job.
I now write full time.
I take workshops and courses,
study sentence structures
and collect interesting words/phrases.
I’ve written over 100 published stories.
I read, on average, a romance novel a day,
tearing these stories apart.

I need editors… badly.
I normally complete 14 drafts of a romance novel.
This romance novel is edited by
three different people.
I often use beta readers and critique partners,
informal editors.

If a professional writer
such as myself
requires multiple drafts
and needs editors,
why are you sending first drafts
to prospective customers?

Run your marketing copy
and your pitches
at least one other person.
It will take a little bit of extra time
but it will also make a huge difference.

Seth Godin has a great post
on revisions
and the power of words.

By k | October 13, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’ve written a series
of increasingly popular
how to write romance
blog posts.

At first,
I received a flurry of
“this is a super awesome post”
from readers and aspiring writers.
Published writers ignored me.

As the popularity of the series increases,
I’ve been receiving more and more
harsh comments
from published writers.
They see the posts are popular
and they want to piggyback
on that popularity.
The easiest way to get noticed
is to slam the post.

The natural reaction
is to avoid this criticism
by posting something safer,
less edgy,
less interesting.

This is the exact wrong thing
to do.
Readers like these posts
because they’re different.

(In hindsight,
I would have written the entire series
at once
- this is the technique I use
with my romance novels.
Now, I have to force myself
to be as edgy, as daring.)

Criticism might not be a symptom
of poor quality.
It might be a symptom
of increased popularity.
Don’t change your product
if it’s working.

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

A project manager
asked for volunteers
to help with marketing a project.
I set aside time in my busy schedule
and volunteered.

A week passed
and I didn’t hear anything.
I figured my help wasn’t needed
and I reallocated that time.

Three weeks later
(a full month after the ask),
the project manager contacted me
about the marketing tasks.
She seemed surprised
that I was no longer available.

No response to a doer
is a no.
She usually won’t waste
more of her time
by contacting you again.
(Why would she?
If you didn’t respond the first time,
you likely won’t respond the second time.)
She’ll simply allocate the resources

If you want a solid, lasting yes,
respond to that yes.