Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Marketing: Things I Learned by Working at the Telephone Company

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today, we're talking about marketing and some things I learned from my time at two different telecommunications companies. Ready? Grab that pen and notebook and let's get going!

I was lying in bed this morning, my brain ticking away, and for some reason yet unknown to me, my brain attacked my past work experiences in the telecommunications industry. Yeah, okay, I was thinking about marketing and how different approaches yielded different results. For reasons of anonymity, I'm going to call them Company A and Company B. In both companies, I was a customer service representative.

Now, I worked for Company A in 2003ish. I had over a month of training before they'd even allow me to get near a real telephone and consumer. What I learned in training was how to provide customer satisfaction, and how to sell, sell, sell.

You see, Company A gauged performance on sales and disclosure. Problem solving was tickled, but we didn't get down and dirty with how to listen and respond to issues the customer was having. No, we were taught how to turn those issues into sales.

What was unique about Company A is how they taught us to approach the pitch. If you called in with an issue about having a prank caller, I would offer you XYZ product that would allow you to see who was calling and block them or offer you a number change (for a fee, of course).

When a customer called in wanting a cell phone, I was to listen and ascertain how fancy that phone offer should be. Was it someone who appreciated all the bells and whistles, wanted something basic, or wanted the latest and best thing on the market so they had a certain level of status socially? I then sold them a product based on their needs/desires.

Even if you called in and didn't want a cell phone, I was told to prompt you for a story about a scary experience where you had a flat or were worried about your teen. Then, in order to soothe your fears, I was to sell you a mobile device.

There were only three hard and fast rules: 
  1. Don't piss anyone off (because a satisfied customer tells maybe ten people, but a dissatisfied customer tells anyone who'll listen).
  2. Don't lie (that's lawsuit material right there). 
  3. Don't hang up on the customer no matter what (see item one).

I worked for Company B in 2006ish. I had nearly three months of training, the last of which was done talking with actual customers while a coach sat nearby to answer questions or provide guidance, before I was allowed "out on my own." I was trained on how to make the customer happy and give accurate information.

Company B rated performance on customer satisfaction, problem solving, and accuracy of information given. Period. We were taught how to make our customers giddy.

This company's unique approach was not in the customer having the latest and greatest gadget or upgrade, but having the plan that was right for their usage. If you didn't sell anything, that was okay. They wanted people paying for exactly what they needed and no more.

Why? They were looking at it from a retention perspective.

You see, customers aren't profitable for at least two years. If you can't keep your customer around, you lose oodles of money. So, it was still needs based, but it wasn't about the upsell.

I was told to examine every customer's account and make sure they had the plan that worked best for how they used their phones. If that meant removing a product, then so be it. When you hung up, you knew Company B had your back and wasn't trying to price gouge you.

There were only two hard and fast rules:
  1. Listen closely and provide the best customer service possible.
  2. Don't get belligerent or hang up on the customer no matter what.

How does this pertain to book sales?

I'm getting there! Hang with me.

What hit me after I had a little while of contemplation was: Both companies were after customer satisfaction, but one focused on sales while the other focused on retention. Each method worked (they're both huge companies), but the difference in the people working there was astronomical.

At Company A, everyone in the office was on some kind of antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.
At Company B, everyone was genuinely happy. Every single day.

So, here's what I'm getting at with my lengthy retelling:
If you create a novel that's well written, well edited, and tells a great story, you'll be able to sell it because the level of reader satisfaction rises. Those readers will keep coming back because they know you'll produce a great product and you care about their experience.

But you have to market according to why those readers need to read your book.

Marketing and selling are just phase one. Reader satisfaction is the biggest chunk of pie imaginable. So, focus on the reader and writing a book you know will bring them back for more, and you'll be selling oodles of novels in a short amount of time.

My question for you today is: Why does a reader need to read your book? Give me your best pitch in the comments!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How Many Books Should I Bring to XxX Author Event?

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, we're going to address a question that gets asked allll the time:

How many books should I bring to this author event?

Well, I have an answer for you that works with every author event you'll ever attend. So, get your clicking fingers ready and let's get going!

An author event is a lot like a trade show. There will be people buying, browsing, and selling. For this calculation, you'll need numbers. Most of the time, if you look around or ask, someone will be more than happy to share ticket sales numbers in order to help you out.

You should bring books based on the number of people at the event. If you're afraid you'll run out, do a pre-order form for folks who'll be attending so you can guarantee you'll have copies for those who are interested.

But how many, right?

I'm getting there.

Besides your pre-orders, you should bring 1% of the total number of bodies coming through the doors, and you should bring twice that many of any new release you might have.

Let's go through my books and use a number of 1,200, and we'll assume it's a conference for readers and authors of young adult and new adult.

1% of 1,200 is 12. So, I'd want 12 each of my YA and NA titles, and 24 of any new release (which I don't have right now).

Will I sell them all?

No. But I'll have enough on hand. For older works, I usually cut it to .5% of the number.

Here's a rundown:
I, Zombie - 12 (it sells reallllly well)
M -12
The Bird - 6
Mystic - 6 each of the smaller, individual books (novellas). Total would be 30.
Markaza - 12
Mystic collection (5 in 1) - 6
Fractured Glass - 12
The Indie Author's Guide - 6

So, in total, for a YA/NA conference, I'd have 96 books on hand. If there will be adult readers, too, I'd bring this in addition:
Yassa - 6

That makes it 102. No way do I sell all these, but 1% is a good rule of thumb to follow (business wise).

That was about how many I took to the last conference I was at, and I only brought home 40 books.

I know that seems like a lot to have afterward, but I sold 62, which comes out to around 5% of the total number of people attending. That's realllly good, and I didn't have to turn anyone away without a novel in hand.

I could probably have taken half that many, and I wouldn't have had so many to cart back home, but I always go big. *shrugs* At least I have giveaway books on hand! I was able to donate a number of them to a hospital recently, so that made it all better!

There you have it. I hope that clears up some questions. 

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Cover Reveal and Thunderclap Signup - Seven

Happy Monday, everyone! Today, we're talking about an upcoming cover reveal and Thunderclap we'd love your support on. So, get your clicking fingers ready and let's get going!

If you remember, a few weeks back, I posted the 777 Writer's Game, where I gave you a teaser of the book I mentioned in my surprise post about the authors of Fractured Glass.

Well, our cover reveal is coming up, and we have two ways you can help us out.

First, with a thunderclap. You can help us out here:

Second, if you'd like to post the cover reveal or release day information on your blog, you can sign up here:

Seven Cover Reveal Sign Up November 2, 2015

We only need a few more for the Thunderclap. It'll link to a page here on the blog where I'll have a master list of all those who signed up to help out with the cover reveal.

Not only that, but those who post on their blogs will get special/exclusive content to share!

How exciting is that?

Thanks in advance. You guys rock. I hope I do as much for you as you do for me.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Creating a Universal URL for Your Book on Amazon

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm going to show you how to create a URL that will prevent you from having to list all the sites on Amazon where your book can be bought, but will take potential buyers right to your book no matter where they live. How amazing is that?

Ready? Grab a cup of Jo and let's get going!

There are a few steps to this, so hang with me.

First, let's go get the ASIN for your e-book (if you already know how to do this, feel free to skip down).

Navigate to your book on Amazon (however you get there) and make sure you're on the Kindle version. Like so:

Now, go to the nav bar and copy the link you see there.

Paste into something like Word or Notepad so you can select a small portion of the text (I'm using Notepad here):

Select anything between .com/ and dp and delete it:

Now, select anything after / and delete that, too:

You now have the basic Amazon URL for your book. Like so:
But we want the ASIN! See that last letter and number string? This one:

Select it. That's your novel's universal ASIN. It's the same on every Amazon store. Hit Ctrl+C to copy it.

Now, go to A-FWD here. You should see this:

Go to the box marked GLOBAL ASIN. Click in it and hit Ctrl+V to paste.

Now scroll down and copy the link that's been created! You never have to post a billion links for your book if you want to reach international audiences. BOOM!

Easy peasy. You can use that link in all your marketing forevermore.

Did you know about this? Does it help?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cover Reveal - The Queen

Hello and happy Thursday, everyone! Today, I'm bringing you all a cover reveal from the awesome Suzanna Lynn. Ready? Let's get going!

Blurb: Tensions are high. While King Ashmur lies on his deathbed, the evil Lord Cadman coerces Mirstone into declaring war on Grasmere and they’re not alone in their malevolent intensions. An evil lurks in the land that threatens to destroy everything in its wake.

While Baylin readies the Kingdom, Luana discovers a secret about her past that makes her question everything she thought she knew about herself.

All Luana and Baylin wish for is to be safe and happy together. However, constant struggles make it seem as though contentment is impossible. Trials and tribulations strain the delicate core of their relationship. Will war finally succeed in tearing the lovers apart? Will Luana and Baylin’s bond be able to withstand the hidden secrets, betrayal and warfare?

About Suzanna:
Author Suzanna Lynn is a full-time mom of three beautiful, energetic children and lives with her husband and children in a small town nestled in the deep rolling hills of Missouri.

Growing up in the Ozarks, as a child Suzanna spent her days wandered the fields and woods surrounding her home. She would imagine them to be filled with fairies, dragons, and all number of creatures.

Having not lost her childhood imagination, Suzanna has written numerous poems, songs and short stories that have won various awards. However, in 2014 she decided to stop wishing she could write a book, and made the dream a reality.

She is the author of 'The Bed Wife Chronicles' series. She also has three other books in the works.

Stalk Links:

Ready for the cover? I know you are! Here it is!

And the full wrap!

Isn't it pretty?

What do you think? Will you be checking it out when it releases?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gearing Up for 12 Days of Review Requests Event

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I'm busier than a one-armed paper hanger this week, trying to get everything in order for both NaNoWriMo and the BIG December event here on the blog. Because it's almost October, I'm opening up the signup form for participating authors (for the daily prizes).

Please note: This is not to get your books considered for purchase and review! This is ONLY if you'd like to do a giveaway during the event or support the big prize.

Without further ado, here's the form!

Are you excited? I am! This year will be AWESOME!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Term "Housewife" and What We Need to Add

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today, I have some inner-musings about words for you all. There's your fair warning; you're about to read an opinion piece. But bear with me, and maybe (just maybe) you'll get a chuckle and your brain will churn. Ready? Grab that cup of Jo and let's get going!

Starting off with why I began down this line of thought.

This morning, I say to The Best Husband in the World, "You may have married the best housewife on the planet."
He says, "I know I did."
It made me smile. Then, it made me think about the term "housewife."

Here's the definition from Google: a married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework.

Okay. There are women out there who want that to be their only occupation, and it's perfectly acceptable. Please note: I'm NOT bashing housewives. I think everyone should do precisely what makes them happy. 

So, being me (slightly neurotic and curious from head to toe), I did a Google search on another term: Working Housewife.

I gasped at the results. There's no such term! My heart stopped, and I glared at my iPhone screen. Not only is every housewife on the planet a working one, their jobs are often thankless. Still, you have those women who excel at running a household and managing a career.

What I found were articles like: Perfect 50s Housewife Myth Busted. Do You Want to Have a Working Wife or a Housewife? Is it Better to Have a Working Wife or Housewife When Raising Kids?

How dare they? What the hell is the world coming to? Was there crack involved in the writing of these articles?

Because, I assure you, there is such a thing as a Working Housewife.

Then, I reconsidered (because that's what we do when we try to make sense of something nonsensical and we're about to have a stroke), and I tore apart the definition, thinking of this part separately: Main Occupation--means that's what you consider your primary job.

I pondered. I struggled. I chewed my nails. Then, I did a search for the term "working." Here's what I got: having paid employment.

Paid. So one must be paid in order to be considered working. Need I tell you how, at that point, I really got my panties in a twist? Because I did. My knickers were wound so tightly, I was positive I'd start sneezing cotton any minute.


My blood pressure rising, my extremities tingling as the elastic tightened, I backtracked. Here's the definition of the noun: the action of doing work.

Slowly, my underwear released their restriction on my legs, and I was able to breathe again. I can guarantee every man on the planet would have kittens if their work in the yard or around the house wasn't considered work. While I still wasn't happy, I wondered if people actually considered a new term.

Now, I know a great number of women who do a great many things (from home) while taking care of their families. They manage to work from home, their houses and kids are clean, they pay all the bills, and they even manage (somehow) to cook a healthy meal most days.

Let's look at me! I do all of the above and run more than one business. I consider myself a housewife, but according to the definition, I'm not.

Because of the definition, I don't qualify. Neither do any of those other women I mentioned above.

I stand on my soapbox, teetering from one foot to the other, and hold up my sign today!

Redefine your preconceived notions!

We work. We're housewives (or housewomen). And there's nothing wrong with that. But I think we need a new definition.

Working Housewoman: a woman whose occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs,  doing housework, and working from home.

My face is back to its usual color (I think), so I leave you with a question:
If you're a working housewoman, what do you do besides family?

I hope you got a little chuckle out of my predicament, and I hope you found my new definition suitable.

How would you change it?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!