We had a wonderful show with Arielle Ford on Why (Some) Authors Fail. And Arielle knows what’s she’s talking about, since she has been widely recognized as America’s foremost book publicist and was instrumental in launching the careers of many New York Times bestselling self-help authors, including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch, and Debbie Ford. Arielle was the publicist for dozens of other top-selling authors such as Wayne Dyer, Gary Zukav, Dean Ornish, Joan Borysenko, Louise Hay, Jorge Cruise, and don Miguel Ruiz.
Arielle Ford is a leading pioneer and personality in the personal growth and contemporary spirituality movement. For the past 25 years she has been living, teaching, and promoting consciousness through all forms of media. Her stellar career includes years as a prominent book publicist, author, literary agent, TV lifestyle reporter, television producer, Sirius radio host, publishing consultant, relationship expert, speaker, columnist and blogger for the Huffington Post. She is the author of seven books including the HOT CHOCOLATE FOR THE MYSTICAL SOUL series, and her most recent, THE SOULMATE SECRET, now in a 4th printing and 21 languages. Arielle is the creator of the at-home publishing study course Everything You Should Know About Publishing, Publicity and Building A Platform and the annual 21st Century Book Marketing event, which is the premiere book-marketing event for authors.
Website conversion – what you need to know
But first, SEO expert Susan Gilbert discussed website conversion – basically, what happens (or doesn’t happen) when visitors land on your site? The numbers never lie.
Gilbert has been redoing the Author Marketing Experts website, and so has the perfect case study underway. AME has an older site, www.amarketingexpert.com, and she encourages people to visit now and then go back again in about three weeks – because there will be a huge difference.
It was important to give the AME site a makeover because technology changes and the web development environment gets better and better. That means websites need a periodic update to modernize.
It’s vital for a website to be clear on what actions people should take, and that’s where many fail – the site does not direct visitors to do anything, and if they don’t have a call to action, they leave. What constitutes action? Video to watch, e-books to download, newsletter sign-up, catalog requests; all of those things require a visitor to do something.
Website layout should be very clean and clear, so it’s easy for people to understand what to do and how to do it.
Gilbert observes that many authors’ sites don’t have their book on the homepage, nor is there information about the book – yet the author thinks people will spend 30 minutes looking at the site. This is not going to happen, especially if the visitor doesn’t understand the purpose of the site.
To know if your website is effective, you need knowledge on how to convert traffic – or have a web person who understands these things.
How do you know if your site is converting? Google analytics are a little overwhelming for many, but it’s free – so have it installed and then you can see where people land on your site, where they go next, how long they stay. If you’re selling something and getting traffic, but not making sales or getting new sign-ups – you’re doing something wrong.
People do not buy the minute they land at your website, unless they’ve been pre-sold, but not many are in that position. That means you have to have a good marketing system on your website.
For additional resources and tips check Susan Gilbert’s website, www.susangilbert.com.
When it comes to what authors do wrong – and right – Arielle Ford has seen both sides.
The two biggest indicators of failure, she says, concern attitude. There’s the â€˜I’m just too important to do the smaller interview’ arrogance. Additionally, there are authors who don’t want to be bothered building a platform while writing their book. Neither strategy is going to lead to success.
“Successful authors are open, hardworking, and willing to do something 7 days a week… it’s more about having a mission in life to share their message with the world than â€˜I have to be on the New York Times bestseller list or sell x amount of books,’ they are in it for the long haul,” Arielle says. An author’s work does not end once the book is out; that’s just the beginning.
Successful people been in the trenches for years, she adds, working smaller circuits that no one has heard of and helping other people. They are the type who will help people who connect with them. There is room for everybody. “It’s a win-win-win universe these days,” Arielle says.
The successful author has to love what he or she is doing and be passionate about it. They have to be really ambitious – it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of time. The passion will carry you during times it looks like book sales won’t, Arielle says.
Authors must also understand the publishing business before they write a book. Just like you would not open a bricks and mortar store without doing research first, the same concept applies in the book world – learn how the industry works before publishing your book. Other considerations before writing your book:
* a strong book cover, people do judge a book by its cover – and the cover has to look good when it’s tiny (such as in email or on a website – make sure people can still read the title)
* 1,500 books are published every day, so you have to raise the bar higher, your book is your resume
* many write the book too soon. Arielle says you really have to have something fresh to offer, a new perspective, and the writing has got to be great.
The author who is open to feedback is the author who will be a success – especially when it comes to things like titles – and make sure you pick qualified sources for feedback, and then take the advice you’re given.
Never measure your success in book sales. Arielle recalls one client who appeared on “Good Morning America.” The appearance didn’t boost his book sales, but the increase in his speaking engagements as a result of the show took him to a whole new level in his career.
Education is also very important for an author. Arielle created the 21st Century Book Marketing event for that reason. The event will be held Sept 25-26 in San Diego. Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post blog, is a keynote speaker, while business and motivational speaker Harvey McKay is another (he’s also the author of Use Your Head to Get your Foot in the Door).
Such events offer great sessions and also networking potential between authors, marketing people, agents and publishers who attend.
Arielle recommends authors attend three educational events a year in order to learn and network.
When attending events to learn/network, authors should:
* have business cards to give out
* identify their goals (who to meet, sessions to attend, who to seek for book testimonials, etc.)
21st Century Book Marketing is offering Publishing Insiders listeners (and blog readers) a special; visit the site and use the code: penny and you’ll receive $50 off the ticket price. Purchase your ticket by July 15th, and you’ll get another $150 off! http://www.21stcenturybookmarketing.com.
Finally, be grateful: say thank you! Arielle says authors should track down an address following a review or interview and send a note. “It only takes 5 minutes and $3, and it’s such a nice thing to do.”
You can download the show at:
Please join us July 13 for a new show: Van Halen Book Marketing:
Yes, we’re talking rock ‘n roll – believe it or not, there are lessons you can glean from Eddie Van Halen & co. So often, authors plod along, marketing and marketing – and then when their royalty checks arrive they discover that their sales are paltry at best – and so they assume that their marketing isn’t working. Measuring success in sales is not a good barometer for success. There are other triggers to look for. Learn to recognize those key elements that will help you know if your marketing is working, or if it isn’t – and what you can do about it. Learn more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/brown-mms-or-what-van-hal_b_561029.html.