THE BOOK MARKETING EXPERT NEWSLETTER!
A newsletter all about SUCCESSFUL publishing and POWERFUL promotion.
October 28, 2010 Issue #232
in this issue
— Note From The Editor
— 2 books for $20 is back!
— Need Book Marketing Content?
— Feature Article: How to Monetize “Free”
— Make Your Mark Online
— Join AME’s Book Marketing Channel on YouTube!
— Book Bits and Bites
— What is Conversion and Why Should You Care? Part 2
— Turn Your Website into a Prospect & Customer Acquisition Superhighway!
— Florida Writers Conference Kicks Off Oct. 22
— AME/LULU Webinar University
— Keep Up With Back Issues of Book Marketing Expert
— Penny in the News!
— Hear What The Publishing Insiders Have to Say
— Why You Still Don’t Have an Agent
— The Next Bestseller(TM) Event & Television Pilot Opportunity
— Book Signing Success
— Boost Your Facebook Page Engagement
— Twitter Tip: 10 Controversial “How-to” Issues
— Twitter Tip: 10+ Facebook and Twitter Resources
— Reader Tip!
— WHO ARE WE
Penny C. Sansevieri, Editor email@example.com
Welcome to a new issue of THE BOOK MARKETING EXPERT NEWSLETTER.
You are receiving this newsletter compliments of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. To opt out, please scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter.
Note From The Editor
Welcome to another issue of the Book Marketing Expert Newsletter!
Thank you for joining us again for another outstanding issue of The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter. We’re excited to have you back and hope you’ll enjoy our look at the topic of “free” – there’s been a lot written about free and marketing no-cost content and often authors are left to wonder how they can actually make money by giving it away for free. This week we’re taking a hard look at monetizing “free” and how you can make it work for you.
We’d like to welcome a new team member, Sherrie Wilkolaski, she comes to us from Lulu and we’re very excited to have her. She’s going to be managing our programs, coaching our authors, and making sure that everything runs smoothly for all of our campaigns. We hope you’ll join me in welcoming Sherrie to the AME team.
Wishing you publishing success,
Penny, Paula, Susan, Sherrie, Michelle, Nancy and everyone at Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
P.S. – When you “Like” our AME page on Facebook, you’ll find articles and tips from Penny, YouTube videos from our book marketing channel, notices about upcoming webinars, Publishing Insider shows, and more: http://www.facebook.com/bookmarketingame?ref=sgm
2 Books for $20 is Back!
This time we’re pairing Red Hot Internet Publicity with The Best of the Book Marketing Expert Newsletter. No kidding. We’ve got an e-book packed with 327 pages of our best issues – ever! Hurry and grab your 2 books today: http://bit.ly/9Btj6e.
Need Book Marketing Content?
Visit the articles page on our AME website and you’ll find a range of articles by Penny, which may be used along with her byline (provided at the top of the page). The complete list is at http://amarketingexpert.com/articles/.
Feature Article: How to Monetize “Free”
These days, everyone talks about free content. “Give it away!” they say, but does this really work? Well, yes and no. As with anything, there has to be a strategy.
Recently I was on my morning run through our neighborhood and I noticed a number of garage sale signs (that’s tag sale for those of you back east). One of the signs had a sign beneath it that read: We have free stuff! As I ran though the neighborhood I passed that house and noticed they put all their free stuff in the “Free zone” and already, even at that early hour, hoards of people were migrating there. I passed the other garage sales which were doing OK, but not great. Clearly the one with the free stuff pulled more people, but did it actually sell more paid merchandise? Yes. I checked in with the sale after my run to find most of the good stuff gone (note to self: shop first, exercise later). When I talked to the homeowner they said that the free stuff went fast, but as I noted each time I passed by, it wasn’t junk stuff, it was actually good enough to make the garage sale shopper feel like they got a real deal. If it’s junk and it’s free, it doesn’t really matter.
What’s the lesson here? Free stuff can help you sell more of the paid merchandise, but you have to be careful, because some people just want freebies and that’s fine. But they are not your customers. Here are some tips to help you maximize the use of free:
1. Why free? The first question you should ask yourself is why are you doing this? If you aren’t sure, then free might not be right for you. Free content should be offered to help further your message, build a list, and get new people into your marketing funnel. If your model isn’t set up this way, maybe it should be. If you aren’t interested in this kind of a marketing model, then free probably isn’t your thing.
2. Define how free can help: Figure out why you want to give free stuff. As I mentioned above, getting clear about your model will help determine if a free product is even worth your time. If it is, then you need to figure out how it will help you. As an example, we have a lot of free stuff on the Author Marketing Experts, Inc. site (www.ameauthors.com) but the free for us is designed to build trust. Distrust is rampant online, and in particular, in the book promotion and publishing industry. There are a lot of scams out there and so trust is important. Our free stuff builds our mailing list, yes, but it also builds trust.
3. Make sure it’s really free: A lot of people have content that is purported to be free when it’s not really free. What I mean is that you get a sliver of it, not even a piece really worth mentioning, but the stuff you want is something you have to pay for. If you want to do free, make it free. Find something of value and give it to your customers.
4. Make it something your end user wants: As I’ve mentioned a few times, make sure the free is something people want. If it isn’t you a) won’t bring in the right crowd of people (you’ll end up just getting the freebie hunters, and b) you won’t build your mailing list as fast. So, for example, give your readers something really substantial like an e-book or tips, or a workbook. Virtually any electronic product is easy to create and deliver. When I changed our freebie on the Author Marketing Experts, Inc. website, we quadrupled our sign-ups. So, what was the freebie? 52 Ways to Sell More Books. Now, as an author, isn’t that appealing to you? Exactly my point.
So, what if you’ve written a fiction book? Well, consider this: 83% of Americans want to write a book, so what if you gave them a free how-to guide? You don’t even have to create this yourself, you could partner with someone who has already created this. If you don’t like that idea, consider (for those of you in the historical fiction market) doing a did-you-know piece on the history you’re referencing in your book. The idea here is to a) give value, and b) give your readers something they will care about. Also, whenever possible, give your readers something they need to keep so it will remind them of you and your book: tip sheets, workbooks, reference charts. All of these things are pieces that your consumer may keep, which can keep you top of mind.
5. Take names: You should never give free away without asking for an email address. I see people do this all the time; they have a ton of free stuff but never collect emails. If that’s the case, the freebies you are offering may be of great value to your end user but they won’t matter to your marketing. Get emails. It’s called an ethical bribe. You get something (their email) and give them something (the free stuff).
6. Make it easy to get: Don’t make free difficult. What I mean is make it easy to get your free stuff. If people have to jump through hoops, they won’t do it and the free stuff won’t matter. For example – put your free stuff on your home page, or at least have a link to it, though I recommend using free stuff as an ethical bribe (as a way to get sign-ups for your newsletter). When you ask for their email, make it easy. A simple click or two is all it should take. Then, don’t ask for too much information. If you ask me for my address, birthday, and whatnot I doubt I will want your free stuff that badly. Shorten the staircase. If you make it complicated, it’s not really free. Just bait. If you bait your consumer in this fashion you’ll lose them.
7. Make the free stuff work for you: If you give away something, make sure that it works for you. What I mean is that when you get our free stuff, we always make sure and remind folks of who we are and what we do. For a while we had a free Twitter e-book that always went out with our product catalog imbedded in it.
8. Call to action: Make sure that your free stuff has a call to action. You are collecting names and email addresses and building your list, that’s great. But what do you really want people to do? Define what you want them to do, and then include your call to action in the free stuff. Let’s face it, it’s a good piece – designed to help your reader – but it must also help you. It’s ok to promote your book on the last page, or encourage folks to do a consult with you if that’s what you offer. You can also offer specials and change these periodically in the giveaway.
9. What will you give? People often ask me what you should give away, and I say, it depends: Who is your market and what do they want? Now, on our site you’ll see 52 Ways to Sell More Books, which is an e-book we offer when you sign up for our newsletter. Do our folks want that? You bet. Why? Because they are authors and authors want to sell more books. A special report or e-book always makes a great freebie, maybe you have a white paper that you did on the industry; if so, offer it as a freebie.
10. Follow up! The best kind of free stuff is, as I like to call it, the gift that keeps giving. Auto responders are a great system but often underutilized when it comes to marketing. If you are collecting names and then never contacting your prospects again, what’s the point? Our 52 Ways to Sell More Books is delivered over several weeks, and then when we’re done, we deliver more quality content. People need to be reminded, and reminded again. Now, you can also funnel folks into your newsletter as I mentioned earlier. I do both. We have the auto responder and the newsletter. Think it’s too much? Maybe, but our market wants information. Define what your market wants and then give it to them. If a newsletter and an auto responder is overkill, then scale it back. No one knows your market like you do.
The real key here is that free stuff can work well for you in so many ways, but free stuff without a goal is just free. Great to get free stuff, right? But then how is all of this hard work going to pay off for you?
If you still aren’t a believer of free, try it for 90 days and see if it doesn’t change your life. If you do it right, free will monetize your audience like nothing else will. The biggest reason is that in an age of pushing things on consumers, your audience really wants to sample what you have to offer before they buy. Free is a great way to do that. It’s also a great way to stay in front of your audience, build trust, and develop a loyal following.
Make Your Mark Online!
Ready to make your own *big* impression online? We’ve had a *huge* success story I’m dying to share with you. A recent campaign we did got the author on PAGE 1 of Google out of 115 million competing web pages, and the best part? He wasn’t even on Google when we started. If you’re ready to get found online, consider one of our Red Hot Internet Marketing campaigns. Email us today for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join AME’s Book Marketing Channel on YouTube!
Be sure to subscribe to AME’s YouTube channel; new videos are added regularly to keep you up to date on all things book marketing! http://www.youtube.com/user/BookmarketingAME.
Book Bits and Bites
* A Rhyme in Time: Here’s a free online rhyming dictionary – a great writer’s tool and fun! http://bit.ly/935SSu.
* Rockin’ Reading: In honor of Keith Richards’ forthcoming memoir, Rock Books 101 to check out, http://bit.ly/91CqaB.
* Holy Google Search: Now you can even Google the Dead Sea Scrolls, http://rww.to/bSqVyg.
* Make a List: Which of the Top 100 Children’s Novels have you read? http://bit.ly/br2vpg.
What is Conversion and Why Should You Care? Part 2
In the last newsletter, we outlined why improving the conversion on your website was important. Today we’ll cover a few steps that will outline how to improve it.
In the SEO world, when working with online properties (your website), we follow a testing and tracking procedure which means we test one thing then track the changes. Did that one change improve the conversion, or decrease the conversion?
If we changed two things and the conversion went up, that’s great. However, if we changed two things and the conversion went down, we wouldn’t know if one or both of those changes were the cause.
Doing testing and tracking means you have to know what your traffic is currently. How many people leave your homepage and never stay long enough to find the product page on an internal page of your site, etc? So the first step in improving the conversion of your website is to know and understand your current traffic. If you don’t have stats from your web hosting that provides that information, Google Analytics is free: http://www.google.com/analytics/.
Start with a benchmark of what is happening currently, then change one thing on your site.
What things can you test?
Change where your opt-in is located. If it’s on the lower left side of your site, place it in the upper right corner.
If it’s already in the right hand corner, change the offer or ethical bribe you are providing, in order to entice your visitors to subscribe.
Get the idea? If your site is easy to navigate and is well designed, small changes can make a big difference.
Remember to start with a benchmark of what your current conversion is and what your current traffic is, before changing one thing. Then after making one change, give it a period of time to properly ascertain whether you have improved your conversion or if it has gone down.
Testing and Tracking will provide valuable information for your online real estate – your website.
Tip offered by Susan Gilbert, AME’s Search Engine Marketing Expert and Web 2.0 company owner, http://www.susangilbert.com/, which provides Social Networking websites and services.
Turn Your Website into a Prospect & Customer Acquisition Superhighway!
If you’re ready to start selling a lot of books off your website, then we’ve got the perfect program for you.
Recently we relaunched the Author Marketing Experts website; this relaunch increased our book sales tenfold. Now we’d love to do the same for you!
This powerful sales superhighway consultation includes:
· A thorough website evaluation by one of this country’s leading Search Engine Marketing & Optimization experts. This person implemented effective changes to our own website, and will ensure yours is set up in a way that will make visitors take action.
· A full report on your website, including suggested fixes and areas for improvement.
· A personalized marketing and sales assessment by Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts.
· The option to record your session so you can refer to it when you need to refresh your marketing notes.
When we’re done, you’ll have everything you need to turn your site into a guaranteed sales machine!
Total investment: $699 – but you must book within 10 days to take advantage of this special offer! To learn more, email email@example.com.
AME/LULU Webinar University
AME and LULU Publishing have joined forces to present publishing seminars. These free classes are led by Penny Sansevieri and will ramp up your book marketing efforts to the next level!
Webinars are held at 7 pm EST and require computer access. FMI, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the Lulu webinars on their Facebook page or at Lulublog.com:
What they’re saying about Lulu University:
You do great work, can’t wait for the next webinar. I will have to catch the recording of tomorrow’s session because I have appointments that conflict. But I will definitely make it a point not to miss any of yours that I’m aware of.
November 1 – Creating a Stunning Press Kit (so the media will notice you!)
If creating a press kit has baffled you then don’t miss this class! We’ll talk about everything from crafting the perfect press release, to creating your bio, questions and tip sheets. We’ll also talk about the things no good press kit should be without and what you should never include in a kit! If you’re struggled with your own kit or just aren’t sure what they should look like, then this class is for you! BONUS: we’ll also learn about electronic press kits, online press rooms.
Keep Up With Back Issues of Book Marketing Expert
We’re offering our 2009 Book Marketing Expert issues in e-book form. Interested in getting caught up with some back issues? Email us at email@example.com.
Penny in the News!
* Penny was listed as a branding resource in the blog post “Author Branding: The You That is Everywhere,” http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/book_marketing_maven/2010/10/author-branding-the-you-that-is-everywhere.html.
* One of Penny’s posts made the cut in “This Week in Blogs” on The Book Designer blog, http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/10/this-week-in-the-blogs-october-10-16-2010/.
* AME’s COO Paula Krapf had a guest post, “7 Simple Steps to Getting Your Book Reviewed,” published on Marketing Tips for Authors blog, http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/2010/10/7-simple-steps-to-getting-your-book.html.
* Penny has a series on book marketing underway at BookBuzzr, http://www.bookbuzzr.com/blog/?s=Penny+Sansevieri&x=0&y=0
* Keep up with Penny’s latest blog for Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri.
Hear What The Publishing Insiders Have to Say
Be in the know and hear what the publishing insiders: Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. – and her guests – have to offer in terms of tips and insights into the industry! Listen here. Publishing Insiders is now available on iTunes, so you can keep up with the show wherever you go!
This Book Will Make You Money with special guest Jim Kukral
For over 15-years, Jim Kukral has helped small businesses and large companies like FedEx, Sherwin Williams, Ernst & Young and Progressive Auto Insurance understand how find success on the Web. Jim is the author of the book, “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money,” as well as a professional speaker, blogger and Web business consultant. Find out more by visiting www.JimKukral.com. You can also follow Jim on Twitter http://twitter.com/JimKukral.
Shows available for download at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders include:
Special Guest Mari Smith, queen of Facebook and dubbed “the Pied Piper of the Online World” by Fastcompany.com, on the hottest new Facebook apps to what’s hot and what’s not in the world of social media.
Special Guest Seth Godin, marketing guru and author of the upcoming book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
All Things Twitter! with Warren Whitlock, author of the first book on Twitter Revolution: How Social Media and Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Do Business & Market Online.
Why You Still Don’t Have an Agent
Many writers have been struggling for years to find an agent and they’ve tried everything. They’re starting to think that they’ll never get one, or that there’s some kind of universal conspiracy against them and they’re wondering why.
If you still haven’t landed an agent or know someone who hasn’t, listen up. I’m about to tell you exactly why and what you can do about it, to change things today.
As someone who deals with hundreds of agents every year, who’s constantly on the phone with top editors and publishers and authors from James Patterson and from Nicholas Sparks to Janet Evanovich to David Baldacci, I hear first-hand what successful people in the industry have done to separate them from the pack and why they’re successful and others are not.
Today we will discuss one of the top reasons why writers can’t get an agent. In fact, I’ve helped so many aspiring writers (literally over a hundred) take that first step, getting an agent to even request their manuscript, that I can scan someone’s query letter in less than 5 seconds and tell you exactly what they’re doing wrong.
Let’s start with the first mistake writers make and prevent themselves from landing one: The first 50 pages suck.
Sure, I’m supposed to say something politically correct like “your work is not up to par” but no, I’m not going to insult your intelligence. I’m going to tell you how it is. In fact, I’m going to say exactly what agents tell me about 98% of writers, behind closed doors. “They suck. Their work is awful.” The agents wouldn’t use the writer’s manuscript to wipe themselves if they ran out of toilet paper or at the bottom of their pet Parakeet’s cage.
Sure, the writer thinks it’s a masterpiece. After all, they’ve spent the last few months, if not years writing it. Everyone likes it. Even their best friend and mom told them so.
NOTE: That’s the writer’s first mistake, relying on the opinion of those that love them.
They say they want their feedback, but in reality, the amateur writer only wants their loved ones’ praise and their loved ones will give them nothing else.
No, you need to take it to the most objective, negative, nasty person you know and after they say it’s amazing, then it’s ready. Drop your ego, and resist the writer’s kryptonite, defending your work. In fact, take it to three objective people, who aren’t related to you, who don’t even know you and aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. In fact, remove your name from the manuscript, use another name, a pseudonym, and ask them to read it. Then, you’ll get the truth.
Writers are often in such a hurry to get an agent that they blow their chances to get one by rushing to get their manuscript to an agent before it’s even ready. No, no and no! If you really want to land an agent, that thing better be better than anything else there on the market. Read, read and read your competition. Stop thinking there’s nothing out there like it because that’s a lie. And to tell you the truth, it’s the last thing an agent wants to hear from an aspiring writer.
NOTE: Agents and editors aren’t looking for something that hasn’t been done before, they need to be able to compare it to something successful (other than Twilight and Harry Potter) so that they can get a proper advance for you. But it has to be different enough, that it feels fresh.
It’s those first 50 pages that really matter. When an agent reads a query letter they like, they often ask for a partial (the first few chapters, equivalent to about the first 50 double-spaced pages).
If you want to guarantee those pages are ready, after the three objective opinions, get it edited by a professional and I’m not talking about for grammar and spelling. I’m talking about for content, for pacing. You need developmental editing, line editing and then finally copy-editing.
NOTE: And if you can’t afford it (though if you’re going to invest in anything, it should be this), see if you can trade services with a professional editor. There has to be something you can barter. You might be able to find an older, more experienced writer who is willing to do it for you.
But that’s not all. There are 11 other mistakes that writers make that are blocking them from ever landing an agent. But I will tell you this quick little tidbit: You don’t have to be a good writer to land an agent, you only have to be a good storyteller. There’s a difference.
Tip offered by Jeff Rivera, the founder of GumboWriters.com, a firm based in New York City. He is a highly-respected book publishing professional who writes regularly for GalleyCat, Mediabistro and Huffington Post. Need help writing your query letter? Want to guarantee top agents will read your manuscript? Visit: http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com.
The Next Bestseller(TM) Event & Television Pilot Opportunity
Get the most compelling and closely guarded techniques to successfully present your book properly to agents, editors, publishers and publicists. Register your seat right now for The Next Bestseller(TM). Learn the keys to a respectful, professional pitch from agents and experts themselves. You will also have the once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in the television pilot being shot for the reality show for books. Learn more at http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?af=1253045.
Boost Your Facebook Page Engagement
Here are 5 easy ways to boost your Facebook Page engagement http://dld.bz/2jZ7.
Book Signing Success
Ronald Lewis Weaver, an AME client who is a senior producer at The Bold and the Beautiful, recently launched his new book Soul Mate with a successful and well-covered signing at the Barnes & Noble in LA’s The Grove, http://www.writerface.com/profiles/blogs/ronald-lewis-weaver-book.
Twitter Tip: 10 Controversial “How-to” Issues
Everyone’s got an opinion on how to manage your Twitter account and here’s some food for thought: 10 Controversial Twitter ‘How To’ issues, http://dld.bz/2CjP.
Twitter Tip: 10+ Facebook and Twitter Resources
Keep building your social networking knowledge with the Top 10+ Facebook and Twitter resources you should read, http://dld.bz/2Chs.
If you’ve got a Reader Tip you’d like to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “reader tip.” Submissions should be 75 words or less.
WHO ARE WE
Author Marketing Experts, Inc. is a full-service book marketing, promotion, and publicity company. We serve authors at all stages of marketing and promotion. We offer a full range of packages and services to choose from.
To see a price list or schedule a free consultation, send your e-mail to email@example.com with the subject line “Author Services Info.” You can also visit our Web site at www.amarketingexpert.com.
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Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://amarketingexpert.com/
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