Beyond Book Sales Income: Book Marketing and Diversification

I love the internet . . . you can find almost anything and learn just about anything by doing a search. In a webinar provided by Steve Harrison of Quantum Leap. The guest speaker was Jack Canfield. For those of you who haven’t yet hear of him (this would be amazing if you are in the writing field), Canfield is the co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen had a dream. They would have a New York Times best selling book. But, the road to success wasn’t easy . . . they received 144 rejections from publishers. This did not stop them—they moved forward with visualization and positive projection techniques. Chicken Soup for the Soul came out in 1993. Since they didn’t have enough money for a publicist so they did their own marketing. By 1995, they won the Abby Award and the Southern California Publicist Award.

This was the second teleseminar I had the privilege of attending featuring Canfield. The information offered was geared toward the strategies needed to make money publishing books through marketing and diversification. This concept is very similar to a video clip I watched of Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, which was also presented by Steve Harrison.

So, what exactly are the concepts of book marketing and diversification?

8 Book Marketing and Diversification Tips to Help Make Money

1. Build a platform.

Start your platform when you are thinking of writing a book—don’t wait until you are published. Creating connections, contacts, and readers takes time.

2. Realize you will most probably not get rich writing books.

Yes, that’s right, you will not automatically become wealthy from book publication. But, while you won’t get rich, it will open doors that will not otherwise be open. This is the opportunity for diversification—don’t just look straight ahead—use your peripheral vision.

3. Learn how to market and sell YOU and your books.

Never stop learning about writing and book marketing. Read about the subjects; attend conferences and teleseminars; join writing and marketing groups; and follow blogs that provide valuable and up-to-date information. But, remember, you don’t want to just sell your books, you want to sell what you have to offer along with your books.

4. Research areas you can diversify in.

If you are published there are a number of doors that will magically open. You can create e-books; you can present teleseminars, webinars, or workshops; you can offer classes or coaching; you can even write a book about your experiences and successes.

Tip: Before you start charging for your expertise, offer some free services. This will help establish you as an expert in your field.

5. Never stop selling.

Find new avenues to sell your books and services. Utilize some of the suggestions in #4 above.

6. Build your subscriber list. 

According to expert marketer Jim Edwards, if you don't have a list that's continually growing, you're sunk.

You'll need to develop a trusting relationship with your readers by providing quality information on a regular basis, along with quality products.

7. Believe you can do it.

This is probably the most important tip for success. Canfield is a firm believer in the power of tweaking your subconscious and projection.

8. Pay it forward.

As the Bible tells us, “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” New World Translation, Acts 20:35.

Aside from being good for you as a writer and marketer, giving back is good for the universe and our troubled world.


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10-Second Story Ideas - Adapt Familiar Titles and Phrases

While this post deals with fiction writing, its principles can be applied to nonfiction writing, copywriting, and content writing. It's about putting a spin on the tried and true.

10-Second Story Ideas - Adapt Familiar Titles and Phrases

by Deb Gallardo

This 10-second story inspiration comes from clever book titles that immediately made me ask "What's this story about?" These titles are fun, but more importantly, they are compelling. How can YOU create similarly quirky titles (and stories) that set the imagination soaring and will drive people in droves to your book? To answer that, let's look at the sources of these titles before they were so cleverly transformed.


"The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse" is a nod to "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," which heralds the end of the world as we know it.

"The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime" is a play on words for "The Big Easy" (nickname of New Orleans, Louisiana), and which was a dark film about a police investigation into mob violence and possible police corruption.

"Thursday Next: First Among Sequels (Book 5)" alludes to the British novel and miniseries "First Among Equals," about four politicians vying to become Prime Minister of the UK.

"Duncan Delaney and the Cadillac of Doom" calls to mind "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," the quintessential adventure tale with an impending cloud of doom hanging over it.


Notice how, in the first title, juxtaposing chocolate bunnies and the apocalypse makes an immediate statement. It sets the mind to wondering 'What could chocolate bunnies possibly have to do with the end of the world?'

In the second title, we can deduce from the fact it's a "nursery crime" having to do with eggs, that this is probably about Humpty Dumpty, but that he didn't just fall. He's been murdered.

With the third title, even if you aren't familiar with this delightful novel series, you can tell it has something to do with books and politicians vying for position.

Finally, the last title just jumped out at me with its "Cadillac of Doom" phrasing. I have no idea what this story is about, but I can brainstorm about cars of doom for quite awhile. Asking what-if is the easiest way to do that.

* What if the Cadillac is a portal into another dimension? Sci-Fi / Fantasy

* What if the trunk of an abandoned Cadillac is the entrance to a secret underground facility? Mystery / Thriller

* What if the Cadillac is haunted by the ghost of a girl who spent 10 minutes of adolescent passion in its backseat, never to hear from the boy again so she kills herself? Horror

* What if the Cadillac curses its owner with too much good luck? Paranormal (with a moral a la "Twilight Zone")


Find a phrase or title that is almost universally recognized. Here are two examples: "A Tale of Two Cities" and "It was a dark and stormy night." We begin by substituting words to alter the meaning.

1. Use a play on words - "A Tail of Two Cities" --- "It Was a Dark and Stormy Knight."

2. Substitute similar-sounding words - "A Tale of Two Cityslickers" --- "It Was a Dark and Smarmy Sight."

3. Juxtapose vivid contrasts - "A Tale of Two and a Half Cities" --- "It Was a Dark and Stormy and Cushy Little Playpen"

You may come up with your own devices to transform a familiar title or phrase into something clever. Whatever method you employ, the point is to have fun with it. And, of course, to inspire your writing!

NOTE: Longer phrases can be easier to transform than, say, two-word titles like "Great Expectations." But the beauty is -- there are NO rules.

The possibilities from this one method are almost endless. So set your imagination free!

In addition to this technique for finding story ideas, I invite you to visit The Story Ideas Virtuoso blog, where you will find multiple ways to inspire your writing in this and other articles: Lessons Hurricane Ike Taught Me.

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Small Business Marketing - Know Your Customer’s Online Behavior

Small business marketing, specifically internet marketing, boils down to predicting online behavior in terms of what it will take to turn a visitor into a customer.

According to the “experienced marketers and expert testers” at, this is a key element to success.

You’ve done your research and created a product or service to sell to others. And, you’ve researched your target market. Everything is in place to attract potential customers to your site.

But, once you get the prospect to your site, then what?

The purpose of bringing visitors to your site is the have them buy what you’re selling – this is called conversion. The ratio of the number of visitors to the number of buyers is your conversion rate.

Knowing your customer’s online behavior will help you enhance your site’s conversion rate.

According to a webinar presented by Marketing Experiments, How to Increase Conversion in 2012, for every action or step you want a visitor to take, it must be worth his time and money – it must be worth the opportunity cost.

In other words, the buyer must feel that choosing your product or service is of greater benefit compared to spending that money and time on another product or service. And, each step in the buying process must equate to a perceived benefit. The perceived value must outweigh the perceived cost, including time and effort.

The webinar offered four factors or key principles to small business marketing that will help guide the potential customer to the desired online behavior:

1. Appeal – Is your product desired enough by the prospect? Have you made your product and promo copy effective and enticing enough?

2. Exclusivity – Can the prospect find your product or service elsewhere online or is your offer unique and exclusive?

3. Credibility – Are your promo copy claims believable enough for the prospect to take action?

4. Clarity – Can the prospect quickly and easily understand what your site and offer is about? And, are the steps needed to purchase what you’re offering easy to follow and minimal? Having an effective heading that conveys the value of the offer, is essential to this element.

These four key principles are necessary to your small business marketing strategy – they’re needed to effectively lead a customer through the steps of buying.

Testing and research demonstrate that you must have “an unbroken chain of Yeses” in order to get the conversion. Along with this you must reduce buyer anxiety that usually appears during an involved buying process.

This means you must simplify the buying experience for the customer to allow for a smooth flow that maintains “cognitive momentum.”

Steps you can take to simplify the customer’s buying experience include:

• Have an effective image on your site – studies show that images increase clicks
• Have a clean and uncluttered page – clutter causes distraction, which breaks the “yes” chain
• Make the shopping cart steps as minimal as possible – keep it short and simple

In its simplest form, your ‘small business marketing customer value proposition’ needs to answer the question of ‘why should that customer buy from you, rather than from your competitor.’ And, you must convey that answer quickly, simply, and effectively in order to drive desired online behavior.

To check out Articles One and Two in this three-part series go to:

Small Business Marketing – Know What Consumers Buy (Part 1)
Small Business Marketing - Meet Your Customers' Wants (Part 2)



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Small Business Marketing - Meet Your Customers' Wants

You just started your own business and you’re creating a small business marketing plan. You may already have created a great product. At least you think it’s a great product. But, is there a customer base for it? Or, is your product name effective? Do you know what your target market’s ‘wants’ are?

Marketing studies are showing that in order to sell effectively, you need to know what’s motivating your potential customer to make the choices he does. This means you need to know what your potential customer wants.
People buy what they need, want, or desire. But, ‘when push comes to shove,’ people buy what they want, rather than what they need.

So, you need to determine what it is your potential customer wants and craft your small business marketing strategy around that.

Suppose you’re selling a book on ‘alternative health.’

Many people may know they should look into alternative health options, maybe find an acupuncturist or naturopathic doctor, but if you don’t promote your product to their ‘want’ it won’t motivate the prospect to buy. 

So, what does it mean to promote to a customer’s want, rather than his need.

Well, instead of promoting your alternative health book by explaining that Western medicine may not meet their health needs and that it’s important to address the underlying causes, rather than just the symptoms of illnesses, tell the potential customer that alternative options will allow him to regain his health and vitality. Tell him how this product will actually alleviate his problem. Do you see the difference?

Please be aware though that the above example is just that, an example. In your small business marketing you must always be honest and never, ever make guarantees in regard to someone’s health. Your product or service must be of value and it must fulfill your marketing claims.

As the example demonstrates, people buy based on feelings: Will the product or service make me feel, look, or smell better? Will it help me learn something, or earn more money? Will it get rid of my pain?  Will it make me a better golfer? And, it’s your job to answer the relevant questions effectively.

Watch just about any TV commercial. The marketers are selling an image. They’re selling to the viewer’s wants. Think of clothing commercials. Some don’t even have words; you simple watch a beautiful or handsome model wearing the product. You want to look like the model in those clothes, whether consciously or subconsciously. This motivates you to buy those clothes. The ad is addressing a ‘want.’

Just as a chef prepares a meal for both the taste and visual appeal of a dish, so must a marketer present his product or service in a manner that will be appealing on all fronts to the target market.

Your small business marketing must address your potential customer’s ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) question appealingly and effectively.



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Professionalism and Writers

Practicing Professionalism: Some Author Do's and Don'ts

By Harriet Hodgson

The book business is a tough business. Authors like me may work for a year or more on a manuscript and, after it is finished, not be able to sell it. This brings us to the topic of professionalism. Can you pitch a book and remain professional? I've been asking myself this question a lot, as I try to market the two books I wrote last summer.

According to the dictionary, "professional" means you are competent, expert, or a consultant. "Professionalism" is defined as professional character, spirit, and methods. As I identify and follow marketing leads I try to be professional. Some days it is a challenge because I want the sale so much. Yet I try to be professional in my contacts with publishers.

Courtesy still counts in an electronic world. Many business transactions are conducted with cell phones, tweets, emails and blogs. That doesn't mean we throw courtesy out the window. Acquisitions editors are swamped with manuscripts and courtesy can make their days easier. One publisher referred me to the senior editor of another publishing company. I emailed her and received a reply two days later. Though her reply was not what I hoped to receive, I thanked the editor for her promptness and for getting back to me.

Proofreading is part of professionalism. Before you send an email, book query or proposal, you should proofread it carefully. This is hard for me because I wear bifocals and my eyes are sensitive to light. If you have similar problems, ask a family member or colleague to proofread your work. Katharine Sands discusses proofreading in her book, Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent's Eye. Recommending proofreading may sound ridiculous, she points out, but it is critical. "I'm constantly surprised by the carelessness and breeziness of some letters and proposals I receive," she comments.

Correct formatting shows your professionalism. The public library may have books about manuscript formatting. Electronic submissions are different, however. Moira Allen tells why in her article, "A Quick Guide to Manuscript Format," posted on the Writing World website. Use a readable font, she advises, and avoid bold, underlining or italics. "Most email programs don't translate these well," she explains.

Following submission guidelines demonstrates professionalism. These guidelines are listed in the Literary Market Place, the Writer's Market, and publishers' websites. Michael Larsen's book, How to Write a Book Proposal, is also helpful and I have used it often. Writing a proposal for my latest book took me a week. I let it "percolate" for a week and went back to it. Then I took the time to put the pages in protective sleeves and glue the cover design (which I paid for) on the cover of the folder.

Persistence factors into professionalism. You need to be persistent in order to sell a book. But there is a huge difference between being persistent and being a pest. After I have queried a publisher I try to avoid re-contact, yet sometimes it is necessary. For example, the expert who was going to write the Foreword of my book is unable to do it and referred me to another expert. This is something a potential publisher needs to know.

I know professionalism works in my favor and that is why I work at it. Time and professionalism are on my side.

Copyright 2011 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 35+ years and is the author of 30 books. Her 26th book, "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from Amazon. Centering Corporation has published several of her books, including "Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life," a companion journal with 100 writing prompts, "The Spiritual Woman: Quotes to Refresh and Sustain Your Soul," and "appy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss"

Hodgson has two other new books, "101 Affirmations to Ease Your Grief Journey" and "Real Meals on 18 Wheels: A Guide to Healthy Living on the Highway," Kathryn Clements, RD, co-author. Both books are available from Amazon. Please visit Harriet's website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.

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