Meet Iain Ayres, our newest author
Creating a bestseller – part II
In this three part series, I am delighted to introduce Linda Janssen of the award-winning
Adventures in Expatland as a guest poster. Here, inspired by the amazingly successful Jack Canfield, she shares the nuggets distilled from his recent webinar into bite-sized nuggets of inspirational goodness. Today’s post is all about my favourite marketing tool of all -giving. Here goes:
Getting to Where You Want to Be, Part III recently had the opportunity to listen to an informative 90-minute webinar in which Steve Harrison, publisher of ‘Radio/TV Interview Report’, interviewed Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise. The topic was ‘How to Get Where You Want to Be as an Author/Speaker’, and Canfield shared a wealth of information, insights and tips to help any author market and sell his or her book(s).
As co-founder with Mark Victor Hansen of the more than 200 titles in the ‘Chicken Soup’ franchise and author of highly acclaimed training/coaching books such as The Success Principles, The Power of Focus, The Aladdin Factor and Dare to Win, Canfield has sold more than 115 million books in 41 languages.
In Part I, I highlighted some of the core beliefs that fuel Canfield’s continual quest as a ‘student/practitioner of the newest and latest practices’ in marketing and publicity. Today we look at some of Canfield’s specific suggestions for selling books.
If you’re going to be successful, be a giver. Canfield has read The Go Giver books by Bob Burg and John David Mann, and subscribes wholeheartedly to this concept in all aspects of life. Giving begins with writing. He counsels ‘be the best you can be as a writer’; don’t be seen as an exploitative writer who throws out a mediocre product to capture the passing wave of interest on the latest trend. ‘Learn the craft of writing, put in the hours, get feedback…do the work to really write a great book.’
Identify a charity or cause to receive a portion of the proceeds. Canfield and Hansen do this regularly because the benefits are threefold. First, the charity receives financial support and public awareness. Second, ‘people love to be part of more than just buying a book’. Third, the recipient organization often starts helping to advertise or sell the books.
Give away chapters or articles for free use. Initially this may seem counter-intuitive: if you give away a key portion of your product, why would anyone buy the book? Doing so not only garners publicity and generates interest, but also establishes trust in your product. Canfield offered excerpted portions of Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul which ended up in more than 75 parenting newsletters across the US. The result? Tens of thousands of copies sold.
Give free talks. Most authors know to do the obvious book readings. Canfield suggests seeking out groups and organizations that might have an interest in your topic and offer to speak gratis. He is adamant that ‘the Universe always gives back tenfold.’ In addition to making sales at the back of the room after the talk, he maintains every free talk given led to selling more books or being hired for work with new companies or clients. As he puts it, ‘It is impossible to give without receiving’.
Give away your books. Canfield and Hansen read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point , which speaks of connectors (people with a special gift for linking us up with others) and mavens (people who accumulate knowledge and ideas and share them with others). Canfield’s advice is to look for connectors and mavens, and give them your book(s). For one of their books, they gave away 2500 books to such influencers, and ended up selling half a million copies. ‘If you won’t give it away free, you’re not passionate about it.’
Become a joiner and network, network, network. ‘Get into the right room, and you’ll meet wonderful people.’ Canfield talks about the ‘power of environments’, believing that people are generally weakest in the environments of money and networks. ‘The fastest way to develop a network is by getting into one.’ Look into professional organizations, associations, conventions, conferences and seminars in your field(s) of interest (e.g., a writers’ association, expat groups, etc.). Once there, be sure to volunteer your time and efforts. Pay your dues, literally and figuratively. Sharing an amusing yet effective anecdote about passing trays of hors d’oeuvres and drinks early in his tenure with one association, he counsels ‘join the hospitality committee and work your way up.’
Grief, loss and the writer
Inspired by the wonderful talk given by Doug Ota at the Passionate Parenting seminar on The Expat Life this week, I am delighted to share with you here, my June column for The Hague Online where I am writer in residence.
To find out how words, writing and sharing your story can help you in many ways please read on.
I am delighted to announce that Adventures in Expatland blogger / @in_expatland / Linda Janssen has agreed to write me a series of super guest posts on the nitty gritty of writing words that make a difference. Here is the first of the series, focusing on the Anatomy of the Online Book Launch…
Ideas for Launching and Marketing Your Book Online
Recently I caught an interview by D’vorah Lansky, host of the Book Marketing Conference Online teleseminar series, in which she spoke with author Joanna Penn on the topic ‘Anatomy of an Online Book Launch’.
Penn has some experience both in the evolution of the publishing industry and in book marketing having self-published her first book, How to Enjoy Your Job, in 2008 both in print and as an eBook in PDF format. Her next two books about developing, writing and marketing books were released as PDF eBooks before she turned her hand to writing thrillers. Her first thriller,Pentecost, was self-published both in print and as a Kindle eBook this year and has sold more than 7,000 copies; she’s now in the midst of writing a follow-on, Prophecy, which she’s decided she’ll release only in Kindle version.
Here are some of the highlights of her suggestions to launch and market your book(s) online.
Your blog is your base: have one and use it. It is your connection to the outside world. Whether you are self-published, published by a smaller niche publishing house or by one of the (ever weakening) ‘giants’, you need a presence online. People want to feel that they know, like and trust you. Give them quality content on a regular basis, and a way to interact with you via comments and social media (at a minimum Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn). Build your mailing list of interested followers by offering a regular newsletter, free report, tips list, audio recording of an excerpt or a self-interview. Don’t forget interacting with and supporting your fellow writers and bloggers, either. If it doesn’t feel like a community, why will people want to join?
Set up an ‘editorial calendar’. As you plan your pre-, during and post-launch marketing and promotional activities (e.g., blogging on your own site, guest blogging, tracking book review requests, focused use of your multiple social media streams), you’ll need a schedule to keep it all straight and yourself on task and on time.
Author page or book page? Yes you have links on your website to sell your book, but you’ll want to also create a separate landing page before your launch date that you can direct book traffic to. Penn recommends deciding early on if you want individual landing pages for each book you write or an author page to strategically build your brand. You can post a chapter or excerpt along with book publication and ordering information. Better yet, seek fan input on what they’d like to see: solutions to specific problems your next how-to book could address, what to name a new character, the setting of your next novel. Reward loyal followers by allowing them to pre-order at a reduced price, thus also building your mailing list.
Use your book as a springboard. Make your book work for you. Whether you’re writing a fiction or non-fiction series or discrete books, it’s beneficial to think ahead to your next project. Consider developing something your audience needs and wants: a workbook, exercises, a sequel or simply your next novel. Then include a page at the end of your current book with some info (title, highlights, short excerpt, the book cover if possible and landing page URL) to encourage continuation of the relationship you’ve developed with your readers. Builds your – you guessed it – list, too.
Reviews before launch, say what? Penn is a huge fan of giving away eBook copies to fans (known to her through their interaction on her website and social media as well as being on her mailing list), asking for reviews before a pre-set launch date. She’ll already have her eBook up for sale on Amazon and other sites where these fan reviewers can post their opinions. She then focuses her marketing blitz on a ‘soft launch’ (i.e., after the actual availability date) to help make the book a hit. The greater the number of reviews, the better your sales statistics are based on Amazon’s algorithms.
Make use of Goodreads. Think of this as a book group of your 5.4 million closest friends. Developed as a site for book lovers who read a LOT, want to share their own recommendations and learn about other great reads, goodreads.com welcomes authors with open arms. Penn did a Goodreads giveaway in which interested readers signed up (there’s that mailing list again!) fora chance to win a book: for the cost of a couple print copies and postage, she generated buzz and gained new followers. Authors can also host Q&A sessions with readers on this site.
Guest blogging: less marketing, more branding. Penn wrote 32 unique, tailored guest posts on various websites that ran during her launch week. That doesn’t count those that loyal followers/fellow bloggers may have written about her. Since many purchases are based on a sense of relationship, she knew she was going for indirect brand awareness and not so much for direct sales. However, she’s since decided that while it did give her broader exposure, it didn’t forge deep enough connections to help spur sales. Her response? For her upcoming thriller she will choose a half dozen sites and blog 3-5 times on those sites to build deeper brand connections.
Connect through non-verbal communication. Penn sees great value and appeal in creating video podcasts for use both on your own site and on YouTube; the same holds true for audio as well. People like to see and hear you, and it helps to build a rapport. She also did a one minute book trailer that she put on her email signature.
Keep prices down to generate future sales. Ever wonder why Kindle eBooks, delivered electronically to your light and portable Kindle e-reader, are sometimes available for $2.99, $1.99, 99¢ or even free? It bumps up sales volume and helps build momentum for later books. Besides, with negligible costs for creating a Kindle eBook, the author can make the same or greater profit based on volume than on fewer sales of more expensive print books. While many of Penn’s 7K+ copies of her first thriller may have sold at these lower prices, she’s captured a large, loyal following who are clamoring for her next book and it isn’t even completed yet!
Creating a bestseller – part I
In this three part series, I am delighted to introduce Linda Janssen of the award-winning Adventures in Expatland as a guest poster. Here, inspired by the amazingly successful Jack Canfield, she shares the nuggets distilled from his recent webinar into bite-sized nuggets of inspirational goodness. Here goes:
Getting to Where You Want to Be, Part IRecently I had the opportunity to listen to an informative 90-minute webinar in which Steve Harrison, publisher of ‘Radio/TV Interview Report’, interviewed Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise. The topic was ‘How to Get Where You Want to Be as an Author/Speaker’.
This enormously successful genre of Chicken Soup ‘inspirational anthologies’ by Canfield and co-founder Mark Victor Hansen now includes more than 200 titles, with over 115 million books sold in 41 languages. Canfield has also written such highly acclaimed training/coaching books as The Success Principles, The Power of Focus, The Aladdin Factor and Dare to Win.
Originally a teacher, Canfield became a teacher-trainer, than moved to training/coaching corporate clients. Today he sees himself as a ‘Teacher for Humanity, broadening my classroom for bigger impact’. His finely honed mission statement? ‘Inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in a context of love and joy.’
While the entire conversation was full of incredibly useful tips and insights, I’d like to share the highlights of this fascinating interview on marketing and selling books.
Unless you let people know about the book, no one is going to buy it. It took Hansen and Canfield eighteen months to get the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book on the bestsellers’ lists. During that time they interviewed other best-selling authors on the keys to their success; they looked for patterns, and developed a marketing plan.
We make our own luck…we attract luck and good things to us. Canfield is a huge van of visualization, and he wants authors to think and act like a marketer. He and Hansen visualized success for everything they wanted to manifest. They’d spend 8-9 minutes every morning discussing and ‘seeing’ their goals. They’d take the New York Times Bestsellers List, replace the #1 title with the latest ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ book title, make copies and post them throughout their offices to reinforce their visualization. They would visualize the entire front window of bookstores filled with their book. Today the Chicken Soup for the Soul series is its own category, floor to ceiling, in most US bookstores. He still uses a vision board animated screen saver on his computer displaying his current goals and updates it as needed.
Dream Big. In an interview with former NATO Commander and US Presidential candidate Wesley Clark, Clark said ‘It doesn’t take any more time to dream a big dream than it takes to dream a small dream.’ Canfield explains: ‘When asked, we’d always say that we’re writing a best-selling book…The law of attraction kicks in, allowing people, resources and ideas into our lives to achieve our goals.’ He goes on to add ‘Every goal I’ve ever had and visualized has come true. Not necessarily on the exact time line or schedule, but we did succeed.’
Books travel by word of mouth. By going out and promoting your book, you help put success in motion. He mentions that realizing how important marketing was, and that it wasn’t ‘beneath him’, caused ‘a shift in attitude…and understanding of what was important: learning the tools, principles, techniques and strategies to sell books’.
Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket. Canfield uses this Biblical phrase to illustrate that you needn’t feel awkward about self-promotion. You can think and act in a proactive manner to market your book without cheapening yourself. If you’ve mastered your craft and believe that what you’re writing about will help others, solve problems or contribute to the greater good, then you don’t want to deprive others of this important thing.
Every book is like a child, with both a masculine and feminine side. The feminine side is writing the book, giving birth. The masculine side is getting out and learning the business side of promoting what you believe in. You are responsible for supporting this book. Develop that extroverted side of yourself to promote yourself, get media training (for television and radio), study internet marketing and use of social media.
Decide you deserve to succeed...You should expect to succeed. Set your goals high. Canfield and Hansen ‘sleep well at night knowing we’ve made a difference’ with their book series. Despite their publisher initially laughing at their sales goals as being unrealistic, they went ahead and proved him wrong (making him a wealthy man in the process).
Get Into Action. ‘Stop watching, get off the couch and go do something…you’ve got to take action!’ The Teacher in Canfield leads him to say, ‘The Great Curriculum Developer in the sky gives you ideas. But you have to act on them.’ Use affirmations to reinforce your visualization. ‘Learn marketing, stay focused, take action, keep going.’ Despite colossal success, Canfield continually attends new seminars and conferences, taking copious notes and learning more about publicity and marketing. He considers himself a ‘student/practitioner of the newest and latest practices’.
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