Thursday, September 26, 2013

Common Mistakes When Marketing Your Book

Marketing is never an easy task ... at least, not for me. Now I find out there are mistakes that we can make when posting on social media sites. that can shoot us in the foot! Who knew! I feel like I just went down the rabbit hole with posting!

The whole premise of posting on social media sites is to engage people, get them to read your material, and keep them wanting more. Generally this is done in a gentle way. The first thing not to do is to push people to buy your book. For heaven's sake - tell them what it is ab out, tell them why they want to read it, and allow them to make the choice! just a hint here - try and avoid the phrase "Buy my book", in all of its various incarnations! Put a book page on your site where people can get information on your books. I do a separate page for each of my books ... for me, that works out best.

Avoid using phrases like "You will love my book!", or "I hope you'll read my book!" You are weakening your position here, IMHO. Allow the prospective reader to decide whether they want to read your book, and whether they like it or not. 

If you are posting a link to your book, give it an intro. Do you click on links that you have no clue about? I sure don't!

Write your post for the site you are posting it on. Facebook, Google +, and Linkedin can safely take the same text and make sensed of it. With Twitter, you have to be a bit more creative. Another hint ... something that is worded for Twitter is going to look close to irrelevant  on the other social media sites. Saving time is a good thing ... looking bad isn't!

Watch the url's that you are posting.  If your prospective readers are from the UK, list the Amazon UK link. If they are from the US, list the US link. If you have prospective readers from both countries, list both links. This is a courtesy to your readers.

Map out a schedule for your posts, and say something different each time. Your book has more than one thing to say, certainly! Don't bore people, or turn them off.

Think before you post!

(c) 2000- 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited in all venues without the written permission of the author.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is It Time For You To Set Some Boundaries?

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. It is also a time when life seems to start picking up, after the slowness of the summer. As writers, we are looking at fitting Halloween, the football season, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and the other December religious holidays. Shopping, baking, sending out cards. All of which takes up our time, and involves interacting with other people. At this time, setting boundaries sounds like a really good thing!

Suddenly we have a multitude of obligations, totally aside from our obligations to our writing. Right about now is when we need to learn to say now, in a manner that is gracious but firm, and saves  face for everyone. It is time to reinforce old boundaries, and set new ones. If you are saying ye to things, then resenting the time and energy spent, boundaries are something that you need to think about. 

The boundaries that you are about to set may be with friends and family, with publishers, editors, individuals that you are working on projects with, or spouses/partners. A good thing to do is to write out what you expect of yourself, and what the deadlines are. Include both personal and business obligations. List them in order of importance. If your list is overwhelming, and you know already that you won't be able to accomplish everything on it, then look at what you can delegate to others ,,, or simply not do. 

Become self-aware. Acknowledge when you are uncomfortable with something, or someone. Ask yourself why that is. Ask yourself what you need to do about that. Look at the image at the head of this article. Note where you wants/needs are, where the wants/needs of the other person or issue are, and where the boundary needs to be for you to be comfortable.

Find the best way for you to set your boundaries with others. Find support - someone that you can talk to before, during, and after the process of setting a boundary. Do not carry strong emotions into the conversation about setting boundaries. Remain calm. If you find yourself getting angry or upset, take a short time out, or continue the conversation at another time. Phrase things in a direct, concise manner. Be clear, not vague. You are the one setting the boundary - there is no need to defend yourself, or to debate the need for a boundary. This is your decision, it involves your life, and this is what you are doing. Do not allow the other person to side-track you. If someone is is trying to resist you, calmly restate your request. Do this as many times as you need to. Be prepared to do exactly what you said you would do if the other person did not respect your boundary. If you waver, or give in, they will not respect you, or your needs. 

Learn to set boundaries within yourself. Avoiding confrontation is not going to do you or anyone else any good. You may actually end up building resentment within yourself. When you feel uncomfortable in a relationship, look at the following: Where is the truth in the relationship? How much of what is making you uncomfortable actually belongs to the other person/people? What can you do or say to regain a sense of personal power with this person, or these people? 

Be prepared to experience a certain amount of guilt over having to establish boundaries. There is a good chance that other people may not want to be accountable for their words/actions, that they will not see the need for boundaries, or that at first they will not honor the boundaries. Acknowledge that you are making a lifestyle change, and that you will have to be making some tough choices. Allow taking care of yourself to become a priority. Know that you are not alone in this, that as a writer (which tends to be a very solitary occupation) you are one of many that are facing the issue of setting boundaries. 

A bit of self-promotion here. Aside from setting boundaries, take a look at the very real things you can do to survive the holidays: Surviving The Holidays.

(c) 2000 - 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited in all venues without written permission of the author.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Does Your To Do List Work For You?

I live and die by my "to do" list! I cannot imagine being without one ... mine runs seven days a week. I list the things that I need to do each day, in the order in which they can most easily be accomplished. I keep it in a spiral bound diary that sits right by my computer. I am thinking about keeping my iPhone by my computer too, as I use the apps quite often. If this works out, I could use the notes function, or the reminder function for my list. Or I may see what kind of apps they have out there for this. 

Why is this list so important? Because, like most people, I am doing things in my life that are not related to any other part of my life. I might have a tele-class here, a webinar there, reviews to be done from multiple sources, blogs to get out, and projects to be worked on ... including my personal writing. I take my mother to her appointments, her dog to the groomer ... all of life's little things run on schedules of their own. 

To do lists come in many forms - electronic file, hand written (Day Timer, Calendar, three ring binder), or as part of a calender function (such as the Google calendar). We can color code our list (one for work, one for this project, one for that project, one for home, one for personal ... the list is endless), use post it reminders ... anything and everything that we can think of to remind us on what we need to get done, and when we need to get it done. 

I put my list together by time of day (business calls can only be done during business hours), and the priority for the task. If something doesn't get done (which is rare), I don't necessarily push it into the next day. I look at my entire week to see where it best fits in. I also try to make my list sensible ... in other words, a list that I can actually accomplish. If there are too many "have to get done" things, and they all do "have to get done", I start looking at those that really don't have to get done (at least don't have to get done right away). I try to  make my list realistic. That doesn't always work ... there are days when I feel like I work 25 hours a day, and still things are left undone. I am working on that! ;-)

To be effective, list your to do items as action steps - i.e. "Call to reschedule appointment", as opposed to "call so and so", or "X's office". Deal with one item at a t ime. I love crossing off items, and will sometimes do an item out of sequence, if I know that it won't take me very long. The feeling of crossing it off my list is worth it!

We all have days when our to do lists are out there making to do lists! Take a short time out, relax, then go back to your list with renewed energy. You are in charge of the list, the list is not in charge of you!

(c) 2000 - 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction in any venue prohibited without written permission of the author.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Confidence Versus Arrogance - Which Will Help You Achieve Your Goals?

As writers, we move through a lot of uncharted territory. We need to be confident within ourselves to do that. When does self-confidence morph into arrogance ... and why do we need to be aware of this? A self-confident individual has the courage and determination to take educated risks, but they are also grounded in the present, so that they don't fly off into the ethers to accomplish their goals. They are aware of the people around them, and are willing to help someone else achieve their dream, so they can achieve theirs. 

Self-confidence edges into arrogance when we begin to think that we can do anything that we want, do it our way, and be successful. We tend at this point to have blinders on, to not see what is right in front of us, and to trip over our own feet (or our own mistakes). In dreaming our Big Dream we can mistakenly  see illusion as reality, and build our house of cards on a very shaky foundation.

It is much easier to work with other people (whether they be beta readers, editors, publishers, or other writers) when they can see that we bring reality to the table, and when they feel they will be treated fairly. Arrogant people do not listen to anyone's opinion but their own, which means that they pay no attention to feedback. Someone who is confident, but not overly confident, will pay more attention to the feedback of others, want to improve themselves, and is really motivated to achieve their goals. 

To develop self-confidence as writers, we need to know who we are, what our unique voice is. We need to understand our goals, and have a plan for achieving them. It is also probably a good idea to surround ourselves with confident, successful people. Pay attention to who we are interacting with, and how we are interacting with them. In a word - treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. 

We need to persist in trying to achieve our goals. This takes thought and common sense, and the cooperation of others. Arrogance will get us nowhere ... self-confidence will!

(c) 2000 - 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction in any venue prohibited without the written consent of the author.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Instagram Marketing

I personally do not use Instagram, for marketing or for anything else. However, I have seen a couple of articles being tossed around about Instagram and marketing, so I decided to look into it. A few of the things that I saw being stressed were that it was mobile, and that it was a way to communicate directly with potential customers. When people get to know us one on one, it helps to build both credibility and trust.

The app is for both iPhones and Androids, and allows you to share both photos and videos with your target market. I am not a photo person, although I do use them with my blogs to break up the text and create interest. I do the same thing with my review work - to show as many pics as I can to generate interest in what I am reviewing. 

Pinterest operates on somewhat the same concept, and is also a site that I have no interest in using. Instagram, because it uses both photos and videos, is better able to take your information and form a story with and from it. Both Instagram and Pinterest give the user the ability to "like" a photo or video. (Note: Pinterest supports You Tube, Vimeo, and TED videos.) People are able to find you, and follow you, on Instagram through the use of hashtags. 

Through the use of images and hashtags, you can develop a visual strategy for attracting prospective clients/customers. You can also place a link to your site along with the hashtag. While I am not using this technique right now, I think that it could be used by people like me - writer's that are publishing their books independently.  

Instagram allows sharing of images through Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Tumblr, or e-mail. You can also interface with Instagram through your desktop, which also allows you to access Statigram, which analyses all of your Instagram data. 

I am still in the consideration phase on this, but I may be able to develop strategy using Instagram that would beat something else that I am considering, which is placing videos on my blogs. It is a brave new world!

(c) 2000 - 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited in all venues without the written permission of the author.

How To Get Characters To Interact

You have your plot worked out, and you have defined your  characters . The next step is getting your characters to play nice and interact...