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Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

I find a lot of interesting marketing ploys during my research times. Most of them are schemes or ideas that make a highly sensitive person such as myself shudder. However, there are a few I find intriguing. One such idea is called Pay with a Tweet.

What is Pay with a Tweet?

Simply put, this site allows you to create a button you can put on your web site that allows people to download whatever you choose (music, ebooks, movie trailers, etc.) and pay for it by tweeting or posting to their Facebook wall.

Essentially it’s a way to get followers and FB friends to use their social contacts to advertise your product and in turn receive a freebie from you.

Is it worth it?

According to the Pay with a Tweet web site it is, but I’m not one to accept a sales pitch without checking out what others have to say about it.  There have only been a few reviews, but considering PWT was released in June 2010 a few is still better than leaping into the dark without a flashlight.

Paul Marsden’s review, Pay with a Tweet, Pay with a Like: New Social Payments Platforms, was more or less a reiteration of the Pay with a Tweet web site, minus the short video about PWT and including The Teenagers PWT promotional video. What makes this review worth mentioning is the comments, especially deb’s who took issue with the phrase “tweet like hell” in the PWT instructions given to potential buyers.

I may not be one to cringe at the use of this particular phrase, but I know many who would be. I’m also not convinced using language of that kind is particularly professional, especially for someone like me who writes Christian books. It gives me second thoughts about using Pay with a Tweet.

Aaron Poeze’s review, Pay With a Tweet, points out two possible negatives:

  1. The “seller” isn’t making any money, so there’s a higher need to take advantage of the exposure PWT gives.
  2. If the product is terrible, then PWT becomes socially expensive. (think Jacqueline Howett)

Laura Fitton of oneforty thought the idea was great and had no problems as a customer paying with a tweet, which speaks well of the site’s ability to create what it advertises.

The verdict is…

I’m still on the fence with this one only because everything I’ve read thus far has been from the customer end. I think it’s great that people are willing to use social payment to get a free download. Going viral could be a real blessing, but it could also be a nightmare.

True, just being in business is risky. As independent authors we deal with that risk all the time. The issue as I see it with Pay with a Tweet, though, is that you absolutely have to have a great download that makes people want more or it just won’t work. In fact, it could backfire big time.

Maybe it’s just me, but I want to see some results before I leap into this. When social media works, it’s great, but when things go bad…

I’d love to hear from anyone who has used Pay with a Tweet, with good or bad results, from the seller’s point of view. What did you think of the experience? Would you recommend it?

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If you don’t already know how important having an ebook is, then perhaps you want to check out this post: Ebook Buyers: Can You Afford To Lose Them?

For the rest of you, I’d like to make a quick suggestion: don’t stop with ebooks.

On the Enneagram my husband is a 7 and I am a 9. We like to joke that he’s the idea man, but I’m the one who makes those ideas come to life. So, when my idea man suggested I put my latest book, Simply Prayer (also on Nook and Kindle), out as an audio book, I jumped on it. (It didn’t hurt that I know at least one person who prefers audio books because she’s so busy.)

A little research helped me find not only how to produce my own audio book for free, but also who I could list it with (distribution is still a major factor in making money!).

Here’s what I learned so far:

  1. Author Tim Hampton suggested in an interview on Self Publishing Coach using CDbaby.com because “CDbaby also makes my work avaliable at itunes, emusic and more…”

  2. There is free software available to create your audio book called Audacity.

  3. There are tutorials like Create An Audio Book With Audacity & Audiobook Cutter and Create and Sell an Audio Book Using These 5 Simple Steps by Shelley Hitz.

  4. Don’t expect the print version of your book to make sense to a listener. You may need to script your book, especially if it contains long web site addresses or footnotes.

I’ve only just begun working on putting together a Simply Prayer audio book, so I’ll be adding more information as I go. In the meantime, I would love to hear from anyone who has thought about doing an audio book or has already made that journey. What tips or questions do you have?

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“People forget what you say, but they remember how you made them feel”–Warren Beatty

Caring for others, wanting to help our fellow humans, comes rather naturally for highly sensitive people, so why shouldn’t promoting ourselves and our products be just as natural? Most likely because we’re thinking of “selling” rather than “marketing.”

Sell: to persuade or induce (someone) to buy something: The salesman sold me on a more expensive model than I wanted.

Market: “on the market” (to make) available for purchase

Although the difference, linguistically speaking, is subtle, there is a huge difference in the way the two are carried out.

When we think of sales, we often think of a stereo-typical used car salesman — pushy, irritating, hard to get away from. I don’t know any HSP who wants to be that person. Trying to “sell” ourselves and our products leaves a sickening feeling in our psyche. And it’s no wonder since we’re consistently thinking of how the “other” feels. We know people don’t like to feel pushed into buying what they don’t want.

However, marketing is simply letting everyone know what we have available. To market ourselves we only need to do what we do best, be kind to others. The rest will slowly take care of itself.

Kristen Lamb and JP Aguiar have similar takes on using social media, Twitter in particular, to market ourselves that really speak to the way HSP’s live.

Kristen calls her suggestion the Rule of 3’s:

  1. Conversation:  Find someone to say something to. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy chat, just a word of encouragement or congratulations. Anything friendly will do.

  2. Information: Tweet a link to a post or article you found helpful, though not necessarily your own.

  3. Reciprocation:  Retweet a link from a fellow tweeter, preferably one you think others would really enjoy.

JP calls his suggestion The 5 Fingers To Social Media Learning:

  1. Index Finger – Know Your Goals: What do you want to accomplish through social media?

  2. Middle Finger – Share The Luv: Be human. Be available. Watch for opportunities to communicate with others, then do it.

  3. Ring Finger – Build Your Community: Sharing great information and being available naturally builds relationships, which will grow your following, your community.

  4. Pinky Finger – Share You Share Yours: Be yourself, but keep it to a minimum. Remember, it’s about building a community, not selling a used car.

  5. Thumb – Be Supportive and Helpful: Watch for the needs of others. All writers like, and need, some help getting the word out about their books, blogs, etc. Be that help.

Selling anything can be difficult, but making yourself available and letting others know you have something they might be interested in isn’t nearly as hard. Social media can be a marketing dream for a highly sensitive person, especially when we dig into our natural talents to be attentive and helpful.

What other ways have you found to market your products that hinged on putting your customer’s needs first?

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If you’re a highly sensitive person like me, then you’ll understand how stressful marketing yourself, your product or your business can be. If you aren’t an HSP, then today’s marketing landscape with its hurry, scurry push in social media probably doesn’t bother you. You may, in fact, thrive on the pressure, the excitement. The downside to that is that mistakes can be made at a faster rate and be more challenging to correct.

It’s also true that HSPs will suffer more stress and anxiety if we jump into all of the things we’re told we should be doing before we take the time to fully plan where we want to end up or if we don’t pace ourselves the way we need to — at a slower rate than the rest of the world. Regardless of whether you’re thinking about blogging or using Twitter or Facebook or any other social media, as an HSP it is imperative to think it through and take your time.

I’m currently working my way through Kristen Lamb’s WE ARE NOT ALONE: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, which I highly recommend, but I have to continuously remind myself that I am not in a race. As Kristen has pointed out in previous blog posts, writing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Building an author platform goes right along with that. I may not be able to fit in 15 minutes each for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace (or whatever other social media outlet I’ve chosen) everyday, but I can certainly spend that much time on one per day, blog at least once per week and still have time left to work on my “masterpiece”.

Jumping into anything before you’re truly ready, or even mostly ready, gives a higher possibility of failure. It also means a greater possibility of losing your passion to write altogether. Still, it’s very difficult to reign in our enthusiasm, especially if we’re newer to the process. As Jody Hedlund says in her post The Pressure To Jump In Too Soon, “It’s hard enough to have patience. Therefore, when we get involved in the cyber writing world, eventually, we might begin to feel left behind or the pressure to keep up with what others are doing—even if we’re right where we need to be.”

Jody suggests 5 things newer writers can do to keep those feelings of pressure to a minimum, which I think really speak to HSPs:

  1. Concentrate on your writing because that is what will sell.

  2. You can put aside the book you’ve written without editing it. Consider it a project to revisit later when you’ve had more experience.

  3. If your story isn’t working or you’ve lost the passion for a project, it’s okay to put it away unfinished.

  4. Take the time to try out other genres. You may find your best writing isn’t in the genre you thought it was.

  5. Most importantly, spend less time thinking about what everyone else is doing and more time being you. As an HSP you know you’re unique. Capitalize on it.

It’s not the popular choice to take the slow lane when trying to forge ahead in a writing career, but for highly sensitive people it can be the best way. What other ways have you discovered to keep your career moving ahead while maintaining the balance you need as an HSP?

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One thing I never really considered until recently was who I expected to read what I’ve written.  It didn’t cross my mind even when I was doing the Problogger Challenge last year.  I always wrote stories and articles I thought I would like to read.  That’s not a horrible way to write, but it makes marketing a bit more difficult.  After all, you wrote it so of course you’d like it.  The problem with that is that you are one person.  Not everyone is like you.  This is why it’s important to create reader profiles.

I found the simplest way to do this in the article “Make Writing Fun: Methods Monitoring Student Writing,” which is written for high school teachers, but I think it’s a great way for anyone to start profiling potential readers.  Think of someone you enjoy telling stories to.  Write down specifics about this person from reasons you enjoy telling your stories to them to reasons they enjoy listening to or reading them.  This gives you a very personal idea of who your potential audience is.

From there you can begin to imagine others who might enjoy your works.  I highly recommend Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone to help develop a rounded out profile of your general readership.  If you’d like to get just a little more creative by doing several individualized profiles you could try Darren Rowse’s style of telling a little story about each imagined reader and including a picture.

Some basic information to consider including in your reader profiles, however you choose to put them together, include:

  • Demographics
  • Financial situation
  • Needs and challenges
  • How they use the web
  • Motivations for reading your work
  • Experience with topic (especially needed for non-fiction)
  • Hopes and dreams

Knowing who you’re writing for can help refine your manuscript as well as make marketing to them simpler on The Road to Writing.


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I am not an early adopter. I love gadgets, but I like to wait until most of the bugs have been worked out. Then I wait a little longer until I’m sure it’s a tool I’m really going to use and not a toy I’ll toss aside in a couple of months. So I was really excited about finally buying an eReader last month.

Alas, my excitement was short lived upon discovering my new gadget couldn’t read several of my previously downloaded books. No problem, I thought. I’d just convert them with this nifty software I’d read about.

Wrong! Until that moment I had little understanding just how DRMs affected me personally. Suddenly I’m faced with undesirable choices: a) pay for yet another eBook version, b) read it on my laptop only, c) learn to strip the DRMs from my eBooks, d) forget the whole thing. While b and d are the simplest solutions, I am actually hovering between paying what I considerate an exorbitant amount for an eBook and learning how to “pirate” my own books for my own personal use, which brings me to my topic: eBook pricing.

Traditional publishers have missed the boat when it comes to eBook pricing. In fact, many aren’t even on the loading dock. As JA Konrath points out in his post “Ebook Pricing,” customers want to pay less for eBooks than they would for a hard copy. It’s always made sense to me as a customer, but as a business person/Independent Author I wondered if it was wise to price an eBook low. If Konrath’s numbers are to be believed, however, the lower the price, the better the sales, the more money you can pocket.

With so many eBook avenues opening up to Independent Authors from Amazon’s Digital Text Platform for Kindle to Barnes and Noble’s new PubIt! pricing for high sale volume seems the better choice on The Road to Writing.

Author generated links:
April Hamilton’s post “Avast Ye Lubbers and Hear Ye Me Pirates” on eBook piracy tells of an honest woman pushed into piracy.

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It goes without saying, though obviously I’m going to, that I enjoy blogging. It’s a form of writing and writing is what I do. But I recently had to re-evaluate whether blogging was worth my time after reading The Blog Tyrant‘s postWhy Blogging is a Waste of Your Time.

It all comes down to “why are you blogging?” At first I thought it would be a good way to make a little extra money, but I quickly found that a free blog doesn’t generate income (at least not easily). And I wasn’t willing to commit money to this endeavor as so many others have. I admire people like Darren Rowse of Problogger who have spent money on their blogs and have shown that you can make a go of being a professional blogger. I just don’t think that being a problogger is what I want to do at this time, though I do plan on using his 31 Days to Build a Better Blog eBook often.

I then decided it would be a better way to reach an audience and maybe help a fellow Independent Authors. The problem with this was that nearly all the advice out there says you must blog everyday. I believe having a blog is a great way to build an author platform, but I was finding myself working more on my blog and less on what I really wanted to do — write books. I rebelled and stuck with weekly postings. Still, I felt like this blog thing wasn’t working like I wanted.

Enter Blog Tyrant. I wasn’t convinced that blogging was wasting my time until I read these words:

Your goal is to make money online to give yourself a better life. Blogging might not be the best way to do that. It might be a distraction that you use because it is easy, available and popular. But perhaps you would be better off doing something else? [emphasis mine]

Perhaps my time would be better served by not blogging. How right he is. I am an Independent Author, not a ProBlogger. It’s time I began acting like that as I travel down The Road to Writing.

P.S. I’ll still be blogging. I just won’t be obsessing about it quite so much. 🙂 What about you?

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