I am a huge advocate of writers. They are my heroes and rescuers, crafting worlds I can get lost in and telling stories which sooth the soul.
This Christmas consider the Twelve Days of Christmas for Authors. There are 12 simple ways you can help a published writer keep writing new worlds and keep the job they love, crafting stories you will love.
This tale is written from the viewpoint of any author who has invested hundreds of hours into a book which can get lost in a sea of a million other books. Find an author you love and adore and apply these gifts to them. You will make an impact and make their year.
On the first day of Christmas, my reader gave to me is one purchase of my book.
Libraries and half price books stores are wonderful. They allow books to be devoured and authors to be discovered. But if you love an author and want them to keep writing, buy their book. Buy it for yourself. Buy it as a gift. You would spend as much on a movie ticket or two, yet a book offers many more hours of entertainment.
On the second day of Christmas, my reader gave to me two hand sellers.
There is a special brand of angels called Hand sellers. These lovely rare creatures have their fingers on the pulse of the literary world and have read countless books. When readers enter their book store, library, or place of business, they are able to perform magical matchmaking, suggesting that specific reader would love this specific book. Make sure the hand sellers in your sphere of influence are aware of your favorite author(s). Tell them WHY you enjoy that writer so much. It will help her hand sell books to the perfect audience.
On the third day of Christmas, my reader gave to me three social media connections.
Consider following your favorite author on the trifecta of social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. You will be able to connect with them on a personal level, learn about new projects they are working on, and encourage them with Likes and Retweets. Writing is lonely work. For some writers, checking in with their social media links is the carrot at the end of the stick after a long writing day.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my reader gave to me four gift purchases.
A book is always an excellent gift because it offers four advantages. The writer is read and heard, her goal when she started writing, never sure the book would sell or be read. The author and the publishing industry as a whole are bolstered by your purchase. The reader and gift recipient is transported to another world and gifted an additional life to live through the book’s pages. And the gift-giver (you) has another fan to discuss the book with and a potential fellow fan.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my reader gave to me five golden stars.
Reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, GoodReads and other places can help inform decisions. A five star rating is the best and depending on the system, a three star rating is actually a negative review. Not everyone is going to enjoy every book, so write your reviews and select your ratings carefully. Explain why readers like you would enjoy this book and what you enjoyed about it. Rank your very favorite books with five stars and a spoiler-free assessment of where the book succeeded. Your words are amplified and will carry to hundreds or thousands of potential readers. Your words have impact.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my reader gave to me six cover image shares.
There is a science to book cover artwork. And there is a cumulative effect of seeing a book’s cover multiple times across multiple forums. Add your favorite book to Pinterest, on multiple boards. Add the cover to your favorite reads on Facebook. Share a photo of the book as seen “in the wild.” Add the cover to your “Want to Read” list in GoodReads, and then mark it as “Read” when you’ve finished. Blog about the book along with the photo of the book cover.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my reader gave to me seven library requests.
Libraries are intensely helpful to authors. Many writers use the quiet space to write their tomes, others are on first-name basis with the librarians for research. There are so few avid readers left in the world, libraries are uniquely connected to readers and the reading lifestyle. Much like hand sellers, librarians are matchmakers and can use your input to help searching readers find their perfect book. If you request a book, librarians are made aware and will take notice.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my reader gave to me eight matches made.
Just like librarians and hand sellers, YOU, as a reader, can be a matchmaker too. When you see a movie, you instinctively know your best friend would love its off-beat humor but your mother would cringe at the sex scenes. You recommend the movie to your friend, but don’t mention it to your mother. There is no difference between you and Siskel and Ebert. Be a viral sensation. Tell readers about your favorite book. Be purposeful about it.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my reader gave to me nine public exposures.
If you have purchased the book, display its pretty cover when you read it in public. Take it on the bus or train; bring it to your dentist appointment or the BMV. A book sighting in the wild can drive sales as well as open conversation with others. If you read on a device such as Kindle or your iPad, consider sharing your reading choice digitally, such as on Twitter or Facebook.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my reader gave to me ten shelf leapings.
Do you know big box bookstores are specifically assigned to face certain books face forward to increase sales? You can be a super fan by facing your favorite author’s current book face forward in book stores everywhere you go. Word of warning: don’t move the book to a different section (such as the front of the store) because then the staff won’t be able to help customers find the book, hurting sales.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my reader gave to me eleven book club readers.
Are you part of a book club? Your reading life will be transformed when you practice reading with conversation and dissection in mind. Books are meant to be devoured in community, like a good meal. If you don’t belong to a book club, consider finding or starting one. If you do belong to a book club, consider suggestion your favorite book. Many authors will happily attend your book club conversation via Skype.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my reader gave to me twelve months of mentions.
Books today have a shortened life cycle. Much like movies, their “opening weekend” (or the first few weeks of sales) is crucial for setting the book up for long range success. Lackluster initial sales result in less publicity and hand selling. Early buzz and continued momentum can push a book from midlist level to best seller. Mention your favorite book more than once. Stay faithful for its first year, suggesting it to other avid readers, to book clubs, and to your library. When a book comes out in paperback (the equivalent of the DVD release), recharge your efforts.
For your favorite books and authors, these twelve gifts are a tremendous help. Writers struggle everyday to keep ahead of the ever changing landscape. Even performing one of these acts for your favorite author will put you on the permanent “Nice” list.
Today I presented a seminar to 100+ business owner and job seekers on the topic of Personal Branding. I declared the definition of personal branding to be:
the marketing of the individual through uniqueness, conversations, images and expertise.
Here are a the eight DOs and the one DON’T of personal branding:
DON’T lie or offer false claims. Your brand is a promise.
DO ask others to offer three key words they would use to describe you. This is your current brand.
DO create a USP (unique selling proposition.) What makes you unique?
DO tell success stories. They are sounds bites we can remember better than a long list of facts.
DO offer a decent, professional photograph on all your social networking sites.
DO brand your marketing materials: your email signature, resume, business card, profiles and phone messaging. These all relay a message about you.
DO mention your social media platforms and links in your email signature.
DO become an authority by writing books, blogs, reports or through speaking, commenting and consulting.
DO be a connector. Always look to connect people.
The best branding always includes goodwill.
Keylocke Marketing Services will be presenting at Network Dayton on Thursday, April 30th from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending, you can register here.
I have been busy for the last month, getting my table as well as many of my client’s exhibits show ready. I have been preparing signage, portfolio books, samples, giveaways and marketing collateral.
I will take my camera and bring back photos of this networking event. I hope to see you there!
You can have a bit of an identity crisis when you try to juggle more than one job. I am a copywriter and marketing consultant by trade. But I am also a freelance magazine writer and potential book author. (I am also a wife and mother but no one pays me for that.)
When it came time to design my marketing materials, I was looking at double the inventory and cost because of my dual duties. Here was my solution:
I love the concept because it’s fun and quirky, but still professional. The business card actually flips over and has a hole punched out. In fact, I carry them on a snap ring. The letterhead is just rotated, based on who I am contacting.
I enjoy the comments I get on my unique letterhead and business cards. I even got one job from a client who was impressed with my “money saving skills.” I have used free business cards and discount letterhead for years. This has been my business splurge which has paid off.
Just one? When you start researching how to start a business or even what business to start, the laundry list of everything you need seems to be a mile long.
Are you selling a product? Well then, you need a brochure, maybe a catalog, a price sheet, packaging, shipping boxes, a return policy and a maybe an online store.
Selling a service like life coaching or pet sitting? You’ll need business cards, an hourly fee, networking connections, maybe a website or a magnetic sticker for your car.
And don’t even consider starting a web based company without all the accoutrements. There is a website, of course, plus a blog, electronic signature, maybe a Flash intro and all the online gadgets like a Skype phone line, Aweber list manager and a Paypal account.
The list is so overwhelming you might decide starting your own business isn’t worth the hassle.
But in truth, you don’t need all of those things to get started. To be a success in business you only require one thing.
Just ONE Thing
The only thing you need to succeed is often overlooked. But without it every business is guaranteed to fail.
The big, earth shattering secret? The only thing you need to succeed in business is…customers.
Seems rather simplistic, doesn’t it? Of course, you need customers! But keeping your end goal in mind, how have you set up your business to make sure you get and keep customers?
Many new businesses are created because it sounded like a good idea, other companies have had success, it is a product or service YOU enjoy, it fits nicely into your skill sets or because it is one of the things you know how to make or do. But the litmus test for a good business venture is to ask this question:
Are there people who will buy this product or service?
If so, where are they and how to do you find them?
Everything else is just gravy. I have met successful business people who do not have a website…or business plan …or business card …or even a single dollar in investment. But they have customers which is the key to their success.
So don’t get bogged down in deciding what the next step you should take in your business. Put off downloading the next gadget. Take a deep breath instead of stressing out over your endless To-Do list.
Instead concentrate on who your customer is. Create a picture of her in your mind. Give her a name. Follow her around in her day to day life. What makes her happy? Where does she shop? What problems can your product or service solve for her?
It’s only after you’ve answered these questions that you can effective marketing to these key customers. All the bells and whistles can be effectively applied. But it all starts with the basic building block of your business—customers.