Promotion

A Novel Approach To Marketing = Authenticity

>(Comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card)

Even before I sold my first novel to Alicia Condon at Kensington, even before I contracted with my agent, Paige Wheeler, I was angling for market share as an author.  As a pre-pubbed, pre-agented writer dreaming of that “someday” call, I would walk down the aisles of WalMart thinking to myself, how did they get here?  Then asking myself, how do I get here?

For years I didn’t have the answer.  I looked to everyone else for tips, tricks, advice, direction.  One writer says blog, another says don’t bother.  One author says promote out the wazoo, another says, I never promote and I’m NYT.  One agent says, your premise isn’t unique enough, another says the same premise is far too “out there”.

I did the website, the blogging, the facebook, the twitter.  I took the dozens of classes on craft and storytelling and promotion.  I read.  I wrote.  I submitted.  I queried.

About 8 years later, by the time I signed with my agent, I realized what all published authors realize at some point…most before they even sell:  there is no shortcut, no trick, no “magic beans” as Lauren Dane says.

In the last six months, as I’ve struggled to cultivate clever marketing strategies in preparation of my upcoming release, I’ve watched the industry and the changes within.  Like so many other authors, companies and entrepreneurs out there, I’ve wondered just how to gain the attention of the customers (read: readers) I hope to cultivate soon.  Ultimately, I sat back, frustrated, disheartened and dazed, doubtful there was really any way I could make a dent in the attention deficit that has become our target market.

Taking that break from what felt like an upstream swim helped me settle.  I found myself able to look at the whirlpool from a different perspective and I discovered what I was doing that was holding me back: focusing on myself.

When I decided to dip my toes back in the water, it was with a stronger sense of who I am, where I fit and how far I will allow myself to be drawn into the pull of it all.

I’m a giver at heart.  Even as a kid, I’ve always enjoyed giving presents more than getting them.  I’m absolutely positive this is some personality disorder that is documented in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but in the end, it’s just me–good or bad.  So when I waded back to the waters edge, I suppose I did it more authentically.  I utilized twitter and facebook and blogging as a way to give to others — information, advice, technique, antidotes, gifts, thanks, whatever I felt I had/have to offer.

Not only did it feel good, it felt right.  I felt as if I’d found my groove.  In this economic slump, an environment of dwindling audience and growing competition for said audience’s attention, simply giving without expectation of return on investment isn’t generally thought of as the first or best plan of action, but it fits me.

The best part is that I’ve discovered it fits a lot of other people out there, too.  I’ve had a tremendously positive response and feel like I’m finally settled where I want to be…right on the edge of all the fun where I can watch and participate without getting run over or worn out.

Today I came across an article that validated my search for marketing authenticity.  I want to share a few quote from the article, as I could not illiterate my point of view any better.  The piece was written by Michael Stelzner, co founder of Social Media Examiner and you can find the complete articleHERE — definitely worth the read.

But here are a few passages that spoke to me…intimately:

  • Have you noticed that everything is changing? Your industry advances, ideas expand, products morph and your customers move on. Similar to space travel, everything’s hurtling forward. Nothing remains still. Just when you think you have everything figured out, it all changes!
Um…yes! This is why I stopped trying when my head was spinning 90mph.

  • We’ve been treating people like fish. We’ve been taught to simply crawl into a boat, paddle out to where the customers are, grab our reel and cast out on top of customers. Then just jiggle that bait the right way and you’ll be able to force a customer into your boat.
As a customer, I recognize this tactic.  And, no, I don’t like it.  It makes me feel…ordinary, forgetable, disposable.
  • If you want to connect with customers and attract raving fans, the solution is very simple: Focus on people.

I LOVE this!!

  • You can meet the needs of people by helping them solve their problems at no cost. When you help people with their smaller problems, many will look to you for their bigger issues.
  • Great content PLUS other people MINUS marketing messages EQUALS growth!
  • When you offer great content—such as detailed how-to articles, videos—that focuses on helping other people solve their problems, you’ll experience growth. Why? Because this type of content meets the needs of people. It doesn’t focus on you, your products or your company. It is a true gift to your audience.
  • Once the marketing messages are caged, the focus of your company shifts from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?” You shift from pitching products to boosting people.

Now there’s a concept — boosting OTHERS, not just YOURSELF!! Wow, how novel!

  • With the old forms of marketing, you pitch and sell. People ignore you and your business is at risk. With the new method, you give gifts, people trust you and you become indispensable.
  • The result: You no longer need to sell! Instead, you demonstrate your expertise by the content you produce, the ideas you showcase, the stories you share and the people you attract. By creating a platform for others, you can also build strategic alliances, quickly grow a large following and dominate your industry.
  • You have the chance to own the place people go to for help, eliminating your reliance on traditional marketing channels. You can become the center of your industry, niche or local market. And when that happens, you’re launched on an unstoppable trajectory that will take you places you never imagined possible.

Well, there you have it…in theory anyway.  IMO, I love the theory, it works for me, it feels good and I’m going to stick with it.

I’m a big believer in karma.  How about you?  What are your thoughts on this theory?

Comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!

>A Novel Approach To Marketing = Authenticity

>(Comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card)

Even before I sold my first novel to Alicia Condon at Kensington, even before I contracted with my agent, Paige Wheeler, I was angling for market share as an author.  As a pre-pubbed, pre-agented writer dreaming of that “someday” call, I would walk down the aisles of WalMart thinking to myself, how did they get here?  Then asking myself, how do I get here?

For years I didn’t have the answer.  I looked to everyone else for tips, tricks, advice, direction.  One writer says blog, another says don’t bother.  One author says promote out the wazoo, another says, I never promote and I’m NYT.  One agent says, your premise isn’t unique enough, another says the same premise is far too “out there”.

I did the website, the blogging, the facebook, the twitter.  I took the dozens of classes on craft and storytelling and promotion.  I read.  I wrote.  I submitted.  I queried.

About 8 years later, by the time I signed with my agent, I realized what all published authors realize at some point…most before they even sell:  there is no shortcut, no trick, no “magic beans” as Lauren Dane says.

In the last six months, as I’ve struggled to cultivate clever marketing strategies in preparation of my upcoming release, I’ve watched the industry and the changes within.  Like so many other authors, companies and entrepreneurs out there, I’ve wondered just how to gain the attention of the customers (read: readers) I hope to cultivate soon.  Ultimately, I sat back, frustrated, disheartened and dazed, doubtful there was really any way I could make a dent in the attention deficit that has become our target market.

Taking that break from what felt like an upstream swim helped me settle.  I found myself able to look at the whirlpool from a different perspective and I discovered what I was doing that was holding me back: focusing on myself.

When I decided to dip my toes back in the water, it was with a stronger sense of who I am, where I fit and how far I will allow myself to be drawn into the pull of it all.

I’m a giver at heart.  Even as a kid, I’ve always enjoyed giving presents more than getting them.  I’m absolutely positive this is some personality disorder that is documented in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but in the end, it’s just me–good or bad.  So when I waded back to the waters edge, I suppose I did it more authentically.  I utilized twitter and facebook and blogging as a way to give to others — information, advice, technique, antidotes, gifts, thanks, whatever I felt I had/have to offer.

Not only did it feel good, it felt right.  I felt as if I’d found my groove.  In this economic slump, an environment of dwindling audience and growing competition for said audience’s attention, simply giving without expectation of return on investment isn’t generally thought of as the first or best plan of action, but it fits me.

The best part is that I’ve discovered it fits a lot of other people out there, too.  I’ve had a tremendously positive response and feel like I’m finally settled where I want to be…right on the edge of all the fun where I can watch and participate without getting run over or worn out.

Today I came across an article that validated my search for marketing authenticity.  I want to share a few quote from the article, as I could not illiterate my point of view any better.  The piece was written by Michael Stelzner, co founder of Social Media Examiner and you can find the complete articleHERE — definitely worth the read.

But here are a few passages that spoke to me…intimately:

  • Have you noticed that everything is changing? Your industry advances, ideas expand, products morph and your customers move on. Similar to space travel, everything’s hurtling forward. Nothing remains still. Just when you think you have everything figured out, it all changes!
Um…yes! This is why I stopped trying when my head was spinning 90mph.

  • We’ve been treating people like fish. We’ve been taught to simply crawl into a boat, paddle out to where the customers are, grab our reel and cast out on top of customers. Then just jiggle that bait the right way and you’ll be able to force a customer into your boat.
As a customer, I recognize this tactic.  And, no, I don’t like it.  It makes me feel…ordinary, forgetable, disposable.
  • If you want to connect with customers and attract raving fans, the solution is very simple: Focus on people.

I LOVE this!!

  • You can meet the needs of people by helping them solve their problems at no cost. When you help people with their smaller problems, many will look to you for their bigger issues.
  • Great content PLUS other people MINUS marketing messages EQUALS growth!
  • When you offer great content—such as detailed how-to articles, videos—that focuses on helping other people solve their problems, you’ll experience growth. Why? Because this type of content meets the needs of people. It doesn’t focus on you, your products or your company. It is a true gift to your audience.
  • Once the marketing messages are caged, the focus of your company shifts from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?” You shift from pitching products to boosting people.

Now there’s a concept — boosting OTHERS, not just YOURSELF!! Wow, how novel!

  • With the old forms of marketing, you pitch and sell. People ignore you and your business is at risk. With the new method, you give gifts, people trust you and you become indispensable.
  • The result: You no longer need to sell! Instead, you demonstrate your expertise by the content you produce, the ideas you showcase, the stories you share and the people you attract. By creating a platform for others, you can also build strategic alliances, quickly grow a large following and dominate your industry.
  • You have the chance to own the place people go to for help, eliminating your reliance on traditional marketing channels. You can become the center of your industry, niche or local market. And when that happens, you’re launched on an unstoppable trajectory that will take you places you never imagined possible.

Well, there you have it…in theory anyway.  IMO, I love the theory, it works for me, it feels good and I’m going to stick with it.

I’m a big believer in karma.  How about you?  What are your thoughts on this theory?

Comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!

>#1 Bestest Thing About Promo?

>Giveaways!

Yes, you heard me right. Giveaways.

Man, I loooooove giving things away. Always have. Ever since I was little. Love buying presents. Love giving presents. (Don’t love wrapping presents.) Love planning surprise parties. Love making things for people: cakes, quilts, crafts…anything.

Love, love, loooooooove giving things away.

Have I made that clear yet?

Yes, well, now, I have a legitimate, tax-deductible, condonable reason to give things away! It’s called: promotion.

My CP, Elisabeth Naughton, says there’s something seriously wrong with me…but that’s a topic for another post, or series of posts, or lifetime of posts, cause there’s a lot wrong with me.

I’m in Hawaii on a family trip–no, not a vacation. As Elisabeth so aptly pointed out, when I am with my husband, two teenage daughters and one of my teenage daughter’s best friends, I am on a family trip, not a vacation.

We were at an outdoor market and I found an artist who made some beautiful leather bookmarks and beaded book thongs that were well priced. I stood there for a long time, picking them up, turning them over and over in my hands, trying to figure out who I could buy them for. No one’s birthday was coming up. No special occasions. No just becauses I could really think of. Of course, there are always giveaways, I thought. Sweeeeeet!!

So…just a hint…a couple things to remember….

1) I looooooooooove to give things away. 2) You just never know when the whim will strike! 3) I’ll be giving away to those who hang with me (virtually, of course).

Facebook: joan@joanswan.com
Twitter: @ultraswan
This blog, of course.

See you ’round I hope. 🙂

#1 Bestest Thing About Promo?

>Giveaways!

Yes, you heard me right. Giveaways.

Man, I loooooove giving things away. Always have. Ever since I was little. Love buying presents. Love giving presents. (Don’t love wrapping presents.) Love planning surprise parties. Love making things for people: cakes, quilts, crafts…anything.

Love, love, loooooooove giving things away.

Have I made that clear yet?

Yes, well, now, I have a legitimate, tax-deductible, condonable reason to give things away! It’s called: promotion.

My CP, Elisabeth Naughton, says there’s something seriously wrong with me…but that’s a topic for another post, or series of posts, or lifetime of posts, cause there’s a lot wrong with me.

I’m in Hawaii on a family trip–no, not a vacation. As Elisabeth so aptly pointed out, when I am with my husband, two teenage daughters and one of my teenage daughter’s best friends, I am on a family trip, not a vacation.

We were at an outdoor market and I found an artist who made some beautiful leather bookmarks and beaded book thongs that were well priced. I stood there for a long time, picking them up, turning them over and over in my hands, trying to figure out who I could buy them for. No one’s birthday was coming up. No special occasions. No just becauses I could really think of. Of course, there are always giveaways, I thought. Sweeeeeet!!

So…just a hint…a couple things to remember….

1) I looooooooooove to give things away. 2) You just never know when the whim will strike! 3) I’ll be giving away to those who hang with me (virtually, of course).

Facebook: joan@joanswan.com
Twitter: @ultraswan
This blog, of course.

See you ’round I hope. 🙂

Getting ready…

>I haven’t posted because I’m busy getting ready for tomorrow — Valentine’s Day over at Romance Worth Killing For.

A very fun contest is being offered — just comment any time this week at RWKF and you’ll be entered to win: 1) A Sharon Sala trilogy, 2) Snowman earrings-the glass beads handmade by me (here’s a pic of the little devils: http://www.swandesigns.com/images/auctions/let.it.snow2.jpg) But instead of a red and white scarf they have periwinkle and purple scarves…to match #3) a hand-knitted fluffy purple scarf.

And I’m a tad behind on that purple scarf because I had a little issue with the yarn I was using. Long story short, I had to ditch that scarf (almost half done) and get new yarn and start over. So, I’d better knit fast, because I wanted to have a pic of the earrings and scarf to put up on RWKF with my post tomorrow–Little Known Facts About Love.

Also, this is your last chance to get your name in for the CHOCOLATE drawing. Check out my post on RWKF here for your chance to get a chocolaty treat in the mail this week.

I’ve never been one to celebrate Valentine’s Day — always felt like it was a day made up by Hallmark to sell cards and gifts and candy. Actually, I still think it is. But as a romance author, it’s only right to celebrate a day dedicated to love in style!

So, make sure you join us over at RWKF this week!

>Getting ready…

>I haven’t posted because I’m busy getting ready for tomorrow — Valentine’s Day over at Romance Worth Killing For.

A very fun contest is being offered — just comment any time this week at RWKF and you’ll be entered to win: 1) A Sharon Sala trilogy, 2) Snowman earrings-the glass beads handmade by me (here’s a pic of the little devils: http://www.swandesigns.com/images/auctions/let.it.snow2.jpg) But instead of a red and white scarf they have periwinkle and purple scarves…to match #3) a hand-knitted fluffy purple scarf.

And I’m a tad behind on that purple scarf because I had a little issue with the yarn I was using. Long story short, I had to ditch that scarf (almost half done) and get new yarn and start over. So, I’d better knit fast, because I wanted to have a pic of the earrings and scarf to put up on RWKF with my post tomorrow–Little Known Facts About Love.

Also, this is your last chance to get your name in for the CHOCOLATE drawing. Check out my post on RWKF here for your chance to get a chocolaty treat in the mail this week.

I’ve never been one to celebrate Valentine’s Day — always felt like it was a day made up by Hallmark to sell cards and gifts and candy. Actually, I still think it is. But as a romance author, it’s only right to celebrate a day dedicated to love in style!

So, make sure you join us over at RWKF this week!