Why You Should Avoid Digital Sharecropping

In the bad old days, some folks were trapped in a poverty-inducing cycle, farming land they could never own. Rich landowners allowed ("allowed" !) tenant farmers to work the land in exchange for a share of the crop. The rich landowner, simply because he owned the land, received a share of the crops as well.

The sharecropper could never make enough to buy the land. The system was designed to keep the rich rich and the poor poor.

Eleven times a week I hear questions about "the best blogging platform." And I read recommendations of, not only various free blogging tools, but even folks who consider their Facebook page or other social media presence to be their online marketing.

If you don't own the land, you're sharecropping, building someone else's empire.

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Where Should You Be Selling Your Books?

When I was a kid my brothers and I played a board game called Risk. The goal was to conquer the world. This is our goal as writers, so it's a good analogy, right?

The board was a map of the world. Each player started on one continent with a number of armies. Rolls of the die determined the outcomes of battles, introducing a certain element of chance, but good strategy usually triumphed.

One concept my younger brother never grasped was that one big army defending his borders was stronger than 3 or 4 small ones. But he liked spreading things out, so he'd have 4 armies each in Mexico, Central America, and Colombia rather than putting all 12 in Mexico.

Our older brother would come down through Texas with 6 armies and blow through like Santa Ana. Or whoever would have been blowing from the north.

Like Butter Spread Over Too Much Toast

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Personal, Anticipated, and Relevant: Keep Your Email List Up to PAR

If you were to ask us why you get Ausoma's newsletter, we could tell you that there are only two possible ways: you signed up for it yourself at the website, or you asked to be on the list.

We didn't add you just because we wanted to.

We didn't get your business card at a mixer, and add you to our list without telling you.

We didn't sell you a book, and add you to our list without telling you.

We didn't connect with you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, or Bob's Social Media and Lawnmower Repair, and add you to our list without telling you.

Your email newsletter is your most valuable marketing asset. Well, it's how you access your most valuable marketing asset.

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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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