Friday, August 22, 2014

Beware the Book Marketing Expert

We knew it would happen, once we had a published book to sell, that we would have even more opportunities to experience marketing mayhem. We even received an invitation to participate in a "Book Marketing Experts Online Seminar" where the opening sentence was something like, "We know we are not your target audience but ..." basically we were being encouraged to waste our time chatting with experts in the field of book marketing. It was free and online so all it would've cost was our time.

One of our primary messages is an author's time is a precious commodity and not to spend it foolishly by jumping on the bandwagon of the latest promotional gimmick or hot blog.Our primary objective is to educate our fellow authors so that it's easier to discern the truth from the hype without wasting your hard earned dollars. Everything about this AM101 blog and our book is focused on how to apply basic marketing principles to design and implement a PLAN that is effective to generate sales of your novel. We focus on novelists because they have unique marketing challenges not addressed until now. 

Many of these marketing "experts" include a lot of statistics regarding their message and will even embellish the stats with engaging graphics and colors. This gives the impression the expert is FUN but that doesn't mean it will make your marketing and promotions fun. The difference is, they had fun creating their statistical graphics because that is their job. An authors job is to write books. An authors marketing plan is for an audience to hear about their book so it can be read.

A recent WIRED article featured survey results from the consumer group labeled "millennials" about what they considered Bad Advertising. This is fun reading for marketing professionals like ourselves, and we had a good laugh over targeting buyers specifically by their age. We hope "millennials" and all the other Gen X-Y-Z Boomers voice their offence as being targeted and labeled by their birth year. Feng Shui does a much better job of doing that with animals and nature elements than marketeers will ever accomplish.

Another results survey of an age specific consumer group found that:
  • 49 % of respondents say they turn to brands they know and trust.
  • 40 % say they buy brands recommended by family and friends.
  • 30 % cite price as the primary motivator behind a purchase.
  • 55 % say they find out about products from friends first
  • 85 % say they tell friends about products they like.
Our response to these statistics is YEP.

These statistics merely confirm what we already know and have discussed in this blog:

  • A consistent voice combined with a consistent PERSONA creates a readership that will know and trust the quality of your stories.
  • Word of mouth (buzz) is the best way to attract readers.

Regardless of what the 'experts' say, the fundamentals remain the same:

  • Know your audience and specifically target them in their natural habitat.
  • Create an engaging persona.
  • And above all: write great books!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Marketing: Do What You LOVE!

Okay, okay, we can already hear the groans....'What do you mean do what you love? How does that even fit in the same sentence with the word marketing?'

Our mission here at AM101 is to bust myths and save time. Marketing does NOT have to be an aggravating and arduous chore. Online marketing is so easy and free that few take the time to do it right, instead they do promo blasting. One way to do marketing is to engage potential readers by doing the things that you already love to do and do them with others. Become active in social venues where you want to be, then find ways to mention that you have a book published or will soon have a book published. The trick is to be subtle. Truly it is the light touch that wins the day.

Here are some examples:

Do you love reading books? (Silly question, we know, for authors.) Maybe blog a running list of your favorite books or add this list as extra content for your website. Morgan was recently asked to cover the diversity and multiculturalism desk for Night Owl Reviews' monthly e-magazine. Of course, she jumped at the chance to promote great diverse books. And guess what...she's also found a new way to interact directly with her AUDIENCE. Her new column, The Melting Pot, will debut in the August issue.

Enjoy art? Why not start a Pinterest board that features works by your favorite artists. Someone may like your pin, read your profile, and buy your book. Art lovers read books, too.

Is eating out your thing? Are you a foodie? Why not showcase pictures of your fine (or not so fine, but yummy) dining, or cooking, on Tumblr or Instagram. Yes, it's been done before by tons of people, BUT there are also folks who seek out these posts. These same people can 'stumble upon' your book.

Are you a business article junkie? Post links to your favorite articles on Linked In.

Love kayaking? Hiking? Cycling? Join online groups that share photos and personal stories of being engaged in your preferred activities around the globe.

Love reading blogs? Ask to write a guest post for your favorite blog.

Love shoes? Post your latest shoe finds on Facebook or Twitter. Love purses? Why not start a blog to showcase your latest finds. You could even include pictures of outfits with each purse. Plus, there is no need to buy every pair of shoes or purse you like....take pictures of them in the store or do a screen capture from a website. Even better, include a Zappos or Etsy 'buy' link!

Do you love remote control airplanes? Jigsaw puzzles? Knitting? Lego designs? Celtic music?

What's your personal hobby or favorite leisure or luxury activity?

Morgan says: I love music. My personal blog, Morgan's Mix Tape, features my thoughts and experiences combined with a photo, theme song, and associated video. I now have a global following. Guess where I'll be announcing my book launches? In fact, here is the post about our Author Marketing 101 book launch.
Trish and Rob MacGregor have published dozens of novels and nonfiction books both individually and as coauthors. They love synchronicity stories, dog park politics, yoga, and more, so that's what they post about on their daily blog.

Paty Jager loves horses, dogs and everything country so that's what she posts about weekly even though she writes historical romances and contemporary mysteries.

Terri Patrick loves astrology and family adventures and her grand-babies. Her stories include outdoor adventures, extended family dynamics and esoteric elements.

Do what you love and find your audience!

Here are some more examples of authors 'doing what they love' in posts on our site:

Kari Luna's message to HAVE FUN with your marketing [8/2/13]

Jonathan Evison's message that if it ain't fun, he's not doing it. [8/9/13]