Friday, September 28, 2012

Your Signature is a One-Line Link to your Persona

Networking MYTH: to gain an audience requires you be everywhere on the internet.

That is what we call the “shotgun” method and we promote targeting your marketing in social media so it reaches your potential audience and generates interest in you and your books.

Networking MYTH: you have to promote everywhere you are, everywhere you go.

This is an example of the NOT RECOMMENDED signature Ms. Cade previously used on every electronic post:
We’ve seen these ladder-of-links signatures that also include Twitter and LinkedIn, and a separate link for each novel. The myth is the more choices, the more likely someone will click a link, and that is false. The truth is - the more choices the less likely a choice will be made because it requires a decision instead of providing an experience.
Readers are looking for an experience and if you require them to make a decision; they will decide to go elsewhere for an easier experience.

The proven truth is:   PARALYSIS OF CHOICE
Paralysis of Choice is a scientific study that showed the more choices available, the less likely a choice will be made and even if a choice is made, there is less satisfaction. Too many choices will decrease interest in making a choice or feeling happy about the choice made. 

Since the primary objective of an author is to be interactive with readers, only give them one choice to click.  This link should lead directly to your website where your Author Persona will engage them into reading your amazing books, and then they will become a fan who tells everyone what an amazing book they just read..

Our recommendation is to ALWAYS - and - ONLY provide a link to your website, no matter what social media interaction you use now or in the future. 

Your Author Persona NAME should always be linked to the one location on the internet where you have presented the EXPERIENCE of your stories for your audience. Your website is your personal bookstore and primary business office.

You can BE everywhere, but you want everyone to always start the connection with your Author Persona on your website home page, and that's where you provide all the other links to your presence on the web - in an unobtrusive but easy to find sidebar that appears on each page of your website. 

Here’s an example of a GOOD signature line to use on any post, especially those that mess with embedded links:
Cathryn Cade ... red hot romance!

Even better is:     Cathryn Cade ... red hot romance!

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 questions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Field Trip #12: Word of Mouth Buzz

Morgan says: One of my favorite things about my local bookstore is the "staff picks" shelf.  In this area of the store, each employee has written a little shelf-hanger card that describes why they selected their choice book for this shelf.

Your assignment for this week is to talk with the staff of your favorite bookstore.  Specifically, I want you to find one of the people who added a book to the "employee recommended" shelf.  If the store you frequent doesn't have a specific area for staff selections, then ask one of the workers if they have a book recommendation.  (Most bookstores have staff members who are avid readers.  I am sure they will have a favorite book (or books) that you just HAVE to read.)

As you engage the bookstore employee, I want you to ask them one simple questionWhy do you like this book?

  • Is it the setting?
  • The characters?
  • The suspense?
  • The romance?
  • The author's voice?
If you want to take your questioning one step further, ask themWhat made you pick up this book the first time you read it?
  • Did a friend recommend the book to them?
  • Did they read a review?
  • Maybe they overhead a conversation about it?
  • Did the cover art work or copy peak their interest?
  • Maybe they heard good things about the author?
I'm sure you'll be surprised by a few (or all) of their answers.  Take a moment to think about how many people this one person has told about their favorite book(s).

How can you use this information to help your career?
Are there any marketing efforts for your books that would attract this reader?

If they are a member of your target audience, you may even consider giving them a copy of your book as a thank you for their time.

Let us know what you learn!

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 questions.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Myth: One publishing format is better than the other

Let's pause the Marketing Myths for a moment and consider the Publishing industry evolution. Rachelle Gardner explores a few myths to rethink on her 8/29/12 blog post.

At this time there are three primary choices for publishing a book:
  1. Traditional - agent, editor, layout, format & cover, marketing & sales department, distribution & promotions. An advance and semiannual or quarterly royalty payments are all included in the contract between the author and publisher. (The "traditional" or "legacy" publishing classification is currently evolving. Recent marketing for this publishing venue is "full service.") There are so many layers to this process an agent is highly recommended.
  2. Indie & small press - editor, format & cover, promotion & distribution. There is seldom an advance to the author and monthly or quarterly royalties are included in the contract. Legal review of the contract is recommended.
  3. Self publication - no contract except for services directly purchased, including the sales percentage agreement for electronic storage and distribution.This is a more viable option than printing books to sell out of the trunk of your car.
These choices are all changing drastically and The Myth is - ONE will rise above the others as the format READERS will choose for quality stories - at a price point READERS will pay - that pays the author well enough to continue writing more quality stories that will sell well.

Hogwash. A recent panel of agents and editors recommended that novelists explore all publishing formats. An author should plan to maintain a long term career that will include many books. All the above publishing formats will continue to be choices and the career author will be best served by considering ALL these options in tandem with the other.
Here's a great example: Delle Jacobs published historical romances through #2 during the 1990's, then #3 during the 2000's, and now is in the #1 stage with many of the same books which were already published in both other formats. 
The traditional (full service) publishing format includes the expectation that an author's career will have a "breakout" novel, one that will get extra marketing and promotions from the publisher. The author's back list will also be positioned for a surge in sales with this "breakout" novel. This strategically chosen novel used to be about five to ten years into the authors career, when there were a few previous titles already in print. Now authors are being encouraged to explore all publishing avenues because whenever that breakout novel happens (in whatever format it was originally published) ALL of the authors books will get a jump in sales from new readers.

It's the READERS that make a book a viral best-seller. The only way for a novel to "breakout" is for it to be found and loved by READERS who are willing to try ANY format in their search for a great story.

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 questions.

Friday, September 21, 2012

3 Predictions for the 21st Century of Publishing

Our dear friend, Chanticleer Reviews & Media, gave us permission to repost this insightful Donald Maass article.  It's concise and potent....but, we'd expect nothing less than the hard hitting truth from Mr. Maass.  Enjoy & let us know what you think!

- Therese & Morgan

Three Predictions for the 21st Century of Publishing as presented by Donald Maass at the PNWA 2012 Conference.

#1 Selling books will be harder, but holding on to readers will be easier—once they discover your bookTake-away: Start the process of how your book will be discovered–the sooner, the better.
#2 Genre Conventions as we know them are dying. We now have genre blending, genre bending, genre trendsetting, genre morphing. Take-away: Do not let conventions dictate your story.
# 3 In the 21st century, there will be novelists who will change the world. Never before has a writer had the opportunity to reach so many readers so quickly. Take-away: This is our century to leave a legacy with our writing. Writing is about talking to human beings one human being at a time.
Thank you, Donald Maass!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Field Trip #11: Learning from Others

For this week's field trip, we would like for you to take another trip to your favorite bookstore and do the following:

  1. Browse your favorite section and randomly select a book from the shelf
  2. Note the author's name, book title, and publisher.  Read the back cover copy.
  3. Browse the same section, but this time look for the latest book from one of the top authors in that genre
  4. Note the author's name, book title, and publisher.  Read the back cover copy.
 When you return home (or as soon as you have access to a computer) research the following:
  • How is each author promoting their books online?
    • Go to each authors website... is their website showcasing their latest book?
    • Were you able to find them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?
  • Is their publisher doing any promotions for the book? If so, what?
  • Do they have any upcoming blog tours or book signings?
  • What are some things you like about their online marketing? 
  • What are some things that you didn't like about their online marketing?

Often, learning what NOT to do is just as important as following a GREAT example.

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 questions.

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Discoverability" is the New Word

Digital Book World is a new collaboration within the publishing industry. We will not be attending the Discoverability and Marketing 2012 event scheduled in NYC this month. However, we do have some information about the speakers and topics, which are focused for publishers and technical data tracking. We will filter through the reviews and buzz to pinpoint what we feel will benefit individual authors.

The first point to remember when you hear the word "Discoverability" is - spell checker doesn't like it.

The second point to remember is that Discoverability is paired with Marketing. So the D word is about being seen and the M word is still about what is seen. Both are First Glance values. The D word applies to the "Huh? What's that?" of the first glance and potential click. The M word is the engaging part where that glance has the potential for, "Wow. Check this out."

Discoverability is the word to represent generating a spark of interest within the cyber cloud. Marketing is the presentation of an awesome persona and product.

One important piece of technical data garnered so far with this new Discoverability word is that the faster a website loads, the better. The longer it takes for that marketing presentation to appear, the more viewers have already left the building. Two seconds is a really long delay to wait after a click in Digital Book World.

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 questions.

Friday, September 14, 2012

E-Books for Libraries per Joe Konrath's blog

Therese and Morgan have made an executive decision to repost this as IMPORTANT INFORMATION with all credit to Joe Konrath and the wonderful Texan librarians Mike and Linda for this inside look at the innovation taking place within our library system.

Joe sez: I recently got an interesting email from a library in Texas.

In short, they're setting up their own internal check-out system for ebooks, and are seeking to buy ebooks directly from authors and publishers.

I asked if they wouldn't mind doing a guest blog discussing some of the issues libraries are now facing with the rising popularity of ebooks. They graciously replied, and here it is...

Mike and Linda: Thanks to Joe for giving us a chance to talk to you about libraries and eBooks!  We’re Michael Saperstein and Linda Stevens, librarians from Harris County Public Library, a large public library system in Houston, Texas.  Please grab the beverage of your choice and find a comfy chair, because we’ve tried to summarize, but this might take a minute.

First, if you haven’t been to the public library in a while, it has changed quite a bit.  Rather than being on shush patrol, you’ll find librarians teaching eReader classes, performing storytimes and early literacy activities, helping jobseekers, playing video games with teens…you get the picture.  Then there’s the books – paper, audio or electronic, we buy them, we promote them, and we connect them with readers, in person and online.

Now for the issues:


Libraries are not able to purchase all of the eBooks we would like to purchase due to publisher and author concerns about copyright protection in the digital format.  Only two of the big six publishers will sell eBooks to libraries, and those pricing models either limit us to a low number of checkouts or charge us more than twice the retail price for a book.  Very few picture books are available for us to purchase, even though small children are a large part of our customer base and we often use digital books in storytimes.  With adult fiction titles, we can’t always offer complete series because of format availability or publisher restrictions.  Some publishers would even like to implement a plan that would force people to come to the library to check out eBooks, rather than being able to do it online, which kind of defeats the purpose.  Librarians are also making the adjustment to focus on providing access for our customers through leasing or subscription, rather than only owning items to be a permanent part of a collection. 

Better Public Experience 

Because of the way we have to purchase electronic content, our customers often have to jump back and forth online through multiple access points, instead of simply finding a book and clicking to check it out.  This can make the borrowing experience quite confusing and complex.  Then add the confusion about which formats match which devices.  We’re not just providing materials for one type of device, our customers use Kindles and Nooks and iPads and cell phones and devices we probably haven’t heard of yet.  We are constantly learning about all of these devices because we are now free tech support for the public.  Our customers show up with their new eReader in a box, and we teach them how to use it.

Collection Decisions

Public libraries have always selected print books based on professional reviews and public demand.  This doesn’t always work with eBooks.  With eBooks, we have to focus on availability and public interest.  We are also rethinking our relationship with self-publishing.  Many libraries, such as ours, are now looking for ways to purchase eBooks directly from authors and independent publishers.  Keep in mind that this is all in a time of reduced funding and we’re trying to build a huge, new, popular digital collection while maintaining a popular and relevant print collection.

Library Benefits 

So what does the library have to offer?  Book borrowing habits are changing, mainly because of eBooks.  People are more open to impulse browsing and discovery of new authors and titles and the library provides the collection and staff to aid them in this discovery.  Once they’ve discovered a new favorite, the quest for reading gratification leads to backlist purchases.  (We speak from personal experience on this.)  Libraries can never afford to purchase in sufficient quantities to discourage sales.  We don’t just house a collection in our buildings or on our websites; we actively promote reading and books, no matter the format.
We’ve probably told you more than you ever wanted to know about libraries and eBooks, but please feel free to contact either of us for more information. We can be reached at

Joe sez: I like libraries. I like librarians. I like innovation.

So I sat down and had a think, and then called up my frequent collaborator Blake Crouch and bounced some ideas off of him.

Read the complete article and Joe's ideas at the original post.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Field Trip #10: A Fresh Perspective

Morgan here with another Wednesday field trip for you.

This week, I would like for you to take a moment to think about three popular brands:

What thoughts and images immediately come to mind?  Maybe your mind jumped to the toner or ink you need for your printer, plain tiled floors and fully stocked shelves, or helpful staff.

Take a look at their websites via the links provided.  Pretty standard stuff, here.  Exactly what you would expect from an office supply website: extensive navigation bars, a large promo ad of some sort, and sales or discounts highlighted.

Now, I would like for you to venture over to a new site I discovered: Poppin.

Poppin. also sells office supplies, but what's different?
They took a fresh perspective on how to design and market their office supplies!

I just love to be surprised and refreshed.  And how refreshing it is to find a company that has taken something so mundane as 'office supply shopping' and raised it to a new level.  

Did you notice that you can shop for goods based on color?
<for some reason this fact makes me giggle like a school girl.>

Note: Businesses have brands and cultures.  Nonfiction authors, nonprofit organizations, and politicians have platforms.  Fiction authors have genres and PERSONAS.  Keeping this in mind, note how Poppin.'s "work happy" culture is present in all corners of their web presence.  (Check out their 'Meet Poppin', 'We Give Back', and 'Fun Stuff' links at the bottom of their web page.)

Your assignment for this week:

  • Take a look at your website with a fresh perspective
  • How can you incorporate your PERSONA into all corners of your marketing?
  • Through your writing, are you taking a fresh perspective on an established genre?  Is this new spin adequately represented on your website and in your promotional materials?
Don't be afraid to try something new and let your PERSONA shine through.

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 questions.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Be Genuine with your Persona and your Inner Introvert

Here's some more reasons why your persona as an author is your PRIMARY marketing tool and needs to be genuine online and in person. Social media is not only a dynamic game changer for authors and readers, but is rippling through every business culture and process.
"I can't think of a retail marketer, a financial-services marketer, a telecommunications marketer or, in fact, any marketer who couldn't benefit from persona development. Because buried in the data marketer's collection is a lot of color - amazing intel about living, breathing customers just waiting to shine through."
- Bob Fetter, Pluris Marketing
On September 4th, Rachelle Gardner posted on her blog - Six Tips for Successful Networking

#2 - Be Genuine

The point we want to make is that writers and novelists DO NOT have to change WHO they are to be successful at marketing and selling their books.  However, we do understand that authors are usually more introverts than extroverts. They tend to fear marketing themselves, because the sales & promotions arch type / persona used to be populated solely by extroverts.

Once upon a time...In the business world, the designers and inventors remained in the lab and only the sales people and executives had contact with customers. In the publishing world, authors worked with editors until the book was ready to market. Then that book was turned over to the sales teams and booksellers. The agents were the conduit for managing an author's career, as they negotiated the author advance and tracked the royalty payments.  Author's only connected with readers (their audience / customer) via book signing events and the occasional fan letter.  Many introverted writers NEVER interacted directly with their readers.  Today, this scenario is definitely more the exception than the rule.

To expand on the topic of introverts and extroverts, there is a wonderful talk by Susan Cain on  Our world prizes extroverts -- but Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative.  
"In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated."
Introversion is not shyness, or fear of social interaction. It is really about how you respond to social stimulation. Extroverts become more engaged and creative through interaction with others while introverts find their zone of stimulation in quiet contemplation. Introverts would prefer to have a quiet dinner with friends or curl up with a good book. Susan's point is that when it comes to creativity and leadership, introverts need to do what they do best.

We all have introvert and extrovert personality traits but tend to favor one over the other for how we refill our well of energy, and nurture ourselves. The performer who loves the stage and the immediate gratification of applause from an audience within touching distance is probably more an extrovert. Athletes that are part of a team are more extroverts. Novelists who feel fulfilled by a personal note from one reader are probably more introverted.

Authors need to remember what they do best is WRITE BOOKS, and what fulfills them is reading books or personal craft projects.  Play to your strengths and keep the time spent doing extroverted socializing and stimulation to whatever is most comfortable for you.

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 questions.

Friday, September 7, 2012

You Reap What You Show

This is a repost from a local web design firm. The message is always timely.

As novelists, you are a small business. Your customers/readers are expecting an engaging experience about your STORY through your PERSONA not your politics.

You Reap What You Show
Posted October 14, 2010 at

Campaign SignsAh, the campaign season. The autumn so full of the changing of the leaves, and the politicians, so too changing themselves to appeal to what ever they need to appeal to in order to capture your vote.
Never mind what you personally think about who should lead our country in whatever direction you think it needs leading.
As a small business who is ever concerned about marketing, it is important to remember one important thing this campaign season. Your customers.
Specifically, what value is being marketed when you showcase your campaign sign of choice.

Let’s Be Honest

Not everyone is going to agree with your view on politics, and if years of repressed family gatherings have taught us anything, it is that we should avoid the topic of politics (as well as religion) at the dinner table.
So with that in mind, why would you, as a small business leave yourself venerable to a potential shortfall in sales by making a silly marketing mistake of publicly showering support of one candidate over another?

Say It Ain’t So

Our happy little mountain town of Sandy Oregon is currently flooded with temporary signs for every candidate running for national, state-wide, county-wide and city office.
Let’s look past the fact that most of these signs are in breach of our strict sign ordinance, and see that many of these campaign signs grace the grass and bark dust mulch in front of small mom and pop sized businesses.
I would love to see the numbers about what kind of dip in sales a certain gas station is having since they have replaced their marketing efforts with signs for specific candidates, that quite frankly, encourage the polarization of our political landscape.
Empty Storefront

What Have You Done For Me Lately

Let’s remember, politicians want your vote. Though once elected, they may or may not live up to their campaign promises that will have a direct impact on your business.
So why leave yourself exposed to a loss of potential customers?
In a tough economic time, like the one we all are currently facing, it seems prudent to devise marketing actions that will help create more sales, rather than give potential customers another reason to not shop your product or service.
This is especially true since our political climate continues to get more and more polarized.
So look objectively at that campaign sign outside your shop’s window, or that perfectly placed button resting above your heart, or even that snide comment you made upon Joe Candidate in front of your customers.
Your customers may have noticed what you are saying, and they may respond by taking their business elsewhere.
We think that makes for the wrong kind of branding and marketing for you business.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Workshop #5 :How Color Affects Purchases

Morgan here with another Wednesday workshop.  It is a scientifically proven fact that color has an affect on mood, hunger, and purchasing habits.....yup, purchasing habits.  I found this great post via a link Therese recently shot my way.  I tried to embed the post graphic, but the resolution is a little fuzzy.  If you are unable to read it here, check out this direct link to the infographic from Daily Infographic.  

I challenge you to try to think of ways to integrate the information below into your PERSONA & POP designs.

Hopefully, you can now understand why I love, love, love marketing!  
It's so fascinating!

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 questions.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Impulse Buys

Deb Cooke has a great article about Buying Books Then and Now. It explores the history of how publishers bought space in bookstores to encourage impulse buys and online retailers are working hard to figure out how to generate the same impulse purchase.

The First Glance of your website or book cover is designed to entice the reader to pause and Look Inside! You want the reader be totally engaged in the experience of your book/website/persona. The direct TO BUY link means there's no wandering past displays of other books as you are going in or out of the store. Online retailers are NOT trying to distract you from your primary purchase with those scrolling sidebars and horizontal displays. Your purchase of that one book is encouraged, and when you look inside, that is all you see. That book.

When you return to that initial page either to buy, or read reviews, now you are even more aware of the: "Others who also bought this book, Bought these." Those excess book covers are to perk your interest in shopping more and meeting the free shipping price point of the bookseller. Some of those book covers are paid ads, like storefront positions, others are determined on your purchase pattern for customer satisfaction. This is the computer generated process to mirror a book seller recommendation.

While there are a lot of studies and theories, there's no crystal ball, or computer code assurance regarding the fate or success of your novel. Online retailers will continue to search for ways to encourage impulse buys but the bottom line today is: Readers only know when they FEEL they've read a good story, and are desperate to talk about it with others, so they spread the news with enthusiasm. Once you've written THAT Story is when you focus on getting seen with bright and clear marketing and that direct TO BUY link.

However, remember that impulse buys are no longer limited to wandering around a bookstore, either physically or online. They can happen with a point-n-click on many devises and apps. One of your book covers or blurbs could be included in a random selection process at any time, and a purchase can now be made anywhere.

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 questions.