Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

How Do You Find Readers?

December 19, 2016

snow-scene

So … you’ve written and just indie-published your book and now all you have to do is find fans, right?

Good luck.

You’re probably going to be disappointed in what I say next, because I’m not going to offer a magic way to get a ton more readers.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, and anyone who tells you different is either trying to sell you something, or scamming you.

Readers are only gained a few at a time, even if you experience a sudden and serendipitous burst of exposure. I know this for a fact.

I’ve written and published six books. I’ve won five awards for them. I’ve been interviewed by local media (newspaper & TV). I even got a particularly nice Kirkus Review.

All things considered, I do all right. But are people falling all over themselves to send me money for my books? In a word … no.

There are not enough people who know my name.

Long-Term Strategy
Unless you’re Stephen King, whose name is familiar enough he could probably sell his weekly grocery list, finding readers takes time. Name recognition is seldom an overnight thing.

Gathering your fans is long-term strategy.

Believe it or not, it starts with your other books. Writing more books is the way to find readers, and writing good books is almost always the best way to turn casual readers into true fans.

I run into new authors all the time who say, “But I don’t want to write more books. I want readers for the book I already have.”

I can sympathize. Writing a good book can be difficult. The last thing I wanted to hear after completing my first novel was it’s time to turn around and do it all again.

But here’s the painful truth: Marketing your book is harder than writing it, and your chance of making enough to live on from one book is next to nothing anyway. Your footprint is simply too small. You’ll get lost in the noise.

If you write another book (and another, and another), your drawing power multiplies with each release. Each book becomes a little funnel scooping a few more people toward you.

After enough books and time (with no promises as to how many or how much), you’re likely to cast a net wide enough your ideal readers will find it hard to miss you.

But if you have nothing else to offer? Well, then what reason is there for readers to stick around?

Word-of-Mouth
People may not be talking about your books in line at major retailers yet, but hopefully they are discussing them somewhere. If they are, you’ll start to gain fans automatically.

Why? Word-of-mouth is a money machine.

It may only churn pennies at the start, but if it’s out there working for you … at all … it builds with every new release.

I’ve written about this before. Word-of-mouth is huge. In the trade, word-of-mouth is called earned media (you can check some of my earlier posts by clicking this link).

Ask yourself the last time an ad persuaded you to buy and read a book. Now ask yourself the last time you got a book recommendation from someone you know.

Easy answer, isn’t it?

Reading takes a lot of time, and accepting a word-of-mouth book recommendation is therefore an act of trust. Most people get book suggestions they believe from friends and family. A writer has to be good enough at his craft for his books to move readers to feel something they want others to feel.

If you write well enough to do that, then … and this is important … you need to take your book(s) public. Getting your name known is the biggest part of the battle. How do you go about that?

There are lots of groups looking for speakers. Check out your local Humanities Councils; Arts Councils; Book Clubs; Libraries; Schools. By writing more and actively extending your craft as a speaker, you deepen the emotional connection with readers.

Plus, you will have a captive audience at each venue and several minutes to do nothing but sell your books. The people who hear you speak (assuming you don’t bore them silly) will talk about you to their friends. Earned media at it’s best.

Social Networks
That’s it? Yes and no. Everyone knows that social networks are also important. Of course, some folks would have you believe there is some sort of magic power in the latest big online thing.

Well, you should know there are folks out there looking for people who believe in that magic. Why? Because they know a ton of wanna-be writers will buy bogus quick-fix solutions all day long.

If your email spam folder is anything like mine, you know there’s course-after-course out there promising to teach you how to use social media networks to make your fortune. But if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know how I feel about that.

It’s total bullshit. There is no Easy Button.

Let me tell you what online social networks are: they’re networks of people. Who are being social. Online. That’s it.

It’s important to be social, but the minute you start to think you should build your business’s lead generation around something like Twitter, stop and ask yourself if that’s remotely intelligent.

Yes, you should use Twitter and the other social networks, but don’t depend on them. Over time, I’ve built a significant following for this blog, and I have lots of Twitter followers. But if Twitter vanishes tomorrow the sky won’t fall.

I’ll keep on telling stories, just as storytellers have been doing forever, and simply find another way to connect with people who might like my work.

Definitely take advantage of modern tools … they are this century’s equivalent of afternoon tea socials … but don’t overthink it, because it’s not a magic bullet.

Use social media to be social. And remember, you will grow your truest fan base by staying authentic.

Oh yes … and by writing good books.

**********

snow-man
I hope to be busy enjoying time with my family and friends over the holidays. That’s also my sincere wish for you, too. Happy Holidays!

**********

My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Why Does Your Book Pitch Matter?

October 16, 2016

texture
There’s a Lot of Noise Out There.

As a writer, I find I’m always listening to other people’s conversations. Don’t get me wrong … I don’t do it to eavesdrop … it’s just a habit I developed to help me understand how people really talk to each other. It’s enormously helpful when crafting realistic dialogue.

I was at the recent 2016 Rochester Writers’ Conference at Oakland University, when something I overheard really struck me.

While standing in the registration line, I heard one of the attendees ask another, “You’ve published a book? Super! What’s it about?” The question wasn’t directed at me, but I have to admit I was looking forward to the answer.

Unfortunately, the author responded with a long, rambling, hard-to-follow discourse that demonstrated an utter lack of understanding about what he really needed to do … quickly get across the premise of what his book will deliver.

I walked away (so did the questioner), certain I no longer cared.

The experience really made me think. As an indie author, you will be asked many times what your book is about. Will your answer draw people in, make them curious, and let them know right away whether or not it’s something they might be interested in reading?

Or will it make them walk away?

What Should It Be About?
In the business world a brief, persuasive sales speech is called an elevator pitch (a good one lasts no longer than a short elevator ride, hence the name). I’ve talked about it before.

Consider the information that must be delivered in mere seconds and you can see why crafting a great pitch is a bit of an art form. You need to be able, in 30 seconds or less, to explain why your book stands out from the crowd.

I was in the advertising business for a long time and our most creative minds spent endless hours focusing on the “promise” of a product. Most of the effort was to describe the product’s emotional payoff rather than its efficacy.

In other words, sell the sizzle, not the steak.

So how do you prepare to sell your book to a stranger?

Write It Down, Then Edit
You need to give a good idea of the genre, the book’s main hook, your qualifications, comparable books and why it’s different or exciting. It’s a lot to talk about, so once you have some idea of what to include, write it down.

Then condense that information and choose the points you think will best help you sell your book in the shortest amount of time. Go over your pitch until you’ve tailored it to pique your audience’s attention. It’s not easy.

I remember a quote attributed to German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He wrote a letter to a friend that started: “I’m sorry to send you such a long letter. I didn’t have time to send you a short one.”

I don’t mention it to be funny.

Just as Goethe was implying with his letter, it’s a challenge to create a summary that highlights exactly why your work would be of interest, and combines it all with clear benefits for the reader.

Remember It’s a Conversation
Although essentially a sales pitch, you can’t afford to come across like the stereotypical overzealous used-car dealer. Communicate your ideas clearly and concisely, focusing on your passion for the story.

Also be aware of body language, because it sometimes speaks louder than your words. To look comfortable is to be comfortable. Believe in your words and try not to sound too rehearsed.

And for Heaven’s sake, don’t forget to smile – you’re a published author and you’re proud of your work!

Crafting and perfecting an elevator pitch gives you a valuable resource for those times when you have to flip a switch and promote your book in the quickest, most efficient way possible.

When that stranger asks, “So, what’s your book about?” you have your opening … and you’re ready to go for it.

**********

I’ll be at the “Books & Authors” book-signing event at Leon & Lulu in Clawson, on October 23, 2016, practicing my elevator pitches. Hope to see you there.

On November 19, 2016, I’ll be in attendance at the Readers Favorite award ceremony at the Regency Hotel in Miami.

On December 3, 2016, I’ll be signing books from 1:00-4:00 pm at the annual “Giving Season” event at the Orion Township Public Library (825 Joslyn Rd).

**********

My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.
 
If you’ve written an interesting book too, consider submitting it to the Readers Favorite annual contest by using the banner link below.
What do you have to lose?

**********

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


%d bloggers like this: