By k | March 23, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There’s no such thing
as perfect.
Everything has imperfections.

There IS, however,
such a thing
as over-refined.

In writing,
we call this over-editing.
It is when a writer
revises and revises
until she revises all of the magic
out of her story.

Emotional scenes
are often raw and imperfect
and usually shouldn’t be touched.
When my editor says,
‘this makes me cry,’
I leave that scene alone.

That should be your cue too.
If a prospect says,
‘I love this,’
leave it alone.
Consider it done.

You CAN rework all of the magic
out of your product.
Be conscious of this.

By k | March 22, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Readers in my niche
are buzzing about
my most recent release,
calling it different, exciting, new.

It IS
different, exciting, new…
for that niche.
In other niches,
it has been done.

I learned this trick
in my consumer product days.

Study the products
that were excitingly different and successful
in other industries.
Figure out the core reason
customers were raving over that product.
Then apply that to our own industry.

That’s a success cheat
and it often works.

This is why I recommend
that you stay current
with other industries,
especially entertainment fields.

Look to other industries
for new product development
inspiration.

By k | March 21, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I was fortunate to be
one of four midlist writers
involved in an event
with massively successful writers.

These massively successful writers
were chatting,
talking about the problems
they are having at their level
(and EVERYONE has problems).

I was quiet,
focused on learning,
knowing that some day
I might have the same problems.

One of the other midlist writers,
however,
piped up and said
she’d be thrilled
to have their issues.

The conversation shut down.
The other writers realized
they weren’t around their own kind,
around folks who understood.
They’d be judged
as being ungrateful
for discussing their very real issues.

Next time,
it is likely
organizers won’t invite
the midlist writers.

a) Everyone has issues.
If you want others to help you
with your issues,
you should, at the very least,
listen to their issues.

and

b) Gratitude is great
but it doesn’t solve those issues.
Telling someone to be grateful
is the equivalent of
telling that person to shut up.

Words matter.
Choose them wisely.

By k | March 20, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I LOVE Best Of… lists.
Not because they’re truly
the best.
Usually they aren’t.
However, they usually are
the most popular.

And they’re an easy way
to find out
what is currently popular.

Want to know
what your target market is listening to?
Listen to the top 20 songs
for the week
for that target market.

Want to know
what your target market is watching
on TV?
Look at the ratings for that demographic.

Yes, some hot new shows or songs
or books or whatever
will be missing
from that list
but it should give you a general sense
of where the market is
and that will help you shape your promotions.

Best Of… lists
are a great cheat
for staying current.

By k | March 19, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Readers,
when deciding upon a book,
usually go from broad information
to detailed information.

They look at the cover,
a single image giving them
a feel for the story.

If they like the cover,
they read the back cover blurb,
a 150 word description of the story.

If they like that,
they’ll read an excerpt,
4 or 5 pages of the book.

If they like the except,
they usually buy.

The thing is…
if I give readers the excerpt first,
most people won’t read it.
It is too much,
too big of a time investment
in a story
they might not like.

This is the same
for website content.

David Langton,
President of
Langton Creative Group,
shares

“Even though
you have endless space online,
your reader may actually spend
less time reading online.

So you should strive
to write copy
that is succinct and tailored
to the needs of a reader
who wants to glimpse content
and spend less time
bogged down in details.

You can craft your messages
with links to longer content
in what we call “progressive disclosure.”
The key is to let the reader
choose to read more.”

Don’t give casual visitors
detailed information.
Reel them in,
layer by layer.

By k | March 18, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When people think of writers,
they think of people
locked in their rooms,
typing away,
alone,
cut off from the world.

But a big success factor in writing
is the same big success factor
that we see in almost every field
- relationships matter.

Avani Patel,
Founder of
TrendSeeder,
shares

“One of the things
about these types of industries
is that
relationships matter.
That’s what opens doors.

I made the decision
to go back to business school
in New York
to work on building out
that network for myself again.”

Relationships matter.
Invest in them.

By k | March 17, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I work damn hard
on the writing business.
I put in long hours.
I’ve hired a great team.
I study the market
and I promote heavily.

But a good portion of my success
is due to luck.

How do I know this?
Because buddies have done the same,
have worked as hard,
have better teams,
more talent
and they don’t yet have
my level of success.

I can point to the lucky breaks
I’ve received.

For example,
a big writer in the same niche
mentioned my books to her readers.
She hadn’t had a book release
in that niche for a year
and her readers were willing
to try another writer.

A big movie in my niche released.
Book bloggers,
wanting to be trendy,
covered my niche
and spotlighted my release.

The list goes on.

EVERY success
is due,
in some part,
to luck.

Which means we should be grateful
when we experience success.
We should be understanding
of those who haven’t yet been ‘lucky.’
We should be humble.

All of this,
happily,
will lead to our success
being a greater source of joy
for us.

Successful people are lucky people
(and we are all successful in some way).
We should never forget that.

By k | March 16, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I was publishing my stories
through publishers,
I kept a list of the cover artists
and the editors
I worked with and loved.

I never thought I’d need them
but they were talented
so I figured keeping track of them
wouldn’t hurt me.

Years later,
when the publishing scene shifted
and I decided to Indie published,
I was thrilled to have that list.

Seth Godin
shares

If you’re seeking
to be in someone’s file,
it helps to build up
a body of work,
and to maintain a presence
on the web
so that people can see
who you are
and
what you do.

And if you’re seeking
to make projects happen,
it helps to keep your file
of skilled and passionate people
up to date…”

Access to talented people
is a huge asset.
Maintain your database of talent.

By k | March 15, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yesterday,
we talked about
how to mentor
in the era of Armchair Experts.

Time to ask a hard question-

Are YOU an armchair expert?

In one of the big writing groups
of which I’m a member,
there’s a writer who has to state
her opinion on EVERYTHING.

The world’s most successful vampire writer
might be talking about writing vampires
and this opinionated writer
will offer an alternative way to write vampires.
This alternative way might be possible
but what she is doing
is diminishing the expert’s role.

If the expert has more experience
or more success than I do,
I shut up and listen.
My role is student.

When someone asks a question
and an expert answers,
unless that answer is clearly wrong
or damaging,
I consider the question answered.
Done.
The person has a solution.
We all move on with our lives.

For many questions or problems,
one working solution is enough.

By k | March 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Everyone is an expert.
They’re usually not true experts
but they spout off opinions
like they are.

This can make mentoring
challenging.

I’ll give newer writers advice
and then I’ll hear things like…
‘My Great Uncle Bob almost wrote a book once
and he says you’re wrong.
You should do it this way.’

My protégés will give
the advice from
these armchair experts
equal weighting to my advice.

So what I do now
is I tell stories about my own situation.
‘I did it this way
and this was the result.’

When my protégé brings up
Great Uncle Bob’s advice,
I ask her what his specific results were.

Great Uncle Bob usually has no results
because Great Uncle Bob
hasn’t done shit.
He has no real life experience.

After a couple of pushbacks
like this,
my protégés learn
not to mention Great Uncle Bob’s advice
unless he has taken action
to back it up.

Combat armchair experts
with real life experience.