Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is NookPress Right for You?

When I entered a Barnes and Noble store at Union Square in New York City, recently, greeting me at the door was a table stand with literature about NookPress and its self-publishing service. I first thought, “Good idea. Market yourself and expand your sales offering.” But by the time I finished reading the literature, I felt disappointed. The fees, mainly for printing, were quite high.

To print a book, such as a 300-page novel, it would cost around $16 or $17 per copy. If one were to print say 2000 copies of a 300 page book with a printer, they may pay $3.50 or less per copy. The NookPress rate meant if one prints 400 copies, they would spend the same as others would to print 2000. Not a very good deal!

Now, to be fair, print on demand via NookPress is different than doing large volume printing. Other print on demand publishers such as Create Space or iUniverse also charge higher fees to print books, though not as much as NookPress.

NookPress does offer help at various points of quality -- when it comes to cover design, interior layout, and editorial services -- for a fee of course. Authors could easily be in the hole for $10,000 after printing just a few books. But the self-publishing revolution is about risk and reward.

People can complain about traditional book publishers all they want -- and some arguments certainly have merit -- but people should see that self-publishing requires effort and cost and is not without risk or investment of resources.

On the positive side, self-publishing means nobody says “no.” Authors decide what gets published, when and how. They also keep larger chunks of the profits when they self-publish.  Such freedom and reward tantalizes today’s writers.

When a quality book is published and presented well, the next two steps are finding a distributor and executing a book marketing and publicity campaign. Having your book published with NookPress gives you greater access to Barnes and Noble’s sales outlets, but even so, if so, it is up to the author to generate sales. This holds as true, to a degree, even when writers are published by major houses.

Before you run off to NookPress or the self-publishing machines, think about how to make your book a marketable and promotable product. Make it look like a book Random House would publish and be prepared to pump time, money and resources into marketing and promoting it.

You are a modern day author. It means freedom and potential riches -- but it also means expenses, risks and responsibility.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Is Book Publishing Racist and Sexist?

Book publishing, you would think, is made up of book-loving intellectuals who want to further literacy, the exchange of ideas, and free speech. And one would think such a crowd is liberal minded and would be a diverse and inclusive bunch. Well, it turns out the book publishing industry is about as white as a bag of marshmallows. Could such a racial disparity impact not only what gets published, but also how those books are sold and marketed?

A recent Publishers Weekly study of those working in the industry showed that 89% of employees are white. Hispanics (3%), Asians (3%), African Americans (1%), and other races (1%) do not mirror the demographics of the United States.

So why is this so?
·         Are the recruitment and hiring practices of publishing in need of a fix?
·         Do non-whites not want to be -- or somehow -- not qualify to work in publishing?
·         How is racial imbalance impacting the book marketplace?

Many questions arise from this, few answers. But its clear that the growth in book sales that is needed to sustain the industry will come from the ethnic minority community. The best way to reach them is to have them represented on the inside.

Another issue hurting book publishing is its salary structure. It doesn’t pay a lot. The rewards of working in publishing are rarely financial. But, there is a gap in pay when it comes to gender. On the lower end of the pay scale is editorial and operations -- there is virtually no difference. When you look at people who work in the rights department however, men are paid, on average, 10% more than women. There is a 15%higher salary paid to men vs. women who work in sales and marketing. There over a 25% gap between what male managers get paid vs. women.

So publishing lacks diversity and equality. Yet, the industry doesn’t feel sexist or raciest, perhaps because it’s made up of people who believe they are not these things. But maybe their decisions on what books get the green light or which ones to market more heavily are based on outdated data or second-hand ignorance. Perhaps non-whites would know how to market certain books better, simply because they represent the type of consumer the publisher wants to reach.

Book publishing seems like an industry where racism or sexism should only be reserved as subjects of current events books but it looks like, whether accidentally or willfully, book publishing has shut out the voices of those they need to hear from. Change will have to come from within the industry, and when it does, it may just be a big payoff for all.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Can You Promote Your Book?

Should one want to do something, whatever it may be, we are told we can do it.  There’s no shortage of books that show us how to do things, like write our own will, sell our house, save our marriage, raise an Ivy League student, heal our mental or physical maladies, remodel a bathroom, or run a business.  The list goes on and on.  The truth is, the idea sounds better than the reality. 

The same is true for those who think they can promote themselves and their book to the media.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Exceptional people can do exceptional things, but the average person lacks the experience, resources, connections, knowledge, discipline, courage, or focus to promote their book successfully.  But they also lack money and have to promote their book because no one else will do it for them.  These people do book publicity out of necessity and some have shining moments. 

But many authors who can afford to hire a publicist and mistakenly think they could do it themselves usually make a big mistake.  Just as a doctor shouldn’t treat herself as a patient and a lawyer who has himself as a client is a fool, authors are best promoted by a professional.  A good book publicist will generate media coverage by using a creative approach, great research skills, excellent communication approach, tapping into his or her contacts, and making use of his knowledge about the media.

A publicist may cost you money but save you time, stress, and from committing costly mistakes. 

PR is really an investment and a long-term asset that has a pay-off when it comes to looking at what it delivers – not just book sales but credibility and branding.  To establish or expand your media resume gives you currency with publishers for future books and raises your professional profile.  Good publicity also helps you spread your message and influence millions of people.

The thing that authors should do for themselves is social media but many still don’t want to do it, do it poorly, do it infrequently, or do it in a way that is neither strategic nor useful.  Yet any one can open a free Twitter account and have thousands of followers in no time.  Social media is a fast, cheap, and easy – though time-consuming – way to reach out to a targeted pool of potential readers and speak directly with them.

Probably the best thing an author can do is to participate in the PR process – not solo – but in conjunction with a seasoned book publicist.  Or, at least consult with a professional book marketer and promoter, so they can give you tools, suggestions, and helpful information that will help you help yourself. 

Remember, you can do anything on your own.  But you can’t do everything.  Choose wisely when it comes to your book.

The number of bookstores, reports The New York Times, in Manhattan has dropped almost 30% from 2000 to 2012, the literary capital of America.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at 
brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Promoting A Book Needs Action, Not Talk Or Worry

Most people have a tendency to spend more time thinking about something, than doing something. They will plan, research, discuss and strategize. They will spend time and anxious moments stressing over what needs to be done rather than actually doing anything. Mentally they feel exhausted, but in reality they haven’t done much to bring about the results they hoped to achieve This is true when it comes to important aspects of our lives, as it relates to our careers, health, finances, family and relationships. It certainly is true when we look at authors and their book marketing.

There certainly is a time and place to:
·         Brainstorm and share ideas
·         Create a plan
·         Be strategic in your approach
·         Research different options
·         Develop the resources and tools needed

And then there is a place for:
·         Outreach to the news media
·         Follow up with those you’ve contacted
·         Expanding outreach to other outlets and individuals
·         Trying new approaches to impress the media
·         Seeking help to promote a book

You can’t execute a PR campaign in your mind or on a spreadsheet. Yu need to do the heavy lifting -- everyday.

Paralysis by analysis won't get you far. Waiting for perfection guarantees perfectly that nothing will be accomplished.

Hoping for something is not a strategy and if the action you have taken has not yet yielded much, try again. Never give up, and never mistake that thinking about something is equal to doing something.

You know what I mean. You know exactly what I’m talking about. You can be so cautious, insecure, or fearful of rejection that you don’t do the things necessary to give youself a chance of success.

You need to:
·         Set deadlines for specific action steps.
·         Observe real deadlines set by the media or others.
·         Take action daily and don’t wait for feedback before initiating new out reach.
·         Be bold and take a risk.
·         Trust in the numbers of a game of contacting more media with more story angles.
·         Not worry of where you fall short somewhere. Hype the positives and focus on strengths only.
·         Not look to accept defeat or make excuses.
·         Believe you deserve media coverage and that perseverance shall pay off.
·         Understand it’s best to dive in and immerse yourself into a media campaign.

Some authors have a tendency to overthink their publicity campaign, just as they overthink other parts of life because that’s just the way they are programmed. Authors are thinkers. They observe, analyze, question, imagine, and write up conclusions. But they need to call upon the warrior within, the part of them that is less cerebral, more athletic. There is no way one can outwit fear, stalling, lethargy, or conflict. Take an idea and run with it. You don’t need anyone’s permission to do this.

Sometimes the task of promoting a book seems overwhelming. Social media, traditional media, marketing, advertising, speaking, etc. can just stop us before the day begins and we survey all that can be done or needs to be done. Instead, break it down. What will you do today? This hour? Now?

Action begets action. You build confidence with each step that you take. Success becomes addicting and infectious. The more you do, the more you’ll be motivated to do more. Try it. You’ll see what I mean. Nothing is gained by inaction. Opportunity loss comes each day.

Eventually you run out of days. Start now and begin to take action. Don’t think, don’t talk about it. Just do it.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Creating An Author’s Image: Who Do You Want To Be?

Crafting one’s image can be challenging. First, you must start to see yourself for who you really are. Second, you must understand how others see you at present. Third, you need to have a feeling for what people would expect or want to see from someone in your position of writing the book that you penned. Fourth, you need to figure out how to come across as being genuine as you seek to morph into the person you desire to become.

Sounds like what politicians, even celebrities, do, right?  Well, even authors must think about their public image -- how to create one, enhance it, and convert a brand into sales. Now, the self-published novelist or even bestselling author in you may be saying; “Brand? Persona? Hey I’m just looking to sell some books and make it as an author.”

That may be so, but you need to think big, act big, and grow into the shoes you want to fill.

So who do you want to be and how do you become that person? Once you are that person, how do you express that image so people become aware of you, gravitate towards you, and help you to further raise your image?

Step one is to assess what you say, do, and show to others. How do you come off to them? What do they really know about you?

Second, compare yourself to others in your genre. How do you measure up -- not just in book sales or level of experience or education -- but how in personality, messages, energy, and likeability?

Third, what can you improve on? Where can you carve out a niche for yourself? Do you need a drastic makeover, to make some changes or to make just a few cosmetic adjustments?

My son is nine and running for class treasurer of his fourth grade class. He created a poster and it said he wants to be elected as class “treasure.” I guess before we work on his image, we need to spell- check his marketing materials, But hey, maybe other kids who can’t spell will feel connected to him.

He has to do a speech before his class, introducing himself and explaining why he’s running for office. He asked me to help. Although I’m a book spinmeister, political campaigns are a different animal.  But I figured I could guide him. I asked him why he’s running for class treasurer and he said “Because I wanted to be president but I didn’t get nominated for that.” Okay, he’s too honest. We’ll need him to work on that.

Authors don't need their 15-second elevator speech, their catch phrase or slogan, and their way of presenting --succinctly -- who they are and what they have to offer, my son needs to string together 200 or so words to get his fellow kids to vote for him.

At his level, it is a popularity contest. People who know him or like him will vote for him. He doesn’t really know what the position demands nor do kids know how to fulfill who is the best qualified to hold the office. But I told him to tell people who he is on a personal level -- connect by telling them you play baseball, have a dog, and enjoy eating BBQ ribs. Next, tell them you want the job and believe you have the qualities needed: honesty, responsibility, good with numbers and lots of ideas. Finally, give them an example of something you’ve done that shows you can do this job. But above all else, use humor! Tell a joke and they’ll remember you.

I think we elect our politicians in the same way!

But my advice to him is applicable to you. Get ready to tell your story to others, in a way that allows people to get to know you, to like you, to feel you understand them, and to sense you offer something helpful.

Yes, as an author, you have an image and a brand, not unlike celebrities, athletes, politicians, movie stars, and even a candidate for fourth grade “treasure.”

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Social Media #s & Book Sales

One would think there’s an obvious correlation between high social media #s and book sales for authors, but it depends on what you’re looking at.

For instance, which social media number means the most?  Number of LI connections, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, YouTube views, blog hits, Pinterest pins, etc.?  

It likely is more than one number than needs to be watched, such as Twitter and Facebook – not just one or the other.  Further, how one uses social media to alert fans, find fans, and create buzz is most important, versus simply doing things to inflate your online numbers but not so much your book sales.

Going on theory that bigger social media numbers mean something, here are how some famous, best-selling authors rank, according to USAToday:

Stephen King:
486,000 Twitter followers
4,200,000 Facebook likes

Dan Brown:
123,000 Twitter followers
6,800,000 Facebook likes

Paulo Coelho
9,000,000 Twitter followers
25,600,000 Facebook likes

Jackie Collins
119,000 Twitter followers
137,700 Facebook likes

John Green
2,980,000 Twitter followers
2,250,000 Facebook likes

Jennifer Weiner
95,600 Twitter followers
94,200 Facebook likes

Neil Gaiman
2,000,000 Twitter followers
731,000 Facebook likes

James Patterson
61,200 Twitter followers
3,950,000 Facebook likes

Margaret Atwood
510,000 Twitter followers
163,300 Facebook likes

The key to look at is how each author obtained his or her number of FB likes and Twitter followers.  Does connecting online reflect how many fans like these authors – or did the online connection turn people into fans?  Which came first?

In many cases these authors don’t sell as many copies of a new book as they have FB likes but they do seem to sell as many copies or more as they have Twitter connections.  One reason for this is authors can get multiple likes from people for different books but a Twitter connection seems to more likely represent a fan.

In any case, building up your social media platform and media resume will always be an effective way to sell books, build buzz, and directly communicate with a growing fan base.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Defining A Successful Book PR Campaign

I probably have worked with at least a thousand authors over the years, helping to promote them to the news media.  Interestingly, I noticed that an author’s level of satisfaction with the campaign is not always in proportion to the actual results.

For instance, I recently had a client interviewed by 20 local TV stations, 40 radio shows, dozens of online sites, and was the subject of a huge story in the Wall Street Journal.  She was a first-time author with a small, independent press.  In the end, she thought she deserved more coverage.

On the other hand, I’ve had authors achieve far less in terms of the size of their book publicity campaigns but they were overjoyed and thankful for the media placements.

Whether an author is happy or not with a PR campaign will depend not just on the actual results, but how the author measures things and puts everything into perspective.  They may have low or high expectations.  They may not understand or fully value what was achieved.  Or, they may not have the right yardstick to define success.

Here’s what authors should consider when evaluating a book marketing or PR initiative:
·         Branding
·         Messaging
·         Media Resume
·         Connections
·         Sales

One’s return on investment from a PR venture is not always immediately known or realized.  For instance, you may walk away from a PR campaign that yielded some credential-building clips but not many sales of your book.  To judge things solely by dollars spent and dollars received, the campaign fell short.  But if you start to realize that the press clippings give you a legitimacy that was lacking, you now have the medals to show on your website, on your resume, in your next book proposal, in your speaker’s kit, and in your social media.

When you look at branding, a PR campaign can begin to establish your image and give it a public definition.  The publicity effort can begin to give a look, sound, and voice as to how you want to be perceived.

For messaging, not only do you figure out the voice you want to be heard by others, you get a chance to share a positive message with impact and intensity to possibly millions of people.  The PR campaign gives you a forum or platform from which you can share a powerful message that influences others.

Your media resume comes from the collection of media clippings.  When you now have links to dozens of online reviews, print stories, TV appearances and radio interviews, you can show others you have been vetted, that you passed a litmus test.  Additionally, you can quote, from those stories and interviews, and put together scores of media testimonials that will serve to validate you when you venture into another project or market a new book.

Book PR campaigns greatly help to increase an author’s social media footprint and connectivity.  You can amass thousands of followers on Twitter, befriend countless people on Facebook, and build up your blog readership with a PR campaign.  By grooming a larger following you’ll be in position to do several things, one of which is to further your growth online.  Connections beget connections.  Further, bigger social media numbers convince others that you are a somebody.  Between your press clippings and social media following a PR campaign can help your present yourself as an established entity, which will help you down the road.

Sales, of course, are the gold standard measurement for the success of a book marketing and publicity campaign.  No metric can beat that.  The goal of all the PR and marketing is to have a financial pay-off.  But sometimes you can get great PR and sales don’t follow, in part due to distribution, quality of the book’s appearance, price, competition, etc.

Defining a successful campaign comes when an author looks at things honestly, from a distance, over time.  He or she may look back a year or two from today’s PR campaign and realize that it was successful – based on what followed and in comparison to another PR campaign of theirs or of another.

Certainly, a good PR campaign will help an author get to the next level and to build on prior achievements.  A solid PR campaign consists of a quantity of quality media placements that are experienced by a targeted group of consumers/readers.  And if the PR campaign falls short, it may offer another valuable asset: a chance to test your message out.  A failed PR campaign can be indicative of a poorly executed campaign or a book that falls short of its promise.

Most PR campaigns should be able to point to some level of success and whatever is accomplished as a result, use it to launch yourself to the next level.  PR is not a one-time thing nor is writing one book all that a writer will accomplish.  There will be more books and more PR campaigns – and hopefully both will grow together, perhaps because of one another.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Former professional sports agent reveals negotiation tricks in new book

A Winner’s Guide To Negotiating

Molly Fletcher has learned a lot over the past two decades while negotiating an estimated $500 million worth of deals on behalf of hundreds of the world’s premiere athletes, coaches and television commentators.  She reveals the strategies, tips, and insights that have made her wildly successful first as a sports agent and now as a corporate consultant and keynote speaker, in her newest book, A Winner’s Guide To Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done (McGraw-Hill, September 19, 2014).

Molly is being represented by Media Connect. With candor and vision, her book reveals the following:

·         The 5 things all great negotiators do that you can too.
·         Lessons learned from negotiating in the sports world that are applicable to the business world of lawyers, entrepreneurs, executives, salespeople, financial consultants, and real estate agents.
·         The game within the game of negotiating – and the pitfalls to avoid.
·         How to set the stage for a deal and employ “360-degree awareness” to come out ahead.
·         How she navigated through the challenges of representing Hall of Fame athletes, Emmy-winning broadcasters, and title-winning coaches such as NFL great Joe Theismann, Cy Young winner John Smoltz, top NCAA coaches Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan, NBA champion coach Doc Rivers, PGA Tour champion Matt Kuchar, and popular television broadcasters Erin Andrews and Ernie Johnson Jr.
·         The steps one takes to build, manage, and grow relationships in a competitive business landscape.
·         How to use – or avoid – technology, social media, and email when negotiating.
·         How to negotiate with difficult personalities or people you don’t like or trust.

Dubbed “the female Jerry Maguire,” by CNN, she also shows the impact of gender in negotiating. She knows what it is like to operate in a male-dominated industry and offers professional advice to women on how they can negotiate their way to the top.

Fletcher knows the dynamics and sensitivities that can turn a deal around in an instance and she shares many unique stories that teach us how to connect with -- and gain the respect of -- powerful people.  She shares the people skills that are needed to drive a relationship-based negotiation and shows which words and deeds trigger results more than any others.

“If you learn nothing else from me,” writes Fletcher, “know this: effective negotiation is a conversation, a relationship, a rhythm built over time. At the heart of my success is managing relationships well so that conversations keep going, stay open, and spark more conversations because the seeds of your next negotiation are planted in the one you are doing right now. A negotiation is a story, and a good negotiator is like a bestselling novelist who knows the characters so well that nothing they do is surprising.”

Q & A with Molly Fletcher
A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating

1.      You estimate that you’ve worked on 500 million dollars worth of deals on behalf of 300 clients over the past two decades. What’s been the key to your success? Relationships and reputation.  In the sports agent industry, there are more agents than there are athletes to represent.  It’s a really competitive business, so you have to be able to effectively build, manage and grow relationships.  You have to be able to build relationships with prospective clients while ensuring that you are continuing to develop relationships with your current clients and deliver consistently.  You also have to be able to develop relationships with team personnel and manufacturers so you can deliver deals.  How you behave within all of those relationships determines your reputation.  You often have to negotiate with the same parties multiple times, and they will avoid you and vice versa if they don’t trust you.  Reputation is built on honesty and integrity and allows long term success.

2.      Why do you assert that effective negotiating comes down to seeing it as a conversation built over time?   Too often we take a shortsighted view of negotiation. It’s far more effective if you see negotiation as a conversation.  Over time, you can have a trust for a process and an approach.  Inside of any negotiation, you are trying to solve a problem.  There is a gap.  In order to get clear on how to close that gap and how to support each other, it requires a conversation.  You have to ask questions and be curious, get clear on what gaps exist, and determine how to close them.  Most negotiations aren’t clear-cut.  There is going to be some ambiguity that you have to work through together.  If you try to apply a cookie-cutter approach to negotiation, you’re likely to get blindsided.  You have to prepare without question, but you also have to be able to adapt and have a productive conversation. 

3.      You write in A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating that a great negotiator does five things well. What are they and which one is the most important? 1. Set the stage; 2. Find common ground; 3. Ask with confidence; 4. Embrace the pause; 5. Know when to leave.  People tend to have the most trouble with embracing the pause in negotiation.  It’s often an overlooked part of the process and the one that is the least comfortable for most people.  Embracing the pause requires the most intentionality and discipline.  Our natural tendency is to want to fill the space.  Instead, embrace the pause.  It’s when you determine who will make the next move, and you can learn a lot from the move people make within the pause.  Very rarely does everything happen all at once in negotiation.  A pause can serve many purposes: it projects confidence in your position; creates anticipation and possibilities; limits emotionality; and adds perspective.  Learn to embrace the pause. 

4.      What were some odd or unusual things your clients had asked you to negotiate on behalf of?   You see it all, and it’s a reminder of how many factors come into play during a negotiation.  We all value different things.  A person might be negotiating for a slight increase in salary, without taking into account other options (vacation time, ability to work remotely, etc.) that might be more amendable.  Always consider what’s not already on the table.  Athletes and coaches could get really creative with this.  Some would want hotel suite accommodations on the road negotiated into their contract, or country club memberships or free childcare.  We had one coach who really valued a free dry cleaning deal.  Some who relocate for a job ask for X number of flights for their family to visit.  You have to get clear on what matters most.  It’s not always just about the money.

5.      As an agent-whether sports, real estate, literary, financial—how do you show the value that you bring to the table for a potential client?  Whenever I pitched a client, I made sure to keep the focus on them.  I always wanted to first understand what was important to them and what they valued in an agent.  Then I could shift the conversation to how we would be able to drive value.  Relationships and reputation were really important.  I would give a prospect our client list and ask them, “Who do you want to talk to?”  The best way for them to understand how I did business was to hear it from someone else.  Of course, I would always provide comps and show them how we delivered against the market for other clients but it is much more effective when they hear it from someone in their position.  And then once you sign the client, it’s all about execution.  You have to deliver.  

6.      Why should we be aware of the role of gender in negotiations? In my book, I talk about some of the gender stereotypes that still exist and how they can be manipulated.  Gender is powerful, because either overtly or subtly, it can limit what we think we are allowed to ask for, and if we ask at all.  There is a strong business case for diversity as we’ve seen reflected in numerous studies.  Recent findings from researchers at MIT, Columbia University and Northwestern University found that people in diverse groups are “more likely to step outside their own perspective” than people in homogenous groups.  Now think about how important that is to a successful negotiation in which a mutual win is sought.  More diversity in negotiation challenges our assumptions, forces us to better articulate our positioning, and opens the door to more possibilities. 

7.      What advice do you have for someone negotiating a raise or the acceptance of a job offer? 
The initial offer is often the best time to negotiate, as evidenced by statistics.  A well-cited study estimates that by not negotiating a first salary, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60.  Many employers expect an initial negotiation, so it is a less intimidating time to negotiate.  Even if you don’t negotiate, try to understand the roadmap for your compensation so you can set the stage for a future ask.  Or consider whether there are non-monetary items you can negotiate. When negotiating a raise, be sure to set the stage.  Know comparables.  Be able to articulate how you have impacted the company for the greater good, citing specifics.  Make sure you have carefully considered the timing of your ask.  If you have done your groundwork, the ask shouldn’t be totally unexpected.   

8.      You say the best shot at having a successful negotiation happens when you establish 360-degree awareness. What is that and how does one establish it?  360-degree awareness means that your vision extends beyond your own perspective so that you understand the goals, needs, gaps, values and fears of the other side.  It is what allows you to stay a step ahead and anticipate, because you have taken the time to understand the negotiation from multiple perspectives instead of just your own tunnel vision.  This anticipation and awareness makes you more prepared in your actions, and more easily able to adapt.  The data you gain through 360-degree awareness will be even more valuable as your strategy unfolds throughout the negotiation. 

9.      How is negotiating online an asset or a setback to the process?   Technology is great in the ways it can connect us, but it definitely provides a shield that can do more harm than good during the negotiation process.  We filter everything when we use online communication.  If you choose not to communicate face-to-face, you are losing important data and signals that otherwise provide you with invaluable feedback.  It’s much more difficult to gauge hesitancy, energy level, timing, tone, etc. online.  Not only are you not getting the reactions, you aren’t able to project your own confidence and enthusiasm.  I always say don’t negotiate via email unless you don’t care if the deal happens.  That may be harsh, but the more at stake, the more you risk by negotiating online. 

10.  How do you know when to walk away from a deal? Negotiation can be messy, so understanding what you are willing to give up and what you aren’t is critical.  Play out the repercussions of every move.  Leaving should always be on the menu.  That’s one of the first mistakes people make in negotiation—ignoring the possibility that walking away is even an option.  The idea of “no deal” after all the work that has gone into the negotiation can be discouraging.  I encourage you to always look back and see what you can learn from the process for the next time.  A successful negotiation will end with a result that is better than your best alternative.  If you settle for less than that; that’s most likely what you will get. 

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

An Opt-Out Culture That Whines Too Much

In any given day, consumers of information and content will opt in and out of a number of lists.  Many don’t realize what they’re signing up for nor will they remember that they signed up for any of this stuff.  Additionally, people will respond to an email, sometimes hastily, by opting out, asking the sender to never contact them again.  It seems kind of harsh to just dismiss a person or organization for life, just because in a split second you decided you didn’t need whatever was being shared or offered.  How is all of this opting in and out impacting our lives?

There no doubt is a lot of inbox clutter and junk mail out there.  Some is way off target, such as a Viagra ad to a little old lady.  Some seems irrelevant to us and some challenge our values and views.  But a lot of email is really not so offensive or wasteful – it’s just not seen as relevant or useful for the moment.  I think there should be another designation for emails like this.  They may not be true SPAM or something demanding you opt-in or out of.  They are just low-priority emails that may hold value down the road.

When you send emails to market your book, brand yourself, or sell something, you hope that the recipients won’t see you as spam or an intrusion.  But, if you send enough emails, you are sure to get critics of your approach and outreach.

It frustrates me when people overreact to an email.  They go through great pains to let everyone know they don’t like being contacted or they don’t like your offer or message.  Don’t they have better things to do with their lives than to whine about one email?

For instance, people forget they opted-in, so any opposition they have to being emailed by you is ridiculous.

Second, if an email is targeted in who gets it and the message presented or offered is relevant to them, then what’s the big deal?  Just don’t over send emails.  For instance, I get almost daily emails from a local but unnamed sports team .I love my baseball team but it gets to be annoying to be pitched that often.

Third, regardless of whether you think an email was SPAM or not, you shouldn’t think that invites you to respond rudely or crudely.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  What is there to be gained in spending any effort in arguing with people who email you a service or product that could be of use to you?

Online marketing and communication is still a growing and developing medium.  We need to balance the needs of a marketer and the desires of the consumer. 

Just as marketers need to understand the needs, desires, demands, and habits of consumers, those who consume should balance tolerance, understanding, and compassion for those who try their best to give you relevant and valuable offers.

Consumers can opt-out, press delete, or otherwise choose to ignore a message, but when they cross the line and look to publicly shame or cause professional harm to the marketer, they have done a disservice to the ecosystem of ideas, news, ads, and connections that people have come to love about the Internet. 

Marketers must act responsibly and take extra steps to filter and update lists.  They need to, as often as possible, be better matchmakers in connecting a consumer to the exact product or services desired or needed.  But they are not perfect.

I think we’re getting so used to skipping commercials via DVRs, streaming downloads on demand, and viewing ad-free content that we forget in order for the economy to function at a healthy pace, marketing must do its role to reach consumers.  Once we accept we live in a world that includes marketing, we’ll be much better for it.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014