Monthly Archives: April 2011

Borrow Your Brilliance

by Brittani Hensel, Project Coordinator

My boss recently gave me a book about brainstorming called, “Jump Start Your Brain” by Doug Hall.  I flipped through it a little bit, but one chapter called “Borrowing Brilliance” stopped me in my tracks. I thought about all the times I’d people-watched while walking in the mall, getting fashion advice from magazines, listened to other people brainstorm, watched them while they work, and the ever-present question, “What would you do?”

After reading Jump Start Your Brain I quickly realized, I’ve always borrowed brilliance. I have always looked to those wiser, older, and more knowledgeable than I to gain information and principles that I could use as well.

This book offered a “David & Goliath” example in which you can learn something by “looking at other David’s who have done battle and won” to learn how to succeed yourself.  Very similar to learning from other people’s mistakes I’d say.  But, that’s precisely how I’ve lived my life. I’ve learned from other people’s actions, fashion, writing, and even communication skills.

Authors come to me often and ask what they should write about on their blog, and while the answer varies from author to author, it’s always the same.  “Take a look at this blog, this blog, and this blog.” I tell them that often reading a blog will give them inspiration on how to write one. It’s how I’ve always led my writing, especially for blog topics. Borrowing ideas and “brilliance” from other people seems to fuel the fire the best, and I say why not use the kindling?

As an author and marketer, take heed from your favorite writers, mentors, and friends. Every second is a learning experience, and life always has something to teach.

Click on the images below for links to help jump start your own brilliance:

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Market Your Book Like It’s Your Business

by Zac Workman, Marketing Specialist

Your book is a business….so treat it as such.  Daydreaming about the best-sellers list won’t get you any closer to breaking the top 10.  So how do you market a book like you would a business?  Let’s start with a few simple questions that will help you identify the best way to market your new book.  Like any business, these questions are key to identifying and creating a successful marketing plan for your book.

  1. What are your goals?  What is the purpose of writing your book and what do you want to accomplish?  The case may be that you are just interested in making your book available for family and friends or maybe you are hoping to sell thousands of books.  Whatever the case may be make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.
  2. Who is your target market?  Let’s consider the Christian genre which is vast so you must define who exactly you are targeting and why.  Knowing your audience will help you decide how to sell your book to readers.  Consider the demographics of your audience to determine your marketing focus.  If you find your target to be a very small niche group, marketing will be extremely important and it will need to be very focused.  If this is the case, you may want to consider expanding the appeal of your book by making some changes to increase your customer base.
  3. What makes your product appealing to your target market? Labeling your book “Christian” isn’t enough.  You need to identify what makes your book stand out and use this to your advantage.  Consider the specific characteristics about your book that appeal to your audience.  Maybe you are an expert on the subject matter of your book or you have a unique story or point of view.  Whatever the appeal of your book is, it is essential to identify what separates your book out from the competition and then using it to your advantage.
  4. Where does your product fit within your industry?  The Christian book industry is very large so you need to identify where you fit within that industry.  Start by identifying who your competition is and what their strengths and weaknesses are.  Focus on their weaknesses, because this is where you have an advantage.
  5. Where is the best place to reach the target market?  So how will your reach your audience?  In today’s digital world, start on the Internet, including searching for related websites, and using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, website reviews, blogs, and e-mail marketing.  The majority of your books will sell through some venue on the Internet, and it makes sense to start your marketing efforts there.

Stay tuned on tips to execute that all important marketing plan!

Beyond the Bookstore: Boost Your Self-Promotion Efforts

by Megan Leiter, Event Coordinator

Don’t be afraid to get exposure for your book outside of the typical bookstore and library book signings. There will be other authors vying for those library and book signing slots. Thinking “outside of the box” and delving into untapped resources to garner exposure may give you that extra edge in your book promotion. Here are some suggestions:

Places of Learning.  Depending on the subject of your book, you may need to tailor the age range you seek for a speech but I highly suggest arranging a visit to a local school or university. Some elementary schools host reading nights where kids can attend the event with their parents and it’s not a bad place to try and sell your book after the speech. Also, at the college level, professors may consider having you as a guest speaker for a class during the semester or using your book as a supplement for their students’ course work.

Conventions and Fairs.  Scout out conventions, fairs and festivals in your state and/or surrounding states to see if you can connect the subject matter of your book to an event happening in your area. For example, if there’s a nursing convention in your state capital and you have a medical-related book, having a booth at the convention to sell your books and talk to people or ask to be a keynote speaker may be a great idea. Find ways to connect yourself to community and area events.

Churches.  Churches bring in speakers to give lectures to their congregations through workshops, seminars, etc. If you have a self-help, motivational, spiritual, relationship guide, or any other topic appropriate for a church audience, this could be a great outlet to make connections and relationships and get your book in the church bookstore or available for a group study.

There are so many more places you could seek out to promote yourself and your book without being the typical, run of the mill establishments –community centers, senior living communities, museums, businesses, rotary clubs and lodges, and more. Get creative!

Where have you hosted your most successful book event?

Building Relationships with Bloggers

by Kelly Rynard, Literary Publicist

WARNING:  The referred link via Unmarketing contains harsh language that may be offensive to some.  We used this link as a literal example of what not to do when reaching out to fellow bloggers.

Scott Stratten of Unmarketing recently tweeted, “There are comment train wrecks, and then there is this bit.ly/hwK8Qa.” And “this” is an excellent example what NOT to do when commenting on a blog. Basically, this particular author was upset with a critics review and took matters into her own hands.

As a social media specialist, I train author’s everyday on how to use social media sites to their fullest potential. One of the most popular questions I get asked is, “how do I reach out to bloggers?” and “what am I suppose to say in a comment?”

As we work to build relationships with fellow bloggers, there are few simple rules we like to follow:

Be Selfless. If you want bloggers to promote you, you must first promote them. Think about building a relationship based on their perspective, what can I gain from this.

Comment on Comments. One of the greatest things about blogging is receiving comments. It makes you feel appreciated and respected. In return, your reader feels the same way when you take the time to respond to their comments and it keeps them coming back to read more.

Comment on your Reader’s Blogs. Leaving thoughtful comments on your reader’s blogs is all about giving back. You will begin to see your relationship grow when you take the time to engage and promote other bloggers.

Create Valuable Content. Create posts that have a subject matter that is of value to your readers. Find out what they want and then give it to them. Write to the people that actually read your blog.

I heard Stratten give a talk about month ago on social media and he gave some interesting tips. He calls people on the internet that have nothing better to do than say mean things, trolls. “Don’t feed into the troll,” he says.

So on that note, if someone posts a comment you don’t like, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and “feed the troll” just to make a point.  Stay positive, engage fellow bloggers that have common interests, be selfless and be patient.  It takes commitment and rock solid content to build a strong blog following.

To get started with our own blog, let AuthorHive help get you started.  Check out the following book for a comprehensive look to starting, maintaining and expanding your blog site: