By k | June 20, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Any time I speak with a group
of newer writers,
the conversation turns
to support.
“My mom/husband/sister/former school teacher
doesn’t support my writing dreams.”

Why do you give a shit?
The dream is yours.
It isn’t your loved one’s dream.

None of my family members
read my books.
My hubby doesn’t read my books.
Very few of my close friends
read my books.

That hasn’t hindered me.

But-but-but you WANT their support,
you say.

You want their support?
Earn it.

Finish the book.
Sell the book.
Win an award.
Make a bestseller list.

This thinking applies to entrepreneurs also.
Fabricate a prototype of your product.
Make a sale.
Snag some media coverage.
DO something.

If you want your loved ones
to expend effort
and support you,
expend some of your own effort
first.

Give them a reason
to support you.

By k | June 19, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

In the book industry,
newsletters are
THE most powerful form
of marketing.
A writer’s newsletter list
determines
whether or not
she hits the best seller lists.

Formatting the newsletter
and other emails to readers
is key.

Gabriel Shaoolian
shares

“When recipients open their emails,
they don’t expect to see
as much text
as they would
when reading a full-length article,
so it’s essential
you keep it concise.

Use large text
to convey your main messaging
and keep your copy to one column
—if you start adding
multiple columns of text,
you run the risk of overwhelming readers.

Whether you want users to “request a quote”
or “buy now,”
calls-to-action should be prominently displayed
in the email,
making it as simple as possible
for the user to take the next step
that will lead them to your website.”

Pay attention to
how you format your emails
and your newsletters.
It will influence sales.

By k | June 18, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I wanted to do
something fun,
something different.

As a value-add to readers
and to encourage them
to sign up for my newsletter,
I offered readers
an exclusive free story
set in a favorite world.

This story was available
for download
on a secret page.

Readers LOVED the story.
They hated
not being able to download it
from their favorite booksellers.
That caused them stress.

I don’t want stress
associated with my books
(products meant to entertain)
or with my newsletter.

My readers have also asked me
for updates on their favorite characters.
They want to know what the characters
are doing now.

Easy fix
- I load the freebie stories
to booksellers
and I put exclusive updates
in the newsletters.

If you’re doing something different,
something that hasn’t been done,
listen to your customers
and expect to tweak your project.

By k | June 17, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Ideally,
when you hire or partner
with someone,
you choose the person
with both
experience and talent.

Unfortunately,
that isn’t always possible.
You have a more talented person
and a more experienced person.
Which person do you choose?

On
Face-off,
a reality show
pitting special effects
make-up artist
against each other,
the contestants
have a range of experience
and talent.

When everything is going right,
talent can edge out
experience.

When things go wrong
(and they often go wrong),
experience always wins.
Experienced contestants
know how to recover from disaster.
Talent can’t save them.

In times of disaster,
you want an experienced person.

If you hire the talented person,
ensure she has access
to someone with experience.

By k | June 16, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In the writing business
(and it is definitely a business),
there’s a myth about muses,
about inspiration,
about passion.

The myth is…
the muse shows up
on her own.
She fills a writer with inspiration,
with story and character ideas,
with magic.

The reality is…
professional writers hunt
that b*tch down.
Professional writers
create their own magic.
They find the passion
in their current projects.

Often this is d*mn difficult
to do,
especially 50,000 words into
a very messy first draft.

One ‘trick’ is focusing on
the small bits
that we love about the writing project.
It could be as small
as the heroine’s first name.

When we focus on this passion,
it spreads.
We love the heroine’s first name.
Then we love the five words of dialogue
preceding her name.
The love expands
until we love most of the project.

Some days,
you, as an entrepreneur,
as a business builder,
will have to chase down the passion
also.

You’ll have to hunt
for the excitement
and then hold onto it
with both hands.

Passion doesn’t magically appear.
It comes from YOU.
YOU bring it into being.

By k | June 15, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I work in an industry,
I immerse myself in that industry.

I become passionate
about all aspects of it.
I read about it.
I reach out to other people
working in the industry.
I watch documentaries on it.
When I’m travelling
on vacation,
I explore the industry
in these other locations.

Why?

Because being passionate
about the products
I’m working with
makes it easier
to be innovative
with them.

Larry Smith,
one of the best professors
I’ve ever met,
shares

“When you find a domain
that engages your passion,
you want to understand it totally;
you naturally see gaps
that should be filled,
errors that should be corrected,
and innovations
that cry out for creation.
I defy anyone to be innovative
about a subject about which
they really do not care.”

Either enter an industry
that you’re passionate about
or find the passion
in the industry you’re currently in.

Passion is necessary
for innovation.

By k | June 14, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A rare few writers,
like a rare few entrepreneurs,
get lucky with their first releases.
The stars align.
Their books (products) go viral.
They are overnight successes.

Most writers,
however,
build their readership (customer base)
over many releases,
and many years.

Knowing this,
I enter niches
I know I can happily play in
for years
without having a breakaway success.

For writers,
this means being able to write
three or four books a year
for a decade or longer
without having the BIG hit.
If these books sell merely ‘okay’,
can I still afford to produce
more of them?
Will I WANT to produce
more of them?

Because to increase the odds
of being successful,
I have to plan on the long term.
If success happens sooner,
that’s great
but I can’t count on it.

Plan for long term success.

By k | June 13, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke
is a hit.
Almost every episode goes viral.

But it didn’t start that way.
When they first came up
with the idea,
no one, absolutely no one
wanted to be involved.

James Corden
shares

“If you imagine an artist,
just think of any artist in the world,
they said no to it.
I mean, everyone.
I’m talking, like,
who’s the dudes who did ‘Cotton Eye Joe’?
We were in those sorts of territories. …
And they’re like,
‘I’m not doing that.’”

He persisted
and had to basically trick
Mariah Carey
into participating.

And it was a success.

If you believe in your product,
you’ll figure out a way
to make it successful.

By k | June 12, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

We all know someone
who is superb at what she does
but who is also a nasty person
to work with.

As business builders,
we might consider hiring her,
thinking she is the ‘rational’ choice.

She isn’t.

As business builders,
we’ll be working extremely long hours.
Clocking these hours
while dealing with a nasty person
will make our roles doubly difficult.

As Colin Hunter,
co-founder of
Alton Lane,
explains

“In a startup culture,
long days and weeks
are the norm.

It’s not uncommon to work
late into the night
on a variety of tasks,
so having that family culture
and a close-knit team
is really important to us
—people you want to spend
a lot of hours with.”

Hire competent people
you don’t mind
spending hours a day working with.

By k | June 11, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

If you’re an entrepreneur,
has your business
reached a certain size
and stopped growing?

If you’re a corporate gal,
have you stopped
climbing the corporate ladder?

One reason might be
because you’re thinking and acting
like a boss,
not a leader.

Barry Moltz
has written an excellent post
outlining the differences
between bosses and leaders.

One difference is…

“Bosses may consider themselves
to be an “expert in everything”
and may think of themselves
as the only person
able to deliver a solution
to the entire team.

A leader may facilitate brainstorming
and encourage their team
to ask smart questions.
They may be more inclined than a boss
to make a decision
based on discussions
they’ve had with their team.
A leader may say
what they think needs to be done,
but the team members may help decide
how it’s actually executed.”

Act like a leader, not a boss.