Monday, July 30, 2012

Myth: Print Media is Dead

Our town is home to Powell's City of Books and the Espresso Book Machine so we find this expectation of print media being replaced completely by virtual media a bit silly to consider.

On 7/18/12 the Publisher Lunch (a free news email distribution) recapped the industry dollars for 2011:
According to their extrapolations, the overall US publishing business inclusive of all sectors (trade, educational, professional, scholarly, etc.) accounted for $27.2 billion in sales, down roughly 2.5 percent from $27.94 billion in 2010, though unit sales grew by 3.4 percent. 
Later in the article:
eBooks vaulted to the largest-selling format for adult fiction, comprising 31 percent of dollar sales. Adult fiction ebooks went from $585 million in 2010 to $1.27 billion in 2011. 
This data confirms the business of books has had a 2-4% change which is a lot because it relates to billions of dollars. However, the huge increase in adult fiction eBooks represents new readers and devices not a shift from one to the other. Maybe only half of that 31% would have purchased a print book in 2011 but instead, they had a new toy in their hand and zippy wireless downloads of stories they hadn't even known were available to read.

As we determined in our May 7th post: Social Media is NOT All You Need, how readers find books for their reading pleasure is not changing as quickly as the electronic industry advertises. Free local newspapers are still flourishing, according to what arrives in our mailboxes and are stacked in lobbies of many public venues.

The death of Borders caused ripples of doom and gloom throughout the publishing industry but we believe that was more a case of big business gone bad that has nothing to do with books or the future of print media. Instead we envision the smaller, local bookstores being reborn. These may have the flavor of a B&N mega store with coffee shops, comfy chairs, and music sections but there may also be ebook kiosks.

Or their could be racks, like currently hold greeting cards or postcards, that are display stands for all those lovely brochures, free-read booklets, pamphlets, and bookmarks as have been the focus of some workshop posts here at AM101.

This blog is an electronic form of - Print Media - even though it lacks the touch of newsprint on your fingers.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Self Publishing Joys

Morgan and Therese have a workbook in process.
This Finer Points Friday post is one of the contributed articles.

Self Publishing Joys

 By Nancy Brophy

In lots of ways I’m fearless, which makes for both good and bad decision making. So deciding to self-publish was never a major issue. I simply leaped in with both feet and went for it. My personality makes me an ideal candidate to take on this challenge.

It is easy to talk yourself out of a project. Anything you undertake as a solo effort has 987 reasons why it won’t work. And you actually have a number of friends and family who are prepared to recount every one of those ways to you. If they fail to make an impact, don’t worry. In the back of your brain sits the judge and jury who continually remind you of all your previous mistakes. Remember the second grade picnic? Or your high school prom? Or your first marriage?

Looking back on the past year there are lots of things I would have done differently.  All of them pertain to marketing.

I set up a website the same month I self-published which meant I had no name recognition. Publishing my books did not start with a bang - more of a painful whimper. It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about a website, but I could never decide what data to include.

Do you have a website just to show you’ve got one? Excerpts from an unpublished book? Good or bad?

Do you make up covers for books you haven’t sold? Who would visit a site with no meaningful content?

What if one of the big six publishers wants it? Would they be annoyed I’ve got it on my website?

I had no brand because I’m all over the board with different genres from contemporary to romantic suspense to an unfinished urban fantasy. How do you brand that? But I have come to realize as my attention has shifted to marketing that I do write with a theme no matter what the genre.  Pretty men, feisty women and hot sex.

I don’t know that I could find a symbol that represents those three elements. And I’m not sure I would put it on my website if I did. Since my books lean toward romantic suspense, my website needs improvement. It needs to be edgier, but also show humor. The edgier part is easy, the humor not so much.


My first blog had to do with my house fire which was short and witty until the contractor stopped showing up and my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Writer friends of mine asked me to blog with them a few months after my first books came out. I like blogging and I’m fairly good at it. As won’t surprise you, I’m once again all over the board. Fortunately, my partners, Susan Lute and Cassiel Knight at “See Jane Publish” are tolerant of the fact that each week my topic ranges from writing craft and publishing to whatever rant I’m on. I’ve blogged about how to murder your husband, the Planned Parenthood-Komen scandal to changes in the publishing industry.


The key, I was told was to get your books reviewed by book bloggers. This is much easier said than done. Book reviewers are asked to review thousands of books each and every month. I’ve written over 120 requests and have had probably around a dozen reviews. I’ve done guest interviews and blogs. I’m on Goodreads, but Amazon screwed up my covers a few months ago and I haven’t figured out how to fix them yet.

Time. Time. Time. It’s the major issue. Followed closely by its ugly sister - money. Marketing is continuous. If you think McDonalds and Coca Cola have nothing else to do with their money other than advertise, you’re wrong. But they both understand, getting to be number one takes work, staying there takes money.

While it sounds like I’m fumbling in the dark, I’ve actually sold quite a few books. And each month I sell more. What piece of marketing contributes to success? I don’t know.

Am I happy I did it my way? You betcha. Would I recommend it? Maybe not.

Not everybody should be self-employed. It is not easier, it is the path less taken. And, most importantly, despite the rumors, it is not the road to riches. At least - not in the beginning. But one day when I manage to become an overnight success, you and I can laugh about how many years it took me to get there.

Nancy Brophy grew up reading and writing. Her imaginary friends have rich, larger-than-life lives with definite beginnings, snappy middles, and above all, happy endings. Her personal life is never as clearly defined.

She lives in the beautiful, green and very wet Northwest with her husband, two naughty dogs, PB & J, and 40 rowdy chickens.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Word of Mouth Campaigns: Part 1

Happy Wednesday, it's Morgan with a few marketing campaign reflections and thoughts. 

I will admit that I am extremely fortunate to have book loving co-workers.  We often sip coffee and discuss the latest books we are reading in the hall and at each others desks.  Our president is even an avid reader and sometimes joins the discussion.  I share the books I collect from various writing conferences.  Our agreement is that if they liked one of the books they've borrowed, they have to post a review and / or tell others about the great book they just read.  But there are instances where they didn't like or finish a book they borrowed.  (Again, not every book is going to be every person's cup of tea.)

Word of mouth campaigns are funny things.  If the person talking about your book really liked it, positive promotion ensues.  If they hated your work, the opposite is true.  Malcolm Gladwell in his influential work The Tipping Point explores the elements and factors that can cause a message or product to go viral.  Mavens (the experts) chat with Connectors (the folks with a wide network of contacts in a variety of fields) and Salesmen (those among us who can sell ice in Antarctica).  The right message relayed to the right mix of people at the right time can cause the ripple effect needed for a best seller.

So how do you influence this process? 

KNOW and UNDERSTAND your audience.

Over the years, I've gotten a good feel for the different genres and writing styles my co-workers enjoy.  For one lady, the 'smut factor' (her words, not mine) must be high (two or more love scenes) for her to enjoy a romance novel.  Another lady enjoys YA Steampunk.  While yet another swoons over books that incorporate historical adventures.  Equipped with this knowledge, I can put my Maven skills to work by pointing each of them towards new and seasoned authors that write what they enjoy reading.  And guess what....once they've discovered an author they like, they want to read all the books that author has written! 

Of course they won't like 100% of my recommendations, but my hit rate dramatically improved the more we discussed their likes and dislikes.  Needless to say, we are in the early stages of planning a book club.  I will be sure to keep you posted on our progress.

For this week's field trip, I challenge you to chat with at least three new people you see regularly to find out if they read books often.  If their answer is 'yes,' then ask them to tell you about the types of books they like to read.  Keep it casual, don't turn the conversation into an inquisition.  I'm sure you'll be surprised by the information that book lovers are willing to share.  And who knows, you may even find some new readers.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Myth: I'm a writer, I'll never get this marketing stuff

This site, and our effort, is to burst that bubble. You're here.

Marketing is Content and if you can write anything, you can create the content to market it. What is confusing is that much of the "Marketing Advice" available is not at the 101 level, but at the 201, or 301 level, or is really advice about promotions. The majority of "Marketing Advice" today has nothing to do with marketing and is only about using social media tools.

As marketing professionals we spent a lot of brainstorming hours, over many months, just to create that first 40 minute workshop. We had to dig deep, think back, and research, for us to remember Marketing 101. Only then were we able to present these basic principles of marketing to our fellow writers targeted specifically for Authors.

All you need for good marketing is a theme, color, and content, to consistently represent your Author Persona for your website, business cards, and all promotional materials. After that, it's all about your Books (story, theme, genre). Now you're ready to assemble a Media Kit to be used for promotions and learn the social media tools of your choice.

Marketing Media Kit Includes:

Author Bio: This is not just the writer you. You are a lot more interesting than you realize. Have a best friend help you with this but keep it brief and entertaining.

Author Promo shot: Please skip the glam shots of decades pasts and use a photo that actually
Looks Like YOU.

How you can be contacted: The first item listed as a primary contact will be your Direct E-Mail That You Check often. Also include your website, a phone number, and your social media networks.

Book Covers and Blurbs: Once you create your Media Kit it will only need to be updated as you add more books. 

You can also include your current schedule of appearances and promotional events.
That's it. You're ready to present yourself as a professional to the media for promotion.
Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ten Tips on Tweeting

Morgan and Therese have a workbook in process.
This Finer Points Friday post is one of the contributed articles.

Ten Tips on Tweeting

by Jamie Brazil

I got politely scolded the other day.  Like a lot of people still learning the Twitter ropes I sometimes forget to add hashtags, omit an important piece of information, or occasionally tweet something entirely bone-headed that I delete later. 

This is a FREE READ until 7/22/12
I’m still new to Twitter. 

In the very beginning I didn’t like Twitter.  It moved too fast, I never knew quite what to say, and I worried about looking foolish.  Now, just a few months later, when I steal away moments in the Twitterverse I sometimes feel like a dog chasing a ball, romping into the ocean surf on the hottest day of summer.  Sheer joy!

It’s one of my favorite things to do now.  I like to chat, cross paths with new people, and connect with those I already know.  Yet I still accidentally offend or foolishly follow.  But my worst mistake, by far, was forgetting to thank people for their retweets.  I had no idea how important that was! 

Where’s Twitter’s Miss Manners for us newbies?

So here are a few tips when it comes to making a good first impression on Twitter:
  1. My first rookie mistake was trying to gain followers quickly by using a free follow back service.  Yes, the service works… unfortunately any real tweets got buried by the deluge of college girls beckoning me to contact them and links for penis enlargers! Ack! Block-block-block-DELETE!
  2. Buying followers does not give you instant influence.  Don’t succumb to services offering you 5000 instant followers.     
  3. Quality not quantity.  When it comes to following and followers, more is not always better.  Surround yourself with people similar to you, who share a common interest.  Chances are these are where your first “retweets” will come from– that is, followers sharing your message with their followers.  This is very, very good as it helps build your influence in social media circles.   And you might just pick up a few new legit followers along the way!
  4. Think of a retweet as a gift.  So always, and I mean ALWAYS, tweet a thank you to those who retweet you.  They are helping you build your brand.
  5. Retweet back.  Help others.  Be sure to include any pertinent links!
  6. Use hashtags to expand your community.  I often use #coffee, #amwriting, and #Kindle.  You get the idea.  Hashtags help users search the constant stream of Tweets and makes it easier to connect with others.  
  7. Don’t be stingy with your follow backs.  Follow everyone who follows you -- unless they don’t look legit (penis enlargers anyone?), never tweet (meaning the chance they’ll retweet you is zilch), or you find their tweets offensive.  Feel free to follow me @BrazilJamie and I’ll be sure to follow you back! 
  8. Share smart.  According to Marsha Collier @MarshaCollier, one of the smartest, most influential Tweeters around according to media giant Forbes, “broadcast media is so yesterday.”  If you want to guide followers to your site, your blog, your latest release, that’s great, just be cool about it… like one in every ten tweets, or better yet, one in every hundred, or if you’re super-influential, not at all.  If your every tweet is all about you and your agenda to rule the world and become a bestselling Amazon author, your followers will tune you out, or worse, block you from their stream.     
  9. Twitter is like a cocktail party.  Engage with others and have conversations.  Twitter is about the give and take.  There’s no “LIKE” button to hit, but if people think you’re interesting they retweet you to their friends and followers. 
  10.  Have fun!  If tweeting feels like a job, then Twitter might not be for you.  Maybe Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, or Mobli could be a more comfortable social media vehicle for you.  But give Twitter a chance, and who knows, maybe you’ll like it so much you’ll “plug in” your tweets to share across other platforms, too!             
Happy Tweeting!  ~ Jamie Brazil

JAMIE BRAZIL lives in the Pacific Northwest. Jamie has published nonfiction, dispatched emergency services and coordinated documentary television productions.

The dispatching gig turned out to be great training for the round-the-clock crises when working with film crews.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Workshop #4: Create Eye Catching Brochures

So far, we've covered business cards, bookmarks, and free read booklet designs and best practices.  Here is an example of another way you can promote your work:

Eye Catching Brochures and Pamphlets

Christine McKay's promotional booklet takes the term "bodice ripper" to a whole new level!  For this brochure, Ms. McKay combined a dark coral colored, cardstock paper with a corset graphic.  She then used a hole punch and black ribbon to tie the brochure closed.

Front of promo piece.  Black ribbon was used to tie the front closed.
Once untied, the reader found a series of half-page, full color fliers that showcased the covers of her books.  ISBN and review quotes were also provided for each title.

Fliers, stapled to the cover, promoted her current and back list of books complete with ISBN numbers and review quotes.
Morgan says: Here's what I like about this creative marketing piece:
  • It's unique design helped it stand out from the other materials on the table at the Chicago RT Booklovers Convention.
  • The concept is easy to execute on your home PC or Mac.
  • The ribbon added a nice tactile experience - it made you feel like you were unwrapping a gift!
  • The content, though abundant, was concise and provided a visual for readers to look for when seeking to purchase her books.
  • The only thing I would have changed: the books being promoted on her website should have been the first flier in the center content....They were included later in the stack. 
  • Overall, it is a well executed marketing piece!

Questions to ponder this week:
  • Does your story have a totem, symbol, artifact, or other item that you can use to creatively market your books?
  • How can you put your own twist on a pamphlet or flier to catch the eye of your readers?
Don't be afraid to be just might attract new readers!

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Myth: I wrote the book, my work is done.

Congratulations! You wrote THE END! Pop the champagne, do a happy dance. You've done what few who aspire to write a book will ever do. You are done. You wrote a book. You are an author. Reconnect with the lifestyle of not writing a book. Set your book within a shrine and bask in your achievement.

You never have to write another word for the rest of your life.
How does that make you feel?

Walk away from your shrine when you're done celebrating. Do not return to your book shrine for two weeks. Spend those two weeks visiting bookstores and read all the signage directing readers through the aisles. Where would your book fit on those shelves?

Do you want to be a published author?
There's a lot of how-to books about that process via agents, indie publishers, and self publishing.
Do you want a career as a published author?
There's a lot of advice from authors, for free on their websites and blogs, about how they manage their career and writing process.
Do you want anyone to read your book?
Is it the best book you can write?
Do you know your theme, style, genre, and persona?

READ BOOKS you like by authors you love.
READ BOOKS that would be on the same shelf as yours.
READ BOOKS about how to write books, by authors that have done the deed.

After basking in the bliss of writing THE END for a few weeks, begin a new story and reconnect with the lifestyle of writing a book. Are you itching to pop more champagne, do more happy dancing, and write THE END - on this new story?

Do Not Market a book until it is the best book you can create for your audience.
Do Not Market a book until it is available for readers TO BUY.

Are you done? You never have to write another word for the rest of your life.
How does that make you feel, NOW?
Did you write a book that is worth reading?
Go to your shrine and begin reading your book from page one.

Writing the THE END means the author's work is just beginning.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I've got a book contract and they told me to start blogging...

We are all about RECYCLE and REUSE here so it's important to know what others have done. Authors are still trying to figure out all this social media stuff and how to make it work for them, so they can have the career of their dreams. There are no answers but there are examples!

For this Finer Points Friday we're presenting a 2-year-old post by Tawna Fenske because while Tawna's books may not be your cup of tea, her enthusiasm-run-amuck is a great example of voice, theme, color, professional research, and taking the plunge into cyberspace with a persona.

REPOST: by Tawna Fenske           (Thank you Tawna!)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Building my brand, one crude joke at a time

I’ve been blogging for exactly six weeks. That makes me a relative newbie, so I’m hardly the person to speak with authority on blogging.

Of course, being unqualified to speak with authority doesn’t mean I won’t do it – I just thought I should establish my ignorance up front in case you’ve mistaken me for someone who knows something.

My agent prodded me for months to join the social media circus, but I was leery about donning my clown costume until I’d done some research. Though I tend to prefer research that allows me to poke dead bodies or drink wine, this required a different sort of research.

I’ve worked in marketing and corporate communications for over a decade, so I knew I needed to use social media to build my brand. I read books like Shel Isreal’s TWITTERVILLE and Joel Comm’s TWITTER POWER. I pored over hundreds of blogs, making notes about what worked and what didn’t. I vowed to have a clear link between my website, my blog, and my and Twitter presence, and not to start blogging until I had a list of at least 50 potential topics.

I also vowed not to use that list more than once a week. I wanted it to be a crutch for occasional brain-dead mornings, rather than an excuse to avoid coming up with fresh, off-the-cuff ideas.

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you may be scratching your head right now. “You mean there’s a point to this blog? A strategy? A reason you’ve been blogging about eyebrow waxing, dog doo, scrotums, lost tampons, and recipes from Playboy?”

Believe it or not, there is.

Because if you’re the sort of person who chuckled at any of those blog posts, there’s a good chance you’ll like my books.

If your sense of humor is a bit more – well, normal, then you probably won’t become president of my nonexistent fan club. And how great is it that we can all figure that out now, rather than 17 months from now when you’re reading my debut novel and muttering, “I don’t get it, why would she use a pair of thong panties as an eye patch for a pirate costume?”

(Answer: because it’s kind of funny. And sexy, in an offbeat way).

Six years ago when Harlequin/Silhouette introduced the Bombshell line of women’s action/adventure novels, the books were wildly different from anything else they’d been publishing. There were explosions and kick-ass women who killed people, and endings that often had no commitment beyond the hero and heroine agreeing not to kill each other.

These were not traditional category romance novels – but someone forgot to tell the readers.

The line was canceled in less than two years (a month before my scheduled publication date, not that I’m bitter). Was it because the books were bad? I don’t think so. But I do think Harlequin did a crappy job with branding. They failed to let readers know what to expect.

The Bombshell books looked like traditional category romance novels. They were marketed like traditional category romance novels, and they sat on the shelves next to all the other Harlequin/Silhouette titles. Can we really blame readers for expecting traditional category romance, and being disappointed when that wasn’t what they got?

Though I had no control over the Bombshell situation, I do have some control now. I have 17 months before Sourcebooks, Inc. releases my first romantic comedy, so I’m doing my damndest to make sure readers know what to expect from me.

This blog is my voice – it’s my brand. I like quirky humor, risqué love scenes, and stories in which normal is nice, but weird is wonderful.

If that’s not your cup of tea, no sweat.

But if you like what you see here, then I’m hoping you’ll like my books. And in the meantime, I’m hoping you’ll keep coming to my blog for more.

(I said coming. Snort!)

A note from Tawna, July 5, 2012:When the lovely folks at Author Marketing 101 contacted me and asked to recycle this post I wrote more than two years ago, I’ll admit I did a mental cringe. Over the last 27 months, my life has changed dramatically. I’ve been through a gut-wrenching divorce and a heart-melting new relationship that’s going strong. I’ve changed day jobs, living arrangements, and dress sizes. When I wrote this post, I was a dumbfounded newbie author with a freshly-inked three-book deal and a debut romantic comedy still 17 months from release. Now I’m an equally dumbfounded published author who’s released three books to wonderful write-ups from The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and even a nomination from RT Book Reviews for 2011Contemporary Romance of the Year.

Suffice it to say, things have changed a lot for me.
Or not.
The funny thing is, I read this post now and pat myself on the back for sticking pretty true to my original game plan. The overall tone of my posts has stayed the same, as has my branding strategy. You won’t come to my blog and see posts that scream “Buy my books!” or “Come to my signings!” I might mention those things casually from time to time, but I’m a lot more likely to write about my social ineptitude at a marketing conference or the time  I waxed off my own eyebrow or the day I spit gristle in someone’s purse at a business luncheon.
 Thanks so much to Author Marketing 101 for inviting me here, and for giving me a chance to revisit this blast from the past. It’s been a strange, wild ride, and I’m pleased to realize I’ve kept my butt firmly planted on the same seat of the roller coaster. 

Tawna Fenske’s debut romantic comedy, Making Waves, was nominated for Best Contemporary Romance in the RT Book Reviews 2011 Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Her second romantic comedy Believe it or Not, was released March 2012 and dubbed “another riotous trip down funny bone lane,” by Library Journal. 
A third-generation Oregonian who can peel and eat a banana with her toes, Tawna traveled a career path that took her from newspaper reporter to English teacher to marketing geek. She currently lives in Bend with a menagerie of ill-behaved pets. 
You can find her on Twitter at @tawnafenske or blogging daily at

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Know Your Audience: Where the Heck is My Audience?

In last Wednesday's post, we challenged you to ponder the characteristics of your ideal reader and create a one paragraph profile statement. 

Now that you know 'who' your ideal reader is, let's take a moment to discuss:
  • 'where' they live, work, and play
  • 'how' you can reach them with your marketing efforts
If your ideal reader (customer) is :

A 20-something, college grad, fashionista
  • Try starting Pinterest boards for each of your characters filled with images of the clothing they wear in your story.  If your audience frequents Pinterst, using pinboards for character development / inspiration will give you a jump start on your book promotions.
  • Maybe, creating an Etsy "Treasury" that invokes the look and feel of your books would also attract this ideal reader.
A 14 - 18 year old, young adult, urban, female
  • Partner with other YA authors and host a mother-daughter jewelry making class  at your local church or community center.
  • Support the Youth Day activities at the next RT Booklovers Convention or organize a youth activity via your local writing club.
  • Produce a cool book trailer for YouTube.
  • Team up with a local youth group and sponsor some sort of contest or competition.  (Art, number of books read during the summer, t-shirt design, etc.)
  • Create an iPhone ap....hey, we're thinking outside of the box here!
A 40-something, no nonsense, career woman
  • Blog about topics dealing with business travel, your adventures in seeking a work-life balance, or share recipes for quick and easy meals.
  • Write book reviews for Kindle and Nook books.
  • Contact your local book clubs.
  • Leave a stack of free read pamphlets in coffee houses in your area (or across the country). Be sure to ask the manager, first.

For more ideas on how to connect with your audience, try:
  • Reading magazines targeted at the same audience.  Take special note of the images they use, advertisement layout and text, and article topics.  Trust us when we say that these magazines have larger marketing budgets than many of us would ever hope to have.  Put their efforts to good use by learning from them.
  • Studying successful authors who share your ideal reader - also known as, studying your competition.  Be careful not to copy them too closely, but clearly they are doing something right if they are winning audience mind share.
  • Moving beyond your standard haunts and writing circles to seek out real world points of connection, if your ideal reader has interests outside of your own.

Yes, Twitter and Facebook have become the gold standard for making online connections. Find other ways to connect with your target audience both online and in the real world.  By understanding your ideal reader, you can market to them more efficiently by meeting them in places they already work and play.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Any Publicity is Good - Cyber Karma Lesson # 3

This myth, that any publicity is good publicity, was probably spawned from the "banned books list" as the notoriety of being banned meant an instant shot to the top of the best-seller list. If this happens to you, congratulations. You've written a book that was banned by the moral majority. Your subsequent sales and popularity proves that the majority of readers like your story and they don't want someone else dictating what is moral.

Publicity is good when it generates a SALE.

EXAMPLE: Reviewer A states - your book has a huge plot hole in the beginning, and your book really wasn't the type of story they would chose to read, but reviewing books is their job. Reviewer A continues to say it was a well written and otherwise well plotted book, and the author did a good job with the story. The review ends with almost an apology that Reviewer A wanted to give a better rating, if not for that noted plot hole.

This is good publicity as it states that TITLE is available to read and AUTHOR did a good job. There is potential for the curious reader to explore this title and author, and make their own judgement call regarding the plot hole. When the Author Persona and website are done well, a sale could be made. A better way to use this publicity is for AUTHOR to explain the referenced plot hole was needed to move the story forward but was too big to be resolved, and needed a story of its own that is/will be available on xx/xx/xx date. AUTHOR has generated a potential for additional sales, from what may first have felt like negative publicity.

Bad publicity is when AUTHOR goes viral with an attack against Reviewer A for pointing out the plot hole. AUTHOR is unleashing ego and could land on readers Do Not Buy list for reasons that have nothing to do with the story. The author has challenged the readers moral code for choosing to invest time and money into an author.

Weave graciousness into your Author Persona and sleep with it prior to any public acknowledgement of Reviewer A through Z. Readers are fickle customers and their desire for banned books is as strong as their power to ban an author for bad behavior.

Publicity is neither good nor bad, it's just pointing a reader to the story you have told, and creates an opportunity for your Author Persona to connect with readers. Choose wisely how to use this connection.

Your objective with any publicity and marketing is to generate a value to your audience that is worth the price of your book. You are worth that price.Your story is worth the time and investment from your readers.

No matter how bad your publicity may be, you will live to write again.
Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

Friday, July 6, 2012

We're On Vacation....

If we lived in Mayberry and had a main street store front, we would've placed a "Gone Fishing" sign in the window.  But since we live in Portland, and we aren't that into fishing, a simple "We're On Vacation" post will have to suffice. 

But don't fret, we'll be back with our usual series next week.  In fact a we're working with Ms. Tawna Fenske for our next Finer Points Friday post.  Tawna is a dear friend who also happens to write HILARIOUS books.  Check her out at: Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing.

Hope you had a great Fourth of July!
Therese & Morgan

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Know Your Audience: Wait...Who the Heck is My Audience?

As we've stated in past posts, it's unrealistic to think that everyone on the planet will love (and buy) your book.  Yup - as your mother may have told you, "You can't please everyone, dear."  BUT, you can seek to create goo-gobs of shear delight for a target audience.

In no way are we suggesting that you bend and twist your work into some arbitrary mold to please a small group of people.  Write your books from your heart, be yourself, and use your true voice.  However, don't be disappointed when your conservative associates aren't interested in reading about your robotic werewolf's demon possessed love child.

So, who is your audience?  Another way to phrase this question is: Who is your ideal reader?

Maybe your ideal reader (customer) is:

     A 20-something, college grad, fashionista


     A 14 - 18 year old, young adult, urban, female


     A 40-something, no nonsense, career woman

Notice there is an age associated with each audience above.  Why is age important?  Well - age is one trait you can use to:
  • find your audience's natural habitat (Where can you find them online or in the real world?)
  • know what music they will relate to (Beatles or Mumford & Sons)
  • identify images that will catch their attention (pink skulls or Prada)
Of course, age is only one component of your ideal reader's profile.  Other traits to consider are:
  • hobbies and interests (horse back riding, gaming, motorcycles, shopping, gardening)
  • location (urban, suburban, rural)
  • education level (high school, college, graduate school)

Ideal Reader = Target Audience = Target Demographic

For this week's Wednesday Workshop, we challenge you to consider: "Who is my ideal reader?" and write a quick, one paragraph, profile statement.  Once you've identified your target audience, you will be able to focus your marketing efforts.

Defining your ideal reader doesn't mean that you won't attract people from other demographics.  Your ideal reader is your primary audience.  Members of other demographics are your secondary audience.  Focus on your primary audience to save time, money, and energy.

As the old saying goes: "You attract more flies with honey than vinegar."  First, you have to know that you want to attract flies...then honey is a no brainer.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"It's my website" - Cyber Karma Lesson # 2

MYTH: "My website is a reflection of me and I love fluffy pink kittens, damn it!"

Great! The primary point of creating an author PERSONA is to be genuine to you and your product. You should love what you use in colors and textures on your website. These choices reflect you and will be mirrored on every promotional item you use to connect with your audience. Lots of readers may be desperately searching for fluffy pink kittens and will be thrilled to find you. You want to create a continuity between your persona and product so we also recommend adding lots of fluffy pink accessories to wear at reader/author events and conferences.
There was an episode on the original Star Trek series in 1967 called, "The Trouble with Tribbles" and it's a favorite of Trekkies. These purring balls of fluff were instantly beloved at first contact. They also reproduced indiscriminately and soon everyone had their own Tribble to treasure. This is EXACTLY what you want to happen with your books and promotions.
However, the Tribbles were actually part of a sinister plot to distract everyone with a narcotic purring and petting process. The real agenda was transporting poison to unsuspecting colonies. In a predator free environment the Tribbles multiplied into a nuisance and needed to be corralled. But it was already too late. These fluffy pinkish kittens got into the precious cargo and consumed the grain, which exposed the poison but only after the mass annihilation of Tribbles.
The above example is to remind you Less Is More and if you want to use a fluffy pink kitten as part of your Author Persona and to promote your books, keep it to one. A pair can procreate and lead to the need for a massacre, which could alienate the readers who liked the fluffy pink kittens.
Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.