All right, so Monday we talked about The Single Best Way to Become a Mega-Author, which is—in a nutshell—write a LOT of (good) books. They key is being prolific and this applies no matter what type of publishing we choose. If you go browse a local used bookstore (which is almost pure legacy press) trust me, you will see the same names over and over and over and over.
Readers have always had a tendency to be parochial when it comes to their reading choices. We tend to find a writer we like and stick like glue until we have exhausted their titles. Why? Because reading a book is a HUGE investment of our most precious commodity—TIME.
We don’t want to spend an average of 12-15 hours of undivided attention with just anyone. We also are in an age where we are inundated with choices, which tends to short circuit the brain cells.
But many writers want the magic for selling a lot of books and frankly, that doesn’t exist. Huge success with such a subjective commodity is still, to an extent, trying to capture lighting in a bottle.
Ah, but we can improve our odds. First with, as mentioned, multiple good books. Then there is social media and building a platform.
Our Foundation Matters
The foundation for all goods and services (brands) is the relationship. Nothing sells without establishing, building and improving the relationship. Relationships take time, effort, energy, prayer and patience. They can take years to build and moments to destroy, so we must always value that relationship.
This is ALL commodities from restaurants to grocery stores to soap to shoes to electronics. Samsung was and is a strong brand, but how much damage did the Galaxy 7’s exploding battery do? Consumers no longer could trust the product so they lost faith in the brand.
The same goes for authors. One of the many reasons I love for authors to have a blog is that it is an excellent way to create a relationship and build trust. You guys come to this blog because you trust that you will be educated, enlightened and entertained. Over 1100 blogs and still going and still improving. You don’t come here and get frustrated with a sea of typos, poor grammar, etc.
I’ve worked hard to create a relationship. I give first. Yes I mention classes and my books, but no one is required to buy. But because I give first and often, no one is offended that I list a class because I am not just taking, taking, taking.
Same with social media. Those who follow me on Facebook know what to expect. Most of the time, I share funny memes or engage people in conversation. I comment on their stuff, “Nice dress!” “Love the new profile pic!” Small acts every day. Again giving.
So when I finally DO post something about a class or a book or a conference I already have a foundation. I have a base of people who know me and who hopefully enjoy my company and so when I “advertise” the response is more positive because, out of everything I post, the “taking part” is far less than the giving. Instead of….
Yet how many writers don’t want to be on Facebook, they don’t like Twitter and they only join to blast people with ads and free books and giveaways. They only get on their author page to talk about themselves, their signing, their event, their book. They don’t take five minutes to care about anyone else, but we’re all supposed to drop everything to serve them?
They don’t even give their time. Rather they cheat with automation, but they want MY time?
Sure. Right on that,
A Little Goes a LONG Way
The shocking thing is that we really don’t need to give all that much for it to matter.
For instance, if someone emails me with a question of a favor, and I recognize that name from comments on my blog, I will often move heaven and earth to help, and often for free. Yet, I can’t count the number of people who email me with a copy of their book for me to review or edit and they’ve never taken two seconds to say so much as hello.
So I am supposed to part with my money and 15 hours of time I don’t have?
Same on Facebook. They IM me to vote for their book or buy their book or for me to promote their book and they have never taken two seconds to so much as comment on a post, say hello or talk to me.
These people are TAKERS.
But the people who always post comments or share or promote me? Again, it is ridiculous the hoops I will jump through to help a giver.
Newsletters are the same deal. My email is absolutely flooded with lazy writers who paid some company to somehow get my email. 99% of newsletters instantly go in the trash, and in a way those newsletters offend me. This writer couldn’t take two minutes to talk to me to even see if I READ that genre? Oh, but they’re happy to take.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
This is one of the reasons my book Rise of the Machines focuses so much on the day to day building of the brand and platform. Writers always assume I spend vast amounts of time on social media.
Aside from the blogs? I pop in randomly throughout the day for a few minutes and that’s it.
If we don’t have those small everyday actions that accumulate into a relationship of depth, then it is a craps shoot. Additionally it is a race to the bottom of who can give away the most stuff and for the cheapest or FREE. That is the price of wanting the fruits without the roots and perks without the works.
Marketing & Advertising
All marketing and advertising works better with an established relationship. Why are we more inclined to actually use a Starbuck’s coupon? Because Starbucks has created a relationship with its product and service. Their coupon is far more likely to be used than Joe’s Joe Shack because we don’t know Joe from Adam.
Unless Joe offers us a coupon so ridiculously cheap we cannot ignore it? It’s far more likely to go in the trash or be forgotten. And even if Joe succeeds in getting us in the door, he is still starting from ground zero building our trust. If his coffee sucks? It won’t matter if he gives an even steeper discount the next time.
In the beginning almost all writers are like Joe’s. Legacy gets a bit of a pass but not much. Most readers don’t buy books by publishing house. In fact they might be hard-pressed to name one of the Big 5. But, if a book is on shelves at B&N, that book (author) is then using B&N’s relationship (brand) to kindle its own.
But since most readers aren’t going to B&N? As I said, a small pass.
Even in a bookstore the writers we know will almost leap off the shelves at us. I can’t count the number of times I bought books I hadn’t planned on buying because I knew the author from Facebook, Twitter or their blog (the GIVERS).
The rest of us (indies in particular) are going to have to do a lot of giving to establish the rapport, proving we are a good investment of TIME.
I did this with my blog. Y’all know my style, my voice and can trust I produce content you enjoy. Not a huge stretch to imagine my books probably would be at least as well written as my blog. So when I have a book for sale, I’m building off an established relationship (brand).
Additionally, if I told you guys that one day next week, I was giving Rise of the Machines away for free, I guarantee more people would grab a copy of ROM than if I just popped out of the blue and ambushed you with free books.
Or if I said ROM was on sale for $2.99 I would have far better ROI than some stranger foisting a cheap book at you.
See, any marketing or ads or giveaways or sales now will work better because I’m not just assaulting you from the ether with free and or cheap books. That giveaway or freebie is just more value added to something already valuable to you.
There are a lot of wonderful book marketing people out there, but the stronger that base platform and brand, the more they have to work with. They’re marketers not magicians.
Ads are a failure if no one clicks it and no one buys. I don’t care if we get a newsletter list of a million. If no one opens it and no one acts and buys the book, again it is a failure.
How we improve those odds is first creating the relationship on-line with our blog or social media. Then eventually the books. If they trust us in a blog and we impress them with a book? We are golden so long as we keep nurturing that relationship. Ads and marketing work better.
But, skip the foundation? Skip the relationship building? Skip the day to day? It is a long, unpleasant and all too often unsuccessful battle that, in the end, will cost far more time, effort and money than if we just did the little stuff day in and day out.
For more help with that, grab a copy of my book and check out my blogging and newsletter class (listed below) 😀 . Oh an I also am giving away an AMAZING free gift to those who sign up for classes. It’s a secret but I PROMISE you it rocks.
What are your thoughts? Do you get those writers who you add as a friend and the first thing they do is spam your wall? Has that EVER worked?
I LOVE hearing from you guys!
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Talk to me!
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I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
Deborah Makarios is the WINNER for MARCH. Please send your 5,000 word WORD document to kristen at wana intl dot com. One-inch margins, double-spaced, Times New Roman font and CONGRATULATIONS!
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Remember that ALL CLASSES come with a FREE RECORDING so you can listen over and over. So even if you can’t make it in person? No excuses! All you need is an internet connection!
April 29th $45
In this class, learn how to compose a newsletter that is entertaining and compelling—and all without stealing most of your writing time. Learn how to get your hooks in your readers and keep them until the end.
With a mailing list of over 15K subscribers, mystery/thriller author Jack Patterson will share some of his tips that will spice up your newsletter and get your subscribers opening it up every time you send one out.
Individual Classes with MOI!
Blogging for Authors $50 April 27th, 2017
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Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter and Synopsis that SELLS! $45 April 13th, 2017
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.