Friday, July 31, 2020

Best of the Archives: Giving Readers What They Want...Consistently (aka: What I learned from being a cosmetics junkie.)

Happy Friday, everyone. I wanted to re-share a post from the original Seekerville blog from August 2017. And yes, I will be doing the giveaway again! 

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,

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
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
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.
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 in the comments 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.)

After more than 10 years of pursuing her dream of publication, 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, American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com and


  1. Missy, sage advice. It's so important to keep up production... but also to not overwhelm folks. Balance is a key element to successful marketing.... but a tricky road to travel!

    Thank you for this!

    1. Ruthy, you've always done such a great job keeping up prolific in your writing! You're an inspiration.

    2. Ruth: I do believe you have a bit of the Greek Philosopher/Poet in you: '…observe due measure; moderation is best in all things', Hesiod (c. 700 bc),

  2. Missy, this is a good post and especially for writers like me who need to move to the Next Level. We really do need to have a plan, which means seeing ourselves as professionals.
    My younger daughter is a cosmetics junkie. Her favorite store is Ulta.
    Close To Home today, brake trouble with the car, so I expect to get a lot done around the house and also with the writing.
    Don't enter me in the drawing, I don't travel any more.
    Be back later,

    1. Kathy, I'm sorry about the car trouble! I hope you're able to get it fixed quickly. Hope you have a productive day!

  3. Hi Missy! Your post hit home with me, I'm 5 chapters into my Inspirational fiction, but I can get so easily distracted! I'm applying what you just told us and I'm going to make a plan and stick to it. Please enter me into your cool giveaway, thank you! Have a great weekend. This is my last week before staff goes back to work (Head Start preschool center) so I'm going to work my plan!

    1. Karen, congrats on getting 5 chapters on your story! I hope you have a productive last week! Blessings on you as you go back to work.

  4. Such an excellent post, Missy! Thank you. Did you write it specifically for me? Seems like it! I needed to hear everything you mentioned...and your analogy with buying products hit home.

    I need to relook my plan. Hugs!

    1. Debby, I think it's always a good idea to review our plan. The pandemic has really thrown me for a loop. So I needed this post myself!

  5. Hi Missy:

    Have you given any consideration, on these archival posts, to also positing the best and most apropos comments from that original post? (That is, don't repost comments about how the weather was in Peach Tree.)

    That way today's commenters could take into account both the original post and original comments, while at the same time, evaluating how much their understanding has moved along their personal learning arc since the original post was published.

    Of course, we would want to guard against overwhelming anyone with so many additional insights. :()

    1. Vince, I never thought of that. I don't think I could copy all comments. But it would be good next time to include a link to the original post. Readers could hop over there to check it out! :) Thanks for suggesting that.

  6. Thank you for the post, I would love to be entered in the giveaway.

  7. Loved this post, Missy! Although I'm not a writer myself, I enjoy reading the Seekerville posts, and I can sometimes apply ideas to my life. As a reader, I can say that the tips you've given here make a difference to your intended audience. I think it's especially important to strike the right balance in promotion. I enjoy receiving emails from authors I like, but if they're too frequent it becomes annoying. More than one every week or two is likely overkill, unless something exciting comes up.

    I enjoy engaging with authors on social media. I feel it gives a special connection between reader and author when we can interact.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing your time and talents! You're amazing!

    Throw my name in the hat for the travel bag. What a fun giveaway!

    1. Winnie, it always helps to hear what readers say! I'm glad to get your input on newsletter/emails. I feel the same way!

    2. Winnie, I enjoy getting to know folks on Facebook. Good to see your comment about social media!

  8. Thanks Missy - this is just what I needed to read today.

  9. These are great suggestions, Missy! And very timely since I have an October release. :-)

    1. I hope the writing schedule goes smoothly, Jan!


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