Monday, April 30, 2012

MONDAY MARKETING Positioning 10 The Neverending Story of You, The Indie Author #pubtip #selfpub #marketing #indie #IAN1

Welcome to the final installment of my Positioning for Indie Authors series of marketing blogs. As always, the series will remain accessible, free of charge, through a link at the top of the blog, but I'll be gathering this together (soon!) to sell as an eBook for offline reference. Look for it this summer, right after I release the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (for Indie Authors) as an eBook.

In earlier entries of this Positioning series, I explained what Positioning is, how the customers try to simplify the words we throw at them, perceiving our message in a way that allows them to fit our words into a convenient "position" in their minds. By choosing one word, and making it the right word for what we're selling, we make the customer's job easier. We become a natural choice, an automatic choice. Not even a choice--an instinct!

Today, in wrapping up the series, I'll go over how all of the concepts tie together and how to put a plan into action. You still have to do the work of marketing, advertising, promoting yourself but once you're correctly branded as the Company you want to keep and pursuing a position in your customer's mind (rather than a ranking on Amazon), you can achieve the kind of success that brings those rankings to you. Don't pursue, be pursued!

Click through to begin the never-ending story that is defining You, the Indie Author.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

TUESDAY TIP (Belated) Advanced #Twitter Searching in #Hootsuite Pro @Hootsuite #pubtip #indie #promo

Today is Sunday, not Tuesday. You are not in a time machine :) I simply got so caught up in the midst of my first book release, I actually forgot to post the blog here! (eep). I apologize for the missed blog this past Tuesday and feel compelled to make up for it now, before beginning my upcoming series of new Tuesday Tips on how to use Hootsuite Pro!

On the other side of the jump break,  find the missing Advanced Searching Techniques blog I promised you last week. Coming up this next Tuesday will be my first impressions and attempts at using the powerful features unlocked in the Pro version of HootSuite. I've just upgraded today so I have to learn it from Page One myself. I'm in the initial (free) 30-day trial period from now until the Tuesday before Memorial Day. Come learn with me.

As noted, I just released my first SciFi book so I was pre-occupied last Tuesday being glued to Goodreads and Facebook--and that also means this particular 30-day period in my Twitterlife is going to be critical for me, as an Indie Author.

Be sure to join me every Tuesday for the next month in my promotional journey of using Hootsuite Pro to launch my first book. I'll be learning to master the new tools unlocked in the Hootsuite Pro upgrade, so you can attend "school" with me.

 This next month's worth of blog posts will be added to my Twitter Series, (soon to become an eBook you can buy for offline reference); but I'll also include how to use Hootsuite Pro to schedule status updates to Facebook, Linked In and other social networks--because unlimited social network accounts is one of the prime features of the Pro upgrade!

Be sure you don't miss any of this upcoming series by subscribing to this blog in one of these ways: (1) with Networked Blogs you'll get the posts fed directly to your own Facebook Timeline or (2) follow using your Google profile. Those methods are free but you can also (3) opt to buy a subscription of this blog at Amazon's KindleBlogs and have it delivered directly to your new Kindle Fire (if you're lucky enough to have one). It's only 99c a month--and this month is gonna be worth it! Let's get started.

Monday, April 23, 2012

MONDAY MARKETING Positioning 9 You, the Real Thing #marketing #pubtip #branding #indie

Welcome back to my marketing series on Positioning, a concept coined in 1969 by Al Ries and Jack Trout to describe the space in your customer's mind that you want to occupy. Positioning is obviously tightly tied to branding, so be sure you know who you are, as an Author, and that you're branding yourself as the Company you want to keep. There's no point in climbing a product ladder if it's leaning against the wrong wall! (That's one of my favorite Covey-isms)

In the first several entries of this series, I discussed the relationship between our products and our customer's perception. Then I moved onto what's sometimes called "niche marketing" and is positioning at its core because the focus of niche marketing is on the creation and exploitation of a new or unique position (a niche or creneau). Harkening back to Law 5 of the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing for Indie Authors, I advised picking one word, and allowing the other 100,000 to follow, as a knife blade follows its tip.

In these last two entries of the series, today and next Monday, I'll return to the primary concept of positioning yourself and your brand. For Indie Authors, of course, they are nearly one and the same. The bottle's empty. Fill it with whatever you like. Create yourself!

Monday, April 16, 2012

TUESDAY TIP Amazon Kindle Cover Imgs Bigger + Better? or Just Larger?

This Tuesday Tip is a departure from my regular weekly feature. I just had to share this news when I saw it in my mailbox. In case you either don't receive or don't read the Kindle Direct Publisher (KDP) newsletters from Amazon, here's one of the stories in this week's release:

Cover Image Update

Worthy of another mention: We can now accommodate larger, higher-quality cover images for Kindle titles! Accordingly we have updated our guidelines for creating a catalog/cover image. Our new guidelines for cover images require that an image be at least 1,000 pixels on the longest side, though we recommend 2,500 pixels on the longest side to ensure better quality, and an ideal height/width ratio of 1.6. To confirm whether your cover image meets these requirements, right-click the image file and select "Properties."

I'm not entirely convinced that bigger image files are in the vested interests of the readers because Kindles, like everything else connected to the internet, have to deal with the so-called "bottleneck" effect of downloading and displaying information over a wireless or 3G connection. Bigger image files, while looking nicer, open the opportunity for slower-loading files.

As a former web graphics designer, who learned from Day One of the web that optimizing images for web use will make or break a network-based presentation, I'm worried. My concern is for the customers, the readers, falling prey to the ignorance of Indie Authors who create their own image files. Most of them won't have a clue that a way to reduce file size without losing image quality even exists, let alone how to do it.

So here's a follow-on tip. If you want to use a larger, higher-resolution image for your book cover, please consider hiring a professional web graphics designer to create your cover for you. The size of your cover image file not only adversely affects your file-loading time, but the larger the image, the smaller your text sample will be. That's right, a bigger image means your readers get less of your book when they download the free sample--maybe just a page or two if your cover image file's huge enough!

Plus, a professional designer will do a professional job laying your cover or even conceptualizing the imagery for you in an artistic way. Oh and don't forget, professional designers usually have a toolbox of great fonts on hand. Your book cover will benefit in a myriad of ways. Just find a barter if you can't cough up the cash. There's always a way to "pay" for what you need to get your book done "right."

MONDAY MARKETING Positioning 8 One Word Can Say A Lot #pubtip #indie #marketing #promo #howto

Welcome back to my marketing series on Positioning, as adapted to the Indie Publishing business. Positioning is a concept coined in 1969 by Al Ries and Jack Trout to describe the "space" in your customer's mind that you want to occupy. Positioning is obviously tightly tied to branding, so be sure you know who you are, as an Indie Author. Brand yourself as the Company you want to keep. There's no point in climbing a product ladder if it's leaning against the wrong wall! (That's one of my favorite Covey-isms)

In the first several entries of this series, I discussed the relationship between our products and our customer's perception of them--of us. I elaborated on how the crux of positioning is to create a new space and claim it as your own, in that way becoming the leader, the first. In my most-recent entry, I focused on the pros and cons of using one name for multiple product lines. This week, we'll look at the power of using one name--and sticking with it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Temporarily Out of Service: Back on Schedule Mon. Apr 9

I have flown the coop.

Due to some unforseen difficulties, I am unable to both produce a Monday Marketing and Tuesday Tip this week and meet the publishing deadlines set months ago. It's one or the other (not both) and I'm sorry, but getting the book out is taking priority at this stage of the process (we are about to release "any second now"!!)

The blog shall return to its regularly scheduled programming next Monday, April 9, 2012 as the Positioning Series continues. I invite you to review the first 7 entries here, while you wait.

You may also find the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing for Indie Authors series an interesting read. Click here to check out how I adapted the famous "bible" of marketing advice to our Indie Publishing business.

See you next week!

-sry

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TUESDAY TIP How Book Bloggers benefit from Creating @AmazonKindle @Shelfari Book Extras #pubtip #indie #goodreads

This is Part 2 of a special blog on Amazon's reader community site, Shelfari. I've only just joined (last week) and created an account (http://www.shelfari.com/webbiegrrl) which so far, I can't even figure out how to link/combine with my "Sarah R. Yoffa" Author account there (Amazon created the Sarah R. Yoffa Author account for me; apparently, I cannot alter it? I'll keep working on this and report back when I figure it out! You know I'm relentless enough to figure it out or (half)die trying)

So I don't know a lot about Shelfari--yet--but I definitely don't think it's going to even come close to "replacing" a community-centered site like Goodreads.  I jumped on this Amazon/Shelfari bandwagon for good reason. Two good reasons, actually.

One, Book Extras, although available for Kindle readers only, are some pretty powerful tools and two, Shelfari's site (together with your Amazon Author Central Page) is the easiest way to access, modify and control them. That's what I covered last week in Part 1 of this 2-part blog. (Read Part 1 here).

Today, I want to talk about a secondary, side effect of the Amazon/Shelfari Book Extras that will be of particular interest to Book Bloggers. Even if you're not a Book Blogger, click through the jump break to read more about this kewel potential for symbiotic viral marketing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

MONDAY MARKETING Positioning 7-Choosing, Not Diluting Your Name #pubtip #indie #promo #marketing

Welcome back to my marketing series on Positioning, a concept coined in 1969 by Al Ries and Jack Trout to describe the space in your customer's mind that you want to occupy. Positioning is obviously tightly tied to branding, so be sure you know who you are, as an Author, and that you're branding yourself as the Company you want to keep. There's no point in climbing a product ladder if it's leaning against the wrong wall! (That's one of my favorite Covey-isms)

In the first several entries of this series, I discussed the relationship between our products and our customer's perception. Then I moved onto the discussion of a French expression, cherchez le creneau or finding and filling a "hole" (creneau) in the market. This is sometimes called "niche marketing" and is positioning at its core because the focus of niche marketing is on the creation and exploitation of a new or unique position (or niche or creneau).

Naming the niche can be as important as identifying and claiming it, so today I'll delve into choosing a name--for yourself, your books, even your genre. You have to choose your words carefully, but then we are in the publishing business. Covenient, huh? Click through the jump-break to begin.