Sunday, May 24, 2009

Upcoming JTF Podcast with Suzanne Lieurance

On the Air - Just the FAQs Podcast - featuring a variety of guests working in the business of writing
The next Just the FAQs Podcast features The Working Writer's Coach, Suzanne Lieurance. The show will air this Tuesday, May 26th. We discuss her upcoming Working Writer's Summer Bootcamp. You'll definitely want to get signed up for this quickly. The Bootcamp begins June 1st and Suzanne is has free downloads to get your creativity flowing right now.

Visit the Just the FAQS Podcast cast for more info and to see who will be joining us in June.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just the FAQs Podcast with Nikki Leigh

Award winning fiction and non fiction author, Nikki Leigh, joins us on the podcast for a fun and informative interview on her latest release, Book Promo 201: Harness the Power of the Internet with Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing.

Nikki provides Web 2.0 promotional services and virtual book tours for authors and brings over 16 years of promotional experience and over 8 years of online promotional experience to each project. She works with her clients to help them establish and/or build their online presence and helps them learn to identify and reach the correct target market for their books. Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours and Promotional Services are always open to finding new ways to help all authors learn to promote more effectively.

Listen to the podcast now. Read the review of Book Promo 201 posted by JTF.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book Review - Book Promo 201

Book Promo 201: Harness the Power of the Internet
with Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing

Author: Nikki Leigh

Every author, whether new or established, could boost their marketing campaign to new heights by reading Book Promo 201. Many other books on promotion are like cotton candyall fluff and sugar. Not this book. Author Nikki Leigh delivers the blue-plate special. She doesn’t just talk about promotion; she gives you real-world examples that work. And, she includes multiple tips from other marketing gurus who she networks with regularly. If you follow her advice, you will also build quality strategic alliances while successfully promoting your book.

Book Promo 201 is far more than an information or reference book. It’s a workbook. Each major section has bullet points or a series of questions to help you gain a working knowledge of that topic. They also help you tailor that particular marketing technique to your specific needs.

Another thing that sets this book apart is the scope and depth of coverage on all aspects of Web 2.0 sites. The Internet has evolved from displaying static brochures to becoming more interactive and social in nature. Gone are the days when you simply announce that you have an interesting book. Social networking gives you the opportunity to interface with folks of like interest. By using the extensive information in Book Promo 201, you will begin to build a community where you can share your passion with others who enjoy having conversations about the same topic.

Even established authors will appreciate the thorough listing of links related to book promotion. It’s likely you will find new links listed here. In fact, the time you save in finding these invaluable links on your own are worth the price of the book. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that an old book is new to someone who hasn’t read it yet. Previously published books could greatly benefit from a re-energized marketing campaign following the suggestions in Book Promo 201.

If you’re not tech-savvy, have no fear. Book Promo 201 is written in clear language that anyone can easily follow. The suggestions in this book will take you from know-nothing to do-something in a fraction of the time it would take you to figure it out on your own.

Book Promo 201 is not just a handy reference manual. It is a MUST HAVE for every author, no matter how many books you have published. Read it, re-read it, and follow the advice Nikki Leigh offers. It’s like having access to the minds of multiple marketing masters in one volume.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Interview with Dresser After Dark

Join me with host Michael Dresser on Dresser After Dark—The Authors, Experts, & Solutions Show tonight at 8pm CST as we discuss Just the FAQs e-books.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Upcoming JTF Podcast shows

On the Air - Just the FAQs Podcast - featuring a variety of guests working in the business of writing

May 21 – Award-winning author and virtual book tour coordinator, Nikki Leigh joins the podcast to discuss online book promotion covered in her latest release Book Promo 201: Harness the Power of the Internet with Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing.

May 26 – Freelance writer, children’s author, and writing coach, Suzanne Lieurance discusses her Working Writer’s Coach programs including the upcoming Working Writer's Summer Bootcamp, with three tracks for fiction, non-fiction, and children’s authors.

June 11 – Features illustrator Gabe Anton as we chat about the business of creativity as well as ways for authors to find illustrators. We’ll also touch on illustrator-author relations and networking opportunities both groups can bring one another.

June 25 – Author Michael Turner joins us to talk about his role as the host of the Nashville Writers Group and the importance of networking face-to-face with other writers.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog's RSS feed to be immediately notified when the podcasts air.

More info on each podcast guest can be found on the JTF Podcast page.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Interview with Dr. Barbara Weaver Smith author of Whale Hunting Women

Many authors focus their marketing around building relationships with readers and selling their books one at a time or to small groups at book signings and lectures. Many freelance writers are solo entrepreneurs and make their living by taking on one small or medium-sized project after another.

I’ve had the pleasure to interview Dr. Barbara Weaver Smith during her virtual book tour for Whale Hunting Women. The techniques and attitudes she covers may help you lose your “minnow mindset” and begin seeing ways to attain whale-size goals no matter where you are now. She also addresses the emerging shift in marketing from "me" to "we" and collaboration.

MaAnna: Many Just the FAQs readers are solo entrepreneurs in the book writing and marketing sectors. They are building their businesses by offering helpful advice and support to writers, and by building strategic relationships with other solo entrepreneurs who offer related services such as editors, publishers, and online marketing experts who supply content, technical support, or other services. In Whale Hunting Women, you state that women are socialized to excel at certain traits that make them successful at this type of business venture. Could you tell us more about that?

Barbara: I use the metaphor of the whale hunt to illustrate characteristics of a complex sale or other big deal, when you are doing deals with an organization much bigger than you. One quality of a big deal is that you can’t do it alone. Whales don’t buy only through the efforts of a salesperson. They want to meet others on the team who will deliver services and products. So the sales skills are those of orchestration, team building, and training rather than the stereotype of the loner or “rock star” salesman. I think women like to work in a collaborative environment and tend to be good at it, since we are rewarded for those talents.

MaAnna: Are women better prepared to thrive in this type of collaborative culture?

Barbara: In my experience, business women thrive more in a collaborative culture than in a competitive culture. By that I mean, although we can be very competitive, we don’t like internal competition and discord. In the “old world” of business, women were expected to conform to a more male-dominant style or be considered “soft.” In the world of an interwoven global economy, driven by internet communications, cooperative behavior is much more highly valued.

MaAnna: At the end of each topic you include two sections for notes. One is Reflection and the other is Action. Tell us about the type of questions you ask there to help folks respond to the information you’ve just presented.

Barbara: I use brainstorming prompts, lists, and charts. I ask questions that will prompt the readers to process what they have read and apply it to their particular whale hunts. Questions like “when have I observed this?” or “how could I improve in this area” or “what are the first three steps I will take and when will I complete them?”

MaAnna: To become a whale hunter, you say that it is important to get rid of the “minnow mindset.” Some Just the FAQs readers are freelancers that work from a home office. Even if they grow to the point of outsourcing to strategic partners, their office mindset has not grown. They acknowledge that they are busier, but often don’t see themselves as bigger. How can folks who work from a home office lose their minnow mindset and start thinking like a whale hunter?

Barbara: I had the privilege to hear T. Boone Pickens speak recently, and he said “It’s no harder to do a big deal than a little deal. Go do a big deal.” In my experience, there are more resources for big deals than for little ones, and more interest, and more excitement. The trick is to think like the orchestrator of a team, not just a soloist, even if you work alone in your home office. Just the FAQs readers are enormously connected through social media if not f2f.

Whales buy all kinds of services that require innovative leadership, the kind of idea generation and implementation at which your readers excel. But whales are afraid to buy from a single person; it’s too risky. That’s where strategic allies and supporters come in.

How do you break the minnow mindset? Don’t hang out only with minnows. Talk to some big fish and whales. Find out what you have that they need. Learn how they make buying decisions. Seek out people who do big deals. Ask their advice. Spruce up your website, calling cards, collateral material. Get your banker, accountant, and best customer on board. Find a partner. The more you behave like a whale hunter, the more you will start to think like one.

MaAnna: One of your tenets in Whale Hunting Women is to “Decide who you are and what you do.” Clarity is key in hunting whales. Some smaller companies diversify to bring in multiple streams of revenue. Whales don’t tend to buy from folks who present themselves as a jack-of-all-trades. But, you also state that folks can’t safely build their business with only one whale. You say that, “Either you will need a school of fish to balance out the risk…, or you’ll need to systematically add more whales.”

Some folks start their business part-time and then suddenly have the opportunity to land a large account. Can you offer some tips for how folks can get over the fear of changing to a full-time career by throwing all of their eggs into one basket with their first whale while cultivating more business?

Barbara: Well, it is scary to start out new. But if you can start out with a whale, that’s better than starting out with a couple of minnows! You conquer fear by planning, seeking and heeding good advice, and protecting yourself. Have a sensible business plan. Ask knowledgeable people to review it with you. Don’t spend all of the money that your company is taking in from the whale; put some aside and invest some in increasing your capacity. Figure out the worst-case scenario if you lose this account and work to add other accounts to your portfolio.

MaAnna: Let’s revisit the idea of being clear about who you are and what you do from the standpoint of freelancers. Folks who work from a home office sometimes tend to relax the line between their personal and professional lives. In the book you state that it is very important to present your Web site bio as totally professional, leaving out hobbies and other personal information.

However, business owners who successfully participate in social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have a mix of presenting their services or products in a helpful way while injecting a little bit of their personal information. Can you offer some advice about what’s appropriate to post about yourself on social media sites?

Barbara: What’s appropriate depends upon the persona you want to present to your prospects, customers, and professional associates. In the business world, I think it is still considered more acceptable for men to talk about their families than for women to do so. The most important thing is to think through this issue from a long-term perspective, and to participate in social media sites for a purpose. On Twitter, your post is fleeting and soon forgotten—it’s more casual. Facebook walls stay up longer. Linked In is where prospective customers will look first.

My advice is to be very conservative about what you post of a personal nature, including political views and family information. You can participate in the conversation give-and-take by interacting with other people around those more business-oriented topics. Have a professional persona and a personal one. Keep the personal one much more private—on most social media sites you have control over what information you share and with whom.

You noted that women in particular share info about kids, husbands, etc. If you are a woman whose business serves other women in their roles as mom and wife and friend, personal conversations are at the crux of building the relationship. But if your business is focused on what people need at work or for work, rather than at home, I advise not crossing that line. I have many online friends who are blogging about their experiences as wives and moms. I can interact with them on the blog more casually than I would do in Facebook or Twitter.

Share political views? Depends upon how important it is to you that your political views be known. I comment on political issues that are relevant to business (and most are!), but I do so in a nonpartisan manner. That’s just my personal preference. I have friends and customers all over the political map—their politics and mine are irrelevant to our business relationships.

I don’t like the mix of personal family information with work information. First I think it’s risky to expose your kids to a public internet presence that is easily linked to you and your place of work, home etc. Second I think if customers or prospective employers are checking you out, it sends a wrong message. I’d rather see a family construct their own internally-controlled web exchange site, and invite friends, but keep it more limited.

MaAnna: Many companies start as a cooperative entrepreneurship. In Whale Hunting Women, you give tips to sustain this fast-growth culture and keep the business from becoming a slow-growth bureaucracy.

But, some solo entrepreneurs who have developed strategic alliances rarely have group meetings to discuss trends and developments in their markets and how they, as a group, can maximize on those changes. Would more collaboration help them loose the minnow mindset?

Barbara: Absolutely. I don’t mean necessarily a meeting where people have to be physically in the same place at the same time. But conference calls, webinars, private asynchronous discussion spaces, Skype accounts, etc. offer opportunities to think and plan together and learn from one another. Your alliances will not propel your business and your ally’s business geometrically unless you leverage your knowledge base and intellectual/social capital. We are overwhelmed with data (e.g. the stream of Twitter posts) and information (e.g. a discussion forum). What we need desperately is to filter the data, turn relevant data into information (by providing a context), and work collectively with the information until it becomes knowledge and eventually wisdom. The more you practice this process, the more knowledgeable and wiser you will become.

MaAnna: How can strategically aligned businesses better work together to hunt whales?

Barbara: The best way is to structure some kind of formal business relationship that has some staying power. Whales are suspicious of short-term alliances. They like to see long-term commitments where no single partner is likely to pull out and sabotage the efforts of others. I would consider creating a new entity to house the work of the alliance or a holding company providing an umbrella for multiple separately-owned allies. Ask your attorney, or your SCORE consultant, or your accountant to explain the options to you.

Once you have a proper structure for whale hunting, you need to learn to look and act like a team in public. It may involve having a joint web site to promote work that you’ll do together. It certainly involves determining roles and rehearsing for a presentation. You may decide to create a target filter and a whale chart for prospects that you intend to hunt together. In short, you can behave as much as possible like a single business unit.

Thank you for visiting this post about Barbara Weaver Smith and Whale Hunting Women. We are offering a free giveaway to two people who comment during the tour and to the hosts where they posted. It is simple to be entered in the giveaway – just post a comment on any post about the tour and you will be entered. But, an interesting post is more likely to get our attention. The host on the site where the winning comments are posted will also win a three-volume set of Whale Hunters Wisdom in audio format. Volumes include I: Mind of a Hunter, II: The Hunt, and III: The Whale Hunting Culture. This is a $90 value. To see the tour schedule visit

Barbara Weaver Smith’s website -
Barbara Weaver Smith’s blog -
Order your copy of Whale Hunting Women –


Thursday, May 7, 2009

JTF Podcast with Dana Lynn Smith and Successful Social Marketing

Book marketing coach and author Dana Lynn Smith guests on the JTF Podcast to share some great tips and discuss her latest release, Successful Social Marketing, which is the second in her new series of e-books, The Savvy Book Marketer Guides.

Dana talks about why social marketing is such a valuable promotional tool for authors. This guest podcast is part of the virtual book tour for Dana’s new book, The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing. See the complete tour schedule here. She offers a new topic every day of the tour.

Listen to the podcast now. Read JTF's review of Successful Social Marketing.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Review – Successful Social Marketing

The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Successful Social Marketing
Author: Dana Lynn Smith
Publisher: Texana Publishing Consultants (April 2009)
Pages: 210 pages

All successful authors know that defining and understanding their target audience is a key element in their marketing campaign. Participating in online social media gives authors an unprecedented way to interact with their audience. It takes them well beyond simply having a presence on the Web.

However, effectively managing on online promotional campaign can be an overwhelming task. Figuring out how to post the best information in the right place to maximize return-on-investment of time is difficult without proper guidance. That’s exactly where Dana Lynn Smith’s latest e-book, The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Successful Social Marketing, can help.

The book contains in-depth sections on a wide variety of social marketing outlets including blogging, micro-blogging, social networking, reader communities, online forums, content sharing, bookmarking, and more. In fact, the book covers so many options that it contains a warning not to try all of them. Instead, Smith provides resources to help develop a marketing strategy that works best for you and your book using a combination of selected tools that maximize your time investment and will yield the best results. Besides the Action Plan that is at the end of each chapter, there is also a ten-step blueprint in the last chapter to help you develop your unique social marketing plan.

Smith goes well beyond simply listing what resources are available. She details step-by-step instructions for setting them up and using them properly. This includes information about the unique lingo and etiquette of each resource. She also gives tips on ways to attract an audience and common mistakes that will ultimately drive folks away.

I was particularly impressed with the depth of information on Twitter and Facebook, each having its own chapter. Even though I have been using these services for some time, I still found multiple examples of resources available on these two sites that I didn’t even know existed, much less how to use them effectively. In other sections of the book I also found resources and tips for using them in ways that I had not considered before. This is a hallmark in all of Smith’s books. Even if you have been in marketing for some time, you will still find new information to use. Her creative, yet practical tips will provide new marketing outlets to incorporate into your strategy.

Dana Lynn Smith is an expert in marketing and everything in The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Successful Social Marketing proves it. This is the most comprehensive and well-researched resource available. If you only purchase one book on this topic, make it Successful Social Marketing.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Book Marketing Coach Dana Lynn Smith on Virtual Tour

Author and book marketing coach, Dana Lynn Smith, is on virtual tour today through May 17th discussing her book Successful Social Marketing, which is the second release in The Savvy Book Marketer series.

Just the FAQs will be posting a review on Wednesday, May 6th. We're especially looking forward to visiting with her on the podcast on Thursday, May 7th.

Every date on the tour focuses on a different topic covered in the book, so be sure to visit each stop. Click here for the full tour schedule.