Four Ways to Get Stellar Results When You’re Working With a Copywriter

Today’s guest post is from Debra Jason, a copywriter, speaker, author and multi-faceted marketing mentor who I have had the pleasure of connecting with online. Her specialty is in helping people develop the content needed for websites and direct marketing materials that successfully positions the brand for maximum results.

I know many of you are great communicators, but struggle when it comes time to “sell yourself.” You may become tongue-tied and have no idea what to say. Working with a copywriter takes the pressure off and allows you to focus on what you do best. Debra’s post shares with us how to get stellar results when you do.

If you’re an author, speaker or entrepreneur getting ready to launch a website or marketing campaign, but unsure about writing promotional content, you may turn to an independent writer to assist you.

Working on any promotional literature, be it a website, brochure or an extensive direct mail package, is a team effort between you, your copywriter and graphic designer. It’s a partnership created to develop the best tools for promoting your product/service. Each person in the partnership has certain responsibilities.

Debra Jason, author of Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

The purpose of this post is to help you be aware of your role – obtaining and organizing the valuable information a copywriter needs from you.

Being organized and prepared before you meet with the writer for an input meeting will save you time and money in the long run. And, it increases your chances of getting the results you’re looking for – record-breaking ones – as soon as the first draft.

4 Tips for Working with a Copywriter

The following four steps will help you gather the appropriate information you need to pass along to your writer:

1. Define your goals — convey them clearly.

What is it that you want to achieve with the project you’re going to assign to your copywriter? Do you want to sell more product, gain name recognition/brand awareness, create an image or generate new leads?

Remember, if your objectives are too complex then you risk confusing your copywriter. Simply state your goals. It sets your copywriter off in the right direction — to create an effective, results-oriented promotion for you.

As an independent copywriter, I take the time to listen to you. Tell me what it is you need to say. I’ll tell you how to say it. I make sure that I clearly understand your goals, translating them into fresh ideas that sell your product/service.

2. Don’t be shy — tell her everything.

You know your product/service best. A copywriter knows how to write to promote that product. So, don’t be shy. Tell her everything about it. If your copywriter asks you a lot of questions, be grateful. The more you can tell her, the better your chances are of getting what you want — as soon as the first draft.

What is the single strongest benefit of your product/service (i.e., the benefit that harnesses the greatest selling power)? List all of the additional benefits. Why should someone buy your product over the competition? What makes yours special?

Your writer’s goal is to create a piece that converts prospects into loyal, raving fans. If you have printed materials in the past (i.e., marketing plan, brochures, testimonials, etc.), provide those to your writer as well.

3. Know your audience — introduce her to them.

It is important for you to know who you’re speaking to. Tell your copywriter about your audience. Better yet, imagine you’re introducing her to one person from that target market. Then, tell her what you know about that individual.

First, what keeps your ideal clients up at night? What are the challenges/issues they’re facing on a daily basis? How does your product/service solve their problems and make their lives easier?

What are the demographics of your audience? And, what do you know about their lifestyles (i.e., psychographics) such as what kind of cars do they drive, do they dine out or eat at home? Do they use credit cards or pay with cash? Is your product/service familiar to your audience (how aware are they that you/your product exists)?

Do your best to answer questions such as those mentioned above and tell your copywriter what you discover. Keep in mind that the tone of a brochure or website will differ if you want to reach single professional women, 25-35 years old vs. married women in their 50s.

Don’t hesitate to introduce your audience to your writer. The more you can tell her, the easier it is for her to “get acquainted” with them before she starts to write. The resulting piece us one that attracts prospects’ attention, makes an impact and motivates them to buy your product or service.

4. Hire a copywriter who is not only talented — she’s reliable & trustworthy.

The project you’re about to assign — be it a brochure, website, direct mail package — sends a message out to the world about your product/service. You want to make a good first impression.

Your copywriter should also make a good first impression — with you. Of course, you want her to be talented. But that’s not enough to get your project done. Have you established a positive personal rapport? You should both feel comfortable sharing opinions and making compromises to achieve your goals.

Working with my clients is a team effort — a partnership created to develop the best marketing tools for your product. Talented copywriters take pride in the fact that these relationships include mutual trust and respect. Remember these four steps the next time you’re looking for great results from your copywriter.

Have any other tips you’d like to suggest? Please share them in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million and here’s to your sweet success.

 

About Debra Jason: Marketing and writing with heart, not hype, Debra encourages you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans – even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past. Visit her at WriteDirection.com.

Speaker and author of the award-winning book Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget™, she not only inspires and educates, she empowers creative solopreneurs with relationship-building strategies that help them create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. Seeking a dynamic speaker for your next event, contact Debra at DebraJason.com.

How to Keep Track of Booking Speaking Gigs

In a discussion group for speakers, someone recently asked the question:

What has helped you the MOST at booking speaking gigs?

Now, you may be reading this post as an author thinking to yourself I don’t have to book speaking gigs! but every author appearance you make, whether it’s at a conference, in a bookstore, with a book discussion group, etc. is, in its own way, a speaking gig whether you’re getting paid to do it or not.

It took me a while to ease into a system of booking speaking gigs that worked for me and was repeatable with my clients.

Here’s the response that I gave to the question.

This may sound like a silly response, but I mean it in all seriousness… I come across all sorts of opportunities, and for a long time, I pursued them by the seat of my pants.

When I stepped back, set up a CRM, added all the conferences I was interested in (including their dates and locations), reached out to organizers to find out when submissions opened, noted that info in the CRM, set tasks in the CRM to remind me to make contact, created templates for the gist of what I wanted to say (that would, of course, be customized to the individual I was sending it to), etc. Things really became much easier.

Every month, I could go into the CRM, see who I needed to reach out to, etc. I knew what my process was for approaching conferences I wanted to speak at, and I followed it. Having a tool and a process made all the difference in the world AND allowed me to delegate the outreach when I was so inclined.

So, what’s a CRM you might ask?

A CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager system.

There are plenty of them out there. Some are online. Some are software you use on your computer. There are apps as well.

Zoho CRMSome are free. Others are premium.

They all offer different features, so it’s important to figure out exactly what you want the system to do for you.

Personally, I use Zoho CRM.

It’s free for up to 10 users on your account. You can customize it to collect your leads the way you want, and it integrates nicely with other applications.

I can define templates for reaching out to my “leads” (in this case, event organizers, association contacts, bookstore owners, discussion group leaders, podcast hosts, etc.).

So, once the CRM is configured the way I want it, here’s what I do.

For each conference I’m interested in pursuing, I create a “lead.” Here’s what my customized blank lead page looks like.

Create a lead in Zoho CRM

I capture as much information as I can about the conference. When I first start, it may be minimal information. For example, for the example below, I couldn’t readily find an email address, but I did locate the phone number. So I recorded that.

As long as I have some kind of contact information (or a form), it’s a good start for a lead.

Create a lead in Zoho CRM

I always use the Description field to capture something from the conference description, whether it’s a mission statement, promo copy, etc. That way I have a quick reminder as to the focus of the conference and what it considers important.

The saved record also has other information I can capture further down the page. So, if you scroll down you see this.

Create a lead in Zoho CRM - lower half

My next step is to add any notes I want to make regarding what I’ve found out about the conference, and what I think might be a good offer for the event planner. This saves me having to try to remember what I’d planned to do with this particular conference later on.

After that, I create a new task.

For this particular conference, I found it too late to bother the event organizer for this year’s conference. It’s later this week!

As a courtesy, I don’t want to contact them next week either. They need a chance to recover from all that’s gone into this year’s conference first.

But I can guarantee you, within the next two months, they’ll already be starting to think next year’s conference if this is an annual event. So, that’s an ideal time for me to reach out and ask about next year’s submission guidelines.

Therefore, I set a task for myself to follow up on this lead.

Create a task in Zoho CRM

At that time, I’ll come back into this record and send an email, using one of my pre-defined templates, to request information on their conference submission guidelines. Since the message is already written, I only have to customize minor portions of it to make it applicable to this particular conference. So, the outreach only takes a few minutes.

I’ll update this lead record with new information as I get it, so that it becomes as comprehensive and robust as possible, making future outreach that much easier.

When I find out the submission requirements for the event, I’ll set another task for myself, with the appropriate due date, and come back here to send another templated email that contains my proposed talk topic and a link to my speakers one-sheet and audio samples. I’ll also include one or two endorsements from other event planners I’ve worked with recently.

Using a CRM in this way allows me to create a repeatable process that I can hand off to a virtual assistant or tackle quickly one at a time as time allows. Each month, I can go in, look at the outreach I’d planned to do that month, and do it quickly right from within the system.

When it comes to sending emails to my contacts for speaking engagements, I prefer to do it directly from Zoho so that the outreach is recorded there. However, any responses I receive will come directly into my normal email client. So I don’t have to worry about missing anything.

Having a tool and process in place is essential for being proactive about booking speaking engagements and author appearances. It ensures that you do the right thing at the right time with a minimal amount of effort. It can’t get any easier!

 

A Tale of Two Book Launches: How I Bungled My Second Book Launch after a Blockbuster First One

Today’s guest post is a follow-up article from our friend, Victor Prince, a consultant and speaker who teaches strategy and leadership skills to clients around the world, sharing the very different experience he had when launching his second book from his first.

I published my first book last summer. The launch went better than I dreamed, entirely due to the help of my publisher, my co-author, and wonderful websites like this one that were willing to help. (Thanks again for your kindness in letting me submit a guest blog, Tara.)

Victor Prince headshot

Victor Prince, author of
Executive Farm: A Leadership Fable

I was recently inspired to write a leadership fable as a short story. I self-published it as a 22-page novella on Amazon. It’s about a team of corporate executives who think they are headed to a golf resort for their annual retreat but are going to work a dairy farm instead as a team building exercise. It was my first stab at both fiction and self-publishing. I was excited and confident.

Then I self-published it and realized how different that experience was versus working with a publisher and co-author. I did my homework, so I didn’t make obvious mistakes, like not hiring an editor to review my manuscript.

I was very happy with my book content. I was not happy with what happened with my launch.

Here are the 5 mistakes (or misfortunes) I made in my first attempt at launching a self-published book.

  1. Publishing on LinkedIn – I published my original story as a five-part series over a week’s worth of posts on LinkedIn. I’ve had a lot of luck publishing blogs and building a reader base on LinkedIn, so it was a comfortable choice. I knew it was a non-traditional format for that channel, but I thought that it might give the book more chance of going viral, with each day being an opportunity to catch readers’ attention for all the other days. Unfortunately, the story got little traction after I published it. Worse, because I had published it, I could no longer submit it to other channels as original content.
  2. Timing – After I did research on the self-publishing route and cleared it with my literary agent, I decided to go with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program. I got caught up in formatting and reformatting different versions of the PDF as I loaded it into the system. I was excited when I finally got it exactly as I wanted and I hit the button. I didn’t realize that as soon as I did that I also put it on sale on Amazon. Unlike my first book, I didn’t give myself an advance release date to do guest blogging and other things to promote the book’s launch. I suppose I could have taken it down and started over, but I just left it up and decided to do a crash course promotion over the next days. I mapped out a plan and decided to make the best of it. Wednesday, April 20th, wasn’t the publication day I would have picked on purpose, but it was the day I had.
  3. Tragically Bad Luck – I have several websites that are important parts of the platform I use to promote my work. Ever since I built those, I’d gotten a small but steady flow of traffic of people looking, not for information about me, but for a celebrity with whom I share a name. It took me a while to figure out the inbound traffic to my sites from searches for “the sacrifice of victor prince” wasn’t from people seeking to do me harm, but from people looking for a specific song by a great artist. I was about to start promoting my web page with links to the book on my social networks when I heard the tragic news of Prince’s death on the radio. After I got past the shock, I realized that my book launch plans were also a tiny collateral victim of that tragic loss. What had been a constant trickle of traffic to my site looking for information about Prince became a tidal wave. Because I didn’t want to look like I was trying to benefit from the tragedy, I canceled my plans to promote my book via my websites.
  4. The Chicken vs. Egg Limbo – I was inspired to write the book as an homage to my uncles who let me spend my summers as a kid “helping” them on their dairy farms. I wanted the book to have success and good reviews before I presented it to them. But without a launch, I had few initial readers. And with few initial readers, I didn’t want to present them a book that looked like a dud. More importantly, since the book’s characters were inspired by them, I didn’t want them to think it was a statement about them. I was in limbo.
  5. Printed Copies – If my uncles downloaded the ebook on Amazon, they would see the lack of reviews. I figured out an alternative plan – I would get some printed copies that I could send to them. I chose the on-demand printed publishing format Amazon has and was excited until I found out that my book was 3 pages below the minimum to produce printed copies. So much for Plan B.

I have yet to figure out the best path forward from this bungled book launch. Three random readers that have found the book have taken the initiative to email me with great feedback, so I am confident in the story. I am just sad about my failure to launch it.  I’m sure many stories better than mine have died quiet deaths, and I fear this one might as well.

 

 

About the Author: Victor Prince is a consultant and speaker who teaches strategy and leadership skills to clients around the world. Victor’s book, Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide their Teams to Exceptional Results, has been named a Top 20 semi-finalist for 2016 Leadership Book of the Year. See Victor’s other posts on his LinkedIn blog, such as “Lessons Dairy Farming Gave me before my MBA” and “5 Project Management Lessons From my Camino Across Spain.” Victor’s latest book, Executive Farm: A Leadership Fable, is available on Amazon.

 

3 Tips for Getting Started with Love-Based Marketing and Copywriting

Today’s guest post is from Michele PW (Pariza Wacek). She is the best-selling author of Love-Based Copywriting books that teach how to write copy that attracts, inspires and invites. Michele is also the owner of Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, the premiere direct response copywriting and marketing agency, through which she guides entrepreneurs in attracting more clients and boosting their business. Grab your FREE Love-Based Biz Kit here.

So. You’ve written a book.

Congratulations! Publishing a book—from conceptualization to outline to first draft to final copy—is a huge accomplishment.

Now, it’s time to get your book into the hands of the people you’ve written it for.

Michele PW

Michele PW

Are you ready to start marketing?

If that thought just made you shudder, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

If you’ve ever felt like marketing is icky, slime-y or filled with hype (like it makes you want to run for the shower), I want to introduce you to Love-Based Marketing and Copywriting… a marketing philosophy that replaces the fear that drives traditional marketing copy with love.

As the founder and owner of The Love-Based Copywriting Company, I have worked with innumerable clients who struggle to market themselves, because the whole process feels inauthentic to them.

But what if you could create marketing campaignsand write copy to promote your bookthat feels good to you and your readers… and that helps you grow your business?

You can, using the Love-Based method.

Before I share three tips for getting started, I want to give you a quick explanation of what the love-based philosophy is all about.

There are two “master” emotions: love and fear. All other emotions can be categorized under them.

  • Love-based emotions include love, hope and joy.
  • Fear-based emotions include fear, anger, grief, shame and guilt.

Much of what we consider “traditional marketing” uses fear tactics to get people to buy. These tactics include guilt, shame or fear in various formslike that of missing out on something important (for example, “Imagine how you’ll feel when your house burns down and you don’t have homeowner’s insurance”).

But marketing doesn’t have to be this way. When you’re marketing under a love-based philosophy, you come from a place of love (for example, “Imagine how much more peace of mind you’ll have, knowing you’re covered if your house catches on fire”).

Bottom line: Using Love-Based Marketing and Copywriting, you invite your ideal clients to do business with you by triggering love-based emotions versus fear-based.

I’d like to share with you 3 tips for getting started with Love-Based Copywriting and Marketing.

Tip 1. Answer the question, what’s stopping you from marketing yourself?

It’s been said that owning your own business is one of the best personal development tools out there. It’s my belief that marketing plays a big part in making it so.

Marketing is critical to your success as an author, but it’s also a huge trigger for lots of people as it brings up fears: fear of success, failure, money issues, time freedom, going “big,” having to sell yourself, and more.

Once you know what you’re afraid of, you can begin melting away the resistance you’re facing, solving each challenge with love. For example, if you believe you just don’t like marketing, I challenge you to find at least one component of it that you do like. It’s so multifaceted, you’re sure to find something.

Then, spend most of your time and energy on the marketing activities you enjoy, and your enjoyment will shine through, attracting, inspiring and inviting your ideal clients to learn more about you.

Here’s an exercise to help you begin identifying your resistance.

(I recommend using pen and paper, rather than typing your answers out.)

Answer the following questions honestly, without censoring yourself. Don’t overthink, just write. And write down everything you can think of, for each question.

  • How do I feel about marketing in general?
  • How do I feel about myself when I market myself?
  • What is my number one frustration/dislike around marketing, and why?

Now, make a list of 3-4 other marketing-related frustrations/dislikes. For each, ask yourself why it bothers you and write down the reasons. (Consider this a mini-brainstorming session and write whatever comes to mind.)  Repeat this two or three times to make sure you capture as many resistances as you can.

Completing this exercise may not uncover all your resistances, but it gives you a solid start.

Tip 2. Get to know your ideal clients.

Once you’ve discovered and begun melting away your resistances to marketing, it’s time to begin crafting your marketing materials. Getting to know your ideal clients is the first step in writing copy that speaks to the people you’re meant to serve.

You’ve probably identified your niche market or target market, but I believe it’s critical that you go deeper. While niche markets or target markets are usually based on external factors like demographics (age, career choice, number of children, income level), your ideal clients are based on internal factors like values, motivations and core beliefs.

Get to know your ideal clients like you would your friends. Then, when you sit down to write your copy for your marketing materials, write to those friends.

Here’s an exercise for doing so.

Close your eyes and think about your favorite client. It doesn’t have to be someone who even paid you. It could be someone you helped for free. Then, open your eyes. Write down a description of your favorite client. What did you appreciate about that person? What did he or she appreciate about you?

Don’t rush this process. Take the time you need to really dial in on your ideal clients’ values, motivations and worries.

The better you get to know your ideal client, the better you’ll communicate with him or her through your Love-Based marketing materials.

Tip 3. Know the difference between pain and pleasure.

Before you begin writing any marketing materials, it’s critical to understand that it’s actually a disservice to avoid talking about your ideal client’s pain.

This is where so many authors and entrepreneurs get hung up in their marketing and copy. They don’t want to talk about their prospects’ pain, because it makes them feel “icky.”

Here’s what you need to remember:

Buying is an emotional experience.

Your ideal client–the one who truly needs the message you deliver in your bookis experiencing some pain right now, right? It’s the reason he or she would purchase your book. There is a problem in her life she hopes your book will solve.

This is why pain is an essential part of copywriting. You must mention their pain. Otherwise, how will you give them the opportunity to move forward from that pain and experience the transformation you can provide?

The great thing about love-based copywriting is that you can use it to tap into positive emotions like hope and love, and guide your ideal clients toward taking action to get out of the pain they’re in (as opposed to mentioning pain and then twisting the knife to cause suffering, like so much traditional copy does).

What I’ve covered here is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to get your own copy of any of my books (Love-Based Copywriting Method: The Philosophy Behind Writing Copy That Attracts, Inspires and Invites, Love-Based Copywriting System: A Step-by-Step Process to Master Writing Copy That Attracts, Inspires and Invites, or the NEW Love-Based Online Marketing: Campaigns to Grow a Business You Love And That Loves You Back) you can find them on Amazon or my website.

Put an End to the Overwhelm

I hear it all the time. Authors, speakers, entrepreneurs, designers, photographers, small business owners, Realtors, plumbers, job seekers… They are all facing the same problem.

Marketing is time-consuming! Especially when you’re trying to figure it out as you go.

Actually, the whole thing can become simply overwhelming. Since they don’t know where to start, they often don’t get started or they make slower progress than they want and need to.

That’s one of the reasons that I write this blog.

I enjoy helping people find the tools and techniques that really work.

I like to take a specific issue and figure out the best way of fixing it, so that I can then pass it along to my clients and readers.

Whenever possible, I prefer to test things out for my own needs before recommending them to anyone else. But sometimes the best I can do is research it, knowing the needs of my clients, and let you know which I would choose if I were going to be using it.

Know what you want to accomplish

That exact situation came up recently. I was in conversation with a friend on Facebook who was looking for a magazine designer.

Since there are many different approaches that can be taken to designing a magazine, I asked her some leading questions.

  • Did she want her magazine to be online, in print or both?
  • Did she want to design her magazine online or upload a PDF that was displayed in an online reader?
  • Did she want flexibility in her design (for enhanced creativity) or did she want a template she could work from (for ease of use)?
  • Did she want just text and images in her magazine or other types of content like video, MP3 and ecommerce options?

These were just a few of the questions we discussed.

Find the right tools

In this particular context, my friend was looking at potentially using LucidPress to generate her magazine. I’d also found FlipSnack and suggested she compare the two, along with Issuu, which is a popular online document viewer.

She narrowed down her choices to LucidPress and FlipSnack and asked what I thought of them. So, I took a few minutes to look at the features and functionality of both, and to research a few comparison articles to see what existing users thought of them.

What I found was that selecting the right tool was contingent on knowing how you wanted to use it and what you wanted to get out of it. (Isn’t that always the case!)

A wrench is not just a wrench

A field of nuts with one selectedAs an author, speaker or entrepreneur, it’s important to know, first, what your objective is and then, second, what your preferred operating method is, before making a choice about the tools and platforms you want to integrate into your business.

If the tool makes things harder for you, it’s not the right one.

If it limits your ability to achieve your objective, it’s still not the right one.

Look for tools that are the right fit for you.

Don’t just assume that because everyone else is using it, you should too. Everyone else is not you!

I was commenting to my son recently about the wide selection of socket wrench handles hanging on a hardware store wall. You might think that a wrench is a wrench is a wrench. But that’s simply not true.

There are different size wrenches (1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, 1-1/2″, 2-1/2″ and 3-1/2″ to start with), ratcheting and non-ratcheting, fixed socket or interchangeable, metric, standard and Torx sockets, and so on.

Even if you settle on the specific tool you want, you’ll find that one manufacturer’s handle has a different grip than another’s. And while both may be perfectly usable, one fits your hand better than another.

Use the tools that are right for you

The same is true as you build your business. There are plenty of tools out there to work with. But you need to know what job you want to use the tool for (to make sure it has the right functionality to accomplish the task), as well as which one suits you best.

You could have the best tool in the world, but if it’s not something you’re comfortable with, you’re simply not going to use it!

That’s a frequent conversation that I have with my authors.

Which social media platform should I be on?

What is the absolute best method of marketing my book without a budget?

What’s the one thing I should do every day to reach my audience?

There is no “one size fits all” answer to that. It’s unique because you are you and your ideal reader is your ideal reader. You aren’t everyone else.

That’s why it’s critical to develop a marketing strategy that has you, your offering and your market in mind.

It’s also how consulting a marketing strategist can help you create an optimized plan that ensures that your budget is being applied to the activities that will work best for your specific product, goals and audience.

Fitting the pieces together

Connecting the pieces

So, if you are feeling stuck or if your book marketing simply isn’t getting the results you want, I encourage you to book a strategy call with me and get unstuck! I can help you connect the pieces so that you feel confident about your next steps.

Oh, and if you were interested in the outcome of the LucidPress vs. FlipSnack review, check back next week and I’ll share those results.

 

New to All the Book Marketing Stuff?

I came across a post in a book marketing group recently. It read:White teddy bear reading a book

Hello, fellow authors. I have a question. I just published my 1st children’s book using CreateSpace. I was wondering how do you market your book? What helps you get your book out there? New to all the marketing stuff. Thank you for your help and advice.

The members of this particular group are extremely helpful. They advised her to have a website, start a mailing list, create a Facebook page, sign up for a monthly newsletter that offers free marketing tips each month, etc.

It’s human nature to dive right into the “doing.” So much so that we tend to avoid the planning.

The problem is, strategic planning is what minimizes the amount of “doing” we have to do. Consider it the lazy person’s way out of out working too hard.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend a few minutes planning so that I can reduce my workload in that one area, and apply the time and effort to another project. What about you?

First things first

I believe the first piece of advice anyone new to marketing needs to hear is this:

The first step is to figure out two things. Who would be buying your book? And who would be reading your book?

For children’s books, that may be two completely separate people. As the reader gets older, it’s often the same person.

Once you know those two things, start figuring out what they typically do online. (You can often find that information through Google searches.) Which sites do they frequent? What social media platform do they use most? Which apps are they using?

Then start strategizing your approach from there.

Plan your marketing efforts accordingly

Yes, you’ll need a website and a mailing list. Those are givens, in my book. However, don’t waste your time on a Facebook page if your buyers and readers aren’t on Facebook!

(Given Facebook’s TOS, I’m sure the readers of this person’s illustrated children’s book aren’t. However, you may find many of those readers watching YouTube videos. So, how about strategically placing a short ad at the beginning of content they’re likely to watch?)

Instead, spend your time and effort wisely by focusing your marketing efforts where your readers already are. Don’t pull readers away from one place so that they can come where you are. Go to where they already are and introduce yourself to them there.

That means providing content on sites that are already popular with your readers and buyers. You’ll need to experiment with whether a guest blog post, a strategically place ad, or a joint venture makes the most sense. But as you build out these relationships, that decision-making process will become an easier one to navigate. You’ll start recognizing those things that work for you, and those that don’t, much more quickly once you get going.

Every book is unique

So each book’s marketing plan has to be unique to them. But that’s what makes them so fun to create!

Taking the time to learn about the entertainment and buying habits of your readers gives you greater insight into them, sparking further creative ideas for later books you can write or products you can make.

So if you’re just starting out and you don’t even know what options to consider or how to get started, you may find my DIY guide on creating your book marketing plan useful to you as you figure things out. 

 

A Blab with Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com for the BiztoBook Conference

Lain Ehmann launched her online BiztoBook conference last week, and there have been some stand-out speakers thus far.

(Frankly, I have to admit, I don’t like the format of the conference. There is as much as 3 hours of content a day, and you have 48 hours to listen to it before it expires, even while new content is rolling out each day of the conference, including over the weekend. I’ve already missed more than half the speakers, which is disappointing. But there is an option to purchase all of the recordings at a discounted rate that ends today.)

Anyway, my personal favorite of the topics I’ve been able to catch thus far was Lain’s Blab with Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com and PatFlynn.com.

He’s someone I’ve been following for years now, so it was nice to listen in as he shared some of his recent success in the publishing world.

Pat recently wrote Will It Fly?: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money. This was his first self-published book. (He had an earlier book, Let Go, that was published using a little-known platform called Snippet.)

In this Blab, Pat Flynn shares how he wrote and published his new book, and discussed his astonishment when it reached #1 in the Amazon rankings for various categories, as well as hitting the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller list.

Listen in to hear what he had to share.

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue [Infographic]

The folks at CopyBlogger have done it again! They’re the experts when it comes to creating great content, and this infographic is no exception.

As they acknowledge, even professional writers sometimes get stuck for content ideas. And the same is true for authors and speakers. There are times when the well simply runs dry.

So, what do you write about then?

I’m hoping the ideas that are shared here will help get those creative juices flowing.

And thanks again, CopyBlogger, for always being willing to share!

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Get Greater Distribution for Your eBook Using Smashwords

For many of us who write, Amazon is the default “go to place.” And that’s for good reason! Statistics show that the majority of sales of digital content comes from there.

However, if you talk with any content creator, they’ll always tell you that you need to find as many ways as possible to extend the life (and expand the reach) of your content. That means finding multiple outlets and various formats that the same information can be disseminated in.

I’ve been hearing about Smashwords for years, but have never taken the time to study or appreciate its unique properties.

Smashwords Udemy course coverRecently, I was spending some time on Udemy, looking at the latest course offerings there and looking for those that might be suitable for my readers, when I came across one called “Self-Publishing with Smashwords.”

I decided to scan the content and listen to the promo video, and by the time I was done with that, I knew I needed to take a closer look.

I introduced myself to the instructor, Jason Matthews, who proved to be a very knowledgeable man when it came to self-publishing with Smashwords.

I took the course and, when all was said and done, here’s the review I left for it.

Udemy Smashwords course review

In 26 lessons, Jason walks you through things like:

  • What makes Smashwords special.
  • Formatting your content for Smashwords.
  • How to handle your Table of Contents so that Smashwords likes it.
  • Special considerations when it comes to cover design.
  • How to choose the right file format for uploading your content to Smashwords.
  • The next steps to take after submitting your content to Smashwords.
  • Publishing extras that will make your work stand out from the others.

In all, there’s about 90 minutes of content to the course.

As is my nature, I listened to most of it at 2x speed, so was done in under an hour, including taking notes. But the great thing about Udemy course content is that the platform makes it very easy to speed up, slow down, pause and take notes, rewind to repeat, and anything else you need to do in order to grasp the content you’re consuming.

So, if you’ve been wondering how to go about expanding the distribution of your self-published content, and you want to see your book on sites like Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Library Direct and many more, this course may be just the thing you need in order to break through the barrier that’s been holding you back.

I know distributing The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books is definitely on my end-of-year plan to put on Smashwords!

 

The Science of Pricing Your Books Correctly

I’m often asked by authors how to choose the right price for a book, and there are a number of factors to consider.

The infographic from blog-growth.com (below) shares some of the science behind pricing items (whether big ticket or small). But how does that translate to books? [Scroll to the bottom to find out.]

So, how does that translate to books?

Well, let’s start with the formats you want to offer your book in. I often recommend making it available in at least 3 formats. It’s up to you whether it’s eBook, paperback and audiobook or eBook, paperback and hardcover, but give the prospective reader 3 choices.

As with bracketing, you’ll notice that people will tend toward the moderately priced item.

When you reduce the formats offered to only two, as shown in the decoy pricing segment, people gravitate toward the lower cost option (typically your eBook).

While that’s not a bad thing if you can make up the difference in price by an increase in volume, it’s still something to be aware of. (Amazon offers a Kindle pricing suggestion tool that analyzes the best price point for your book based on the volume of sales for similar titles at various price points.)

I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed that The Magic of 9 only tested 4 and 9. I’ve seen some great activity around 7 as well, especially when it comes to courses, and would have liked to have seen that included in the equation. You’ll have to decide if you want to test that out yourself or not.

As far as Deleting the Free Plan goes, that has bearing on the age-old discussion around whether KDP Free Days are a good idea or not. By itself, I tend to think not. However, there are some great strategies that can be used to leverage the visibility of a free book in order to lead new readers into other purchasing decisions. So, done right, the free offers do have a place in your marketing strategy. I just wouldn’t recommend keeping your offer free for extended periods of time unless there’s some other monetization strategy behind the free content.

What are your thoughts? What jumped out at you about this infographic? Is it in line with what you’ve experienced yourself, or have you seen differing results?