Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Authors Show - Part II

Memories of a simpler time!
Early last month, I was contacted by The Authors Show.  This article is Part II of that experience.  It appears there will likely be a Part III as well, so stay tuned.

This isn’t my first rodeo, so I went into this one with eyes wide open.  The early communications mention that this is wholly a marketing experience, rather than a podcast or vlog interview.  That translates into, “You’ll be spending money, and it won’t be the $2 menu at Denny’s!”

The old rule of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” generally applies to most of these kinds of “marketing opportunities”.  Other groups will contact authors, and provide lengthy emails laying out all the reasons I should market—but no list of services or price list—and a statement saying that if interested, respond again.  This is most likely to determine if the email is real, add you to their email marketing list, and continue to wear you down with all the reasons you should invest with them.

The idea is that if they have so much background, then CLEARLY, they’re good and you’ll see results.  UNFORTUNATELY, if something seems too good to be true, it likely is—you’re being fleeced.  A bit of research indicates mixed reviews for such email solicitors, and most follow ups end with prices that are so outrageous (for indie/small press authors) and little to no guarantee, that it wasn’t worth my time to send the first email.

The follow-up contact and interview with Don McCauley, the Host of The Authors Show was very interesting.  I was sent a list of questions to complete and return, and then asked to supply ten to fifteen of my own questions to be asked during the interview.  The questions Don provided were fascinating and well worth answering yourself, even if you never do this kind of interview in the future:
My brand?  Being awesome!

1. What is your branding statement?
(If you do not have a branding statement, see this short video: http://bit.ly/2kzHosQ)

2. What is the PRIMARY benefit, above all others, that your potential reader will gain from reading this book?
(Be very specific. Please do not answer with 'good read' or 'page turner' or some other worn out, overused phrase. Be concise and avoid generalization.)

3. If you had to compare this book to any other book out there, which book would it be?
(Remember: The audience does not yet know you. It is very important that you reference something they might be familiar with to effectively and powerfully communicate what your work is about. You are NOT saying you are 'better than' or 'just like' this comparative, but are somewhat the same in a very general sense, to give the listener a point of reference.)

4. Hundreds of thousands of books come out every year. Why should someone buy THIS book?
(What is it that sets THIS book apart from ALL those other books in the same genre or category? What will the buyer get from you and ONLY you that simply cannot be found elsewhere?)

5. Who is your target audience?
(Be very specific. Gender? Age range? Geographic area? Primary interests? What benefits does the reader hope to gain from buying a book like this book?)

6. What are your marketing goal(s)?

7. In regards to this book in particular, what have you found to be your biggest marketing challenge?

I spoke with Don directly, and mostly it was him telling me what to expect, what I needed to have ready, etc.  Don is very professional, and it’s clear he’s not only been to the rodeo before, he organizes and puts on a helluva a performance.

And now to get some of that marketing goodness!
On the assigned day, I had some technical difficulties with my computer, which delayed the interview while I sorted them.  Don was professional the entire time, although it’s clear I was the amateur here.  Once we got going, Don laid out a lot of guidelines that might be overwhelming.  The actual, finished interview product is only about 15 minutes—but the interview itself takes as long as it’s going to take.  You can pause, “umm” and “uhh” all you want, stumble over responses, or even give responses a second or third attempt.  I did more than my fair share of tripping over my own tongue, but everything came together in the end.

After we were done, Don walked me through the next steps which included watching the website for my show to come up, so I can market it appropriately (it will only be available for 24 hours, and then they’re “archived”.  If you don’t pay for one of the plans, then your interview is essentially deleted.  You DO NOT receive a copy.  However, there are “affordable” options:

Bronze Plan $129: This includes an MP3 copy and 3 featured broadcasts.
Silver Plan $299: 6 months archiving + featured rebroadcast, 6 months daily marketing outreach & weekly publicity, and the MP3
Gold Plan $399: 12 months dedicated web page, 12 months archiving + featured rebroadcast, 12 months daily marketing outreach & weekly publicity, and the mp3

Then we come to the top, the Gold24 Plan at $499.  This gives you 24 months of everything above, the MP3 copy, and a “video” over the interview, which is your book cover and headshot and 5 additional images of your choice.  They also promote via a larger social media platform for the 24 months.

All in all, I don’t feel like they’re trying to cheat or rip anyone off.  The Authors Show
Now and forever!
is providing a product (a professionally edited 15-minute interview) and depending on how an author is marketing (and, of course, what your marketing budget is) this can work out pretty well.

I DO NOT recommend this for brand new authors trying to get their name out there.  It’s not that kind of service.  This isn’t the place to blow your entire marketing budget and hope you’re going to earn it back.  For more advanced indie/small press authors who have been around the block a few times, you know best what level you’re going to be able to afford, the potential return on investment, and how to push your stuff.

I enjoyed the interview process, and certainly The Authors Show gave me some additional things to think about in terms of marketing.  I’m not certain if I’m going to invest further.  I’ll wait to hear how I actually turn out in the interview first.

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