Making the Reasonable Ask

Marketing your book is going to involve asking people for things. Whether it's cover blurbs, a foreword, testimonials, or reviews, it's far more practical to ask than to wait for volunteers.

How you ask makes a world of difference. My goal in this article is to help you do your homework so you have the best chance of getting a meaningful response. Note I didn't say a positive response; 'yes' isn't always the right answer, much as we'd like it to be. You can't be too timid to even ask, but it doesn't work to be so confident you come off as a jerk.

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Do One Thing

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Water wears away stone by constancy, not power, not volume.

Marketing with a long vision will serve you better than looking for short-term sales.

Every day, do one thing to market yourself as an author, or to learn more about successful marketing. Here are 20 ideas to get you started:

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Your Business Needs a Blog

In The Commonsense Virtual Assistant we wrote about the four fundamental customer needs:

  1. Get it right
  2. Get it out there
  3. Give 'em advice
  4. Give 'em a voice

A blog fills the last two needs, with proactive advice, and room for feedback, not just from your existing clientele, but from two groups we call prospects (people who are considering doing business with you) and suspects (people who should be doing business with you but don't know it yet.) Never underestimate the power of fortuitous discovery. When someone stumbles upon your blog, they may discover you're exactly what they need—but didn't realize it.

It's astonishing how many small businesses don't blog regularly. (We all realize that as nonfiction authors, we're in the book business, don't we?)

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6 Questions to Ask to Get Good Testimonials from Clients

6 testimonials to ask to get good testimonials

Getting good testimonials from clients allows you to use those to promote your services to prospects. Here are 6 questions to ask to get good testimonials from your happy clients.

  1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from using our services?
  2. What did you find as a result of using our services?
  3. What specifically did you like most about our services?
  4. What would be 3 other benefits of using our services?
  5. Would you recommend our services? If so, why?
  6. Is there anything you'd like to add?

Here are some testimonials we've received. We'd love to read some of yours!

Writing Skills for Business

another set of eyesMany clients I've worked with want help with grammar, proofreading and editing. They ask me to pay attention to details. They are tired of working with virtual assistants who let correspondence and emails go out with spelling and grammar errors.

Make sure you proofread anything you do for clients for correct spelling and grammar. If writing is not your expertise, don't market yourself as a writer. If at all possible, ask someone else to proofread for you. Another set of eyes never hurts.