Monday, January 26, 2009


Why should it make a difference? It isn’t uncommon for me to spend an entire day sitting here working, why should it matter that I have to be here with my foot propped up because I’m not allowed to put any weight on it.

It isn’t uncommon for me to not leave the house for several days, working submissions, researching markets, maybe getting a little work done on my WIP. So why should it matter that I can’t get out of the house except with help, and involving a whole bunch of logistics.

I don’t see why it should make a difference, but it does. The difference between being FORCED to do something and doing it because it is convenient to do so. But just because I am now trapped by a stupid spur-of-the-moment decision doesn’t mean the Lord didn’t know I was going to do it. How else to explain why it was so important to include a ramp when we rebuilt the front porch. Nobody needed one, but I thought we were reaching an age when somebody might. Somebody does.

Why else would it suddenly become so important to put a dog door in so Frisky can get out himself when the occasion demands instead of me having to get up and let him out? Why else was it important to get things set up so I can either work from my recliner in the living room or from the study? Why else indeed?

It’s a good time for it, the weather is supposed to be really lousy this week so why not stay in? After a Christmas season spread out over several weekends following by a terrific trip to go see my grandson baptized I am badly in need of doing catch-up. This should facilitate that nicely although a few of the tasks involved with hard copy submissions become a little more logistically difficult.

How long this situation will last seems to depend on what I hear back on the cat scan as to whether surgery will be required or not. If no, the recovery time is supposed to be shorter. I am going to have to cancel one program I was set to give and awaiting word on another one. Just see what happens, I guess.

I don’t suppose it should make that much of a difference, well, except for the discomfort.
But it does.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Online Marketing

Online Marketing is a lot like fishing. The very best way to catch a fish is the individual angler walking the mountain stream with a fly rod casting into the spots where he or she knows the elusive trout might be hiding. The online angler does this with emails to friends, relatives, or email addresses that they have hoarded from former book purchasers. They have the product for sale at their own website. This personal connection offers the highest chance of success, but the numbers are small because it depends on the number of individual casts that you can make out into the water.

More fish are caught by the bank fisherman. You’ve seen them. They cast out into the water, set up a pole, then cast another pole until they have a half dozen of them lined up. This is the online person who doesn’t depend on knowing people individually, but mines online group, directories, organizations etc that they are in to put out the word on their product. They have the order link in their signature line and keep the bait dangling in front of the people at these places all the time.

Then there are the people who put out trot-lines, long fishing lines with many hooks on them, suspended by floats and placed out in the water. This online angler has their books in a number of online outlets, usually with some help from their publisher getting their books in these multiple locations. The key is the world’s largest fisherman, Amazon, first because they sell the most books, and second because a lot of online stores simply tie to the Amazon ad in their own bookstore.

Finally there is the commercial fisherman. These anglers go out in big boats, spread their nets, and work as wide an area as possible. The online angler who works professionally uses all of the above methods of fishing. They also understand that these are simply methods of getting hooks into the water. They know that bare hooks in the water don’t catch fish, and a product being available somewhere online does not result in a sale without someone being told it is there and given a reason to want to purchase it. Sure, there will be the occasional sale just by someone browsing through and see the book is available, but most of the sales will be made by people who have achieved visibility, and who have baited the hook.

How do we bait the hook? Discounts, contests, giveaways, ad copy that entices the buyer to want to try the product, reviews and endorsements. We get these promotions and enticements out by every resource available to us. Sales belong to the people who are doing both, the ones who are getting the most hooks in the water, and the ones that are baiting those hooks with the most visibility and support that they can generate.

There is greater satisfaction in being an individual angler, casting our book in front of a known prospect and relishing the very personal sale. But if the objective is to maximize our sales we have to spread our nets by all of the online resources available to us. But most of all, the bottom line is to have a superior product that people want to buy, and when they do will talk about to their friends. For the very best advertising of all is word-of-mouth promotion. This priceless commodity cannot be bought, it can only be earned, and it is the best online sales avenue of them all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How much value is a referral?

One of your good friends has some significant publishing credits. How much weight does that carry if you list them as an endorsement for your submission? I find the answer to most questions are, “it depends.”

So what does this one depend on? First it depends on whether they really are impressed with your work or if they are allowing their name to be used out of friendship. I’m more impressed when the pubbed writer makes the initial contact bragging on the friend and asking if I would look at their work. I always do.

But sometimes when the actual submission arrives and I see the work of the submission can’t hold a candle to the work of the pubbed author and I know it is simply a “friendship endorsement.” Other times the submission lives up to the endorsement and that encouraging word by the published author certainly carries a lot of weight with me. Even more significance is when a known author or celebrity has agreed to write a foreword or introduction to the book. When they agree to do this they are in essence putting their own reputation on the line being published in the book with the writer. That has to carry weight.

It’s another case where networking is so important.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Year End Report

I thought I might do a wrap-up for the year. It was a pretty good year but never as good as I would like, of course. First, the overall numbers: I have 50 clients and sent out 474 submissions on their behalf. 153 of those are still active. 25 projects sold which is 16% of the projects we received a response on. During the year I looked at 1301 submissions.

Amy Alessio’s “A Year of Programs for Teens” sold to the American Library Association with Kim Patton as a co-author on the project. She also has an offer from another library related publisher to do a title for them.

Max Anderson was included in “Layups and Long Shots”

Linda Apple is doing a work-for-hire book for Dan Case on how to write inspirational writing.

Tammy Barlay’s “On the Wings of the Storm” Trilogy to Whitaker

Graham Garrison’s “Tribute” sold to Kregel

Mark Littleton 5 book series “Angel Quintet,” a second 5 book series “Coulter Mountain,” and a stand alone title “The Impossible Years” sold to Capstone.

Brenda Nixon’s “Birth to Five” book sold to Baker (Revell_) and she is to be included in “A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Like Mother, Like Daughter Our 101 BEST Stores.

Trish Porter’s “Rekindle Your Dreams” sold to Bridge-Logos

Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s “Promised Blessings” to Abingdon.

Jill Williamson’s “By Darkness Hid” sold to Marcher Lord Press with an option for two more titles

My own Titles, “Beyond the Smoke” sold to BJU Press, I finished ghostwriting a young adult title, and Mountainview Press will do a reprint of my “To Keep a Promise” with 30,000 increased word count tentatively re-titled “A Promise Kept”

I anticipate 2009 will get off to something of a slow start with the current economy and most publishers are looking for 2010 publishing dates now. I believe it is going to be a good year, however and look forward to working with clients and editors alike.