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Strategic Marketing Plan

November 30, 2021– I hope you’ve enjoyed the content this month which was tips for authors to promote themselves and their books. Be sure to visit tomorrow for a brand new theme of the month! Today, we’re talking all about strategic marketing plans:

Your strategic marketing plan shows how to market your book for success and serves as a roadmap of priorities and decision-making. Here are the questions that you need to answer for your plan. If you can’t answer these questions with a clear and concise vision, then you’re not ready to launch.

1) Does your plan align with the mission of why you do what you do? For example, let’s say you want to inspire young girls to grow up and be empowered to make good choices. Does your plan align with that message? These used to be called mission statements.
2) Does your plan assess the current environment and fit well within it? Are people reading more e-books? Are they reading paperbacks? What is the average price? What are they reading right now? Etc.
3) Does your plan identify a gap in the market? This is your point of differentiation. Publishing Made Simple came about because we got 15 phone calls in a week asking to answer questions about publishing.
4) Does your plan clarify strategic goals? What do you want your book to accomplish? How long will it take? How much will it cost?
5) Does your plan provide a logical pathway to reach the above goals? This is the ‘how’ you’ll do it.
6) Does your plan provide deadlines, objectives, and troubleshooting? What if the book doesn’t sell 5,000 copies in the first month? Etc.
7) Does your plan include a method for measuring and evaluating the success of the said plan? E.g., you set out to do a school visit four times a month, were you successful?

If you need help with your marketing plan as an author or publisher, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our offerings here: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House or email us for a custom quote based on your needs pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

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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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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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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!

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Wish List

November 12, 2021– Yesterday, we paused our posts to remember those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. We will never forget and will always be thankful.

We’re talking about a tip a day for authors to help promote themselves and their books. Today we have a really fun yet very effective tip that we hope you’ll enjoy!

Do you have a book wish list? Not books that you want to read or buy, but a list of the celebrities that you wish were seen with your book or gave a shout-out to your book on their platform? We know the age of the influencer is here, and when we think of the original influencers, Oprah Winfrey comes first to mind. Oprah still has a lot of pull even though her show isn’t on the air anymore. Take, for example, Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad Poor Dad); originally, he self-published (the now international bestseller) and quietly released around 1,000 copies of his book at his private birthday celebration. His book had slowly climbed to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List by word of mouth, and a little while later, Oprah Winfrey came calling and said she wanted him on her show. Being on the show catapulted Robert to success, and his book ended up selling over 22 million copies in over 100 countries and has been translated into more than 50 languages. That is the power of the Oprah Influence.

Remember when Victoria Beckham was seen stepping out of the airport with 50 Shades of Grey tucked under her arm? Or when Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame hid free books around London as gifts for unsuspecting readers? Have you seen Reese Witherspoon’s book club selection at your local bookstore? You get my point.

Today, I’d like you to make a wishlist of celebrities that you would love to see carrying your book out in public. Dream big! And then take action. The best way to contact the celebrities on your list is by emailing the celebrity representative. Celebrities receive so many messages directly on their social media platforms, especially from fans meaning that your message could easily get lost amongst them. You can usually find contact information on their websites, agent websites, and by doing a Google search.

Best of luck! You never know what can happen and the answer will always be no if you don’t ask.

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The Power of Free (Talks)

November 8, 2021– Wait…I know what you’re thinking…we’ve already talked about freebies and giveaways! Don’t worry; we’re not duplicating what we’ve already learned. We’re talking about The Power of Free Talks to build your credibility and following as an author.

So what does this entail? Well, you’ve written a book, and now you’ve done something that a lot of people haven’t done but may be interested in; this knowledge and the process of self-publishing a book or being traditionally published lets you speak about your experience and how you got from point a (unknown writer) to point b (published author). By offering free talks about your journey, you can not only let people know how to do what you did, what inspired you to write, a bit about your book and where to find it, and tips to share, but you can build a solid following of new readers eager to hear you speak again and ready to buy your books.

Here are five best practices when offering free presentations:

  1. Don’t use PowerPoint. I’m not a fan of slides because I think that people pack way too much information into each one, and the message gets lost; I think it’s very impersonal and stuffy at times too. You want to connect with your audience in a more intimate way, and by standing behind a podium clicking through slides, you create barriers to yourself and your message.
  2. Practice until it’s perfect. Don’t use notes if you can help it. Looking at your notes, or worse, reading from your notes verbatim disengages you from your audience. Practice until your presentation is memorized, but allow room for things to be created organically based on the needs and wants of your audience.
  3. Bring stock. Sell your book at the back of the room.  A good rule of thumb is to bring what you think you’ll need plus half. So, that means if you think (or have confirmed) a dozen people will attend, bring eighteen books to sell.
  4. Anticipate questions. Leave some room at the end of your discussion for questions from your attendees. I like to give about 15 minutes and find that anything longer is too long to allocate for questions.
  5. Sign-ups. At the beginning and end of your talk, let your audience know that there is a signup sheet they can add their email to if they’d like to be added to your email list for upcoming events and information about your new book releases and future talks. Let them know the value of signing up, such as behind-the-scenes info, special offers, and more.

Places to do free talks:

  1. Schools-School auditoriums will often let you rent out their space after hours.
  2. Libraries-Check with your local library about putting on a free presentation or book talk. They’ll usually help you advertise it and put up posters for the event to let their patrons know there will be a special presentation.
  3. Churches- Some churches have community rooms that you can use for free or for a small donation. Check your local listings.
  4. Conference rooms-You’re often able to rent out small rooms above arenas and in corporate spaces.

Some of my most loyal readers and best customers have come from giving free talks at the local library! Give it a shot; you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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Show Them What They Mean

November 4, 2021– I know it’s only been a few days so far, but I hope you’re enjoying our daily tips for authors! Today we’re talking about customer appreciation; our customers are the best, and let’s face it, without them, we’d be out of business.

Show your customers what they mean to you in tangible ways! Whatever you choose to do doesn’t have to cost a fortune and can be memorable and sincere.

  • Thank them: So many businesses today don’t thank their customers. Rarely do you hear a store clerk say, “Thank you for your purchase or Thank you for shopping at (fill in the blank).” It’s a simple gesture that is taken for granted, and this simple, free act is enough to make your customer stop and take notice. Consumers today are so underwhelmed by customer service (and most of us even think that bad service is the new normal) that saying thank you and being sincere and authentic about it will impress them, and they’ll remember you. You’ll make an impression, that’s for sure.
  • Personalization: Address your customer by name whenever possible and show interest in their lives. In our database, we have critical points on our customers such as buying behaviours, but we also have snippets about their family, their job, their interests and hobbies as they’ve given us this info. We’ll ask how the kids are, how the pets are, how work is going, and we’ll address them by name. People like to feel important, understood, and as friends, and these things help us convey that message.
  • Gift: Customer reward programs can take many forms, from coupons to free classes, vouchers, rebates, and more. Let your customers know you care by gifting them something they can use.
  • Touch base: If you haven’t heard from some of your customers for a while, be sure to reach out and see how they’re doing. Send a quick email that says you’re checking in to see how they are and that you hope they’re doing well. This lets your customers know that you genuinely care about them.
  • Greeting card: Every single year, on my birthday, I get a birthday card from the garage where I take my truck in to get an oil change. It was unexpected but such a nice gesture. They took time out of their day to write a handwritten note to say Happy birthday, and they gave me a coupon for 10% off my next oil change. Guess where my truck has gone to for service for the past ten years? If that’s not loyalty, I don’t know what is. Do the same for your customer base.

The point is, you won’t be in business for long if you don’t take care of your customers! Let them know that they matter because they do.

If you require any of our services, check them out here: Services – Pandamonium Publishing House for additional assistance, please email for a custom price quote pandapublishing8@gmail.com

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Give it Away Now

November 3, 2021– We’re talking about daily tips for authors this month, and today we’re focusing on giveaways!

Giveaways are a great promotional tool for many reasons; let’s explore those functions and talk about some great ideas for your next giveaway!

Function: Giving away free promotional items or having a contest for a prize help people identify your brand and remind them of your business when they are ready to purchase.

Benefits of contests and giveaways for you as an author:

Giveaways and contests help grow your audience, boost engagement with your posts, and increase customer loyalty.

Define your goals: 

  1. What do you want your contest or giveaway to accomplish? Perhaps you want to grow your email list, increase engagement, reach new customers, or reward your clients. Whatever it is, be clear about what results you want.

I love contests and free stuff, who doesn’t? As long as you conduct your giveaways and contests in the proper way, it can be beneficial for everyone. Here are some best practices that you should follow:

  1. Be truthful. If you’re doing a draw for a contest and you’re having people fill out ballots with their email addresses, ask for their permission first to add them to your database. Be honest and say that you’d like to sign them up for some free coupons, contests, and your monthly newsletter. They have the choice to opt in or out.
  2. Never give this away. The one thing you should never give away is a copy of your book. Why? Because that deters people from purchasing it. If your book is a draw item or part of a prize pack, your customer will usually take their chances and wait to see if they’ve won rather than buy your book upfront. That’s why it’s best to use complementary items as we’ll list below.
  3. Make it easy. We don’t want any barriers for people entering the contest. Make the rules clear, ensure that the steps are easy, and follow through with delivery/pick up and after the winner has been chosen.

Here are some great giveaway ideas: 

-Promotional items such as pens, notepads, and cups with your business name or book name on them
-T-shirts, hats, tote bags with your book cover on them or the name of your business
-Gift cards, colouring pages, stickers, and activity sheets with your website info on them

A great way to entice people to visit your booth or table at an event is to have something highly intriguing and visible front and center. For example, let’s say that you’re a children’s book author; you can draw kids and their parents to your table by having an oversized, plush animal up for grabs in a contest. Maybe you’re a fiction writer who has a book for adults that has just come out and you’re offering a gift card to a spa or for wine tasting because that’s what your main character participates in during your book. Whatever you choose to offer, make sure it complements what your book is about or what your main character engages in.

Don’t forget to engage those on social media too! This helps boost engagement on your posts, increases shares, and gets people talking about you and your book.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube at Pandamonium Publishing House!

 

 

 

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Media Madness

November 2, 2021– We’re finding our way around the theme this month, which is an idea a day to promote yourself and your work! This includes best practices and tips to help you navigate the waters of book promotion, advertising, marketing and publicity.

Today’s post is pretty straightforward when it comes to approaching the media. Do what the media likes and stay away from what they don’t like. Here are the likes:

  • News: Above all else, the media wants something newsworthy. News is what people talk about around the dinner table and with friends, family, and colleagues. The main goal of the media is FIRST to entertain, then to educate/sell.
  • Top 3: Money, sex, and health are what the media thinks the public is obsessed with. If you can link your books to any of these topics, they’ll be more likely to pick it up and publicize it because it increases the media appeal.
  • Conciseness: Why use eight words when four will do? Get to the point, make your press releases/info/emails short and sweet and never longer than a page.
  • Targeting: Just like writing, if your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. The same goes for the media. Research the audience you want to reach and target, target, target your approach for the best media outlet to pick up your story.
  • Relationships: Everything is about building relationships! Folks in the media build relationships, and they prefer to work with those around for the long term rather than one-hit wonders. Once you’ve made a connection, foster it with a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.

Here are the dislikes:

  • Too long press releases: Get to the point and make sure you have a hook in your first sentence that piques the editor’s interest. Again, no more than one page! They don’t have the time or the inclination to read anything longer.
  • Links that don’t work: Let’s face it; everyone gets annoyed when they click on something, and the link doesn’t work, is broken, leads nowhere, or takes too long to load. What’s more, is that this looks highly unprofessional and is seen as a waste of time.
  • Misrepresentation: Don’t lie, exaggerate, or make things up just to fit your publicity narrative. Your article, idea, or release has to be relevant. Don’t fudge numbers or anything else (bestseller list, sales figures, who endorsed you etc.).
  • Name dropping: It’s not who you know, but who knows you! No, but seriously, don’t name-drop. It makes you look desperate and ridiculous. It’s fine to mention someone who previously wrote an article on your book if you’ve kept up the relationship; if not, don’t bother mentioning them.
  • No follow-up: The fortune is in the follow-up! So many people don’t get what they want because they don’t follow up and find out where their request is or if there have been any developments or progress on your ask.

Follow the tips above while reaching out to the people in the media to chat about your book! Here’s a list of our courses that you may be interested in: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House