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Did You Blow It?

April 12, 2019– Uh oh, did you totally screw up? Did you drop the ball? Did you blow your one and only shot at properly marketing your book? Well, the good news is, you can start over and begin again, this time more intelligently. Today we’re talking about the top three book marketing mistakes that authors make. Is this you? I hope not.

  1. Starting too late. This is the number one thing that will KILL your sales and have you spending money like it’s no one’s business. Waiting until your book is published before marketing it is a terrible idea. It is NEVER too early to start marketing your book. NEVER TOO EARLY.
  2. Scattered efforts. If your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. I say this all the time. Same goes for your book launch. If you’re scattering your marketing efforts then you’re also scattering your money and time. Please don’t market your book to everyone! This is a huge mistake and such a waste of energy.
  3. Phase Fatigue. Hold the phone, there’s more marketing? Honestly, where did you think you were coming today? Yes, of course, there is more marketing to be done. Marketing is like a human baby, if you don’t feed and water it daily, it’s going to die. Ok, maybe I should have used a plant as a better example. The book launch is only the FIRST phase of your marketing plan! If you don’t continue to nurture each phase of your launch, your book will wither and die (annnnd there’s the plant analogy).

If you’ve done any of these things or haven’t done them properly, stop. STOP. RIGHT. NOW. Focus your efforts, come up with a plan, and start again. I’m always here to help if you want a free consult (30 minutes) all you need to do is email me (pandapublishing8@gmail.com) and I’ll guide you back onto the yellow brick road.

Here’s to your success! X LLB

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This Could Be The Shortest Blog Post Ever…

April 3, 2019– Did you see the image that goes along with this blog post? It says, How to Sell Books Without Marketing. I’m going to tell you exactly how to do that in two simple words, YOU. CAN’T.  It makes me crazy when people go around spewing incorrect and irresponsible advice to self-published authors who really want to sell their books.

Marketing is the catalyst that moves EVERY business, not just the book business! Without marketing, how are prospective readers ever going to find out about your work? Without marketing how can they find where to buy your book? Where can they find out about you as an author and how can they find out about new releases you have coming out? ONE WORD. MARKETING. Let’s explore a couple of different options for the best ways to market your self-published book.

  1. Word of mouth. We all know that word of mouth is the best way to sell anything; from movie tickets, insurance, books, and everything in between, word of mouth is the most trusted source of marketing. Word of mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing because people trust the opinions of others (their peers, friends, relatives, and their immediate circle of people). Let’s say that you’re out on the weekend with some friends and one of them tells you about a fabulous new restaurant in your town; they talk about how excellent the service was, how fast their food came out, and the stunning decor of the restaurant. They also tell you that it was the best steak they’ve ever had and that you must try it! What are you going to do? You’re going to check it out of course! Same goes for books, readers who liked your book are more likely to tell others about it, this will lead to more sales of your title and at the very least, more hits on your website!
  2. Interactive marketing. This is also known as event-driven marketing which means that your readers have a two-way communication channel to connect them to your company. You as the author interact with your readers on many different levels and some of these include, shows, book signings, skype sessions, library talks, and any time you’re out in public. Interactive marketing is essential to your success because it lets your readers know that you care about them and what they have to say. It lets you meet them face to face and create a two-way relationship!

The above two types of marketing are obviously not an exhaustive list of all the options that are available, but they are an excellent and most important place to start.

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All Of Your Books Have Money In Them…

April 1, 2019– It’s the first day of April! Yay! Let’s hope that spring is in the air and that we’ll finally be able to venture outside sans parka. Today, I want to talk about the value of the books that you already have on/in your bookshelf, Kindle, iPad, phone, and digital libraries; it may seem crazy to think that every single book you own has the potential to make you a lot of money. I can’t remember who said it, maybe it was Mark Cuban, but whoever it was said, “Each book I read has at least one, million-dollar idea inside.” How do you find the money? Let’s explore!

  1. Inspiration to write your own book. This is definitely one way to make some dollars especially if you’re already a writer with an established reader base, but even if you aren’t, you can always find ideas to write about that could be the key to unlocking a potential book deal with a publisher!  Looking through books you already have can spark a new idea for a book of your own. After all, where do new ideas come from, right?
  2. Advice you can follow. If you have books about investing, the stock market, how to save money, and other financial advice, imagine implementing just one idea and how far ahead you could be this time next year! This happened to me personally when I read the book titled Profit First-it changed the way I budget for my business and I’ve never looked back!
  3. An idea that you can implement. Let’s say that you’re a cat lover/expert and you’ve got Modern Cat Magazine strewn across your furniture and on every nightstand in your home; it may be enough to spark a new idea that can make you money such as developing a new toy for cats, or a cat sitting business, or hosting a cat show that you’re going to spearhead in your city. Maybe you know enough about cats to query the magazine for a writing gig; you never know when inspiration can hit like a pound of catnip!
  4. A new view on an old perspective. This happens a lot in medical journals with new information coming to light all the time. First coffee was bad for us (this sentence was difficult to write and totally blasphemous), now it’s good. Then it was too much sleep, too little sleep, cell phones are bad, cell phones are good (debatable), and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective to open up a new side of your brain and spark an idea. By solving new problems, you can make a lot of dough. For example, you’ve been doing a lot of reading on the benefits of essential oils, perhaps you could host a workshop where people can make their own combinations or host a talk at your local health food store about how essential oils changed your life! The possibilities are endless.

We know that knowledge is freedom, but did you know that knowledge is also financial freedom if you act on it? Here’s to your success now and always! X LLB

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The Benefits of Writing Groups

March 8, 2019- Up until about a year ago, I was a regular member of a local writing group that met each Saturday at a coffee shop in town. It was super relaxed and there were around eight of us, laptops in hand, armed with new ideas, and ready to write. It was a fantastic experience and some of the things I learned along the way, I still carry with me today. The only reason why I stopped going was that I ran out of time and my writing business took over with events that were held on weekends. Being part of a casual writing group was a great experience and here’s why you should consider joining one:

  1. You’ll get inspired and beat writer’s block. There’s something to be said about gathering in a small group and sharing ideas. Some of my best book ideas have come from just chatting with others and listening to their perspectives on different topics.
  2. You’ll develop discipline. Every Saturday for two hours from 9 am until 11 am is when our group met and started writing. This helped me develop discipline; it made me realize that I could sit down for two consecutive hours and write, uninterrupted.
  3. You’ll get and be able to give constructive criticism. This was the most important thing that I got out of joining a writing group. My comrades gave me constructive criticism and made me take a hard look at my writing. They saw the holes that I was blind to. They asked the tough questions that made me a better writer and for that, I’m eternally grateful. I was also able to give feedback and trust my instincts that I knew what I was doing and what I was talking about as a writer.
  4. You’ll get to network with like-minded people and make some friends. There are people that I’m still friends with from this group and I’ve also been able to do business with a few of them. We still talk about writing and bounce ideas off each other every once in a while.

I highly recommend joining a local writer’s group! You’ll have a blast and be able to hone your skills at the same time. Happy writing! X LLB

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Things You Should Know…

February 25, 2019-I had a fantastic trip to New York this month, and I learned so much at the SCBWI conference. The Society of Book Writers and Illustrators is just one of the many excellent organizations you can join as an author; the guidelines and specifications are online, so be sure to check them out if you’re interested in becoming a member.

Being an author is a tough business, but you should never give up if story writing is your dream. Here are a  few things that you should know:

  1. You are way more capable than you believe. You can do this, you can deal with the rejections, you can write something special and meaningful. Some days it may seem like you’re banging your head against the desk because the words won’t come, but I assure you, you can do this! Keep going.
  2. Lots of people believe in you and want to see you succeed; they also want to help you in achieving your goals. Your family, friends, community, spouse, loved ones, and teachers all want to see you make it! They’re cheering you on, and if you ever need help, all you need to do is ask them, and they’ll be thrilled to do so. We can’t be in this business alone, and we won’t get very far by ourselves.
  3. You have a choice. You can choose to listen to those who want to try and change your purpose, your work, your ideas, your vision, and your path, or you can go with your gut and keep writing and sharing the stories you want to tell.
  4. The truth is, the publishing and writing industry is contradictory at times, and you never seem to get a straight answer. Keep digging for information and advice and go with the choices that speak to you. If you’re a children’s author and you think you need an agent, don’t hesitate to go with your gut even when you get conflicting information.
  5. This is a business. Our business is books and storytelling. Our job is to tell the stories and then sell the stories.

I hope that you get the chance to visit New York and see all that it has to offer! From museums to sporting events, to Broadway and beyond, the arts and inspiration are around every corner. X LLB

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One of the breathtaking pieces of art that I saw at the MET, Alexander the Great
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One Isn’t the Loneliest Number…(It’s the most dangerous!)

November 26, 2018– We’re talking about the business of writing again and this goes for authors too so listen up! One isn’t the loneliest number, it’s the most dangerous and here’s why; if you’re relying on one of anything, you’re about to have major problems.

The number one makes your business fragile, brittle, and wobbly. Here are some things that are bad when it comes to the number one:

  1. You only have one book.
  2. You only have one source of leads.
  3. You only have one major supplier.
  4. You only have one type of product.
  5. You only have one major customer.
  6. You only have one type of service.
  7. You only have one source of income.

Why is this so bad? Because having one of anything simply leads to ONE, SINGLE point of failure. This means that any small change in circumstances could devastate your business and your career. Don’t put yourself in this situation, start working on multiples. Multiple books, multiple income streams, multiple buyers and suppliers and products. This way, if one thing fails, you can pivot to the next thing. I run my business under the constant question of, “WHAT IF?” and this way of thinking has saved me more than once.

  • What if your largest customer leaves you for the competition or they don’t require your products/services anymore?
  • What if your main source of leads dries up?
  • What if your main marketing strategy stops working?
  • What if your supplier goes out of business?
  • What if you don’t have e-books and the bookstore you have your book in goes out of business?

What if, what if, what if? Some people may disagree with my way of thinking and say that I’m being pessimistic and looking at the glass as half empty. Think what you will but this strategy allows me to prepare for the worst and hope for the best; it also allows me to have a plan of action should the crap hit the fan. This way of thinking allows me to feel more in control and that I can handle anything that gets thrown my way because I constantly have a backup plan.

As an author and entrepreneur are you prepared for the worst? Things change constantly and change is the only constant. Be prepared and get to work with new books, new products, new strategies, and new contacts.

X LLB

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (And how it helps your writing!)

October 1, 2018– Back when I was an official student of Marketing and Business, (I say official because I still consider myself a student of both, just not in a typical classroom setting) we learned about Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. It was fascinating and captivating to see what humans need and that we are unable to move from one level to the next if there are any gaps in the previous level. Let me explain; as we look at the chart below, we see that the very basics of human need are food, water, and shelter. If we don’t have these needs met, we can’t move on to social stability, achievement, and experiencing our unique purpose.

I know what you’re thinking…umm… thanks for the lesson but what does this have to do with writing? Well, think about the hierarchy below; how does your character fit into this? Does your character lack love and belonging and to they need to resolve this issue before moving on with their life? Is your character dying to be unique? Maybe your character is questioning their morality?

This chart will also make you credible. We know that human nature is to take care of the basics. If we have no food, our first goal is to find food and feed ourselves. Have you ever been so hungry that you can’t even think straight? I’m sure you have, we all have and for various reasons. How are we supposed to think about self-actualization when our stomach is growling so loudly that we can’t hear ourselves think? You get the picture.  Now, I know that some of you may argue the point that someone like Gandhi was able to reach self-actualization because he deprived himself of food, and yes there is merit to that argument. My point is, that with most people, including your characters, we can’t ignore our basic needs and we’ll do whatever it takes to meet them.

Happy Writing! X LLB

 

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

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So You Want to Run a Writing Business…

September 19, 2018– So you want to run a writing business, congratulations! Do you know what you really want?

A lot of authors branch off into offering writing services to the general public. It may be editing or consulting, helping someone flesh out ideas for their book, or it can even be assisting self-published authors with the long publishing journey ahead. Whatever it is, before you begin, make sure you have a head for business.

I’m not going to mention money or charges or price structure in this post because that is entirely up to you! What I am going to talk about are the most important things you need to do before you even THINK about pricing your services.

As I own a full-service publishing house, I have some tips on running a successful writing business:

  1. What are you offering? Make sure that you’re clear about what you do and what you don’t do! Do you offer line editing? Revisions and re-writes? Manuscript consultations? Blog hosting? YOU have to know what you do before anyone else can.
  2. Who is your ideal client and what qualities do they possess? When you work with clients you love, you’ll genuinely enjoy the job you’re doing, and that’s when you do your best work! Make a list of the traits your ideal clients have. Are they bright? Resilient? Courageous? Big thinkers? Rapid responders?
  3. Identify your target market of ideal clients. What do you specialize in and who is your niche? Choosing your target market is essential because to reach the people you’re meant to work with, you’ve got to know where to find them. Maybe your writing business is ghostwriting for medical professionals, make a list of where to find the people who need your services!
  4. Determine the biggest result your clients get. What is the number one outcome that you help your target market achieve? Do you help self-published authors get their book from an idea into physical form? Potential clients within your target market must see your services and products as opportunities to receive a return on their monetary investment. What kind of ROI will your clients get from working with you?

It’s imperative to your success that you answer the above questions before getting started. Because as I always say, you can’t hit a target you can’t see. Here’s to your success!

X LLB

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I Finished My Manuscript and My Book is in Hand! Now What?

May 16, 2018- My book is here! Now what?

I hear this statement all the time from new authors and although it’s a valid question…it makes me cringe. I know that this might sound a bit harsh, but as your big sis in the writing world, it’s my job to bring the rain…I mean truth.  It makes me shudder because it tells me that the author didn’t put in the work BEFORE finishing their ms and they’re about to have one hell of a rough time. Give me a chance to explain.

I’m focusing on one camp of authors, and that is our self-pub’d friends. So, the author has done the work, their book is completed, printed, and ready for sale! Yay right? Hold on a second…now is where the real work begins.

Too many times our self-published friends end up with a garage full of boxes of their books and that makes me sad because it doesn’t need to be that way! It’s not that the book was sub-par, it’s that they didn’t have a clear plan as to what they’d need to do at the selling stage. It’s an amazing feat to finish writing a book, but the truly incredible achievement is getting them into the hands of readers. A lot of the time there are visions of grandeur where tons of people line up to meet the author at book signings. Let me break it to you gently, this doesn’t happen unless your James Patterson or you’ve marketed the S*&T out of your upcoming event/book signing/book.

How are our friends going to sell their book? Where are they going to sell their books? Are the books available in print only or are they available electronically as well? Do they have a marketing plan? Do they have a solid author platform? And so on. See my point?

Let me pass on the best piece I’ve ever received from my mentor, “When you’re writing the book, it’s art. When the book is completed, it’s business-NEVER confuse the two.” That statement will stay with me for as long as I am in this world of publishing and well beyond.

My advice is to finish the manuscript, and then, before getting to the books in hand stage, craft your marketing plan and answer, at the very least, the questions above. It’s harder than it looks in the self-publishing world! Be prepared and remember that I believe in you! Tell your story-the world needs it.

X LLB

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