Friday, February 22, 2013

Pull to one Primary Point of Contact

As a published novelist you have multiple ways a reader can connect with you. Draw them all to your website.

This repost from Scott Eagan's blog has the image that is a perfect representation of our message regarding the one line link for all your marketing and promotions.
A frequent question writers pose to editors and agents deals with the amount of web presence a writer should have. This also extends to questions as to when a writer should think about that web presence. Should it happen before or after they are published? Unfortunately, like all things with publishing, there really isn't one right or wrong answer. Along the same lines, the recommendations I might make may be completely different than those of another agent or editor. Still, let's take the time today to examine web presences. READ MORE
Here's links to our previous AM101 posts on websites:

Your website is the marketing machine and bookstore that works for you 24 hrs -7 d/wk- 365 d/yr and across time zones. You are in control of how you and your books are presented and purchased at your website. Your website should be available through a variety of browsers and platforms.

A free Google Blogspot site (like our's!) works well. Here's a snapshot of our site statistics for this week:
The point to remember when creating a website is that if you want to be the next viral sensation, with a global audience, consider there's a variety of Browsers and Operating Systems that are taking a First Glance at your site.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Networking - the primary Pull

One of the finest points of Pull Marketing is so basic it's actually a Golden Rule of good behavior: Treat others as You want to be Treated.

An aspiring novelist/writer/artist/ job-seeker /  is advised to begin networking while still in school. Networking encourages professionalism, mentoring, additional resources, and a supportive community through good times and bad. Sort of sounds like an ideal family, right? The type of family who all follow the Golden Rule. Seen a lot of them in your personal or professional life? Well, we can dream. However, it is through networking that we learn how to build the necessary boundaries between our private and public behaviors. Networking helps us keep our ego in line because there will always be someone more or less successful than ourselves. The crash-and-burn stories are shared through professional networks so everyone has the chance to avoid that same mistake.
Therese says: The novelist lifestyle a few years ago was to keep the butt-in-chair, fingers-on-keyboard, churn out x# words in x# months, then submit (on every business level) to the publishing machine. If a novelist met certain standards for promotion by the publisher, a publicist was assigned to work with the author regarding how to behave in a public forum and connect with the audience. The job of a publicist was to coach the novelist into a persona that matched the brand devised by the marketing department. The sales force could then push the product (books!) into the distribution channels with the additional PULL of a Person/Persona for promotions. The persona created was to Meet the Expectations of the Audience, who bought the brand of books the author created, and wanted a greater Experience! 
Morgan says: In my day job as a corporate director, one of our salesmen recently asked me for some career advice.  He was curious as to why he was passed up for a promotion and wanted to know how to best prepare himself for that job when the next opportunity was available.  My suggestion to him was to build a network.  I recommended that he take the hiring manager, the division VP, and a potential peer to lunch seperately.  During the lunch he should get to know them, express his interest in the next opening, and {here's the kicker} ask them what he could be doing today to best prepare himself for his desired job.  Over the next few months he did just that, but most importantly he brought something to the table for each of them: 1) his sales experience, 2) product knowledge, and 3) direct voice-of-customer information for product improvement.  The difference between 'networking' and what east coasters call 'schmoozing' or 'sucking up' is that a schmoozer seeks personal gain and offers nothing in return.  In fact, a schmoozer will stab you in the back without giving it a second thought, if it gets them what they want.  Building a network requires both a give and a take.  A network built on a solid foundation of shared expertise and friendship benefits all its members, not just one member.  My story does end on a happy note.  The job the salesman wanted became open again.  HR didn't even bother posting the job externally, because everyone knew this particular salesman wanted the job.  When the job was posted internally, he was the first person that came to mind for the position.  He will transition to his new job next month.  With regards to my writing career, my network of friends and associates has helped me with everything from craft to beta readings....and garnered many a Twitter follower.  In return I've offered the same support, plus free marketing advice.
For the novelist who does not have a dedicated publicist, please review our Persona exercises now. Understand the persona you are creating while networking even as an aspiring novelist. All professional networking has the flavor of interviewing for hire or recruiting a team.

An aspiring surgeon does not show up for a hospital tour with axle grease under their fingernails. A successful surgeon does not publicly trash talk nurses, pharmacists, or medical suppliers.

In that same line of thinking, consider how you present yourself and your persona at writing conferences, book signings, and writing club meetings.  Are you the first person to lend a hand with organizing an activity or are you the first person to criticize the works of others?  Do you readily give constructive feedback when asked or are you the person that never has the time to read another person's work?

Social media has brought "freedom of speech" to the globe and for some reason this means a lot of people like waving their dirty laundry. This is only recommended if the audience you want to pull has a fetish for soiled undergarments.

Here's some links to review:
What I Learned from having a Literary Agent by Scott D. Southard  "See, the big mistake I made is I turned off the marketing part of my brain and just focused on my writing for five years." [Read More - including the comments - at Passive Guy]
One Thing An Author should Never Do on Social Media by Jonathan Gunson of Bestseller Labs  "So avoid shouting, take the social path, and you’ll be well on the way to igniting the viral ‘word-of-mouth’ promotion you need to ignite book sales." 
Considering Self-Publishing? [Read More at The Passive Guy!] "To further the artisanal analogy, think of an artisanal baker. Do we think s/he is an entrepreneur? Absolutely. She is making the bread, selling it, distributing it, etc. Would you ever go up to an artisanal baker and ask, “Is the reason why you have your own bakery that you didn’t get accepted by a large national baked goods manufacturer?” No. We don’t even think of that question. Guy is hoping that artisanal publishers will soon earn the same respect and merit as other artisans."

Friday, February 8, 2013

Workshop #8: Blog Tours - Pick Blogs to PULL Your Readers

So, you finished your book and sold it - hooray!  With your release date in hand, you decide to do a blog tour as part of your marketing activities.  Still smiling with the afterglow of a sale, you pause and think, "How in the heck do I do a blog tour?"

In keeping with this month's theme of PULL marketing, today's workshop will focus on tips for designing a blog tour.

Tip #1: Know your readers.  Who are your readers?  Are they kite surfers, swimmers, and other water sports fanatics?  Do they quilt and / or knit?  Are they businessmen with an interest in international travel and thrilling adventures?  How old are they?  Where do they live?  Why would they buy your book?  Remember, you are trying to SELL your books by PULLing readers to your content.  Understand your target audience (readers) and then seek them out in their natural habit - which brings us to....

Tip #2: Seek out blogs that cater to your readers.  The common misconception about blog tours is that you have to hit as many blogs as you can in a relatively short period of time.  This notion is only partially true.  Yes, you want to connect with a variety of bloggers, BUT the blogs you choose should be blogs that attract YOUR readers.  It really is a quality over quantity decision.  One of our dear friends found herself posting on an erotica focused blog and she doesn't write erotica - in fact, she writes 'closed door', sweet romances - almost the exact opposite of erotica!  Yes, erotica readers read MORE than just erotica...but when you have precious little time, focusing your efforts by getting the most 'bang for your buck' <pun intended> is the best use of your time. :D

Tip #3: Spread the love. You don't have to hit 20 blogs in one week, marketing is a marathon - not a sprint, sprinkle your blog posts out over time - some before, some on the release day, and plenty after release.  In short: 1) Tell them (your readers) your book is coming, 2) Tell them your book is HERE (with buy links), 3) Remind them your book is released.

Tip #4: Manage your time well - don't overextend yourself. Question: How many blogs constitute a blog tour?  Answer: What does your schedule permit?  Consider designing a blog tour that spans six months or an entire year.  It can be done, if you hit one or two blogs a month.  Have prepared posts written ahead of time to balance your blog tour demands with the time you spend writing your NEXT book.

Tip #5: Use your network. Talk with your writing friends to see which blogs they've toured.  What were their results?  Which bloggers are easy to work with?  Were they clear as to the content they wanted?  Were they able to tell you when your content would post?  Take heed of your network's advice, especially if they write similar books.

Tip #6: Visit the blogs, prior to dedicating your time and energy. Review how they present authors with introductions, pictures of them and their books, links to their website. Pull Marketing is the package and presentation of your book, while your persona engages your readers.  Is your persona and voice compatible with the blogger's voice and content?  Bloggers have an audience to attract and maintain, too.  Do you really want to be the author who submitted bawdy humor to a conservative, Christian blogger?

Tip #7: Pay it forward - Thank each blogger, touch base with them at conferences, send them chocolates, reTweet their posts, etc.  If you are nice and professional they will continue to promote you even after your blog tour is done - and you may be able to come back when your next book comes out.  Remember you are working with people who are passionate enough to blog.  People promote the people they like.  Nurture this relationship, as you would nurture any customer relationship.  In the end they are readers who buy books, too, and they have a ton of sway with their readers (who are also your potential readers).

If you are a pre-published author, start scoping out blogs for your future blog tour, now!  Follow them.  Load up your Google Reader with a variety of blogs - not just book blogs.  Chat with the bloggers at conferences, buy them a drink. 

Start building your blogger network, today.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pull Marketing - How's It Work?

Pull Marketing is the most misunderstood aspect of making a sale. It is the background music during a movie. It is the presence an Author becomes as they grow into their Persona as a Story Teller.  It is what attracts a reader to your Persona and your books.

Pull Marketing is the color and fonts on the cover of a book while the primary images, names and blurbs are the Push Marketing on the same cover. Pull Marketing is the Posture, Smile and Manicure of an Author Persona at a book signing. Candy works too.

Pull Marketing is everything else the Author Persona does EXCEPT write books. Pull Marketing is the "I Have Written A Good Book You Will Enjoy" aspect of the Author Persona.

The mystery of Pull Marketing is why writers were encouraged to remain in their closets churning out books for the publisher. The publisher chose the books to print because the marketing department could package, brand, and promote those books for sales. Authors had no say in the cover, or title, fonts or colors. The author was expected to produce stories to fit that brand.

A lot of work, time, and money was invested by the publisher to create and promote a brand and authors were molded into that brand - for the life of their career. If an author wrote a different type of book a whole new brand was created, even changing the author name, to retain reader loyalty to the original brand.
Therese says: Between Morgan and I, we have over 30 years of professional marketing skills and we agree with all these marketing buzzwords and practices. However, what it all means to a publisher does not always apply to How An Author can make Pull Marketing work.We want to show how corporate marketing strategies apply to author marketing - hence the reason for this blog. Publishers have a different marketing strategy regarding fiction and nonfiction authors. A Novelist is only one small part of the publishers corporate marketing strategy.

Morgan says: A Novelist can ride the publisher brand but we want YOU to see that as the platform for your Author Persona. (For example: Sylvia Day has been published by Ellora's Cave.  Ellora's Cave has an established reputation for erotica.  Ms. Day is a New York Times bestselling author and her association with Ellora's Cave only enhances her 'Sylvia Day' persona.  FYI - Ms. Day has three pen names / personas: S.J. Day for non-romance and Livia Day for fantasy / futuristic books.  Readers drawn to Ellora's Cave authors may also enjoy Sylvia Day books and vice versa.)
The beauty of Pull Marketing is - when you become one with your Author Persona, and write books that connect with readers, the more natural and stronger your PULL becomes. Writing books will always be hard, but as your website and public interaction becomes more professional and simpler, you can have fun and do different marketing and promotions. We hope that one day you will wake up and realize - oh - I get it.  My Author Persona and public presence is a magnet for readers who trust I'll deliver a great experience with my books.

In Your Author Persona Marketing Plan - Pull Marketing Actions = Blog, discussion sites, reviews, newsletters, and anything else you do that you love to do (including hobbies and community activities) that PULLS other people to you. Push Marketing can be a roadside billboard. Pull Marketing is the song on the radio as you drive by that billboard.

Here's some examples of PULL Marketing from posts on this blog:

Dineen A. Miller's article and our comments on integrated marketing.

Workshop # 5: How Color Affects Purchases

Jessa Slade Workshop Week: Pull & POP

Mirror Your Business Cards and Website - You PULL every first glance to here!