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The Marketing Focus


Make Friends With Your Local Librarian

bookshelf

A couple days ago I was talking with the Director of the Corry Public Library, in Corry, Pennsylvania and we discussed how I could get my books into the library system. She says that when the Corry Public Library published my books, she had to manually put them into the system. Once the books were in the library system, Once the books are in the system, other libraries can go and find the books and buy them as well. The problem is that the information could take six to twelve months to show up in the database. This means that as a self-published author,  I want my books in the libraries, I need to put legs to my dreams and introduce myself to librarians.

As I contact libraries, I first need to discover who the director of the library is and send my request to that person. Libraries are available in almost every town so getting books into libraries is not as difficult as you may think. Most libraries have websites and can be contacted via email. Many libraries now love working with local authors or regionally popular authors. Your goal with dealing with libraries, like dealing with bookstores is not in just getting the book into the library, but also in developing a synergistic relationship where both win from the relationship. Offer more to the library than just your books. Ask the library about programs that are held there that you might be able to participate in at some future date. I recently had a book signing at the Corry Public Library in Corry, Pennsylvania and the following night I participated in a book club there as well.

Keep your first contact with the library brief. Tell them a little about who you are and about your books. Send them to your website (or Amazon) to see your books. Include a wholesale price list of your books. Make the process as simple as possible for them to purchase. Ask what programs at the library are available that you might be able to assist. Libraries are looking for ways to stay relevant and developing relationships with authors is one way that they can do this.

When you hear back from the library, develop a relationship with that librarian. Discover what programs they have available and see where you might be able to help out. Not only does this help the library, but it also helps you gain exposure. For instance, librarians are always looking for someone to help with summer reading programs.

Consider Having Your Book Launch at Your Local Library

I have talking with the librarian we are discussing having the official launch of Sailing Under the Black Flag at the library in the near future.  This way, when I have a press release, not only will it benefit me, but will also benefit the library with publicity.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and buy her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Image via Bill_Owen Flickr Creative Commons

Another important aspect of marketing books is getting reviews. Many of the primary online book sellers (like bookbub) do not allow you to put your book on their site until you have a certain number of reviews and have an overall 4.0 review rating. Getting reviews therefore is imperative if you want to have access to such sites.

Get Reviews Locally

One obvious way that I get reviews is from family and friends and other people who organically buy my books. In addition, I have a newsletter where others read my work on a regular basis. When I have a new book that comes out, after they have read the book, I ask them to write a review. This has been my main strategy. So far, I have few reviews on each of my books. I need many more, many more. Therefore, I am making special effort to go beyond this organically produced group. I am actively seeking reviewers.

I am searching for others who regularly read books and review them. Some of these people include other authors within the same genre (building relationships with others in your same genre is beneficial in other ways as well).

Another group of people are people who regularly do reviews for local magazines or newspapers. know the magazine or newspaper’s policies concerning reviewing your work before submitting.

How to Find Reviewers of Your Book’s Genre

Still another group is someone you contact through a social media source. Amazon is a good source for that because Amazon not only tells who wrote the books, but often provides connections to reviewers who regularly review your book genre.

To find a reviewer of your book’s genre, google “book reviewer” and “your specific genre” for instance, I googled “book reviewer” “Early American historical fiction”  In addition to reviewers in Amazon I found a Booklist Online a reviewing service connected with the library service which offers reviews for libraries, book groups and book lovers. Give them the information pre-publication and they review it for you.

There are a number of other reviewer sites online that charge money to share your book with reviewers. I believe that you should never pay for reviews. It is unethical to pay a reviewer for his or her “opinion”.

There are also genre specific reviewing sites like Historical Novel Society. Historical Novel Society has an online magazine and a print magazine and posts their reviews online too. I know that other genres have their review sites too. The easiest way to find them is to google them.

Getting Reviews from Other Authors

Another way to get Reviews is to exchange reviews with other authors within your genre. My plans for next quarter (October-December) I intend to start writing reviews for other authors in exchange for that author reviewing my work. I am going to include a review on my blog as well as putting reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I will also do interviews of these same authors on my blog in exchange for my interview on their blogs.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and buy her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


train wreck

I have to confess that I have not been marketing as I had planned. I have gotten off track and am already not meeting the objectives that I set for myself at the beginning of the month.

My main marketing objectives that I have actually focused on this week have had to do more with introducing my latest book Sailing under the Black Flag to those people who already enjoy The Locket Saga series. In addition, I have been using my marketing time toward finding gainful employment—which I am calling my means of positive cash flow. My goal is to get a first shift job (or second with the weekends off will work as well) so that I can spend my weekends and some week nights attending events.

Discover Where the Train Jumped the Track

So, it isn’t that I have not been doing anything in marketing. It is just that I have not been following the plan that I set out to do in the first place. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I have failed either. It simply means that I need to re-evaluate.  Therefore, I have to reassess my plan and decide to do something a little differently. The main problem for me in the system that I was trying to do was that I had too many little projects that were too much alike that also didn’t seem to bring any results. Therefore, I need to adjust my plans so that I not only am not getting bored with what I am doing, but also so that I can actually get better results with those activities.

Adjusting Tactics

So rather than doing one activity all afternoon long, I have chosen instead to focus on that one activity for just 25 minutes of nonstop focus. I will use what is known as the Pomodoro technique. I will divide my marketing time into 30 minute segments using 25 minutes for actually working on the project with 5 minutes between each session. Each session will focus on a single activity whether it’s sending emails, phoning, commenting on posts, reading, or creating interviews.

At the beginning of each session I will set my timer for 25 minutes and begin that activity and do that activity for the entire 25 minutes. Then at the end of the session during the last 5 minutes, I will note exactly what I did, how far I got, and how much time I invested into that aspect of marketing. The current areas of marketing that I am working on are contacting booksellers, finding reviewers, getting my books in libraries, touching base with authors (particularly other Indie authors) in the historical (particularly American) fiction so that I can interview them (as well as review their books) for my blog, as well as contacting and getting appointments to participate on podcasts and radio. I will still use the templates that I made earlier this month, but rather than spending all day doing a single activity that leaves me bored to tears, I will do just 25 minutes of that activity and then go onto the next area of marketing.

For more about the Pomodoro technique and discover how you can utilize this technique, check out their website at http://pomodorotechnique.com/

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and buy her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 


Poor Results from Email Campaign

IAs I said in previous posts, I have made reaching out the book buyers my focus. By this weekend I intend to have the first introductory email out to booksellers and will begin locating and connecting with reviewers. In addition, I will begin sending a second email to the booksellers concerning the Locket Saga, particularly now that the fourth book in the series is now available for sale and wholesale pricing for the book. Just because my marketing focus will move on, does not mean that I should stop working to get more booksellers to buy and sell my books. The process is really quite boring right now, because I have received no feedback as of yet. I guess the lack of feedback indicates that is that the emails are not working.

Getting Ready to Launch Sailing Under the Black Flag

I have been selling quite a few Sailing under the Black Flag to friends and family despite the online price increase. I am making plans to do an online launch. More on this in a later post.

I have been thinking about attending more events over the course of the next several months. Now that I am east of the Mississippi, I am closer to more people. I am even looking for another source of positive cash flow (read that to mean I am looking for a job).

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and buy her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 

 


“Planning my work and working my plan”

success sign post

This quarter, I am focusing on developing the marketing aspects of my self-publishing business. There are several projects that I really want to develop into systems that will make easier for me to incorporate over the coming months. There is a program that I am following to achieve my goals. I am focusing on obtaining a certain primary goal within the quarter. I am dividing the quarter into projects that I intend to complete within two weeks. These projects are divided up into missions that are then divided into tasks where one or two of these tasks can be completed within a day.

The primary goal this month is very specific.  My quarterly goal is to establish and test a systematic format using email and organizational templates for marketing through obtaining reviews, obtaining interviews, exchanging blog posts, and making books available to more people in several ways.

I have several projects. Each one I give a two week (fortnight) to complete. These first two weeks I am using to set up for the rest of the quarter. During the first few days, in addition to looking back over my accomplishments of the past six months, I have been working breaking this major goal down into projects that are broken down into two-week intervals.

Projects for Third Quarter 2016

  1. Organizing plan July 1-16
  2. Marketing to bookstores July 17-23
  3. Finding and contacting reviewers July 24-August 6
  4. Marketing to libraries August 7-20
  5. Scheduling podcasts and radio interviews August 20-September 3
  6. Exchanging guest posts September 4-17
  7. Review and Prepare for the Upcoming Quarter–September 18-30.

I will share more details as the month progresses.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.

Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar

A number of Years ago I went to an event where I was getting a reward and I naively did not realize that I would be asked to speak at this event. Fortunately I was not the only person who was getting awards that day and I had time to think of what I was going to say as each of the other two recipients of the awards spoke of their accomplishments leading up to the award. As I took the podium, I realized that I stood there to receive the award because  of the efforts of the members of the audience. In my speech, I told of where I had been before the efforts that the members of the audience offered. I then stated what the audience had done for me to bring me to the place where I was as I stood there on the podium. It was as much their efforts that had brought me to that podium and that award as it was my efforts.

The audience wanted to know that what they were doing made a difference in someone else’s life and I was telling them that they were making a difference in mine. I not only made them feel good about their work, but I inspired the newspaper reporter covering the event. When the news hit the papers, the other two recipients were simply noted as having stated their accomplishments. I, on the other hand, was quoted. Even though my speech was impromptu, it made a bigger difference than the ones who probably spent hours polishing their speeches all because I considered the audience that I was addressing and made my speech not about me but about them. I gave both the audience and the newspaper reporter what they wanted. They wanted appreciation and inspiration. I gave them both. I didn’t realize that what I was doing was offering them a benefit rather than a feature of their work.

 

Features Versus Benefits in Nonfiction

As I am writing my nonfiction books, I am always lookig at what features my book is offering. Each chapter of my gardening and natural living books demonstrate features. that matter concerning that piece of nonfiction. What is the difference between features and benefits? A feature is what something is or does. A benefit relates to feelings created in the individual related to that feature. For instance, in both books–Simply Vegetable Gardening and Help From Kelp–one of the features that I demonstrate is how useful kelp is in preventing blossom end rot in tomatoes. The benefit would be a big juicy red tomato freshly picked from the backyard garden, sliced and added to a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich. Are you salivating? is your mouth watering? Can you almost taste the tomato on the sandwich as you bite into it? Would having home grown tomatoes from your garden made into a sandwich be satisfying to you? (Of course, if you’re not a fan of fresh tomatoes, you might not feel this way about them, but you get the idea.)

You can also capitalize on the fact that by growing your own food, it benefits you by lowering your food costs with the added benefit of serving healthier, chemical free food to your family. As you get deeper into these benefits, you’re no longer simply selling a book, you are offering a better life for the reader who applies the priciples (features) of the book.

 

Features Versus Benefits in Fiction

It is much easier to understand the features versus the benefits in nonfiction, but can this principle be applied to fiction?

Yes, it can and should. By knowing what the benefits of your book are, you will be able to better utilize your features.

So what are the features of your book? Some people might say that the fact that it is in print or is available through digital access is a feature and it is. Too often our marketing doesn’t go beyond this point. Buy my book, you say, based on the blurbs on the cover. These blurbs again usually whet the appetite for the reader, but these are still features rather than benefits. So what are the benefits?

One of the first benefits that I came up with in my search for the benefits in my ficiton was in seeing what a person does when he or she gets a book. I picture a person (woman usually) sitting in front of a fireplace in an overstuffed chair with a throw across her lap reading a book while to her left I see the rain pelting on the window, but that still does not go far enough. Any book of fiction offers a chance to get away from the humdrum of ordinary life for a while.

Often clues to the benefits of our books can be found in the genre that includes our books. Look at some of the categories–mystery, suspense, romance, adventure. All of these give the reader a certain feeling about your book. Again, there are a lot of books in these categories that can relate these same feelings. So how can we further show benefit of our fiction?

The benefit that you are offering as a fiction writer must dig deeper than simply being a book that you are selling or a book of a certain genre. Your book and the blurb about your book must offer a unique reading experience. You want to get your potential readers sucked in so that your book is a must read for them. Your description must evoke femotional responses in the reader and most of the time one of those feelings must be empathy for the protagonist.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

 

During the past several weeks we have been talking about customer service as it relates to book marketing and sales. When Sam Walton started Walmart, customer service was at the top of his requirements. I live in Missouri not far from where many of his earlier stores are located. He often hired older people to stand in front of the store as greeters. He also made sure employees ready to assist you no matter who they thought you were.

Sam Walton had a policy of going into one of his stores dressed in old overalls. He was an old man, and dressed in the overalls, he looked like one of the locals (especially in this part of Missouri). He would walk in, unannounced and walk around the store. If any of the employees treated him as though he were anything but the owner of the company, the management heard about it. He wanted EVERY customer treated as though they were the owner of the business.

Since Sam Walton’s death, as the company has grown into the multi-billion dollar enterprise that it has become, customer service is not as important to the company as it once was and sales have not had the steep climb that they once had. Some people blame this on saturation, but could the decline in personalized customer service be part of the problem?

Readers Are People Too

I love the personal touch that I can give as a self-published author. I am starting to see each new reader that I get as a face, a personality, a relationship I am developing with every event and every piece of online content. During this past week, this realization has solidified as I have met a number of people in person, some of which I had known in the past, but others I am actually meeting for the first time. Some of these had only met online. Others I met without social media connection.

Readers are not mindless followers. They are people who have a huge demand on their time. I am learning to be grateful that these individuals are willing to invest a few dollars and the time to read my books. I am determined to offer my readers the best product, the best “novel” experience that they can receive. If I am at an event, I choose to smile and let them know that I really care about them. If someone comments on my blog, I will answer them graciously, even when the comments are from disrespectful and obnoxious trolls. (Other readers will see through them, and take them for what they are. The troll will be seen as a troll and you will have the other readers’ respect). I also respect my readers by not feeding them a lot of advertising and promotion but offer them value for their time.

 

Live events remind us that readers, ike  the writer, are people too. Like the Walmart greeter and the Late Sam Walton, we need to ensure that our readers know that we care about them, not just as someone who buys our books, but as real people who are worth caring about.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 

 

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