Monday, August 14, 2017

Giving Readers What They Want…Consistently (aka: What I learned from being a cosmetics junkie.)



My name is Missy Tippens, and I am a cosmetics and skincare product addict. I love face creams and foundation. Primer and powder. Cleansers and concealer. I’m a sucker for just about anything that declares itself anti-aging. :) (Please bear with me. I WILL tie this in to writing and books.)



My husband has always called me a marketer’s dream. Sales and advertisements draw me in. I love to discover new products, and once I love something, I’m a loyal user. For the last year, I’ve been a big fan of an up-and-coming cosmetics company. I’ve tried many new-to-me products, but have also experienced the release of new items. I have enjoyed the samples that come with every purchase. Very often, I use those samples and then buy the products, discovering new favorites. When I go to their website to shop, I always read the reviews before I buy. They seem to have a crazily loyal customer base, women who heartily share their love of the products with others. I found myself spoiled by the company’s business model and by those new product releases—the samples, the build-up, the special promotions.

But recently, when it had been a while since a new product, I found myself losing interest a bit. I started looking around, clicking on links in newsletters from other companies, checking out products by other brands. Then, BAM! I got an email from my favorite company about a new product release, and I was once again excited about the brand!

In that moment, it hit me… Oh, my goodness, what if books are the same? I suspect voracious readers are the same way I am with my cosmetics. If so, we authors need to stay in contact with our readers. We need to give them new products to sample and buy. We need to keep them excited about our product so they stay loyal. :)


How can we give our readers more books and keep them interested when some of us are slow writers? Or when some of us are at a place in our lives where we have family or other commitments taking us away from our writing? What about those authors facing illness or grief? It got me thinking…wondering…feeling a bit overwhelmed…

And then I got a promotional email from Nick Stephenson of the blog Your First 10,000 Readers. Nick said:
They key thing to remember is that 'overwhelm' isn't an inherent personality flaw. It's not genetic. It's not communicable. It's not a fault with you. Overwhelm is a by-product of 'not having a plan'.”
That was another BAM! moment to me. I was struck with the feeling that God was trying to tell me something: I need to work on a more structured plan.
No more saying, “When I finish x, I think I’m going to work on y…or maybe z.” No more being anxious or indecisive. I need to fully commit no matter what. I need to make decisions about the order to work on projects and then set deadlines.
I mentioned in the comments section not long back that I have a new Panda Planner. But I haven’t been using it regularly. I’m now reminded of how important it is to have a plan and to stay on track. Organization is key to keep from getting overwhelmed, which is key to producing more books, which keeps our readers faithful and excited about our work!
So, while planners can be fun and even artistic ventures (some use stickers and artwork!), and while I love my planner because it includes space for recording gratitude as well as a place to list successes, the calendar area should be a priority.
Today, I want to share some ideas I’ve had (inspired by my cosmetics addict lightbulb moment) for keeping readers interested and loyal:
--Focus on our newsletter, and try to keep a regular schedule (whatever that frequency is for you).
--Be generous with samples (first chapter or free prequel, etc.) on our website or wherever we connect with readers.
--Don’t let big gaps of time pass without offering a product, even if it’s something short or just a freebie. Work toward being more prolific so readers will remain excited about new releases. I think several of the Seekers have a good handle on this by just sticking to a daily word count goal. Consistently writing 500 or 1000 or 2000 words a day (or whatever number works for you) can make all the difference.
--Get readers involved in our work. I’ve recently read authors who recommend keeping readers engaged on social media. One author asks them questions and lets them give input on his books while writing them. And he always responds to comments. This is something I know I can improve on. I have tended to think I’m boring so haven’t posted much on my Facebook author page. But in the future, I want to reach out more often.
--Don’t overdo the promotion. The last thing we want to do is shout, “Buy my book!!” over and over until our fans get so sick of our pleas they want to run the other direction. We don’t want to shove our books down their throats. We want to keep them excited and looking forward to hearing from us. Finding this ideal frequency may take a little trial and error, but I think we’d be safe looking at how often we like hearing from our favorite authors (or from our favorite products outside of books).
--Finally, I think we should move beyond thinking of ourselves simply as creatives and try thinking of ourselves as a brand. We should be savvy business owners. Consider who our customers are and what they want. Come up with a plan, and schedule those product releases on our calendar. Break down those projects into manageable steps. Plan well ahead, especially for promotion. And always be learning from other authors who are successful.
I hope you found this helpful! I’d love to hear your input, as I’m still in the process of shoring up my plan. Do you consider yourself a brand? How do you schedule your product releases and keep loyal fans reading? And readers, we want your input! What helps keep you loyal to an author? What can we do better?
Today, I’ll be doing a fun giveaway! I’m giving away a hanging travel bag that’ll be great for cosmetics (you knew I had to go there :)) or other toiletries or shaving items. It can even be used for packing electronics (for the many chargers you have to haul everywhere). Please let me know if you’d like to be entered! (Giveaway item will be similar to this photo but may not be exact depending on what’s available when I order it. U.S. entries only this time please.)

Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest and a 2013 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. A House Full of Hope was a Romance Writers of America 2013 RITA® Nominee. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com, https://twitter.com/MissyTippens and http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers.




121 comments :

  1. As a reader, the one thing I really dislike is when you leave a cliffhanger at the end of your book and it's MONTHS and MONTHS until the next installment. I either will buy each book and not read them until I have the last one, or I will lose interest because it's too long between books and not read them at all. That's no good for you as an author or me as a reader.

    I love newsletters! I'm not real picky about the frequency because I know you are busy doing what you should; writing your next book. I like knowing what's in store next, give me an idea on what you're working on so I can look forward to it in the future. Cover reveals are great too! I've seen several authors post on FB or even in the newsletters. Most of the time I OOOH and AHHH over them :-) Character spotlights, giving me a glimpse into the mind of them; personalities, family, etc. Maybe feature yourself on a blog where the blogger "interviews" you...those are always fun! Keep your own blog/website updated as much as you are able. I know some of you (if not all), deal with multiple deadlines so I totally understand hiding in your writing cave for a time.

    I'm not sure what else to add here. I think for me, just knowing there is something in the works for future books is great and keeps me excited and looking forward to upcoming stories. Keep up the great work authors, this reader appreciates it!!

    Please add my name to the cosmetics bag, thanks so much! It's been years since I've replaced mine....lol!

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    1. Trixi, this is all very helpful! Thanks so much for sharing your likes and dislikes. I'm with you on the cliffhangers! I want a story tied up in each and every book. Or I guess I could read through a series to get to a conclusion--but it wouldn't be my first choice. :)

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    2. Trixi your comment is like the wish list for authors with web sites. Thanks!

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  2. By the way, I've brought decaff coffee and tea for us night owls. :)

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  3. Missy, lots of great advice here! The perfect way to start my writing day!!!!

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    1. Ruthy, you're one of the ones who is an inspiration for cranking out the daily word count!

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  4. Good morning Missy, I usually have a loose plan in my mind. The few times I've written down goals, I find myself working harder to make them. You've encouraged me to write down my plans. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Jackie, I hope you find writing down those plans to be helpful!

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  5. Hi Missy! I laughed reading about your addiction to skin care products. Funny thing, I have the same addiction to planners, calendars, etc. So, I have to write down my goals, etc. on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Thanks for the great tips! Toss my name in for the drawing...thanks!

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    1. How funny, Jill! You probably enjoy the office supply store like I enjoy Ulta. haha Of course, I'm crazy about office supply stores as well. I'm double doomed. LOL

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  6. Good morning. Missy, this is so good. I definitely need to move past when I finish x, I'll work on y mode. Please toss me in the drawing. I've got some planning to do!

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    1. Sharee, I hope we both become more decisive. :)

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  7. Okay, the "real" coffee is on! And I've got tea for you non-coffee drinkers. Plus your choice of waffles with fresh Georgia peaches and whipped cream on top, or a freshly-made omelet to-order. Now my stomach is growling!

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    1. PEACHES! peaches are in here, in New England, probably not as good as yours, but I'm going to scoop up about 10 pounds and make a peach cobbler this week, yum.

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    2. Kathy, that sounds yummy! We've been eating peaches for a while now. I fear they're going to be past season soon.

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  8. Excellent tips. Wow. I had no idea you had this addiction.

    Do you..

    1. Get a buzz of excitement when you find out the quarterly skin care giveaway of Lancôme and Clinique at your local department store. Or Sephora sends you an insider newsletter and you have points accumulated???

    Or someone leaves an AVON brochure at your door?

    Yes. That's me and I hardly wear any makeup.

    hahahaha

    Great post!

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    1. YES, Tina!! Hahaha And I hardly wear makeup! I'm more into skincare--and foundation and mascara. And yes, I have points accumulated at Sephora and Ulta. :)

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    2. TINA... *giggle* It's the little things, isn't it? :)

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  9. Missy your post is a good kickstart for my week. Organization is referred to as the "O" word at my house because I'm always seeking it. When I was in business I used to be very organized hauling 20 horses to shows (or even two going into numerous events), and as many kids to go with the horses. No one missed a beat. But I've gotten lazy and I think I must be in my honeymoon period with writing (no pressure- just loving everything I get to do) My organized side battles with the other and I'm finding that the office supply store just doesn't have enough new colored file cards and cute plastic clips to solve my problems. I'm thinking I need to add the "D" (discipline) word to the "O" word and start to compartmentalize my time. I just realized that this is sort of funny. If I add the "D" word to the "O" word I get - Do. Okay then- get 'er done might be the same as do. Thanks for being so helpful! Blessings!

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    1. Barbara, I love your use of the D and O words and combining them! Haha I hope it inspires you to get to where you want to be. Yet I'm so glad you're enjoying the writing! That's so crucial.

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    2. Barbara, I love organizational aids and the office supply store. My go-tos are Pilot G-2 red pens for line editing, yellow legal pads for mapping things out, and index cards in two sizes, colored and white.
      KB

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    3. Kathy, those are some of my favorites, too! I love a yellow legal pad with a really thick backing (no floppy notepads!). For edits on paper, I love the Pilot Precise in red...and purple! I like to change it up sometimes. :)

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    4. THICK BACKING! YES! CARDBOARD!

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  10. I love when authors connect with me as a reader. It changes how I read their books. I feel like an insider. I would love to win the bag. :-)
    Becky B.

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    1. Becky, I love connecting to readers! I think it helps me know better the type stories to write. I'm so glad you mentioned feeling like an insider. I think that helps us know better how we should connect.

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  11. Hey Missy,
    Yes, to having a PLAN, they're not just for writers either.
    -And yes, If I find an author whose voice I like, I stay faithful to them and read all their work. So, if there's too long a period between books/novellas I may lose interest and move on to another more prolific writer.
    -I couldn't agree move about overdoing promotion such as "buy my book". A writer has to promote their book of course, but one phrase that's sure to turn me off is "go grab a copy". Ugh! I see this line a lot in indie book listings especially and it's a surefire way to get me to turn the page to the next offering. My pet peeve, lol.

    I'm off to check out the Clinique products, running low on a few things :)

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    1. LOL Tracey! I hope it's Clinique bonus time! ;)

      Thanks for your input as a reader. I'm making a mental note about encouraging grabbing a copy! Hahaha

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  12. These are great points to think about, Missy. As someone just writing my first book, I'm not at the point yet of having readers. But it's good to be thinking ahead. I would love to be entered in the drawing.

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    1. Keep at it, Sandy, and you'll have those readers someday!

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  13. Missy, this is so true. I'm not a cosmetics addict but my daughter is a Rewards member at Ulta. (I'm addicted to other things, like Pilot G-2 pens, English Breakfast tea, dollhouses and architectural salvage.)
    I'm trying to brand myself and my brand in a few words is, "Welcoming You Home." Because all my stories, even the Oregon Trail ones, are about finding your true home in Christ and with your partner. My current WIP series centers on a small town in New England where lives are changed through God's spirit moving through the quirky but lovable inmates. (Because this is Northern New England they're CRANKY, quirky and lovable.) It's a spiritual as well as physical home.
    I'm unpublished and convinced more than ever of the need to have a plan. Otherwise you just go under, and you're not Ready when it all breaks.
    I like the way the Seekers promote their books, you're not pushy but you let us know there's something new. Or you make a joke of it, a.k.a. "shameless self-promotion."
    I have daily goals, but they don't always work because of some complex issues in my private life. But I also have seasonal goals and "block" goals. Right now I want to finish the draft of the story I'm working on by November so I can do NANO, probably a novella, and then tie up loose ends in December. Edit in January and February so I can clean stuff out before Speedbo, do a novella in Speedbo, and start something brand-new in April. This is assuming I don't get The Call, The E-mail, or whatever, of course I'd adjust it for an editor or agent who wanted me to do something.
    Going off for now, I'm also enrolled in Ruthy's retreat, this is a busy week.
    KB

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    1. Kathy, I suspect most writers have office supply "addictions." :)

      I love your theme of coming home. I tend to write that theme often (along with some others like being loved for who we really are, forgiveness, and opposites attracting.)

      I love your plan for the next several months! It sounds like you have it nicely laid out. We'll be here cheering you on. Enjoy the retreat!

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  14. LOL, Missy, I had to laugh at your husband calling you a "marketer's dream," because I am the same exact way!! My hubby says I'm like a bass on a hula grub when infomercials come on, and he's even had to take the phone out of my hand a few times -- God's truth. And the biggest culprit for me? Yep, you guessed it -- cosmetic and skincare products!! But I recently got burned on one that promised a free sample. Of course I didn't see any membership stipulations anywhere, and I'd recently gotten another sample that was perfectly legit and risk-free, so I thought this one would be too. WRONG! My next credit card statement showed a $200 charge that my credit card company was kind enough to delete plus put a block from this company trying to charge me again, thank God!!

    But all that aside, you have some EXCELLENT points here, some of which I've dabbled with, but never took full advantage of, like "--Be generous with samples (first chapter or free prequel, etc.) on our website or wherever we connect with readers."

    Oh, I have a freebie prequel novella to my Isle of Hope series, and I posted the 1st chapter of book 1 on my website, plus give my blog readers lots of excerpts and 1st-2nd-3rd chapters here and there, and even have listed my favorite romantic and favorite spiritual scenes for many of my books, but I never thought about putting free chapters for every book, which would be kind of fun. I have an "Excerpts" tab on my website already, so I should really do that. THANKS for the idea!

    GREAT post, my friend!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, here's where I admit I had to go look up what a hula grub is!! hahah! But once I saw what it was, I realized how great your hubby's quote is! I'll have to tell my hubby. He'll get a kick out of that. :)

      Yes, definitely use your Excerpts tab on your website! You can hook readers into every single story.

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    2. I'm afraid I was a Victoria Jackson freak for a while and then also the gadget infomercials. My Turbo Cooker just recently went to the garage sale

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  15. Oh, and I have to admit that I have the BIGGEST problem implementing your following suggestion: "Don’t overdo the promotion."

    I wince whenever I hear or read this because I know it's true, but I soooooo hate spending time on Facebook (NEVER read the timeline and up until last year, didn't even know how to find it!!), that I only go on when absolutely necessary. And it's only absolutely necessary when I have a promo to do. Either for myself or for someone else. Sigh.

    I will have to say that the Facebook Live experiment I did last week may be a good solution to that because it was actually fun to do a live video on and sooooo much more personable too! So I plan to do that more regularly with little blips that are more personal and hopefully fun.

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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    1. Define little blips. I fear your definition of blips (or short) and mine differ vastly.

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    2. Julie, I think connecting by FB Live is a great idea!

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    3. LOL, Tina! I can't wait to see Julie's reply. :)

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    4. LOL, Tina, you're a very wise woman!!

      By "little blips" I mean about 5 minutes each (which is a no-no per FB Live recommendations -- it should be longer). But not sure I can stick to that. My personal blog is called "Journal Jots" because I intended THAT to be just little jots of updates for my readers, but "jots" became just plain verbose, so we'll see. ;) I can do anything if I put my mind to it; it's the mouth I have problems with ... :)

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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    5. And, Missy, I totally agree about FB Live. To be honest, I had NO INTENTION of doing it again after my blog was over, but I had so much fun and got SO much attention, that I think it may be my new medium! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    6. You just need a timer that shuts you off after five minute. Five minutes is like a warm up to the warm up. That might be a little too short.

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    7. LOL ... did you know I can edit that FB Live and cut out anything I want? Pretty cool ... if you know how to do it, which I don't. :)

      I agree five minutes might be too short for Q & A's I hope to do, so we shall see. A timer ... or a cane ... might come in handy either way ... ;)

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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  16. Hi Missy! Fun post! I wear very little make-up, but as a kiddo I used to love when the "Avon lady" came to our front door to leave lipstick samples with Mama. I still love when a friend shares her goodie bags from department stores' cosmetics counters. It's like Christmas! :)

    Yes, I do think of myself and my writing as a "brand." I'm conscientious of things I post, tweet, and share, and I cringe when I see some folks post disparaging comments about various topics. Not to say we shouldn't be "real," but OH, MY GRAVY!!!! I often wonder if people realize what a brand-killer their off-color commentary or rude statements say about them.

    Oh, I might add this, too. When folks connect with the sole purpose of boosting "numbers." ...Like when we follow back only to be simultaneously met with, "Buy me. Like me. Kiss my grandma and my great Aunt Bessie." *sigh* Somehow, THAT connection just doesn't feel genuine. Lol

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    1. Cynthia, I have such good memories of the Avon lady coming to our house! I was always so excited--and yet I was still too young to wear makeup! My mom just let me play with it at home. I'm glad you mentioned that! What fun memories.

      I totally agree with you on being real online yet protecting the brand. I'm astounded sometimes at things authors will post!

      I also agree with with not liking when people friend me only to push their wares on me.

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    2. Cynthia, I should add that I think you've done a great job on presenting your brand!

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    3. Thanks so much, Missy! I don't eat jello with my fingers, but Miss Fancy Pants, I'm not. LOL :-)

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    4. hahahaha Love that response, Cynthia!!!

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    5. *breaks out microphone and croons* Let Me Entertain Youuuuu...." :)

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  17. Missy, I'm one of those readers who devours a series when it's complete. I also enjoy receiving newsletters that are informative and to just touch base.

    Please toss my name in the cosmetics bag.

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  18. Hi Missy:

    Wonderful observations! The writer as marketing person! As I have always loved to say: "Build the marketing into your book before you write the first word."

    Plan you work and work your plan.

    Unfortunately, I believe, for many authors, this advice is like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. : (

    Below are some actual comments I've received over the years with my marketing advice.

    "Plan your work? I'm a pantser. God plans my work."

    "Give the reader what she wants? What do you think I am: a short order cook? I'm an artiste. I'm writing the book of my heart...not the reader's heart."

    "You want me to change the names of my characters because having three major characters with first names all beginning with "R" makes it hard on the reader? You don't understand writing! My characters demand having those names! Wait until your characters come alive and you'll know what I'm talking about."

    "What? Change the setting of my story by a hunderd miles just so it can be in a area that gets 3,000,000 visitors a year and has very high reader interest. Well, buddy, that's not the story I'm writing!"

    "You actually want me to change the professions of my hero and heroine just because readers are far more interested in those professions. Well, I don't know about those professions and I only write what I know. You should know that by now if you're so smart."


    It makes me wonder: does the fault not lie in our stars but in ourselves in that we love our comfort zone more than we love giving readers what they want?

    You're not wrong Missy. I agree with you. The problem is this: how do we give writers what they want and still do want is needed from a marketing POV?

    Pray.


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    1. Vince, since we are selling a product that comes from our creativity, it's not quite like selling a tube of lipstick or even a service like book formatting. We have to manage both sides of the business--the creative writing and the marketing. And each writer is different, so I guess we each have to find our own balance. We each have to find some middle ground, I think, a place where we can be happy and our readers can be happy...and our bank account can be happy. LOL I suppose it's not really an either-or proposition (writer happy vs reader happy). It's more like a juggling act to keep everyone happy. :)

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    2. Of course, I should add that juggling is difficult! Ha!

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    3. Hi Missy: I think that's a very wise answer. I don't think I could come up with one as satisfying. Good work. Vince

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    4. Thanks, Vince! I'm constantly amazed and inspired by author friends I know who have many balls in the air. It's a privilege to watch them work. I still have so much to learn.

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  19. Quite a kick in the pants, Missy! I need to reread this post several times and start putting a bunch of your advice into practice. Been slacking off this summer and finding it hard to get back in the groove. Or even FIND the groove!

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    1. Myra, you've had a crazy summer (a crazy several months!). So be kind to yourself. I think you're definitely on your way back into your groove.

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  20. Missy, I love your advice.
    For me as a reader, not leaving big gaps between books would be the biggest. If I love this book, I want the next now!

    I don't ever read newsletters...I know I should, but I'd rather read your book.

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    1. Thanks for your input, Connie! I totally understand that wanting the next book. I feel that way with my favorite authors.

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  21. I can relate - I sell Avon, so at least I can get the stuff cheaper and return it easily if I don't love it! Also, a photo in this post caught my eye, since my friend published a book with it as the cover! https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Hope-Story-Finding-Family-ebook/dp/B071GF5WBD/

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    1. How cool, Katie! That image is one of the free ones I used from Canva. :)

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  22. I enjoy when authors ask for input about character names, or naming a town, plot twist ideas, or other fun features in a story. Or when they pick a reader & add their name in a story. I feel more connected to the author in those circumstances.

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    1. Thanks for your input, Beth! Do you usually have those interactions on Facebook?

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  23. Missy, excellent post! Right now I'm floundering. I need to come up with a stronger plan!

    I thought I didn't fall for marketing, as I'm a skeptic and not an impulse buyer. But after reading that Good Housekeeping recommended three skin creams/serums that proved to help aging skin, I bought one. The price was right and I'm seeing some results, or so I think. Though it may be possible to fool myself since I want it to work. :-)

    Janet

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    1. Janet, I'm a sucker for a product that gets great reviews. :) And yes, books as well! I'm reading one now that an author recommended as one of her favs. I went immediately and bought it.

      Okay, I have to ask. What face cream did you buy????? ;)

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    2. No 7 serum for the face. Bought it at Target. You won't know me when you see me.

      Snicker. Know you're in the way to Target now!

      Janet

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    3. LOL, Janet! I believe Boots makes that. I've contemplated buying it before. I may or may not be heading to Target as we speak. ;)

      I actually bought a serum not long ago. It's made by IT Cosmetics (which I love). Would you believe it's called No. 50 Serum? LOL I wonder if it's 7 times as effective?? hahaha

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  24. FYI...A good thing to do with makeup samples is to take them on vacation and try them out there. Less to pack, less to bring home, and if it looks dumb, hardly anybody knows you. You're welcome.
    KB

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  25. Missy, what a fabulous tie in between cosmetics and books! As I age, I've been trying some new skin care products to see what works for my skin at this age (I'm older than I appear).

    I think one of the biggest "Aha's" you shared was thinking of myself as a brand. I'm still figuring out how I want to brand myself. And, this lines up with some of what I've been hearing and reading around the web.

    Great post!

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    1. P.S. Please put me in the draw! ;)

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    2. Jeanne, I think you can brand yourself even if you haven't picked a genre yet or haven't settled on themes or covers. I think you can start by looking at voice and style and personality.

      I really want to re-do my website soon. I have so many things on my to-do list.

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  26. I love this post, Missy! I hope you enjoy your new planner! I'm actually scheduling social media posts to share this week--I'd gotten out of the habit--so it's funny how perfect the timing was!

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    1. Jill, good for you! I used to use Hootsuite and Buffer some. I need to get back into that.

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  27. Missy
    I have no clue about face creams, make-up and anything girly. I'm fashionably challenged and Seekerville and its authors are the only thing I could say I eagerly follow these days. (Way back when, it was watching MacGyver, but that's a whole different bird)
    That being said, I find this post quite helpful. I'm not any good at making plans, so I need to learn this skill. I think the list you've created will help.
    Thanks.

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    1. DebH, lists are a wonderful thing! :) And don't worry about fashion around here. We're "come as you are." Right now I have on no make up and am wearing my oldest flip flops that have the pattern worn off. LOL

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  28. Great post, Missy! As a writer, your advice made me really think. And as a reader, I have to say I do enjoy regular newsletters from authors (a few times a year seems to be what many authors do, and that's often enough to keep me interested in what they're working on!). Had to smile at your love of cosmetics. You'd be great advertisement for your favorite company! :)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Patti Jo, thanks for your reader input! I usually send my newsletter quarterly or less. My goal is to get back on a regular quarterly schedule. I'm glad that fits what you think works well.

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  29. Missy I've never had like a schedule for my newsletter. I just release it when I have news. Is that wrong?
    Maybe I need to get with that. And for a while I was posting sample chapters on my website. Bethany House has them on their website so I could post a link. But I might be behind on that. And I could post those on Facebook and here at Seekerville, too.
    You seem very energized by this. I'll try and tap into that.

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    1. Mary, your newsletters are always so fun that I'm happy to get them whenever I can. I love a good laugh! I think it's fine to send them when you have news. I think any schedule is fine as long as you stick by what you say you'll do when they sign up.

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  30. Missy, apparently this was the kick in the keister everyone needed today.

    I noticed FB now has a schedule poster thingie. I've been meaning to try that.

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    1. Tina, I was glad to read about that but had forgotten about it! I need to learn to use it.

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  31. There are a lot of Baby Boomers out there buying face cream!!!

    Interesting stats.
    Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation's largest living generation, according to population estimates released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69).

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    1. So interesting, Tina!! I didn't know that. We need to woo those younger readers-- many of them my kids' ages!

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  32. Missy, I LOVE your energy! I've been trying to come up with my "brand" for the past few months because I haven't sold *yet* and don't know if it'll be my RS or historical, so this is thought-provoking for sure. But as a reader I like to find out about other aspects of a writer's life - is she a dog or cat person? (in reality, like does she have one and does she share pics?) does she knit, ski, run marathons? does she do medical missions? things that are interesting outside of writing. If she home-schools her 7 kids, is a pastors wife, President of her PTA,runs Womens Ministries and has written 22 Love Inspireds she may be too intimidating and/or unrealistic for little old me - maybe that's TMI, you know? but as a reader I do like to know a bit about what makes her tick. As a reader I want to know where she got the idea for a series, why it speaks to her, I'd like to win some swag that pertains to a book/series (is there a perfume/book/crafty item/jam etc in the book?), and I'd definitely like to download some freebie prequels or extra novella about secondary characters. Or even a couple of chapters. Don't enter me in the draw because I'm Canadian, but I would like to know where you got your Panda planner. Guess I'll go google that now! This is going in my Seekerville file for future reference, so thank you!

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    1. Laurie, thank you so much for your input! It has to be tough when you're not sure of going with historical or RS. Those websites would look very different. But you could start by just letting readers get to know you not he website and on social media. Like you said, they like to know!

      Interesting, though, to consider making ourselves known, yet approachable. Maybe my boring life isn't such a bad thing to share! :)

      I ordered my Panda Planner on Amazon. There are so many brands to choose from!

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    2. Just saw my typo, making my sentence impossible to read! Here's what I meant:
      But you could start by just letting readers get to know you on the website and on social media.

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  33. Hi Missy:

    You wrote:

    "--Don’t let big gaps of time pass without offering a product, even if it’s something short or just a freebie. Work toward being more prolific so readers will remain excited about new releases."

    What Do You Think of Letting Someone Else Write the 'In-Between' Books?

    JACK REACHER FANS!
    NOTICE:


    Now Being Offered For Free for Kindle -- 3 Books...

    "Licensed to Thrill" of The Hunt For Jack Reacher Series Thrillers -- Books 1-3 (Diane Capri’s Licensed to Thrill Sets) Kindle Edition

    These are books written between Reacher books and seem to be a kind of FanFiction that has the author's (Lee Child) Approval.

    What's Next?

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    1. Vince, I think that's a cool thing! I think he's a pretty brilliant man.

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    2. Vince, you keep things interesting!

      Janet

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  34. I do read newsletters and I enjoy getting snippets of a WIP. I also like a free short story or novella while waiting on the next book. I prefer the next book sooner than later because sometimes I feel like I have to re-read to refresh my mind!
    Thanks for your giveaway. I would love the bag.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, thanks for your input! I really should share snippets of my WIP's. I never think to do that. I've seen authors share typos on FB and have laughed a good bit at those. They're fun, too. :)

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  35. Hmmm... I would suppose that my brand would be clean, non preachy ya. Because other than that my books don't have very much in common. Some are fantasy,some contemporary (with superheroes!), some a mix, some historical, or futuristic, or sometimes a mix (yay time travel!)...

    Funny, I don't actually really like makeup all that much. I rarely ever wear it, I just don't like how it feels on my skin. I can't wear makeup for more than a couple of hours before it drives me absolutely bonkers and I have to wash it off.

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    1. Nicki, it's great that you know your basic brand! They sound like they also have a good bit of adventure. So you're maybe also doing adventure across all time periods.

      As far as makeup goes...I would love going out with just moisturizer on. But at my age, my skin needs...a little help. haha!

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  36. As a reader, I'd say compelling characters and great stories keep me hooked. And the whole show me don't tell me thing can't be overstated.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Organization appeals to me :)

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Phyllis! And for your input.

      Yeah, I think it's important to treat the reader as a smart reader. Show them what's going on and trust them to get the emotions without having to tell them.

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  37. I am sorry I am so late in chiming in today. This has been a wild summer for me with all kinds of things going on with my health which has also included a ride in an ambulance in the middle of the night the day before the 4th of July. We are still trying to figure out what is going on. I have been feeling very overwhelmed. In addition I had these glorious plans with extra writing this summer that just didn't happen.

    I discovered last year that the program we used for the children on Wed. nights at church was not adapted for preschoolers, so I am rewriting the Bible lessons for two classes so that it is appropriate for preschoolers and in a language they can understand. The new year began last week, so the last couple of weeks has been spent focusing on that and trying to get ahead as far as I can. There is no visuals so I am also creating those. Something I love to do.

    A suggestion from one of the street teams I am on: There are 4 authors on this team and they each take a week a month to lead the discussions and promote their books. I would think that might take part of the load off of them. Of course they can chime in when one of their books releases or major news even when one of the other authors has that week.

    I am working now on my brand and have one decided at least for now. I started a blog last fall and then had trouble working on it. I now have a book that is supposed to help me know what to do with wordpress and solve any problems. When I can get to a point when I don't have so many doctor appointments each week I want to get the blog going all in preparation for when I do have a book ready to publish.

    I am finding that I don't have as much time for social media as I used to. It just sucks up so much of my time.

    To be honest about the newsletters, I have so many that I just don't always have the time to read all of them which I hate because I would love to read them all.

    I will be having a sleep study done in a week and hope that will help with the ongoing issues because I haven't slept well for almost a year. Waking up every hour and sometimes being jerked awake to where I am sitting up in bed. I am so glad the Lord knows all of this and is in control. I would love to get back to normal. I would love to be entered for the cosmetic bag.

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    1. Wilani, I'm sorry you're still having trouble. Feel free to email me if you'd like. I've had two sleep studies and have used a C-PAP machine for several years. It has made a huge difference in how I feel!

      How wonderful that you're writing the Bible lessons for the preschoolers!

      Thanks for sharing the cool idea of a multi-author street team. I've never heard of doing that!

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  38. Missy, your blog post got me thinking about marketing my product. Thank you. Need to update my plan, as you mentioned!

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    1. Debby, I look forward to hearing your plan!

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  39. Such an interesting post, Missy. I do not have a newsletter and my website is a work in progress that's not progressing, LOL. But I love reading tips like these and planning ahead. I'm bookmarking this. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Laura, I hope you find it helpful when you get back to it. :)

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  40. Like Laura, I do not have a newsletter and my my website is a work in progress. I also took on too many projects recently when I had family obligations first. I'm slowly knocking them out.

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    1. Walt, my website is ancient, so it's really a work in progress as well. I hope you can barrel through your projects! I agree that family is always first.

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  41. Missy, I've been thinking about this post all day - and avoiding commenting so I don't have to commit to anything. ;)

    Today's my off day. One deadline met, another coming up.
    And there are several other projects I'm itching to work on. So...aplanning I must go, apparently.

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    1. Mary Cate, congrats on meeting your deadline! I know you must be relieved.

      Heigh-ho the derry-o, I hope the planning goes well. :)

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  42. For the record..I use Demactin-TS Intensive Skin Care - Anti-Aging Neck & Decolletage Smoothing Cream

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Tina! I'm not familiar with that brand. But I've definitely started using neck cream! :)

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  43. Oh Missy, This post is just what I needed. I have been awful with my writing this summer and Maybe if I had a better plan developed this wouldn't happen. I'm stuck though so hope my stay at Rocky Ridge will help me break through that. I think I'll print this. Great analogy. I'm with food plans like you are with cosmetics. LOL
    Happy writing.

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  44. Oh yes, I"m so with you on Facebook posting. When I 'm traveling and seeing new and exciting things, its easy to post and fun. But when I'm doing kind of the same thing every day, it gets boring. So I think do they really want to hear that I'm playing pickleball again. LOL. But you gave me some ideas to use like engaging them in the process. I started that but didn't think there was much interest as few comments, but you would be surprised how many of my friends I've run into over the summer go on and on about how fun that was and they ask me how I'm doing. So I need to get back on track.

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    1. Sandra, I hope you have a great planning session and can get back on track. So cool that your friends remember your FB posts that involved them!

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  45. Missy, How important do you think an author FB page is. I'm like you with FB and really don't post that much. I just recently have tried to post something on there 3 or 4 times a week. The thought of two FB (author page and personal page which has 2600 or more friends) is overwhelming for me since I'm not a social media junkie. What are your thoughts?

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    1. Debbie Lynne, I'm sorry I didn't see your question sooner! I've heard differing opinions on whether to have both a personal page and an author page. I do know there are some things you can do with author pages that you can't do with a personal page (and there's no maximum followers like there's a maximum number of friends). Plus, you're not allowed to try to sell books on a personal page. So I did set up an author page. But I didn't want to get rid of my personal profile. So I maintain both. I post more often on my profile. And then on occasion I post book news on my author page. But I probably need to do a lot more.

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    2. Thanks Missy. I've been thinking about it since I read your post, trying to make a decision. Then someone today sent me an IM and said they were looking for my author page. Yikes!

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  46. Would love to be entered for the awesome bag!

    As a reader, once I fall in love with an author, I stay loyal. It only takes one book for me to follow the author. Even when I haven't particularly loved the last book published, I still go back and read the newest release by my favorite authors.

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    1. MH, it's wonderful that you remain loyal! Thanks for dropping by.

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  47. Missy, I have never related to a blog post as strongly as I did to this one. I am a cosmetic junkie and completely got what you were saying. Your analogy really struck a chord with me and now I FINALLY get why I need to give books or something of value to my newsletter subscribers. Thank you for this excellent post! I have a publishing plan in place, but now I really need to focus on making a retention plan with my subscribers.

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    1. Kimberly, I'm so glad you found the post helpful! I'm glad it struck a chord with you, too. It was like a 2 by 4 upside the head to me. :)

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  48. BTW...The winner of the drawing will be announced in the weekend edition!

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