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All for a Cause

November 26, 2021-Yesterday we talked about publicity vs. advertising and the importance of publicity for building your brand. Today, we’re going to expand on that, but in a different way, with causes that are close to our hearts and that we believe in wholly. I’ll talk about our cause-related marketing efforts with things we support, believe in, and align with as a business.

Cause-related marketing (CRM) is a mutually beneficial collaboration between a corporation and a nonprofit designed to promote the former’s sales and the latter’s cause. Through CRM, businesses usually provide their partners with the following things. Here’s how you can get involved with CRM as an author:

  1. Financial support for their programs: You write them a cheque, send the cause a monthly donation to support their literacy initiative, or donate a portion of your book sales to their program. Also, this could be supporting a local sports team or performing arts in your community such as Timbits Hockey, Soccer, or Baseball, Gymnastics, Swimming, or Dance etc.
  2. Sponsorship of special events– Maybe your local library is putting on a reading buddy special event, and you’re the sponsor, or you sponsor a writing contest that they’re putting on. You provide them with the resources they need to make the special event happen.
  3. In-kind donation– This can include tangible or intangible contributions. For example, donating your time to read to kids at Sick Kids hospital, reading to seniors, or participating at your local ESL center to help adults learn English. In-kind donations can also include office equipment, marketing supplies, and your design time, etc. Essentially, in-kind donations help free up the nonprofit’s resources for allocation somewhere else.

They will put your company or name on sports jerseys, marketing materials, banners, website, social media etc. in return for your donation.

The key is that you need to BELIEVE IN and SUPPORT the organization that you’ve chosen in Cause-Related Marketing because if you’re using it as a marketing ploy, not only is that horrible, but dishonest, immoral, and unethical.

Here are some of the organizations that we currently support or have supported in the past: 

  • Triple-A Hamilton Huskies Hockey Team (Hamilton)
  • Trees Canada (at the end of the year, we add up all the print books that we’ve sold, and we plant the same number of trees to offset the resources we use like paper) (Canada)
  • Raising a Reader Massachusets  (Boston, USA)
  • Countless hours reading to kids in classrooms all over the city, virtual visits etc. (Hamilton and surrounding area)
  • Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge (Jarvis)
  • Bear Creek Sanctuary (Barrie)
  • Larch After School Program (Hamilton)
  • Cat Adoption Center (Welland)
  • Canon’s Cause (Caledonia)
  • Toronto Cat Rescue (Toronto)
  • Burlington Humane Society (Burlington)
  • Alligator Wildlife and Discovery Center (Florida, USA)
  • Tampa Bay Library (Florida, USA)
  • New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy (NYC, USA)
  • Binbrook Santa Clause Parade (Binbrook)
  • Power Wheels Derby Sponsor (Caledonia)
  • World Wildlife Fund (Global)
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Florida, USA)
  • Hamilton Public Library (Hamilton)
  • Air Cadets Canada
  • Binbrook Fair (Binbrook)

I know I’ve forgotten some organizations we’ve sponsored on the list above, but you get the idea. We love sports, animals, and books! I believe in, and ONE MILLION PERCENT SUPPORT all of the organizations that we partner with.

As an author, you are responsible for promoting literacy in your community, your country, and the world because illiteracy is a global issue with massive implications for us all.

 

 

 

 

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Advertising (is what you pay for), Publicity (is what you pray for)

November 25, 2021-Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends, neighbours, clients, and readers! Enjoy your day and save some stuffing for us!

There’s a well-known saying in marketing that Advertising is what you pay for, Publicity is what you pay for. Today, as we continue to dish out author tips for self and book promotion all this month, we’re going to examine the differences and how you can use Publicity to your advantage.

Advertising: Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea, according to Wikipedia. I define it with much more simplicity-when you pay money to tell the public about your product or service.

Publicity: It is not a paid form of mass communication that involves getting favourable responses from buyers by placing commercially significant news in mass media. Publicity is not paid for by the organization. Publicity comes from reporters, columnists, and journalists, radio hosts, bloggers, and the public. It can be considered as a part of public relations. My definition, simply put, is when people are talking about your product and recommending it without you paying them to.

Why is Publicity so much more effective than advertising? 

  1. WOM. Word of Mouth. How do you find out about new books that you should add to your reading list? Maybe a friend recommended it, or perhaps it was part of a book club that you belong to; whatever the case, word of mouth is the most effective form of Publicity because the recommendations come from people we trust. Our friends and colleagues know us, and they wouldn’t steer us wrong or recommend something they know we wouldn’t like!
  2. Credibility. Anytime you or your organization control the message, people are skeptical. Look at political ads, for example; Paid for by the Blank Party of Canada. They control the message, and that means that they can spin it any way they want to. When the organization, publisher, or brand doesn’t control the message being provided to the public, that is where the truth is. Of course, authors will say that their new novel is the latest and greatest and akin to Stephen King, but the public may feel differently! Publicity is where the truth is. Think of it this way; advertising builds exposure, where Publicity builds trust.
  3. Cost. Publicity is free. Advertising costs tens of thousands of dollars a year and sometimes even more than that! Publicity is a journalist (who is not invested in your book by means of monetary gain) who writes an article for their column on your newest novel; it is reviews and recommendations of your book by readers on Amazon or online, it’s a Facebook or social media post that shows the cover of your book and someone enjoying it while they lay on a beach.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why in the world anyone would ever pay for advertising? While there are a number of answers to that, we’ll discuss that in a different post later on. For now, Publicity is critical.

If you’re interested in helping your book gain more traction, check out my courses here: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House.

 

 

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You’re Biased (and I can prove it)

November 24, 2021– I hope that you’re gaining a lot of valuable knowledge and insight this month as we’re giving out daily author tips for self and book promotion. As you probably know, I was fortunate to study Consumer Neuromarketing and Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen a couple of years ago; today, I’ll talk about cognitive biases and how they can help you promote yourself and your books when implemented correctly.  (I can’t believe I’m giving this info away!) Here we go!

  1. Availability Bias– This bias is essentially a shortcut in our minds that causes us to rely solely on readily available knowledge rather than examining alternatives. We rely on immediate examples based on our most vivid experiences or memories in decision-making. It’s a shortcut for our brains to say, yeah, I know reading is good. You’re basing ‘reading is good’ on the information you have readily available in your brain, such as remembering all the times your parents read to you as a child or recalling the experience you had waiting in line all night for the release of your favourite author’s book and the excitement it created.
  2. False Consensus Bias-This bias is when people assume that others think the way that they do. They overestimate the degree to which their habits, values, beliefs, preferences, and opinions are normal and related to the general population. “I love books so much!” Well, not everyone does. Or “The movie was way better than the book!” Umm..no, it wasn’t. See what I mean? Not everyone thinks the way that you do.
  3. Choice-Supportive Bias-This bias happens after we make a decision. When we choose something (because we chose it and are the smartest, most educated person ever to exist), it can’t possibly be the wrong choice! We tend to feel positive about our choices, even if the choice we make has flaws. Humans also seek out information that (only) supports their choice. The point is, people hate being wrong, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make their decisions seem right. For example, we know that literacy matters, but there are people out there who will argue that kids ‘lose out on life’ if they spend too much time with their noses buried in books. They’ll argue that children who read often lack social skills or that their interpersonal skills aren’t up to snuff. Actually, studies show that the opposite is true; children who read have enhanced empathy, a higher ability to problem solve, are better at conversing due to a vast lexicon to draw upon (see what I mean?),  and improved focus and concentration, which are crucial traits of a good conversationalist. I feel like I should drop a mic here, but that’s my own choice-supportive bias coming into play as I’ve chosen the career of a publisher.
  4. Optimism Bias-This bias correlates directly with the amygdala part of the brain, which controls emotion. Often referred to as Lizard Brain, our old brain tends to make us more optimistic than we should be and hard wire us to follow wishful thinking. It leads us to believe that we are at a lower risk of experiencing a negative outcome than a positive one and that the future will be better. For example, I’m not going to buy the author’s book now, I’ll wait until it goes on sale (the future will be better), or I’ll wait to see if I win it in the draw they’re having (wishful thinking).
  5. Sunk Cost Bias-This bias leads us to stick with opportunities for too long when we have invested a lot of time or money. We irrationally pursue activities or things that don’t meet our expectations because of the aforementioned reasons. People stay in bad relationships (But, I’ve been with them for fifteen years, I can’t leave now! What a waste of time!), occupations they hate (same example as above), and continue to harm themselves through poor choices such as gambling (I can’t quit now, I have to win my money back), or addiction (I have to eat this entire $30 chocolate cake because it was too expensive to throw away even though I’m trying to live a healthier lifestyle).

I’m going to leave out the familiarity bias and the reciprocity bias for now in the interest of having this post not read like a phone book. The point of this post is to educate you into tiny insights into consumer behaviour and why people do the things they do. Keeping these biases in mind, how will you change your book-selling and promoting strategy? Will you look at your consumers through a different lens and try to understand them more effectively?  For more information on Consumer Neuromarketing for Authors, check out my course here: Neuromarketing for Authors Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

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2+2+2 Method

November 23, 2021– I hope you’re enjoying the content this month and learning a lot of valuable author tips to help promote yourself and your book. Today I’ll teach you about the 2+2+2 method; let’s dig in!

When sending out emails, direct mail, and letters, it’s normal to be worried about coming across as pushy if you haven’t heard back from the person you’ve tried to contact. That’s where the 2+2+2 method comes into play. As you’ve heard me say before, the fortune is in the follow-up.

Often, authors don’t know when to follow up, how to follow up, or what to say when they follow up. They don’t want to be seen as a pest either; let’s take the guesswork out of it all.

The 2+2+2 method helps increase your sales by ensuring that you stay in contact with the people you’ve reached out to at predetermined intervals. Some studies show that this method increases sales by a whopping 50%!

2+2+2 stands for two days, two weeks, two months.

The first email you send to your contact should be two days after you initially meet them or two days after the first point of introduction, whether online, in person, or over the phone.

The purpose of this email is to thank the contact for chatting with you and say some nice things to remind them of how you met. For example, I was visiting a wildlife preserver recently and was stopped by the Game Warden. He said, “I haven’t seen anyone this far out unless they were hunting something…what are you hunting?” I told him I wasn’t hunting anything, only that I enjoyed hiking off the beaten path. We chatted for over an hour about various wildlife in the park, and he gave me his contact info in case I had any other questions. I emailed him two days later to say it was nice meeting him and to say thanks for the chat, and I attached a link to an article that I thought he might enjoy about a wild hog on a golf course (it’s a long story). He’s become one of my best customers and buys almost a hundred books a year, all from a simple email that I sent to keep the ‘relationship’ alive. Plus, now he’s my resident expert when I have any questions for research on my book that has to do with plants, wildlife, ow.

You want to send a thank you email in two days because focus groups show that things stay exciting (or top of mind) for about three days. After that, the interest and memory fade.

The second email should be sent two weeks after the first to pitch them your book. Using the above example of my Game Warden friend, I sent him an email two weeks after the first one (he thanked me for sending the article in-between time) telling him that I had some great recommendations for books for his two-year-old son that had a heavy focus on nature, animals, and preserving their habitats (all things that we had initially talked about and that I knew he enjoyed and was invested in). He ordered our entire collection and recommended them to other family members. A couple of days later, we had sold over $1,000 in inventory. Not bad for a simple email that took a few seconds to reach out.

The third email should be sent two months later. I checked in with the Warden to see how his son liked the books and asked how things were going. He told me his son loved the books and that he especially appreciated that I had personalized and signed them for his collection. We’ve been in contact frequently ever since, and we’ve developed a friendship all from one conversation and a couple of follow-up emails. You get the point. Use the 2+2+2 method every time you reach out!

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Networking Tips for Authors

November 22, 2021– We’re giving out daily tips for authors all month long! I hope you’re enjoying all the information we’ve chatted about so far; today, we’re giving you some great advice on Networking.

Networking can happen at any time and a lot of times unexpectedly. Whether waiting in line for coffee, at the grocery store, or while getting your haircut, you should always be ready to chat about what you do and why.

  • Always have business cards. If people are interested in what you do, or it comes up in conversation, a good thing to do is give them a business card to check things out for themselves and stay in touch with you. I get their card as well, or at least their email address, so if they don’t contact me (for whatever reason, maybe they lost my card, forgot etc.) I can follow up with them.
  • Take notes. When I ask for their card or email, I quickly write down their name and where we met as a reminder. The more info I have, the better I can tailor my message. For example, if they said they had a three-year-old granddaughter, I would write that down so that I could send them an email about books that would be suitable for that age group.
  • 30 seconds. That’s how much time you have for your’ elevator pitch’ when someone asks what you do. If you can’t define what you do and what your book is about in 30 seconds or less, you will never get your point across no matter how much time you take explaining yourself. Get to the point and leave them with a hook so that they want to find out more. I remember being in a lunch meeting with an author who was interested in signing with Pandamonium. I remember the server asking if we were celebrating an event, and I said it was a working lunch, one thing led to another, and she asked what the author’s book was about. I recall watching her eyes glaze over as the author went into minute detail about every angle of his manuscript. I felt bad for the server and tipped her extra (true story) for having to sit through his torturous explanation. Needless to say, he never got published (by us anyway).
  • Not all about you. Remember to keep the conversation reciprocal; it’s not all about you. Take a genuine interest in the other person and ask questions that will help you get to know them and find out their needs, interests, family situation, etc.
  • Similarities. Finding similar interests between yourself and someone you just met is essential for creating trust and ease in the conversation. People think, ‘Wow, they’re just like me!’ If they feel this way, they are more likely to continue to talk and further build a relationship with you enough so that you can employ the 2+2+2 method.

We’ll talk about the 222 Method tomorrow, stay tuned!

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What to Bring

November 19, 2021– Today, we’re chatting about what essential things authors should bring to a book signing! This video was from a couple of years ago (so please don’t come to see me today, lol! Another time, absolutely).  Check out the video here from our YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss an episode. The items you need to bring to a book signing – YouTube

 

 

 

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Author Interviews

November 17, 2021– We’re talking about daily, actionable tips for authors to help promote themselves and their books all through November. Today, we’re focusing on author interviews! What exactly are author interviews, you ask? Well, I’m not going to tell you; I’m going to show you. There are endless benefits to doing author interviews like connecting with your audience, answering reader questions, and cross-promotion with other businesses, as you’ll see here with our very own Tonya Cartmell discussing her book The 12 Days of Rescue. Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/ONAFfUs4jLI

Be to join us tonight, November 17th, at 7 pm EST on Facebook Live (Pandamonium Publishing House) as we talk to author Lynn Baillie about her new book Breaking Out of the Darkness. Stay tuned for more author interviews!

Check out our entire book listing here: Book Listings – Pandamonium Publishing House including Tonya’s!