Take Control Of Your Future And Reap The Rewards

Self-published authors have a pretty steep learning curve if they want to joint the ranks of the bestsellers. And I’m not talking about the Amazon bestsellers, I’m talking about the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. Not an easy feat. It also doesn’t happen for everyone. Authors can bust their tails for years and years, writing book after book and never make it.

So is it possible to make their dreams become a reality?

Absolutely – through education and execution.

I watched a video tonight, hosted by Nick Stephenson, bestselling fiction author and entrepreneur. His book, Supercharge Your Kindle Sales, is flipping fantastic!! He provides invaluable insight about self-publishing and how to launch a successful author career on his website, Your First 10K Readers. But what I want to point out to you here is a really great point made in the video… one that’s not only applicable to self-pubbed authors but also to aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Here’s the gist. Authors have a choice. They can endlessly spin their wheels, trying to figure out how the publishing industry works while using trial and error to test new ways of gaining traction and visibility for their work.

OR…

They can make an investment in their careers and pay for that knowledge. Learning from someone else’s missteps can save a tremendous amount of time and money. It can also preserve their sanity. =)

Then, they can apply their newfound knowledge and execute their success strategy.

Business training group organization concept. Team of students learning from mentor sharing common vision for education success as gears and cogs shaped as human head on gray background.

Business training group organization concept. Team of students learning from mentor sharing common vision for education success as gears and cogs shaped as human head on gray background.

This advice definitely hits home for me as an author as well as an entrepreneur. What Nick is saying makes so much sense. If you’re looking to build a business – whether it be in publishing or another industry – spend time up front to figure out how to avoid common pitfalls. The intelligence you can gather is worth the investment and it will help guide your decision-making processes. Save the time for doing what you love and apply the tried-and-true methods of building your success. Leverage lessons learned and reap the rewards earlier.

Why put off until tomorrow what you could definitely achieve TODAY?

Explosive Growth Is The Goal & Traction Is The Key

Most startups don’t fail because they can’t build a product.
Most startups fail because they can’t get traction. 
You may be aware of a book called Traction, penned by Gabriel Weinberg (@yegg, founder of DuckDuckGo) and Justin Mares. What you may not know is that they’re releasing a 2nd edition on October 6, and as part of the re-launch, they’re hosting virtual office hours with local startup communities who collectively order 25+ copies (that’s really not that many). You can pre-order it right now for about $15 on Amazon, which is nothing if it helps your business grow even 1% faster.
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Traction covers each of the 19 marketing channels available to startups (with a full chapter on each), and lays out a simple framework that will help you figure out the channels that are likely to grow your business. The book also includes interviews and case studies from the founders of Reddit, Wikipedia, Kayak and more, where they talk about how they got traction in the early days of their companies, and how they scaled.  The book has been praised by Eric Ries, Fred Wilson, Alexis Ohanian, and James Altucher.  See www.tractionbook.com to for some interesting sound bytes.
If this appeals to you (and you can grab the first 3 chapters for free here http://tractionbook.com/traction.pdf), grab a copy through this link so we can get you some sweet perks:
  • If you buy 25 copies through that link, you get to hold office hours with Gabriel Weinberg.
  • If you buy 250 copies through that link, Justin Mares will come to your city and give a workshop on getting traction.
This is a really great opportunity to purchase a copy of a really helpful book and to get some personal time with two successful startup business founders.
Want to experience explosive growth for your business? Traction is the key.

Indie Author Swag Extravaganza Giveaway!!!

Author Navigation is sponsoring an indie author swag extravaganza this week! In honor of the July 4th holiday and the launch of new entrepreneurial ventures (I ALWAYS CELEBRATE THIS!), Ryan Ringbloom and I have collected a fabulous assortment of swag, autographs and signed BOOKS from our fellow indie authors and we’re hosting a giveaway to find one lucky winner for this awesome prize pack!!!

Click here to enter the Indie Author Extravaganza Giveaway!

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Tons of autographed beach reads await!!! We also have an assortment of lip glosses, magnets, keychains, bracelets, bookmarks and pens AND a shot glass. =)

“Books, Blogs & Reality” by Ryan Ringbloom

“Unlikely Venture” by Kristen Luciani

“Beneath The Layers” by Mia Rivers

“Whole Life Makeover” by Shealy James

“Affliction” by Kelly Mooney

“The Hidden Witch by Eri Nelson

“By My Side” by Theresa Troutman

“Hit or Mistletoe” by HJ Harley

Winners will be announced on July 8. Don’t miss your chance. =)

Stop Hounding Me With Buy Links!!!

People want to buy but they don’t WANT TO BE SOLD!

I love that quote. It’s so true. How many times do you go into a store, greeted by eager-beaver salespeople asking if they can help you find something to buy?

I could never be in sales…

But alas, I AM.

I’m an indie author. Not only do I write, but I also market and SELL.

Like with most businesses, the market is pretty much saturated with books. You name it, there’s a genre out there. And about a trillion books within each, with more and more being self-published on a DAILY.

Courtesy of 365til30.com

Courtesy of 365til30.com

As an entrepreneurial author, you may find success in publishing a book that embodies a brand-new concept, something new, different and alluring because it is outside the norm.

But that’s risky because people like what they like and most are creatures of habit. So unless you come up with something cutting edge that an influencer finds appealing, you may be SOL with that plan.

But fear not…there are other ways to gain an audience.

The world of indie publishing is very different now than it was a year ago. Isn’t that insane? I Google articles and if they are pre-2013, I rarely bother reading them because they are THAT outdated.

Social media takes the front seat with indie publishing. You need a presence and you need a ridiculously large network to get your name out there. But that’s not even enough…

The challenge is building a network where you form meaningful relationships, not just hey, post my link and I’ll post yours kind of stuff. That doesn’t do anything. It’s all white noise. And like I said, people get annoyed at the constant buy links. They aren’t helping authors move units.

The ideal is to build relationships online that translate to relationships OFFLINE. Grassroots efforts ultimately result in more widespread awareness, although they take time to gain traction. I’ve given plenty of books away…why? Because if you read “Unlikely Venture” and tell ten friends that you loved it, maybe they will buy and love it…and leave a review on Amazon. =)

And when “Nothing Ventured” comes out, they’ll be anxious to get their hands on that story and tell even more people if they enjoy it. By the time “Venture Forward” is released, I will have established a fan base (hopefully) for the rest of my author career.

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Here’s the key takeaway – Always keep focus on PEOPLE. Create for them, market for them, make them happy and excited because they are the ones who can make or break any of your entrepreneurial endeavors.

How To Land A Sale

People want to buy but they don’t want to be sold.

Words to live by for a sales person.  You want to establish a customer base but that takes time.  You have to nurture customer relationships because that’s how you become successful long-term. You don’t want to sell one product to one customer.  You want to sell lots of products to a return customer for many years to come.

But how do you do that?  How many times are you supposed to keep banging your head against the wall, trying to make contact with influencers? Surely a few unreturned voicemails means they aren’t interested, right?

Wrong!

There is nothing personal about a few cold calls and voicemails.  Make yourself stand out if you want to command attention.  That takes a bit of creativity and a lot of perseverance.

So say I’ve got a handbag business.  I want to sell buyers on the quality and marketability of my products so they want to feature the  collection in their stores.

These people get sold all the time, so how do I set myself apart as a newbie designer with no brand recognition or footprint to speak of?

The first step is establishing contact.  Pretty difficult to do as buyers are usually MIA.  But I don’t get discouraged.  I leave a message, introducing myself and my goal. I say I’ll follow-up with an email.  Surprise, surprise, after a week, no return call.

Time to execute phase 2.  I call again, only this time I don’t leave a voicemail. I stalk my prey over the course of a couple of weeks.  But alas, the buyer is still MIA. So I finally leave a message letting the buyer know I’ll be following up with a package including some marketing and press materials and a sample handbag.  I need to create a hook with this package to give the buyer a reason to call me back. But beware, this whole process can get rather expensive quickly so make sure you pick your targets wisely.  Choose the ones where you might have a shot if you’re sending product as a sample.  Make the packages personal – include handwritten notes, unique trinkets, anything to set you and your company apart from the competition.

About a week afterward, reach out again, via phone and email, and so on until you’ve exhausted your efforts or you get a return message.

This process won’t work all the time.  Nothing is ever guaranteed  But if you plan out your roadmap effectively, you have a real chance to make inroads with the people who can put your product in market and help you create demand that will hopefully translate into sales. And then maybe you can land in InStyle magazine too! =)

Would You Please Sign My Kindle??

Okay, I spend a lot of time covering ideas that others have but here’s one I’ve mulled over…

People love autographed copies of books, especially books they actually enjoyed reading.  But how does that work if your library is in electronic form and all of your books are downloaded to a Kindle or Nook?

No hard copy to treasure and pass on to your kids?  Or to eBay if the author is(gets) really famous?? =)

There are many varieties of autograph apps out there but I haven’t seen something specifically compatible for the e-readers. Wouldn’t it be great to bring your device to a book signing? Or have an author gift you an electronically signed copy of their bestselling book, Unlikely Venture? (Wink, wink).

Sign with your finger and BAM! You’ve got digital swag!!!

The $25 Thumbnail…Pretty Cheap For Soft-Core

I’m OBSESSED with creating images for Unlikely Venture.  Gotta love the digital age!  One of my fabulous author friends (who is on the best-seller list for New Adult Contemporary on Amazon UK!!) sent me something she put together for one of her books and I decided I needed to create one for mine.  So the search began.  Here’s what I found out.  Images are ridiculously PRICEY!!!  I bought what is basically a THUMBNAIL for $25!  

So many sites have cheesy images that I wouldn’t doctor and post if someone paid ME.  Then there are others that are borderline porn…need to steer clear of THAT as it’s not exactly my genre.

I think I struck a happy balance with this one, although Hubby doesn’t understand why I’m so impressed with my efforts.  “You put some text on a PICTURE for crying out loud!”

Yeah, but I did it MYSELF…and it’s for MY BOOK.  =)

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