Friday, July 26, 2013

Why your competitors are not your competitors

...huh? What's she smoking? If I have a small business, anyone else doing the same job is likely to steal my customers, right?

Not quite. If you're selling vacuum cleaners, that might be correct, because most homes will choose between the available brands of vacuum cleaners and only select one.

But the internet is full of "want" items these days, not just "need" items. Games, brands, books. Art in general. In the case of books, don't assume that another author is a threat. For indie authors in particular, >>other indie authors can be your greatest early resource<<.

I've highlighted that sentence so that you'll now go back and read it again. (Go on. I'll wait for you here.)

You see, they too understand how it is when your fabulous work is obscure, unknown and nobody's talking about it. And I don't care who you are or how super-special-awesome your writing is, in the beginning you're sitting in a black hole. Until you have some good reviews and people are talking about it and >>doing the marketing for you<<, your book is the one buried under the piles of manure and gold that have flooded the market.

Did you see that second sentence highlighted? We would all love that. People with names like J K Rowling or Stephen King, their names are so well-known that with the slightest push, people run with it. They Facebook it or tweet it or Google+ it or talk about it on the phone to their cousin Sam. Nobody's doing that with your book, unless you do the pushing. If you're lucky you'll blab on about your book until you are hoarse, typing and posting and social networking until your fingers are sore, and then you'll sell... four books. Per year.

Most of us like to work alone. Most of us didn't write the book in collaboration, so we have an obsession with guarding our baby and controlling how it's marketed. Fine. But you know what? Instead of two individuals self-marketing two books independently, with everyone using two hours a day of marketing work, you could simply do one hour, then reshare the posts of the other author and they do the same for you. Then read the their book and review it, and they do it for you.

It seems at first as if you're merely cutting your own marketing in half and helping someone else take your customers. Right? Right? But that's assuming readers only buy ONE book.

>>Readers do not only buy one book<<.

There is no guarantee they will buy your book plus the other author's. But that doesn't matter. You have doubled your exposure because all their followers see your post (and vice-versa). Even better, reviews are critical. And you now have one.

Imagine the possibilities if you move on to the next author?

Indie authors... look after each other and you will be looking after yourself. When another author reshares your post, jump on it. It's an opportunity to cement a link that can work for both of you. When a reader or follower reshares your post, make a point of going and saying thank you. Spend five minutes (only five minutes!) reading their other posts. Interact. You are building a fan club.

If you don't even bother to thank these people, are you sure they'll support you?

>>Your fan club are your paying customers<<.