Spend Until it Hurts

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I promised to address the subject of a marketing budget this week.

Delving into it, I discovered a frightening truth: how much money to allocate for marketing simply depends on how much you have and how famous you are.

The more your name is recognized, the less you’ll have to spend on marketing.

Do you think Stephen King has to spend much, now that his name is a literally a “household word?”

Nope.

He has people searching the internet and bookstores for his newest releases. They fly off the shelves the minute they are available for sale.

So, what I can tell you about a marketing budget is this:

Spend until it hurts.

Spend it when you can least afford it because that’s when you most need it.

When you’re rich and famous, you can sit back and rake it in…without spending a nickel.

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Sharing Good Advice

Uruguay, Montevideo:   Inside a bookstore.

I recently went to another writing conference. One of the speakers, best-selling author Jennifer Ashley, offered her perspective on what sells books (and she should know because she has written more than 100 of them). I’ll share her TOP THREE ideas:

First, connect with your readers. She says the best way ISN’T Facebook, Twitter, etc. It is, in her opinion, good writing. So, she says to focus on your writing 90% of the time. The other 10% can be devoted to marketing.

Secondly, you must have an Intriguing Premise, so followers will want to read/learn more.

Finally, write about iconic characters, such as firemen, policemen, and cowboys.

I hope these little nuggets are useful to you, especially to those of you who may be choosing characters for a new book, considering the message you want to get across, or facing a marketing vs. writing crisis.

Brand+ Platform = Successful Marketing

27227677773_5a084bf604Two things (besides great writing) make an author appealing to agents, editors, publishers, and readers: Brand and Platform.

Differentiating one author from another, they make them visible on all of their communication channels.

(My last blog dealt with branding. If you didn’t happen to read it, you can find it archived on www.brendapoulos.org).

The author platform is how an author is currently reaching an audience of readers, or their plan for doing so.

An author must be VISIBLE and INVOLVED on the social networks to stand out among the masses.

So, a platform (the plan for visibility as a speaker, business owner, blogger, website owner, podcaster—as well as a presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc.–is what an author uses to prove that their books will sell.

Both Indie authors, as well as traditionally published authors, must show a willingness to put in time and effort into marketing themselves online.

So, when should an author establish their platform?

“Yesterday” is a great answer.

That’s right.

Since building a platform takes time, experts tell us authors need begin even before they have a book ready to publish.

Most people are on Facebook, so that may be a logical place to start.

Experts tell us that having one’s own website is ESSENTIAL—and there are quite a few that are free, including WordPress and Weebly.

After that, the sky is the limit.

Put in the time.

Reap the rewards.

Remember:  Branding + Platform = Successful Marketing

 

Authors: Introverts or Extroverts?

So often we think authors must be introverts, since writing is such a solitary, introspective endeavor.

Public speaking seems to be more in line with what an extrovert would do. After all, they thrive in environments full of people—malls, cafes, concerts, conferences.

Actually, it seems there is no direct correlation between being a writer and being an introvert or an extrovert.

Sure, if given a choice, introverts may rather express their ideas in writing than in speech and extroverts more often enjoy taking to the stage.

But, for both, writing provides a way of expression, although perhaps a more comfortable medium of expression for introverts.

 

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There is also a third category, called ambiverts, striking a balance between these two extremes. This personality trait includes the qualities of both introversion and extroversion.

I am convinced that the longer a person writes, the possibility of him/her becoming anambivert increases. After all, introverts find that much of their career depends on marketing, publicity, and teaching opportunities. Extroverts realize that even though they thrive on social contact, they must still spend a good deal of their time working  alone.

Of course, people retain their basic personality type, but environment and heredity both play a significant role in the blending of these two types into one super type—the best of both worlds—the ambivert.

A hybrid. A super communicator. A writer.

Happy Landing!

I’d like to tell you about Ben De Rienzo’s Booklaunch. This is especially good information for those of you who are nearing completion of your book or even those who have already completed your book and beginning your marketing. It just may be a game changer for all of us because we must be active in promoting our books if we are going to be successful in the marketplace. This is true for those who are self-publishing as well as those who are going the traditional publishing route.

In a nutshell, this is all about a landing page, which is a single, dedicated, permanent page on the internet used to promote your book. It is a template for a page which shows the book cover, has space for a great headline and welcome copy, a brightly-colored “Buy Now” button, purchase links to vendors, space for your bio and contact information, offers a “Sneak Peek”  (the first chapter or two), space for credible endorsements, responsive web design (for those who shop via their smart phones, etc.), capability of running your video book trailer, allows for page customization/optimization to support your overall brand, and….

I think you get the idea.

I watched his webinar, last Thursday, and the above information is taken from my notes. I am pretty certain that what I have said is accurate, but please check everything out on his website to verify. His website address is: www.booklaunch.io

If you are like me, I want to write—not necessarily spend all of my time on publicity and marketing—and so I appreciate any tools I can use to make this process easier for me. The fact that his company offers unlimited help via phone, chat, and so on makes me doubly interested in getting started. Did I mention you can use a plug-in to put this on your WordPress site?

So for those of you who have a passion for writing, but whose computer skills are minimal, or those who find yourselves in a time crunch, checking out Ben’s Booklaunch may be yet another tool to get your self-promotion off in the write direction.

By the way, I know Joel Friedlander also has a landing page out there. He is another amazing guy whose many products you may want to consider!

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

I really don’t like the expression, “Killing two birds with one stone”, but I somehow seem to be following it’s spirit. By that I mean, I need to be writing on this blog, but I also need to be writing my Christmas letter to family and friends. I am so far behind in the things I need to accomplish, that I am going to try to do both—here—now.

This has been such a busy year! Mostly due to the many new things I have taken on in 2014. I accomplished my goal of finishing my book, Runaways. With two weeks until the end of the year, I feel good about what I’ve done. I will spend several more weeks editing and then it’s off to the publisher. Well, that’s another thing…

I have been researching publishers, reading about marketing, editors, and all-things-related. I had wanted to be completely done with this in 2014 and ready to move ahead in January. I want to make the right decision, so I have (admittedly) been overthinking this whole thing—just a few more to contact…

I started three websites at the end of the summer: www.brendapoulos.wordpress.com; www.spiritualsnippets.com; and one I share with members of my critique group www.5scribesandtheirstories.com  All of this has been quite a big undertaking—at times even overwhelming—but also lots of fun.

We had a wonderful time visiting friends in Sequim, Washington in May before boarding our Holland American Cruise Ship for Alaska with our Arizona friends, Bob and Mary. Our favorite stop was Sitka, where we would love to spend a month fishing and relaxing in the not-too-far-distant future.

On this same trip, we also spent a long weekend with B.J. and Melissa, and our two granddaughters, Madison and Liliana in Oswego, Illinois. We went on to see our friends, the Bougie’s, at their cabin on Armstrong Creek, Wisconsin and we all piled in together and traveled to Mackinaw Island, crossing yet another item off my bucket list!! If you have never been there, you MUST put it on your bucket list to do so. It is unique, quaint, and breathtaking. Honestly, it was the highlight of our entire trip!

John and I have purchased our “retirement” home. It is in an area abundant with green belts and overlooks walking paths, not far from the lake and clubhouse. We have been remodeling it for 6 weeks, already, with the end barely coming into sight. It is the biggest job we have ever undertaken, but feel we might as well get what we want because this is our last big project before we start traveling in earnest. We are both exhausted when we drag ourselves into bed each night, but we love remaking everything “our own.” (Pictures next year, I promise).Thanks for hanging in there and reading to this point. Only a few more things to say… We’re healthy—and thankful for it. We continue to be able to do almost anything we want. We don’t, however, see near enough movies (definitely need to change this in 2015) and don’t see family as often as we’d like (another thing to remedy in the coming year).

I am still active in church, school and Hospice volunteering, and will take on the presidency of Christian Writers of the West in January. John will be busy at work and with landscaping changes we are making in both front and back yards at the “new” house.

All seven grandchildren are healthy and happy. We miss the two little ones in Illinois, Liberty gave a stellar performance in the Nutcracker last evening, Promise is doing a good job in college, Sy and Owen are enjoying sports and playing in their family-oriented neighborhood. Skylare loves cheerleading.

I appreciate your following my blog. Hope this letter allows you to get to know me a little better. I promise to get back to business as usual in my next post!

Wishing you peace and the Love of Christ in your lives in 2015.

John, Brenda, Baxter, and Brinkley (yes, our dog and cat are still getting along—amazing!)

When Dreams Become Reality

So, you’re a relatively new writer, like myself. You’re halfway through your first book and you come up for air. You think it’s time you find out what publishing is all about. The first article you read stops you cold. It says you need to start the process of self-promotion: getting your name out there. Becoming recognizable in the world of the written word. Join the club.

The revelation that you cannot just simply crank out page after page, but actually have to turn to the social media machine that you have been avoiding (because it potentially could suck up all of your writing time) hits you like a ton of bricks. The fact that you only feel comfortable with reading your emails and using your word processing program only compounds the panic that wells up inside you.

You reread the article. You read a few more, hoping against hope that you have misunderstood. But, nope. The message is loud and clear. What to do, now?

You could run, bury your head in the sand, pack it up, give up the dream. But, do you really want to do that? Could you even do that? I mean, fight the compulsion to sit in front of your computer, daily, and let your fingers walk you into that “other world” you create in your mind? That other world that beacons to you, each day? That world that offers you solace, a creative outlet, challenges you to look deep within, inspires you to become more than you ever thought possible?

I didn’t think so. Me neither.

So, you attack the overwhelming task ahead: marketing yourself. Building a platform. Putting your ego aside. Inviting criticism through your door. Fighting your insecurities. Finding a voice. Calming those fears of rejection and perhaps being misunderstood at times. And, braving the world of the technologically-challenged.

But, not for long. Because you’ll wake up one day in the not-too-distant future and put your name into your computer’s search bar and it will pop up. You’ll get a few emails that give notice that you’ve acquired some followers—some, even, in other countries! You’ll read positive comments to your posts. You’ll get encouragement from friends and family.

Your dream—you know, the one that’s been sitting inside you, germinating for a few decades—is coming to fruition. You are suddenly on the brink of a whole new life, filled with endless possibilities.

All because you dare to write. To challenge yourself. To share all of who you are with anyone viewing your website—anyone who is curious to learn what you’ve got going. What you bring to the table that no one else does in quite the same way.

We’re writers—and life doesn’t get any better than that!

Brenda

Please visit my other blogs at spiritualsnippets.com and 5scribesandtheirstories.com