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Belly Flop

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-a9m55-f32baa
One of the greatest Guerrilla Marketing Fails of all time 😎

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The Power of First Impressions

November 23, 2020– A few months ago, I packed Luna into the truck and drove for about an hour and a half to deliver some books that were ordered to an establishment in a small town. It was a new account and I was so excited to chat with the owner of the store, talk about the new release, and see if perhaps we could collaborate in the future by cross-promoting each other.  I was also pumped to browse the items she offered, and I needed to do some shopping!

I arrived at the destination, books in hand and pushed through the front door. No one seemed to be around, so I took a few steps further inside. A woman popped up from behind the counter, and suddenly out of nowhere, there were four sales clerks. “Can I help you with something?” the woman asked, and I said, “Hi, I’m Lacey, and I’m here to meet Jane (name has been changed).” The woman paused, “Does she know you’re coming?” I said, “She sure does! I told her I’d be here today at 11, and here I am!” The woman shot me a glare and said, “What was your name again, and what are you here for?” I explained about the book order that I was dropping off and repeated my name.

The woman finally went to get Jane and returned to the counter to chat with the other workers about me apparently being wrong for waltzing into the place and asking to see the owner. Much to my amusement, the experience with the owner was worse!  I smiled and handed her the books. “Thanks,” she said and spun on her heel and left. I was dumbfounded. Was this actually happening? I stood in place for a moment to see if she was just putting down the books and then coming back. She never returned.

I left the store without looking around, without picking out the three birthday gifts I planned on getting, and without posting the collaboration on social media. I was so disgusted by the entire experience that I vowed never to mention the company by name; I unfollowed them on social media and basically washed my hands of the situation. By the time I had walked back to the truck, my phone had dinged with an email notification…it was from Jane. She said, “Thanks for dropping off the order. The books are great! I look forward to meeting you one day.” I laughed out loud. I emailed her back. I said, “You’re welcome. You already have met me; I was in your store five minutes ago.” My phone rang almost instantly, and Jane was on the other end, explaining that she didn’t know I was the owner etc. etc.

Here’s the thing, it shouldn’t matter if I’m the owner, the driver, the receptionist, the plumber, the janitor, or the intern…everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. That company lost my business that day. They lost my contact, social media support, positive word of mouth advertising, and the wholesale discount I gave them for any future orders. I have no interest in dealing with that business or its employees ever again. First impressions matter! And so do second and third, and fifteenth. I have never felt more like an inconvenience in my life, and I’ve never felt that unwelcome before. It’s too bad because small businesses need our support more than ever. But save your pennies for the places that want to serve you with kindness and respect, the places that are eager to help you and that make you feel welcome.

Your company and your employees are an extension of YOU. You set the standard of care for your customers, and if you’re setting a bad example, why shouldn’t your employees do the same? It all starts at the top. And pleading ignorance is a lame excuse that no one will believe anyway, so don’t bother. Treat people how you want to be treated. It’s that simple. Your first impression can make or break your business!

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Breakdown

November 18, 2020-What are your goals as a writer? What are your financial goals as an author? What are your publishing goals? Many you will answer, but a lot of you won’t because you have no idea what they are. Goal setting can take us from poverty to prosperity, from frustration to fulfillment, and from stalling to success. If you haven’t written down your goals, do it now before we continue.

Let’s say that your financial goal as an author is to earn $1,000.00 a day. There are 24 hours in a day (and don’t tell me that you won’t work 24 hours a day, because technology allows us to make money while we sleep!) so, 1000/24=$41.60 per hour is what you need to hit your target. Wow, Lacey, $41.60 per hour is a lot of money! How can I possibly do that every day? Let’s break that down. If you made $1000.00 per day every day, then at the end of the year, you would have earned $365,000, minus taxes off that, and you’re probably around $140,000 per year, depending on where you live.

So, let’s use the $41.60 per hour. If we need to earn this each hour, we can look at how many book sales that would equal. If each book is priced at $14.99, you’d have to sell 3 per hour every hour.

Now, looking at the number 3…does that seem as impossible as the $1000.00 per day or even the $41.60 per hour? When you break down your goals into manageable chunks, NOTHING is impossible. No more excuses, no more I can’t mentality, get out there and make things happen. Listen, we have the ability to connect virtually with people right now more than ever before! If you have an online store, customers can order your products and services. You can pre-record social media posts and info about your products and schedule for them to run while you’re sleeping or on vacation or to reach new customers in different timezones. Goal setting allows us to reach targets and to focus our attention on small tasks that make a big difference to our bottom line.

Let’s use another example; we’ll say that your goal is to write an 80,000-word novel in 12 months. We’ll do the math again, 80,000/12=6666 words a month/30 days is 222 words per day. That’s it. Only 222 words per day. What’s your excuse for not finishing your book? Whatever you’ve accomplished up until this point in time is only a FRACTION of your potential.

I have an author on my team, Tonya Cartmell who has set an amazing goal of selling 1 MILLION copies of her book, The 12 Days of Rescue (which you can get here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/the-12-days-of-rescue/) and I have no doubt that she will reach her goal!

Math and hard work don’t lie. And whatever your goals are, they can always be broken down to show that they aren’t that intimidating! Don’t let big goals scare you, the bigger the better! They are more than manageable when you break them into easy, bite-sized chunks.

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Your Books Make a Difference

November 6, 2020-Did, you know that as an author, your books make a difference? Whether they’re listed under the “self-help” genre or not, your books make a difference in the lives of your readers. Here’s how:

  1. They offer an escape. There is a lot to escape from nowadays with the state of affairs in our world. Sometimes we need a break and escaping into a book is the best way to let the world melt around us, even if just for a little while.
  2. They show people it can be done. Your books offer hope to those who want to become authors. They show them that if you can do it, so can they. This is especially true for people close to us, such as our friends, family, and people in our community. Being an author inspires people to get writing.
  3. They give entertainment value. People reading your books will laugh and cry along with your characters. They’ll be entertained by the dialogue,  the story, and the plot. Reading is like watching a movie in our brain.
  4. They offer a different perspective. Your book offers a different perspective on the world because you can only experience it through your eyes. Readers may read your book that’s a genre that they’re not used to, or see things through the lens of one of your characters.

So, the next time you feel like giving up or slacking off, remember who is watching.

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How to Avoid Criticism

November 5, 2020-Want to know how to avoid criticism as an author? Say nothing, do nothing, be nothing, and write nothing. No matter what you do, someone is going to complain. You have a choice, do what you want to do, write the books you want to read, and put yourself out there without caring what people think. This is harder for some people than others, but I promise you, once you stop caring what people think, that’s when you’re free.

This week, one of my authors had a review left on their page. It was less than stellar. But, we focus on the positive. One person didn’t like his book; art is subjective, so let’s move on. If we had wallowed in what other people thought of our work, we’d never write another word. People are entitled to their opinions, and that’s just it; they’re only OPINIONS. What people think of us and our work isn’t going to shatter us, stop us from writing, or give us a complex. What people think of us is none of our business. So how do you bounce back from a nasty review (I’ve had tons of my own, trust me), cutting remark, or mean email?

  1. Do not respond. The worst thing you can do is respond to someone who doesn’t like you or your work. Let them have their opinion and focus on the positive. The last thing you want to be involved in is a war of words. Remember that people are entitled to think whatever they want.
  2. See if there’s truth in the comment. Yes, sometimes I get hate mail…ok, a lot of the time. But sometimes a lot of good comes from it. A person will complain about a character or story arc and say that I can’t write worth beans. This allows me to take a closer look at what they’re saying and see if they’re correct. No matter how harsh, criticism lets me reflect on my work and conduct and improve in areas that need improvement.
  3. Don’t get discouraged. Keep doing your thing, keep writing, and keep moving forward. Oftentimes, people who aren’t happy with themselves or their circumstances lash out at others. People who start fights aren’t at war with you; they’re at war with themselves. Wish them the best and get back to work.
  4. Remember that you can’t make everyone happy. If your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. There will always be people out there that love your work and others who hate it. You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.

It’s fine to offer constructive criticism in a positive manner, but it’s quite another to be mean about it. Remember, on the other side of the screen is a human being. How would you want to be treated?