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Marketing lessons from dear ole Santa.

Marketing lessons from the guy in the red suit.

1. Santa knows his brand and sticks to it. He doesn’t try to lose weight, even when tempted by the latest Zumba dvds. Because he knows the big ole belly is part of his image. And he never contemplates getting a mohawk or shaving his beard.

2. When kids complain about their presents, or forget about the presents he worked so hard to build, he doesn’t write a blog post complaining about it.

3. He doesn’t reveal his secrets, so there is always an air of mystery.

4. He knows his target audience. When people stop believing, at whatever age, he doesn’t try to convince them otherwise.

5. He knows branding takes time. After all, he spent thousands of years building it.

6. Once he created his brand, he didn’t stray from it. Winter is his thing. He doesn’t try and take over summer or spring or go Hawaiian or anything like that.

7. He didn’t go solo. He recruited a team: Mrs. Santa, Rudolph, the elves – and then helped promote them too.

8. He didn’t make the whole Santa thing about him. He made it about others and giving, thus incorporating his audience.

9. He never lets marketing take the place of making good solid toys.

10. After creating his image and product, he didn’t spread himself too thin by tweeting about the cold weather or the icicles that form on his beard.

11. He never has negative ad campaigns against other toy makers, thus perpetuating his image of kindness.

Any other Santa tips? Please, share.

Comments { 28 }

Ebooks, Kindles, and all that jazz

For the past couple years I’ve been sitting back, already mourning the loss of the print book in my hand while I press my nose to the pages and breathe in the scent of book. Maybe they can make a scratch and sniff Kindle.

On that note, my Kindle arrived today. It feels awkward in my hand. It’s weird to press a button to turn the page. How will I tell when I’m close to the middle of the book? I always pay attention to the middle to see how other writers deal with that saggy part. And that’s how I know a big twist or reveal is coming soon. Laura’s Kindle is charging right now, but I’ll be reading tonight. Too soon to tell my opinion on it yet.

I will purchase some books on Kindle. I will get some from the library. I’ll borrow some. I’ll buy some hard covers from Indie. I’ll buy paperbacks from Borders, and I’ll buy older used books on Amazon for like .01 cent. And 3.99 shipping. Because of all these options, I’ll end up buying and reading more than if I just bought from a bookstore.

Technology will mean more sales in the long run for certain books. And more sales equals more word of mouth.

So tonight, with the smell of plastic wafting in the air, I will press click and hopefully lose myself in the screen of a good e-reader device. (And that doesn’t sound nearly as good as lose myself in the pages of a book. For the record.)

What do you think about ebooks, Kindles, and all that jazz?

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How to Survive Twitter – part two

Twitter tips for the published/agented author:

  1. Feel free to interact with agents – they might even follow you back.
  2. Encourage other writers.
  3. Remember the peons because you used to be one.
  4. Congratulate book deals and beautiful covers.
  5. Let other authors know you loved their book.
  6. #FF is great but don’t clog Twitter with 20 tweets filled with them.
  7. Don’t be obnoxious and talk about your published stuff all the time.
  8. The more famous you are, the stranger you can be and the more random stuff you can share and readers will still be interested (usually).
  9. Get too strange and random and you might lose readers.
  10. Participate in kidlitchat and yalitchat because potential readers are lurking.
  11. Follow the peons back – they’re your audience.
  12. Talk about “sekrit” projects (and you must spell it this way).
  13. It’s not about how many followers you have, but how you connect with your followers.
  14. Talk about eating chocolate even if you don’t.

Twitter tips for the aspiring writer:

  1. Readers aren’t really interested in the mundane things of your life (but you can share them if you want to).
  2. Don’t try to break into the inner circle (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about then you haven’t been on Twitter or blogging long enough).
  3. Encourage other writers.
  4. Congratulate book deals and beautiful covers.
  5. Let authors know you loved their book (if it’s true).
  6. Communicating with agents all the time looks like you’re trying too hard.
  7. Don’t talk about “sekrit” projects – no one cares.
  8. At some point you should start interacting with other writers. Start with fellow bloggers and comment on their blogs.
  9. #FF is great but don’t clog Twitter with 20 posts.
  10. Link to blog posts that are helpful or funny.
  11. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  12. Social media is not middle school. Do we really want to go back? Just write your best and be yourself.
  13. It’s not about how many followers you have but how you connect with your followers.
  14. Talk about eating chocolate even if you don’t.

I’m sure there are lots of other tips. Help me out here in the comments!

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How to survive Twitter – Part One

I’d like to say I joined Twitter all in the name of branding and self-promotion – but I didn’t. I joined so I could tweet about contests and get the extra point dang it. I’m still not sure if helped me win contests – probably not.

Stages of Twittering:

Totally grounded and lurking:

  • Lurking – you follow agents, published authors, and editors and swallow their tweets whole.
  • You find fellow bloggers and still lurk.
  • You tweet your new blog posts.
  • You might possibly feel confused, think Twitter is stupid and quit.

Preparing for take-off:

  • You dare to @reply to bloggers you know.
  • You congratulate friends or strangers on word counts or other good news.
  • You tweet helpful or funny blog posts you read.

Take-off:

  • You lurk on kidlitchat or yalitchat and eventually participate.
  • You experiment with hashtags. #queries #amwriting
  • You participate in #FF (Follow Friday) #WW (writer Wednesday), #MM (not sure what it stands for yet.)
  • You realize using Tweetdeck makes Twitter easier to manage.

Orbiting:

  • Friends start to tweet your posts.
  • You realize that a lot of tweets are really dumb and promise yourself not to write things like that (even though you probably do).
  • You make new friends and comment on their blogs.
  • You figure out that to get to the individual tweet you click on the time stamp.
  • You write a blog post about using Twitter.

Benefits of Twitter

  • Researching agents or promoting your book.
  • Building up your blog following.
  • Finding encouragement that others are in the same place as you.
  • Finding new authors, helpful blog posts, contests, book recommendations.
  • Making new online friends.
  • Developing the friendships you’ve already made through blogging.
  • Research – ask questions and hopefully receive answers.

Negatives to Twitter

  • Spending time on twitter rather than writing.
  • Using the success stories as further proof that your writing sucks.
  • Stalking people and responding inappropriately.
  • Allowing it to rule your life (at this point you should take a break).

What stage are you at? Did I miss any stages?

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Online reviews, Goodreads reviews – and honesty.

This has been on my mind for a while. In fact, every time I add another review of a book to Goodreads. Or I read an online review. Or I review a book on my blog, I think about it.

For Goodreads reviews I only use 3, 4 and 5 stars. (If I’d give lower than a three, I don’t review it.)  

Five stars: These books are my favorites. They hit every aspect of a book that I like. It’s personal. And I’ll probably read it again.

But on Goodreads – should it be personal? Should I give five stars to books that even if I didn’t love, I think kids will?

On my blog I only list the positive aspects of books. For one, this is not a book blog. I know most of you understand that. We’re writers and we want to promote, not tear down.

But I have so much more respect for a book review when a reviewer states what they felt could have been done better. Then I trust why they loved the book because they are being honest.  And just because there is a negative doesn’t mean I won’t read it. Because let’s face it – it’s nigh impossible to write a book that pleases everyone.

What do you think? How do you review books on Goodreads? And should my reviews on Goodreads not be personal? And at some point, do book reviews lose their power when book after book is always a glowing review?

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