Category Archives for "Marketing You and Your Books"

Challenging the Writer Inside

I’m a very big fan of a great writer named Richard Webster, who is well known for his 2000 words a day story.  In short, he visited the home of a famous author many years ago, and read on a plaque that this author was himself famous for a discipline of writing a minimum of 1000 words per day.    However, Richard mis-read the plaque and thought it was 2000 per day and so committed himself to that level of output then and has maintained that ever since.   With more than 150 books in his catalog so far, that’s a process that has certainly worked well for him.

I’ve been fortunate to have met and talked with Richard Website on many occasions and have been inspired by his books often.    But I am also greatly inspired by this commitment to being a writer and try to always work in 2000 word sessions.   However, having last month committed to the NaNoWriMo challenges (National November Writing Month which is actually International these days)  I learned a few hard truths about my own writing ability – mostly that:

  1. I can write to a deadline – even really big ones like 50,000 words in one month.
  2. If I write to such a deadline I can encourage my writing muscles to grow and grow…
  3. There’s no such thing as Writer’s Block when you just write – regardless of what you write at times.
  4. Starting and finishing a whole novel in 30 days is an extraordinary thing to do – and I know my writing in general improved from the exercise.

Your writing gets better the more you write.   The more you work with Editors, the better your own style and technical skills improve.  And the ability to trust the words to flow is great – for works of Fiction – but that Non-Fiction is a totally different thing.

Non-Fiction requires more structure, planning, and yet just as much research, editing and polishing goes into both.

I had tried a ‘write 3000 words every day for a month back in March and certainly got a lot out of that too,   And sometimes, as a ghost writer I get to exercise my abilities to write in other voices, increase my interview and research skills, and learn about new and interesting subjects.

What ever you do, as a writer, if you are able to keep sharpening that saw you owe it to yourself to do so,   Regardless of whether you are a full time writer or someone who writes blogs weekly for yourself or a company you work for.    But what does it really take to do this?

  1. Decide the best time of day for you to write.
  2. Have a list of topics, ideas, and resources you can access easily.
  3. Set your alarm for regular breaks, but always ensure that whatever you say you’re going to do, do it.

If you cheat yourself on that last one you’re going to have to keep making up lost time.   For example, last week I had two days where I had to write 5000 words a day – just to come in at the finish line.   Those were hard days in many ways.  Nothing much else got done – and I was mentally tired.  BUT, I did it.   And – I was able to therefore fully appreciate the need to write my 2000 word chunks every time I sat to write.    And those chunks flowed so much more easily.

Next year, what are your goals, deadlines, and personal challenges as an author.  One book or three?   When are you starting, and when are you launching?   Why not post your objectives for the year in our FaceBook Group and let us all in this community help you remain accountable to yourself.

If you’re not yet part of our FB Group – check out the group here.   And if you need any other guidance and help for your book projects in 2019, don’t wait until then to start – talk to me know if you need some encouragement, mentoring, or hands on guidance.

 

NaNo-2018-Winner-Certificate

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The RIGHT book at the RIGHT time, for the RIGHT readers…

I was talking today with someone about writing a book about a tough subject, but one that could have lasting positive – and maybe a few negative – repercussions.  For her, writing the right book, at the right time for the right readers, means a book that gets attention.  A book that inspires change.   A book that is hard to walk away from.  It’s about writing what needs to be written – and sometimes it’s not always the one you think is burning to be written.

Last week, over brunch on a Sunday morning, I talked this over with another author I’d worked with last year, who mentioned that her business coach discussed this with her, and they both agreed, that her first book was the one that has had the most impact, and means that her next book – the one she originally thought she should start with – will have a lot more impact.

You see, you have to be willing to put it out there as to why what you want to say  what matters.   If you just focus on sharing the wisdom without the story that goes behind your gaining that wisdom, it’s potentially not going to have the same levels of connection for the reader.  Readers like to know that you have the right to share and give advice.

About 20 years ago, I was adviced by a colleague to read Anita Broddicks book about The Body Shop.   He felt that because she was a dynamic woman in business, and he viewed me as having similar potential perhaps, that I’d get a lot out of it.   As I respected him and his views, I brought the book and ploughed slowly through it.  Then decided never to read it again.   She was not a single mother, working like a trojan to raise kids, pay the bills, survive the chaos and loneliness  of an existence that I was enduring at the time.   Her kids had grown, she had a husband, and money to put into her dreams.  All things that were unrelatable for me.   I wanted inspiration from someone that had walked my journey, and could give me hope that I’d survive beyond next month.

If you wish to inspire, provoke, lead changes, become a recognised author-ity in any area, you have to earn the right to the respect of your readers, your fans, to ensure that they get who you are and why they should care about what you’re banging on about.

It really is that simple.

So how do you know if what you want to write is the right book for now, for what you want to achieve?

First, identify what it is that you are really aiming for.  It may not be quite what you think.  For example:  If you’re going to write about leadership, how can you demonstrate that you get the kind of leadership that YOUR readers want to learn about?  Ahh, so who are those readers?  The real first step is to identify them.

I’m currently about to launch ‘That Sex Book’.   It’s a sassy little number about having great relationships, dating, and excellent sex for over 50 year olds.  It’s for predominantly straight single women, aged 50 – 75.  It’s intended to give hope, discuss ideas, and share some of the funny and interesting stories about these three things.   Yes, married people will maybe read it too, and so might some from the LGBT Community.  Some men will also read it, I’m sure of that.   But the people most likely to buy it and read it and share it are those outlined above.  So I’ve ensured that as I’ve written it, I’ve kept Sally, the 55 year old, sassy attractive, single for the last two years, friend in mind.    I’ve also considered that Janet, my married for 40 years, still sexually active friend is also going to enjoy reading it, and might share it with her husband who will laugh and perhaps recommend it to his best mate too.

I’m possibly going to be asked by any interviewers why I have not gone into more detail about some aspects of sexuality for the LGBT Community but quite simply, that’s both not my primary market and also it’s a demographic I have very limited personal experience with sexually.

No one said you have to write a non-fiction book that is only about facts and ideas.   You can write any kind of book you want to write, because it’s YOUR book.   You don’t get to ask a new parent why they decided to have children with blue eyes instead of brown.   It’s just how it worked out.    Write the RIGHT book at the Right time for the Right readers first.  Open them up to who you are and why you care, so they know why they should care too.

 

If you want more on how to develop this skill of the right book, right time, right readers, please check out the details for the Online Idea to Author-ity Course Here

 

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The Critical Need for a Marketing Plan

What else are you doing?

So you’re writing regularly, and churning out lots of great material.  BUT  don’t fool yourself into thinking that is all you need to do.   You own your topic, right?  So that means being across multiple platforms.  These include WRITING, SPEAKING, being interviewed for radio, TV, and special online opportunities.   Pod casting, blogging, Webinars, and hangouts online are all part of the business you are in.

Do you know what is missing from your current business model if you don’t have all those things covered?

A marketing plan.

A simple plan that outlines where and what you need to take action on to ensure you GET NOTICED, by your ideal market.

Where you will be, how you will present yourself, and who you will be aiming to turn on with your information.  When this will happen, and why should anyone care.   Afterall, there are hundreds ,or maybe even thousands of experts out there in your space right?  So what makes you so special.

Ask yourself these key questions:

  • Who do you know that might be willing and able to interview you?
  • How many times can you get yourself recorded on other peoples programs this year?
  • Who can you co-create or collaborate with?
  • What else do you need to do to become more highly visible?
  • What makes YOUR particular stance on your subject matter so interesting to your market?

You might also need to consider the evolving style of your brand, and what is changing about your area of expertise every year.

If you don”t yet have a solid marketing plan, with time lines, and action points, please don’t consider going anywhere, or doing anything over the Easter Break without setting aside at least a few hours to think through these key questions.   Your business needs you to maintain regular focus on your marketing, and these areas are of the greatest concern.  And you can’t just create one plan and then hope that will see you through your entire business life.   This keeps changing.  Every year.  In some companies, the marketing plan is updated every 90 days.

Someone mentioned recently that an ideal business and marketing plan that takes a 10 year view, should then be considered as a ‘why can’t we do this in six months’ objective.   Wow!  Imagine that!   Six months to achieve a 10 year goal.   Can it be done in your business? Why?  Why not? Something to ponder for sure.

Here’s the other things to consider as part of your marketing plan:

  • Do you need new tools?
  • Do you want to update your look?  Logo, marketing materials?  If not now, then when?
  • Are you networking with the right people/companies to help advance your business?
  • Are you priced appropriately for what you provide?  Can you increase this now/later?  Why, why not?
  • Are you up to date with all your options regarding technology and how you use it?  Social media?  Is FB or Twitter still as relevant for you as it used to be or has the time come to do more on Linked In or Instagram?
  • Where are your customers hanging out now? Are there new or old platforms you can explore?
  • Can you get yourself onto the speaker list for conventions and training opportunities for your industry?

I strongly recommend you tackle some of this… every year!  Not every five years, and certainly not every decade.  This is the current stuff you have to keep on top of in your business for it to thrive.

 

 

 

 

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The Importance of Book Reviews – Why and How

Guest Post by Jeanne Felfe, Author of the Booklife Prize 2017 Quarterfinalist novel The Art of Healing

After you read a book, do you leave a review in at least one place: Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, B&N, Net Gallery, skywriting, etc? You can usually leave a review anywhere books are sold online, regardless of whether you bought it there. In 2015, I decided to leave at least one review for every book I read. Why? Mostly because I had to honestly ask how I could expect readers to review my books if I wasn’t willing to do the same. I keep track of the books in a simple spreadsheet—title, author, genre, date read, quick thoughts, where reviewed, and how I know the author (in real life (IRL), Facebook, signing, etc.)

Why is it important to write reviews?

Bottom line—reviews help readers decide which books to spend their money and time reading. I always read reviews prior to purchasing, especially if it’s by an author I’ve never read. Reviews provide genuine feedback that helps me allocate limited resources. By reviewing books you’ve read, you can have a direct impact on convincing others to also read it (or not). Word-of-mouth plays Continue reading

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How Authors Can Support Each Other Better

Authors I work with are Non-Fiction specialists, and most of them speak professionaly or do training as part of their regular work.  For them, books are part of their marketing collateral, and in some cases act as an extended business card, and in others, a giveaway or product to sell.   What ever reason anyone has for writing a book, it’s important to know that we as authors can support each other better, and really we must to this.   Because it’s easy for us to help ourselves by helping each other to greater levels of success as authors.

Here’s how we can do this:

  1. If you are part of a mastermind group, or belong to a support group or association, ask the other members to Forward Tweets, FB, and Instagram posts about your book – not just once, but two or three times.
  2. Ask them to be part of your reviewers group.
  3. ASK THEM to share your news about new book releases with their contacts – get the momentum building up.
  4. ASK THEM to please go into your Amazon listings and buy/review/post ratings on your books.

You may have to ask several times, but if we all got into the habit of doing this for each other, we can achieve a lot together.

Those are the basic things we can do for each other, but there’s more. Continue reading

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Six Easy Steps for Promoting Your Book From the Stage

I’ve just returned from Auckland, New Zealand, where I attended the extraordinary Global Speakers Summit of 2018.   While there, I connected of course with a number of high profile speakers, authors, and several extremely talented Game Changers working in their particular areas of expertise, determinedly changing the world one speech, connection, or radical idea at a time.   It was heady stuff being in surrounded by so many extra-ordinary people, and I learned so much in a short few days.

I have attended the GSS before, and also several of the GSS member country events since 2002.  What I find most fascinating about these events, is the fact that we all have quite varied expertise, and while many authors were there, just as many of them were in the dark about how to really make their books ‘pop’ from the platform.  So I’m going to share a handful of tips I was discussing with people this past weekend and hope you find it helpful next time you’re on stage and have the chance to Continue reading

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Why it’s not really just about ‘the book’

Before, During, and After your topic development – what you most need to think about:

I was talking with someone today about what comes first – the chicken or the egg… ok… the book or the speaking topic!

The issue is often a matter of priorities – and what you’re already doing.  What have you already invested in, and how is that going for you? If you are already a speaker, getting paid to share your wisdom from the stage then start with that, and refine your topic, work out the main thing(s) you want to share, with the audience you most want to inspire with your own wisdom, experience or stories.   And from there a book is an easy (and essential) addition to your marketing materials and back of the room merchandise.

If you are already writing non-fiction and want to become a great speaker, or just get more books selling then you need to be speaking to groups and larger audiences when possible to ensure your books are getting to the hands of those you want to inspire, beyond just seeing and hearing you speak.

Either way – they are interractive and essential parts of the whole.  You can’t be a speaker who doesn’t write, any more than you can be a writer/author who does not speak.  They just go together like, well… love and marriage… a horse and carriage – ok enough with the musical cliches, but you really need to put these things together firmly in your mind!

If You Have Already Started the Journey

“But what do I speak/write about?” I hear you say…  or “what if my topic changes between one modality and the other?”

Why not start with evolving where you are currently and getting into some serious planning about your topic first… and then you’ll know exactly which Everest you wish to climb!  For example, if you are already talking about leadership, or sales and marketing, how can you Continue reading

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Key Words and Writing Descriptively

You wrote the book, and the back cover, and the marketing material, and even a great press release… and you’ve uploaded the book to Amazon, put some ads on AMS and Facebook, and then what happened… ?

Nothing.  Nada. Zip!

So you sat down and cried – because all that hard work seems to have been for nothing.  Right?

Wrong!

Maybe you just got the creative description wrong.

What might be missing is the description, being laden with great sharp-as-a-butcher’s-knife decriptive writing with seo keywords.  Maybe your heading is not done with an SEO Keyword Search Tool used to ensure it’s easily found by anyone doing a Keyword Search.

Do you see what I just did there? 

I used a number of relevant, descriptive keywords for SEO searching in the paragraph I wrote.   I also made the title of this blog post an SEO Keyword rich, descriptively written title.    And just to really drive home the point, I’ve also boldened the particular keywords I’ve used.

Let’s take a paragraph with two versions of the same information from the back of a business book.   One version is SEO Keyword rich, and the other just reads well.

If you’re seeking a new way to do business, and get more out of every penny you spend on marketing, you’ll find this book is a must read.  It’s loaded with resources, ideas, and clever ways to maximise your marketing and advertising, so that your strategies are better employed for improved ROI.

Get more ouf of all your marketing investments, and discover a better business solution through smarter marketing and advertising strategies.  You’ll find marketing tools and business resources and an abundance of  Return on Investment ideas that really work, and more.

Now clearly you wont want to bold up each keyword, that’s not the point of using keywords in creative writing, but you will need to ensure that a few key points are highlighted so that even the scanning reader will pick up on them.

The point being that if you do a lot more about ensuring your descriptions are well crafted so that more people find what you want them to find, your traffic goes up.

And if you ensure that y our creatively written descriptions are filled with hooks and enough bait on them to ensure the readers are inspired to take action (ie click and buy) then you will sell more books.

Some copywriters assert that the first lines needs to be very short, sharp and powerful, to then inspire the reader to get to the next longer and more descriptive text in the next paragraph.  The idea being that as the reach the end of the description they go BACK to the top or opening lines and that is what they have still jiggling their neuropathways as they then open the book to review the first few pages.  I am inclined to agree with this and am adapting my own descriptive writing for back covers to accommodate this line of thought.

It’s the hooks that make someone want to pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading.   It’s the seo keyword research that will help people find your book first.

I’ll write more about hooks next time… 

For now – just as we all need to do, it’s time to refine some of my keywords in the descriptions of my copywriting a little more.

Happy writing everyone…

Dixie

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Video – the Final Frontier of Fear Based Marketing

“Aaaahhhhhh!  No, I dont’ want to do video.  I would not like it here or there… with green eggs and ham… or anywhere else… Sam i Am!” 

That’s the phrase that typically runs through my head when anyone says – You have to start doing video.   I have avoided it like the plague for so long now, but finally, last week, I was told in no uncertain terms that enough was enough – camera shy be buggered, get over yourself and just DO it ok!

Ok, I quietly said in my head, but inside I was quacking!   Oh no – how am I going to get out of it this time?

There was finally no way out!   Why I think of video as fear based marketing has nothing to do with the reality –  sharing information visually with clients is not frightening for them – it’s just that for me, I’m fearful of doing it wrong!  Always.

Along came Grant! 

Grant from Focused Video is a young 30 something year old man who has had a passion for video and directing for years, and after a successful career start workiing in global corporate business, headed home to Queensland and studied towards his passion becoming his life’s work.

And the results of working with someone passionate, young, and enthusaistic is that even the hard stuff becomes easier.   And for me, the camera has always been my nemisis.  Grant made it not so scary.

It still took a couple of hours to shoot enough material for a three minute introduction I’m putting on my new website this week, and I was grateful for my past experience doing some video work, including TV interviews.  The ability to ‘get over myself’ was also enhanced by listening to an Amy Portfield interview the day before where she was talking with a veteran video based marketing specialist who reiterated again and again, that just be yourself, and remember that the audience want’s the information – and to not share that is ultimately selfish.

I finally got it.   

I applied the necessary war paint, memorised the script – which was actually partly a waste of time because we ended up going a lot further than what the script said anyway – and got down to business.

Grant also tried the questions and answers option – so that for a while we grabbed some footage of me just talking about what I do… more naturally and unscripted.  This gave me a chance to find my groove too.

And you know what?  No one died, the house didn’t fall down, and the sun still came up the next day.   I didn’t mess it up – although I did say a few bad words when I fluffed my lines – and we got the job done.

Sometimes it’s doing the hard work and putting our fears aside that enables us to make significant breakthroughs and find our voices.

I learned a couple of big things on Friday.

  1. It really helps to have expert help to get the job done.
  2. Using excellent tools for the job is absolutely necessary.
  3. Practicing, and writing down what you want to say clears the mind.
  4. Sharing your information can help others, so why hold back?
  5. You have to make time to learn and grow in your own business, and that means doing the things you don’t always love to do.

I’m expecting to not look as glamorous as Julia Roberts when I see the video – as much as I’d prefer to look like her.  I’m expecting to see me, and maybe me is the best person to be talking about me after all.

When it comes to promoting your work, your book, your speaking, and your programs, video is undoubtably unbeatable.  We all have to start embracing ALL the ways we can get better at getting ‘out there’.

What’s holding you back from writing that book, making that video, developing that training program?  I bet it’s not as hard as you think it might be, if you have someone to hold your hand through it, the right tools for the job, and an incentive to share your work.

PS – Video will be up next week…

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How Long Does it Take To Write a Good Book

How is it possible to write a book in one weekend?

I’ve recently been hearing about publishing coaches who offer to help people write a book in only 48 hours.   Intrigued I looked into this further and am surprised to find this really is a trend. However, having written, published, co-authored, and developed dozens of quality books in the last 10 years I can honestly tell you that there is a process, and it’s a reasonably lengthy one. Significantly longer and more complex than what can be achieved in under a week.

How long does it REALLY take to write a book?

Well some would argue that you can simply write a book by planning a few sexy chapter headings, dictate your material then give it to a publisher.  That does sound like a very good short cut way to become an author.  However the reality is that getting your content out of your head is only a small part of the process.

For a start, there are LOTS of barely average books hitting the market every day.  Millions of new titles are being released every year.   If your book is going to even see the light of day, it has to be good.  Your content has to be far better than average, well edited and reader friendly. Without these boxes ticked, Continue reading

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