Blog Entries posted by Mel Hopkins
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So, you've finished writing your first book and after you've blown through your friends and family list; now, it's time to find your readers. You know, those people who don't know you but will want to read your book if they knew about it?
In other words, it's time to market your book. If you haven't thought about marketing until now, that's ok. The first step to finding your audience is to understand why, who and how. To determine it, backtrack to why you wrote the book in the first place.
Keep in mind, Marketing (promotion) doesn't dictate WHAT an author should write. It's just that the author should have a group in mind when they do.
Determining "who" you wrote the book about helps you find like-minded people. For example, if you've written a biography (genre), the subject's characteristics will help to begin building an audience. Is the subject a black woman? Then those who interested in reading about black women's lives are a clue to uncovering your audience. Consider "why" you wrote about this black woman - knowing why you wrote about her will narrow down the interests to promote.
Such as, this black woman is the mother of GPS.
So how did she accomplish this goal? The "how" usually contains drama and conflict.
A Black woman in Jim Crow south overcomes sexism, racism, and classism to design the prototype of the (GPS) Global Positioning System (computer technology).
So, there you have it. The first step to marketing your book after you've written it is creating a one-sentence explanation sometimes called the logline or pitch.
Now you can begin your promotional efforts.
#bookpromotion Inspired by ReadingBlack.com club: Open Letter to Promoters
"No one wants to pay for distraction, but they will pay if it's packaged as help." (me)
How help is defined is tricky. It depends on the client/customer's wants.
If your prospective customer wants to escape their environment, then consider if you, the independent author have the skills, resources, and experience packaged in your book to help.
If your book is the solution, then show them how it can get what they want. In this case, adventure, exotic destination, and as a bonus, a mental place where they will experience something new.
If your book doesn't qualify to assist, then recommend one that can and sell it to them.
Note: selling is an exchange of goods and services for currency. (Currency could be signing up for your newsletter because they value your judgment.)
You can increase your market to gain their trust and sell them what they want another time.
This marketing mix relies on the SAVE* strategy. When marketing your book, consider a promotion campaign that features Solution, Access, Value, and Education.
S = solution - show us how your product helps us solve our problem.
A = access - consider how your readers decide to make purchases and provide product info along those channels. Remember, following customers around a store doesn't work - so don't cyberstalk your prospective buyer either. Think about affiliate marketing - advertisers want to appear where they know prospects are receptive to their solution. It's soft promotion because there's no one aggravating them, allowing the candidate to seek out information for themselves.
V = value - ask how does this product (book) benefit your reader. Every book is not for everyone. So first find out who reads your type of books - and then share with them how your book fits their desires.
E = education knowing who your readers are allows you to share information on topics they enjoy. If your book is a romance - then romance readers would be thrilled to learn the latest - like a romance industry gossip website will bring them to you - and you can engage and build a community around mutual interests.
And this how you can position your book, product/service, in a way that helps them help you.
"You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want." ~ Zig Ziglar (salesperson, motivational speaker)
*Eduardo Conrado, who was senior VP and the chief marketing officer at Motorola Solutions, allegedly came up with the SAVE marketing mix framework.
There’s only one way to become a bestselling* author. Get a lot of people to buy your book. - Simple, right?
Yes, but it’s not easy for independent authors who must get their book in front of enough people to gain global sales.
Well, at least it wasn’t easy before the internet and the growth of eCommerce. Back then, it was nearly impossible to make global sales without a prominent publisher.
Now any writer can sell worldwide.
So why do so many independent authors insist on selling their books exclusively on Amazon.com? And to their detriment.
There are plenty of viable outlets available that will lead to better sales and robust revenue. Yet many stop there and then wonder why they can’t make a living as an independent author.
Possibly some of the reasons for poor sales include lack of knowledge, not enough preparation, and not setting an initial sales goal. Fortunately, there are simple fixes for these oversights.
Setting a SMART1 ( Specific, Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-based) sales goal. i.e., Using several distribution channels, Independent author will sell 300-1000 units* during the first week of publication. You are identifying viable outlets to sell the book. Direct sales, eCommerce sites, book distributors such as Ingram, hand sellers, independent bookstores, retail bookstores, specialty outlets, etc. Make sure at least one of your outlets is also a reporting agency to NPD Nielsen BookScan Delaying publication to prepare a sales strategy, and to solicit presales. Now that you’ve considered a plan to sell 300 or even 3000 books during the first week of publication, it’s safe to tell you the rest of the story.
Determining where you will sell to your customers and how you will get your books to them is also known as Place. It is the 3rd P in the marketing mix. So, deciding Amazon as the exclusive Place to sell books is unwittingly using a marketing tactic that may negatively impact your book’s sales revenue.
Note: although Amazon is referenced throughout the article it’s not the focus. It’s about getting you, the independent author, to consider a solid book sales strategy that allows you to make your book available in multiple locations.
* (3000 -10000 books sold is the statistical count for WSJ or NYT bestseller, respectively.)
** Post inspired by @Troy 's Tweet (1/7/2020)
1. https://www.smart-goals-guide.com/smart-goal.html What is a smart goal? | acronym smart goals
2. https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/bookscan/stores.cgi (npd publishers marketplace BookScan stores reporting
3. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/industry-expertise/books/ (NPD BookScan book market trends)
4. https://www.ingramcontent.com/publishers/distribution (book distribution worldwide |Ingram content group)
5. http://www.bowker.com/ (Connecting publishers, authors, and booksellers with readers)
It all begins with the character. The story has its genesis in the character. Without the character - there is no story.
Whenever I'm having a problem writing fiction, ( or even in my own life) I know I have to return to the protagonist.
If she's fully developed then I have to concede that maybe she's in the wrong story.
-Originally Posted in The Thriving Writer
One Trillion Dollars! Earlier this month, Apple executives announced their 42-year-old company is worth One trillion dollars.
For those unsure how to write one trillion dollars, there is a one followed by 12 zeros.
Today, some believe Apple changed the world with its products. Still, there are quite a few who get along fine without Apple. For the rest, the company is a game-changer.
Apple went public in 1980, and for $22, anyone could buy a share. During the company's initial public offering, a middle-aged professor, who taught at a university in Brooklyn, bought a few of the more than four million shares available. He encouraged a young widow who'd just inherited a half-million dollars to buy some too. Her goal was to leave a financial legacy for her children, their children, and generations to come. Not knowing much about the stock market or IPOs, she was skeptical about making a purchase.
She passed on the offer. Instead, she kept her money tied up in real estate and her family. She thought that would be a safer deal. It wasn't. Today, most of her family is gone. She and the bank own her one home.
There are a lot of reasons, why she isn't wealthy today but mainly it's because "we become what we do."
There can be hundreds of articles on how Apple hit trillion dollars in valuation. The reason is this; Apple is run by people whose goal is to make money by any means.
So, if you find you're in a place far different than you'd envisioned for yourself.
Stop doing what you've always done.
Lose the fear and make money whatever it takes to allow you to live your dreams.
As long as black women need to get their hair "did", and black men need to get lined up, we will always come together in the "Shop" or around kitchen tables to share the latest news.
No matter how many social networks like Myspace, Facebook and Twitter spring up they will never replace Low tech media such as The Barbershop,The Beauty Salon & Kitchentalk.
On this video, Software and Mobile App developer Anari Sengbe, illustrates this point when after his days of disrupting Silicon Valley, he returns to the village to talk about cryptocurrency.
I've been following this tech guru since he came up with the GoVote app that would allow volunteers to wait in line for others who couldn’t afford the long wait time to vote
I was updating ads on my blog and I came across a story I "pressed" on him last year.
As you can tell, from the name of this blog, I look for interesting "characters" and so I followed up with him on LinkedIn to find out the latest.
Earlier this year, Anari Sengbe launched OWO (Yoruba-English translation: Money). OWO.world is a digital platform that has a suite of applications from social to gaming with a twist that allows users and developers to earn/exchange cryptocurrency.
I'm working my way up the learning curve to understand this digital currency, but I like the questions these brothers ask because when you teach you learn. And Sengbe is able to answer these bitcoin questions in a way that s easy to understand.
By the way, Gaming is included in the Trillion-dollar Media & Entertainment industry but I don't think the government did an assessment that includes bitcoin mining.
My head is spinning trying to make sense of all this but you only get old when you stop learning.
The Black community who have nearly zero wealth but $1.5 trillion buying power keeps the U.S. economy afloat.
Some have the belief,
Absolutely some of those tactical and strategical solutions require mental reprogramming and behavior modification.
The Black community didn’t create fiat money or its banking system. Therefore, we're clueless when dealing with it. The system terrorizes and traumatizes others, crushing them under the weight of insurmountable financial problems.
The former can be solved by education, while the latter would require reprogramming to alleviate ourselves of its pressures.
For example, many believe we derive our worth from our financial portfolio, our parents or where we were born.
Society programs us to believe what we own, who we can influence even our zip code determines our value.
Once we’re indoctrinated into that belief system; once we begin to equate our intrinsic value to tangibles such as assets, physical appearance, influence or anything outside of our control; we quickly travel downhill on a slippery slope.
For many of us, this is a way of life. It is as natural as breathing.
We’ve been taught to seek outside acceptance, or even popularity, i.e., create an artificial demand for ourselves.
We will do anything to achieve it. We'll pay for things we can’t afford to get the attention of people we don’t know, have a relationship with, or even like.
When we follow this path, we create demand for human-made products giving it value and thereby enriching its producer.
Ironically, the value comes from the demand. Without demand, there would be no value. Humans, however, are valuable whether or not there's a demand.
Looking for outside validation, or even valuation wouldn't be necessary if we recognize that we're invaluable from birth.
More on that later when we discuss remedies for financial pathology.
Some attention-seekers don't understand how attention derives its value or its purpose. So, they exchange it for money. Others attempt to convert it into status. Once in demand, the goal for many is to gain an illusory higher ‘position’ in society.
Hollywood even has a rating system for a celebrity’s popularity and will pay according to the rating.
And as a society, we’ve agreed to this rating system as if it’s nature’s design. Instead of what it is, an artificially created social stratification system.
In nature, there’s no such hierarchy only symbiosis and mutualism.
Every species has a role and carries out for the continued evolution of this planet.
Our belief system should reflect what exists in nature.
Our innate abilities, talents, and Love at its apex are for this planet's growth, not its destruction.
It's inherent within the Black community or any indigenous people to know their role in nature.
We're here as sustainable support for nature and all that exists within.
Still, that knowledge conflicts with the members' need for acceptance.
Further, the natural system wouldn't benefit parasites who have learned how to thrive off the artificial system of selling attention-getting products.
Unfortunately, they have convinced us to bury our talents and abilities and instead trade our time for a pittance so we can pay twice the amount of our earnings for trinkets.
The price of human ingenuity is incalculable.
Meanwhile, the black community is financially-strapped because they work to get attention. Some will convert the attention into money to buy things they don’t need, tire of it and unfulfilled will self-destruct.
Others will use the attention currency, convert it to power then into money to maintain the social stratification system.
Of them, in whispers, we'll say, "so-and-so sold their soul."
For the rest, the tactical solution is to remember individual intrinsic value. Then we'll realize humans belong at a roundtable not in a pecking order.
But I digress.
There's a difference between how things are and how they should be. There's a difference between reality and belief.
Maybe our psychological challenges stem from overthinking this lopsided mixed economic system.
Therefore, a strategic solution is to understand that in democratic capitalism, money is a medium used in an exchange of goods and services.
The key is knowing the difference between price and cost.
Just a reminder.
Your life is an open book.
No matter how high you rise or how low you go;
someone, somewhere knows part of your story.
Originally published 121017 The Thriving Writer
I love it when a good plan comes together.
Many who are dazzled by the media and may have missed the plot.
We must remember, we're a civilization rooted in story-telling.
We share information filled with iconic imagery, symbolism, and sounds.
Celebrities are no different.
They use the media to tell stories that voice their platform position or opposition.
Case-in-point, On December 5, 2017 "Beyoncé surprised free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated‘s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award."
Here's the backstory for those who missed it.
Beyoncé became Enemy #1 when she performed "Formation" during the 2016 Super Bowl.
SUPER BOWL 50. It was the only time the NFL ditched the Roman numerals.
Like a Trojan Horse, Beyoncé and her Black Panther styled-warriors marched out on their field. She resurrected Malcolm X and gave corporate America the finger.
Without those who sound off every time a celebrity offends their sensibilities, we'd miss the story unfold.
White folks screamed bloody murder and cops threatened not to provide security for her upcoming concerts.
Now, 45 and white America are butthurt because Kaepernick took a knee 7-months after Bey danced into Formation.
For a protest to be effective, you got to surprise them on their battlefield.
Awarding the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to Kaepernick is nearing the apex of consciousness raising.
If this were a monomyth, also known as the Hero's Journey; it would be where the Hero gets the gift from the Goddess right before he returns from his journey.
Together, whether it was planned or not, they used their platform to bring attention to police brutality and state-sanctioned murders.
Beyoncé and Kaepernick didn't level a gun. They waged protest in an arena the military used to raise support.
Raise. Support. For. War.
Maybe like me, you weren't aware of how the National Anthem and the NFL wedded at the conclusion of World War II. The Washington Post shared that part of the story in September.
Up until 2015, the Department of Defense contracted with the NFL using millions of taxpayer money.
I never had a problem with military pageantry.
I do have a problem with hypocrisy.
Neither Beyonce or Colin Kaepernick used taxpayers money to advance the cause of bringing attention to police brutality.
They told a story through their actions.
Proving once again; a storyteller's wheelhouse is winning hearts and minds.
What does it take to get to a Happily Ever After?
It's 2017 and romance novels are still the best-selling trade books in the America, maybe even the world.
I'd go out on a limb to say the reason is two people always find their happily ever after. But how about outside the book covers? In life? What does it take to get HEA?
In today's podcast, I explore the reality. Do you have what it takes to hurdle the obstacles to achieve your happy ending? Transcript available on melhopkinsdotom in the comment section.
No one can live up to the story that you create about them. If it's an amazing story, however, it doesn't matter. That is, if you remember this one thing.
Listen to my podcast "Careful, or you'll end up in My Novel" Pilot episode: Characters
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