Stop Hounding Me With Buy Links!!!!

People want to buy but they don’t WANT TO BE SOLD!

I love that quote. It’s so true. How many times do you go into a store, greeted by eager-beaver salespeople asking if they can help you find something to buy?

I could never be in sales…

But alas, I AM.

I’m an indie author. Not only do I write, but I also market and SELL.

Like with most businesses, the market is pretty much saturated with books. You name it, there’s a genre out there. And about a trillion books within each, with more and more being self-published on a DAILY.

Courtesy of 365til30.com

Courtesy of 365til30.com

As an entrepreneurial author, you may find success in publishing a book that embodies a brand-new concept, something new, different and alluring because it is outside the norm.

But that’s risky because people like what they like and most are creatures of habit. So unless you come up with something cutting edge that an influencer finds appealing, you may be SOL with that plan.

But fear not…there are other ways to gain an audience.

The world of indie publishing is very different now than it was a year ago. Isn’t that insane? I Google articles and if they are pre-2013, I rarely bother reading them because they are THAT outdated.

Social media takes the front seat with indie publishing. You need a presence and you need a ridiculously large network to get your name out there. But that’s not even enough…

The challenge is building a network where you form meaningful relationships, not just hey, post my link and I’ll post yours kind of stuff. That doesn’t do anything. It’s all white noise. And like I said, people get annoyed at the constant buy links. They aren’t helping authors move units.

The ideal is to build relationships online that translate to relationships OFFLINE. Grassroots efforts ultimately result in more widespread awareness, although they take time to gain traction. I’ve given plenty of books away…why? Because if you read “Unlikely Venture” and tell ten friends that you loved it, maybe they will buy and love it…and leave a review on Amazon. =)

And when “Nothing Ventured” comes out, they’ll be anxious to get their hands on that story and tell even more people if they enjoy it. By the time “Venture Forward” is released, I will have established a fan base (hopefully) for the rest of my author career.

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Here’s the key takeaway – Always keep focus on PEOPLE. Create for them, market for them, make them happy and excited because they are the ones who can make or break any of your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Trailer Alert and Giveaway!!!

YAY!!!!  So excited to share the trailer for “Unlikely Venture!!!”

Aren’t they a perfect James and Jessica??  Matt Lanter…mmm…so delicious. =)

And don’t forget to check out the giveaway. You can enter to win a signed copy of “Unlikely Venture” and $20 Amazon gift card!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Think I Found My Solemate

I love wearing ridiculously high heels.  You know, the kind that make you cringe in anguish with each step taken after a short while of wear.  Regrettably, as I age, my threshold because shorter and shorter.

The pain is never a deterrent for me.  Nope, I suffer willingly. I ignore the toe-crushing sensations and the scorching agony that begins in the balls of my feet and shoots up my calves. I suck it up. At barely 5’3, I NEED the shoes. They give me a commanding presence.  LOL.

They’re also super sexy.  =)

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Mmm…so delish, right???

Anyway, the holiday season inspired this brilliant idea. There are a lot of OCD homeowners out there (like yours truly) who don’t let shoes touch their carpets. So I get all dressed up for a holiday party, killer outfit complimented by equally outrageous stems, only to find a foyer full of discarded shoes…none as fabulous as my own.

Are you thinking of that episode of Sex and the City? Where someone walks off with Carrie’s treasured Louboutins???

Well, worry not!

My product is called Solemate, a thin textured plastic film that adheres to the bottom of your shoe. The texture makes it non-slip and the carpets in your host’s home are protected from the elements that grace the sole of your shoes.  You can be large and in charge throughout the party and when you’re ready to leave, simply peel off your Solemates.

Oh, and they will come in packs of three so you have plenty of backups to fill your busy holiday schedule. =)

 

How To Make A Big Splash…Relatively Speaking

Launch week was AMAZING!!!!  Okay, I’m not hitting the USA or NYT bestseller lists, but “Unlikely Venture” held onto 2 Amazon bestseller lists – to this moment!  And the rankings are awesome!  I worked really hard to make a big splash launch week and I’m very happy with the results…though I will tirelessly work towards the former. =)

As someone who’s run a small business, I know that editorial review and endorsement far outweighs any paid promotion you can do.  Unpaid, honest reviews by book bloggers are priceless.  And being lucky enough to have one of my fave authors, who also happens to be a literary rock star, mention my launch on her Facebook page? Freaking AMAZING!!!!

I’m not saying there is no value in paid promotions, especially since I invested in many, but the results confirm independent validation and acknowledgment have much more of an impact.

I also had a small team to help me raise awareness of my launch as part of a grassroots effort, since I am a debut author with a very limited budget. But

I’ve come to realize it’s not the size of the team but their dedication to the effort and their unwillingness to take no for an answer.  Hoofing it in and around Grand Central Station in New York City, making personal contact with potential readers, raising awareness and interest…all indications point to SUCCESS in the rankings.  And the ladies LOVED these guys!!!!

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The launch week goal was to get my name out there, to attract new readers and to get them excited for the stories I absolutely HAVE to tell, because there are many more to come.

As of press time, I’m currently sitting at #6 and #37 on two Amazon bestseller lists.

Cheers to that!

l

 

Just Add A Hint Of Sex To The Title

Okay, so about a week ago I wrote a post about email marketing techniques.  Remember…I said I wanted to figure out a way to get people to actually open my newsletter?  On my big BOOK LAUNCH DAY???

Well, here are the results of my efforts.  Out of 229 recipients, 45.4% opened the email. That is a ROCKING number, folks!!!!  The industry average, according to Mail Chimp, is 16.9%.

This is what I learned.

A sexy title with the promise of something for nothing WORKS!!!!!!  Eye-catching title?  CHECK!

“Steamy Shower Scenes And Swag?  Count Me In!”  - This email just screams to be opened, am I right?

Ahem…also works for blog posts…just saying… =)

Newsletters are a fantastic option for consolidating a lot of information into one communication. Yes, I blog often but not all my email subscribers may follow it so I need to pick out the most important and entertaining sound bytes and craft an intriguing note to catch them up.

Think about the recipient.  Why should they open your email? What’s in it for them? How are you going to make it worth their while? Because if you can’t capture them the first time around, they might not give you another chance to wow them.

Remember, lure readers in and hook them with killer content.  Add something to their lives that they were missing before!  Make them realize what they need to make their lives just a bit better and tell them how they can get their hands on it!

If you can accomplish this, you’ll have huge open percentages too!!!

IT’S LAUNCH DAY!!!!!!!!!

It is finally LAUNCH DAY!!!!  You can find “Unlikely Venture” pretty much everywhere online at a special launch price of $0.99 – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iBooks, Kobo…take your pick. =)

I am SO thankful for the enthusiasm and support of my family and friends…it’s been a long road but we’re finally here! Today marks the beginning of my exciting new journey!!!

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Anyone who knows me well also knows I am a huge Foo Fighters fan.  Coincidentally, so are James and Jessica. Go figure.  =)

Here’s an awesome video I found on YouTube of Dave Grohl, frontman for the Foo Fighters, talking about the hit song “Everlong.” I absolutely LOVE this tune and it totally inspired the story of James and Jessica.

I learned later that the song wasn’t ever supposed to be on a record but it holds a lot of meaning for the band and ended up putting the Foo Fighters on the map…for everlong.  Guess it was just meant to be.

“Everlong” by the Foo Fighters

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Don’t Go It Alone

Entrepreneurs aren’t superhuman. Sure, they have drive, vision and dedication but that doesn’t always guarantee success. It’s easy to get derailed and frustrated when things don’t go smoothly as planned. And trust me, they never do.

The road to greatness is fraught with challenges so why not rely on help from others who share your direction and passion and whose skill sets can complement your offerings? Realize early on that you can’t singlehandedly change the world, but with the support of your own team you can diversify and conquer.

We’re not alone.

Even Zuckerberg agrees.

Zuckerberg’s one piece of advice for struggling entrepreneurs (VentureBeat)

Steamy Shower Scenes & Swag

How many mailing lists do you subscribe to? Of all the emails that clutter your inbox, how many do you actually read or even OPEN, for that matter?

I’m sure the number is looooooooow. (It certainly is for me.)

So why bother sending them? They’ll probably get deleted on sight anyway, right?

Probably.

But if there is even a SLIGHT possibility a subscriber might actually take a minute to peruse the content, you better yank them in immediately otherwise any hope of getting them to take action is LOST. And if your emails are BORING and STALE, you might not get another chance to dazzle.

I sent out my very first newsletter about a month ago. I think it looked impressive. I tried to make it interesting, with pictures and graphics and cool content.  Nobody unsubscribed, so I guess that’s a good thing.

But this next edition needs to be BIG.  I want people to READ it and SPREAD the word.

Big news?  “UNLIKELY VENTURE” launches on Monday and I need my subscribers to tell their friends!!!

So here are some things I’m going to do to incent my audience:

  • Attract – An eye-catching headline will hopefully get subscribers to open the email. I’m thinking something relating to steamy shower scenes…that ought to raise some eyebrows, yes?
  • Engage – One thing I’m going to do is invite them to send me a funny picture of them holding my book (paperback or Kindle version – I won’t discriminate!). Then, I’ll post to my website and Facebook page. Everyone loves a little bit of fame.
  • Entice – I’m going to provide a link to the first two chapters of my book.  You don’t want to give away the farm, but providing a little taste of what they can expect is always a good thing! Plus, there will also be mentioned of GIVEAWAYS!!!!! And everyone loves swag!!!!

 

You Have Five Seconds To Impress Me…GO!

I’m long-winded by nature. If something can be stated in five words, it will take me thirty to get there. Luckily, I’ve tempered this in my writing.  But speaking…yeah, takes me a while to get to the point.

So it’s no surprise that I hate the words “elevator speech.”

This is the golden opportunity to pitch your idea/product or service.  Here’s the set up.  A prospective customer steps into an elevator. The doors close. You have about a five-second window to score a sale. What the heck do you say???

Back in my handbag designing days, when women would ask me what’s so special about Krina bags…well, let’s just say when my back was to the wall and I needed to impress, I fell short.  Exquisite Italian leathers…eh.  Vivid colors…boring.   Made in the U.S.A…makes them more expensive and potentially cost-prohibitive.  Um, Katherine Heigl has one?  Try again.

Same concept applies to writing. People find out I’m a writer and they’re curious about my novels.  Oh, you have a new book coming out? What’s it about? While it’s a simple question, one which I should be able to answer easily, how do I convince them they absolutely NEED to read it?

Well, there are a couple of parts to a successful elevator pitch. And as luck would have it, the setup really applies to any type of sale.

1. Set The Stage – Choose your first few words carefully. They need to hook your audience immediately and heighten interest in your overall message.

2. Reel Them In - Identify the conflict. Provide a scenario that identifies a challenge or obstacle.

3. Establish The Need – Provide differentiation. Show your audience why your product or service is something they need to buy. How is it going to make their life better? In other words, WHY SHOULD THEY CARE?

Check it out…it even works with books!!! This is my elevator pitch for “Unlikely Venture.”

After devastating news threatens her livelihood, Jessica Latham swears off men…until she meets Silicon Valley rising star James Callahan. But when a vindictive frenemy exposes Jessica’s scandalous secret, James is forced to choose – the future of his company or his heart?

It’s hard to stand out in only a few seconds. But when people ask, you need to hook them in otherwise they’ll shut down and anything you say will just be white noise.

You have one chance to make a first impression. So make it COUNT!!

I Want A New Drug

Some people say you should write what you know. It makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, you can deliver a more compelling story if you’re familiar with the subject.

My editor told me from day one to expand out of my comfort zone and do just the opposite.

When I wrote Unlikely Venture, I had a storyline in my head. Okay, that’s not exactly true. I had about a HUNDRED stories in my head before landing on the ONE, and even then I flip-flopped around until I landed on the right resolution. I decided to take a few risks when developing the story but I was always anchored to my original ideas. Two books later, I’ve sufficiently escaped the confines of that comfort zone. I went in directions that I’d have never considered before and I love the result. Hopefully, you all will as well…

Creating…is an addiction.  One I can’t fight.

Now I sit at my laptop scratching my head. Heightened drama, more intrigue, more plot twists…yes, The Venture Series in totality exceeded my expectations. But now what? I’ve written my first contemporary romance series, and though I am completely invested in my characters, it’s…over. Time to say goodbye. Sigh.

I liken it to a breakup. You spend years with someone and eventually part ways because you both want different things out of life. All the time you invested is lost and you need to refocus that energy on developing a new relationship. It’s nerve wracking. How are you going to find someone you think is just as perfect as the former Ms. or Mr. Right? There’s a whole lot of effort involved and you might need to expand your horizons and level set your expectations. You also have to open yourself to the possibility that there may be more heartbreak on the horizon before you find THE ONE.

But then one night, the stars align and you run into the person you were meant to spend the rest of your life with. The initial fear and apprehension may linger…after all, if something is too good to be true…well, you know how that saying goes.

As time goes on, you realize your life would be meaningless without this person and if you hadn’t opened your eyes wide enough to make a change, you would have missed out on meeting your true soul mate. You took a risk and it paid off.

I came to this realization after receiving some sound advice from a fellow author. She opened my eyes to a world where I need to challenge myself and embrace new ideas and direction. It makes perfect sense!

I need to disrupt my writing process, to dig deep and continue mastering my craft. It will take time, dedication and patience (which is always in short-supply). But I’m committed to my end goal…and diversification will be a key driver.

Who says authors aren’t entrepreneurs???

Resounding success is not found overnight, nor is it the result of “playing it safe.” It’s about the journey, not necessarily the destination (unless the destination is the NYT Bestseller list!). And it’s always the biggest risks that pay off the most.

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