By k | September 1, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In the romance novel business,
caring for readers (customers) is key.
There’s a relationship
the author (the manufacturer)
the reader (the customer).
Authors are selling love.
Customers are buying love.
They not only want to feel it
between the pages
but also with their favorite authors.

Rohit Bhargava

“When you care first,
results come later.

Caring first can mean
having customer service people
who answer the phone
without putting customers on hold.
It can mean making
the packaging on your product
easy to open instead of
the plastic death traps we often get.
It can even mean making it easy
for your customers to return a product
even though it may cost you money.

Caring first is the human thing to do,
but it can be an easy thing
to forget in a world
where cut-and-pasted
terms and conditions are easier
and easier to coat
on top of nearly
every customer interaction.”

Caring is a strategic advantage
that smaller companies
can have
over larger companies.
Work that advantage.

By k | August 31, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Creativity isn’t enough.

Many of the most successful writers
in the romance genre
also have business or law backgrounds.
If they don’t have these formal backgrounds,
they take workshops or courses
teaching them
about business, marketing, sales.

Aimee Kestenberg,
fashion designer
and founder of

“I do think many designers
struggle from not having
any training in business.
I am fortunate to have
a lot of business experience
for a 27-year-old.
My dad had an import-export business
when I was growing up and
I was exposed to so much
of the business at a young age.
I assisted him
working at trade shows
from the age of 11.

I think that to be very successful,
you of course need the talent,
but you also need to
understand business—
especially if you are doing it
on your own.
Designers should do things like
take a class on business
or entrepreneurship
because it’s so important
to understand every aspect
that’s going on in your business.”

Business knowledge is essential
even for creative folks.

By k | August 29, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

If you want to be average,
do what everyone else is doing.
Develop similar products.
Craft similar marketing.
Woo the same prospects.
Use the same language.

If you want to be awesome,
you have to be
the best at what everyone else is doing
you have to be different.

Being the best is difficult.
Being different is scary.
Awesome isn’t for everyone.
Awesome is rare.
Awesome often involves
failure and hard work
and other sacrifices.

But you’re not reading this blog
because you want to be average.

And being awesome
truly is

By k | August 28, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my publishers posted an email
to the authors only loop.
It was stamped confidential and private.

Less than a half hour later,
it was posted on half a dozen blogs
by anonymous sources.
The author responses on this confidential loop
were also posted.

Nothing we say or do
is private or confidential.
As soon as we tell another person,
as soon as we step out of our house,
the information and our actions
becomes public.

Is this right?
Is this fair?
It doesn’t matter
because it is reality.

What does this mean?
Some people will tell you
to be ‘authentic’,
be ‘the true you.’
Yeah, that’s bullsh*t.
The true you has some inappropriate thoughts,
laughs at the wrong jokes,
isn’t the slickest woman after a few drinks.
Showing the true you
will end
with that true you on the costly side
of a nasty lawsuit.

Discretion is now strength.
If you can keep your mouth shut,
you’ll thrive.
Only share what you want to go public.
If it involves another person,
only do what you want the world to see.

By k | August 27, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Passion is great.
Passion will often push us through
the rough spots,
the times when nothing we’re doing
is working.

But passion alone
doesn’t make anyone successful.
It is usually coupled
with hard work,
and other elements.

Mary Lai,
Founder of

“Well, I think I used to be
more optimistic about telling people
that if they follow their dreams
and passions,
everything will fall into place.

I still believe that,
but you also have to work
really, really hard to make it
and experience is key.”

If you’re starting an endeavor
and all you have is passion,
consider methods
(like partnerships, training, etc)
to obtain more success factors.

By k | August 26, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’ve been challenged to fast
(water is fine but no food)
every Monday.
It’s tough
but it has changed
my perspective on life.

The things I think I HAVE to have
(like chocolate),
I can go without.
The little nuisances
become unimportant
when I’m hungry.

Best of all,
it resets my food expectations
to zero.
I’m not eating X
because I always eat X.
I’m not eating at a specific time
because I always eat then.
Without these habits,
my options are unlimited.

I’ve had similar experiences
at the end of contracts,
between schooling
and working full time,
when I moved homes.
There’s a resetting to zero.
My future is all blue sky.
Anything is possible.

If you find yourself
limited by your past,
consider resetting to zero.
Take a day or a week or a year
and temporarily disassociate
from this area of your past.

By k | August 25, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I recently attended a workshop
with a panel of published writers.
All of them are or have been successful.
I figured I’d hear some solid advice.

And I did.
I also heard some advice
that was inappropriate for my specific situation.

When asked what they do for marketing,
almost everyone said “write the next book.”
They almost all agreed that social media was useless.
That all they have to do
is put their books on the shelf
and they will sell.

Which I guess they do
IF a writer gets their books
on a physical bookstore’s shelves.

If they don’t,
I advise setting aside
a couple hundred hours a month
for marketing.

When listening to advice,
first ask yourself if the advice pertains to your situation.

A digital first writer shouldn’t get marketing advice
from a print first writer.
A solo startup software company
shouldn’t get distribution advice
from a startup software company
partnered with Microsoft.

If your differences would change the outcome,
seek another mentor.

By k | August 24, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

My publisher suggested
I write a 12 novella serial.
I knew if the first novella didn’t sell well,
we’d have 11 more low selling novellas,
a year’s worth of duds.

My publisher had very little risk.
They shelled out money
for a stock art cover
and minimum editing,
set up the eBook only distribution
and waited.
For them, this experiment
has very little downside
and a very large upside.
They have little to lose
and are enthusiastic about it.

For me,
this experiment
has the very real possibility
of killing my brand,
of forcing me to take a new pen name.

I’m investing in marketing,
working my a$$ off to make this
a success.
My publisher isn’t.

When partnering with a larger entity,
remember that their definition of risk
is MUCH different from your definition.
Make the best decision for YOU
and don’t expect them
to be as concerned as you are
about the results.

By k | August 22, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey
recently split,

reportedly over
an interview he did
in which he listed 5 famous women
he’s slept with.

Mariah Carey knows
her soon-to-be ex-husband
has slept with women.
That wasn’t his error.
His error was talking about these women.

Everyone likes to be the first choice,
preferably the only choice.

Employers like to believe
they are their employee’s first choice.
This is why playing job offers
against each other
is a dangerous move.

I write for multiple publishers
but both my publishers
and I
pretend I only write for them.
They pretend
I’m their most important writer.

A good saleswoman
will make a prospect believe
she’s the only person in the room.

A loved one met Bill Clinton
and he said Clinton made him feel
like the most important person
in the world.

Consider treating your customer,
your business partner,
your spouse
as though she or he
is your one and only.

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.