Friday, July 25, 2014

Content Fatigue: What You Must do to Stay in Front of Your Customer in a Cluttered Market

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of data that’s already online via blogs and social media, consider this: by 2020 that information will increase by 600%. Overwhelming, no? I was just at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego and a lot of talk was around the noise, as well as a term you’ll be hearing a lot in the future: Content Shock. What’s Content Shock specifically? Well, it’s too much of just about everything. Out of Content Shock comes what I call Content Fatigue.

The problem is that people are exhausted from all the content and all the work it takes to keep up with social dialog and news. Yes, there are shortcuts and some handy tools for automation, but at the end of the day, it still comes down to our time and our attention. Both of which are in short supply.

Your consumer faces this, too. This never-ending barrage of information that finds its way to their doorstep. They then find themselves sifting through seemingly endless streams of information trying to find the kernel they were looking for. Let’s face it, it’s not easy.

As time propels us into this age of overwhelming news feeds and information, it will be important to figure out ways to stand out and gain attention without overwhelming your market. I attended a session by Mark Schaffer where he talked about this trend of endless data and what we can do about it (See here:,) and while I loved his insight and input, I wanted to break this down even further and make it a bit more palatable for those of us who don’t have teams at the ready to create some new game to enchant our buyer or who can develop videos that can go viral.

Most of us don’t have that kind of access, but we still want to rise above the noise. Though Mark’s tips are tremendous, I think that even before we dig in there, we must first look here:

Be an Expert: First and foremost you need to be an expert. If you’re not comfortable with that you need to get over that and realize that people love experts – even if you are a fiction author, be the best, be the most knowledgeable, and be the kind of expert that you’d want to follow. Why does this matter? Because in the years to come (and even now) consumers would rather gravitate to one voice they can trust, than 20 voices they aren’t so sure about. It’s a way to help them cut through the noise and a great way for you to stand out.

Know the Experts: Beyond your own expertise, you’re going to find you need to align yourself with experts in your market. People with a significantly bigger platform you can get to know. Why? Because you’ll want to engage with them, and build a relationship with them so they trust you and your product enough to share it with their people. We’re finding that people don’t trust messages, people trust people. As we build even more “noise” around ourselves we’ll find this statement becomes even more pronounced.

Be Excruciatingly on Point: When people like Guy Kawasaki or Chris Brogan or even Gary Vaynerchuk meander off of their core message, I really don’t give it a second thought. Why? Because they’ve spent years honing their original message so we’re willing to give them a bit of leeway or creative license to “meander” as they see fit. Most of us don’t have that luxury. Once you zero in on your message (benefit statement) you’ll want to own it and stay true to it. Don’t one day talk about the fabulous new workout routine your team developed and the next day talk about Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s divorce. It doesn’t make sense and the more you meander, the more you will lose people, and your message will vanish in the ether.

Email Lists: Email is pretty un-sexy these days, isn’t it? I mean let’s face it, when you have sites like G+, Instagram, and Pinterest, can create Infographics, and post short videos onto Vine, it makes email marketing seem like the distant cousin of something very 1976, doesn’t it? The truth is that despite its lack of sexy, email marketing still works, and as social media becomes more cluttered it’s getting harder and harder to get your posts seen. But an email opt-in list is one way to get onto the radar screen of your reader (with their permission) and share helpful information with them which a) helps to establish your expertise and b) keeps them in your funnel, something social media does too, but only to a point.

Know Your (Readers') Limits: I have a friend who has great content and sends it in daily email posts and therein lies the problem: daily emails. I don’t know about you but unless you’re giving away a free Starbucks gift card in every email, there is very little that I need to see on a daily basis. If you’re in this situation (i.e. sending daily emails) I would recommend instead that you consider changing this to weekly or even better, biweekly. Or, what if you created a G+ Opt-in circle group which encourages daily emails? Even better. I can now check in when I want and don’t have to be overwhelmed with a new email to open, file, or delete. As information from a variety of sources continues to clutter our inbox and radar, you don’t want to contribute to that clutter.

Mind Your Tone: Would you watch a TV show that was all bitching all the time, with no reprieve? Likely not. Still it amazes me how many people use a social setting to promote their own negative agenda. The thing is, the more cluttered things get, the less tolerant your reader or consumer becomes. Be positive and be consistent. If there is a challenge your industry is facing, share that challenge and solution with your end-user. They will appreciate that much more than an endless rant about all that’s wrong with the world. Consider the folks who love to rant about Amazon. This negative banter accomplishes nothing and does not contribute to the overall conversation in a constructive way. Be good or be gone.

Dominate a Narrow Market: Yes, we’d all like to be kings and queens of our market, but the truth is it’s harder and harder to get to the top of anything. I get that you want to “own” the business market but, frankly, consumers are seeking much more finite information these days. Case in point, when it comes to books: short is the new long. Content that is hyper-focused on one, singular area can draw in a readership or consumer following faster than content that is too general. Own your niche, and while “niche” seems to imply small, the effects can be anything but. For example, the Amazon classes I teach: How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, I can’t keep these books on the shelf and the class is the most popular session I’ve ever taught. This niche is anything but small, in fact it’s among the biggest things I’ve ever done.

Be. Human. In a world full of automation, a human element is not just helpful, it’s mandatory. Recently, after presenting at a large event I was speaking to a few attendees who commented that they were surprised that I responded to my own emails. Wait. Really? They said they loved the human touch of my firm, more people, less automation. While automation isn’t a bad thing, and every company needs to automate some aspects of their work, going 100% automation is never a good idea. I find that consumers really appreciate the human connection and, as things become more cluttered in terms of online noise and social media activity, the human element will become even more crucial to connecting with your reader or consumer in an authentic and memorable way.

Unself the Selfie: Maybe it’s just me, but I think we need less “me” in social media. Also, I think that selfies, or the unselfie, could be used in ways that will help promote reader or customer engagement. Instead of creating selfies, which really just push you, why not encourage customer participation and give them a reason to share your content with others? Encourage readers to share a selfie with a copy of your book (and give them a prize to share this picture). Consumers do things for their reasons, not yours, and as more and more content gets filtered through the system, we’re too disengaged to share and yet, consumers have the power and voice you need. Consumers/readers are the key to the success or failure of your marketing. Finding creative ways to engage them will become even more paramount as new products, services, and books continue to flood the market.

Thinking about these things early on will help you avoid getting lost in the consistent onslaught of messages and products. As we continue to add more noise to our lives, it will be the consistent, helpful messengers who remain steadfast on their message that will get our attention. But, you might argue, doesn’t flash capture us, too? It does, but typically only for a little while. You have a choice between a long-term audience, or a quick, fleeting romance. Which will you choose?

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Embracing Change

In 2008 I was having apocalyptic visions of floods resulting from global warming. I have since realized that along with preventive action, I have to accept and embrace the change. Essence of Wife is a song about evolution, love, and hope in the time of climate change. I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid! Contact me for the chords -

Essence of Wife c.2010 Deborah Wilbrink BMI

The world spins in your hazel eyes
Polar twilight, tropic sunrise
Seven known seas rearrange, part
Albatross leaves, hurricanes start

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Souls new, and souls old return
Watch together wells of black gold burn
Earth’s fever rises, oxygen falls,
With the fury of a full moon tide, your heart calls,

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Glaciers calf into our warming sea
Mermaids rise, to ancient melody
Sirens unchain the sailors
Winged victory flies in the face of failure

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner July 2014

Just Because You Are You

Splendor bides to celebrate
The magic that is only you, and
Wonder wanders commonplace
When cradled, nestled by your side.

Moonlight pales as constellations
Ride your wave of endless sky, and
Ocean overflows her bounty,
Tranquil in your evening tide.

Not because the world stops spinning.
Not because time takes a pause.
Not that logic dictates that
What once was false is somehow true.

Words can never be a profit
To predict your story’s end.
You fulfill your destiny
… Just because you are you.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:


Sweet whipped cream memories, Ghosts from the past
Sleep soft on my shoulder, a whisper away,
Come calling, revisiting simpler moments of
Moon Pies and Mary James back in the day.

Skate keys and Bobbie socks,
Pigtails and poodle skirts,
Pin curls and Bobbie pins,
Raggedy Ann.
Bosco and Mickey Mouse,
Jukebox and saddle shoes,
Flying with Peter Pan through Neverland.

Baseball cards slapping on bicycle spokes,
Eight tracks and Betamax, bad knock-knock jokes.
Viewmasters, Lincoln logs, erector sets,
Lone Ranger’s sidekick… As good as it gets.

Old wringer washers and rotary phones,
Listening on party lines, waiting your turn.
Lost on the day that the music fell silent.
Peace symbols, love beads and incense to burn.

Dark drive-in movies and black high-top sneakers,
Jiffy pop, rabbit ears, spats and D As.
Pick-up-sticks, Polaroids, tears for Old Yeller,
Time capsule mem’ries tucked safely away.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Creating Bestselling Book Ideas That Amazon Will Love

It’s one thing to write a book; it’s quite another to write a book that will sell. We all want to follow our passion, write our dream and dance creatively with our muse, but wouldn't it be fantastic if, amidst all of this creation, we also managed to produce a bestselling book? That is, after all, the dream.

Specifically we’d all like a high ranking on Amazon and though I've addressed that and reviews in other pieces, I thought it might be a good idea to take a step back to the beginning.

Finding Bestselling Book Ideas

I know this gal who fraternizes with a lot of SEO people; for those of you not familiar with the term, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. These are the folks who spend their life trying to get on the first page of Google. One day several years back, she and I were talking about how to create ideas that sell. She told me that many of her SEO buddies would write books literally just based on keywords. It had nothing to do with their passion or what they really wanted to write about; instead, they focused on saleable terms, meaning phrases that were getting a huge bounce in Google. Now this may not be how you would ever consider writing a book, but there are merits to this methodology:

Book focus: Where will you focus your book? Don’t get too caught up in a set plan. Leave some room for flexibility and consider what’s “hot” to write about right now. What is an immediate need? You may still stick with your original plan, but slant it a bit more towards seeing what’s hot in search or in the media. Keep in mind that the speed of book production often allows us to jump on a trend or hot topic so take advantage of that when you can.

Book title: If you have identified your best keywords for this market, then you can and should use them here. Keywords in a title can really help to boost your exposure, not just on Amazon but on Google as well.

Book subtitle: If you already have your title set in stone, consider using keywords in your subtitle to help boost your exposure in search.

Book topic: Let’s say you know your market, but you aren't sure what to write about. Sure, you could align this with “book focus", but consider that you’re an expert in consumer finance and want to write a book on this topic. Knowing what consumers are searching on (as it relates to finance) could be a great way to address the immediate needs of your reader. This is where keywords come into play but the research I share further in this article will help with this, too.

The other element here is to create a topic that’s narrower. Instead of focusing on one broad area, focus in more granularly. For example, I recently taught a class about this very topic and we brainstormed ideas on creating segmented topics within one broader umbrella. Consider the real estate gal who has a book on buying or selling your first home. I suggested that instead of trying to reach a big, broad and cluttered market, that she instead focus on isolated industries.

The ideas we brainstormed were: Buying Your First Home for Singles, Buying Your First Home for Seniors, Buying Your First Home for Domestic Partners. You get the idea, right? Create a series of books that sits under a broader market. This will net you better sales. Consumers like specialized topics that help solve a specific problem. And the books don’t have to be long, but we’ll cover that in more depth later. Once you find this market or niche, you’ll want to publish regularly to it. Amazon and the associated algorithms tend to trigger quicker when an author has multiple titles so consider that as well.

So, let’s assume that you've done some keyword research or are at least familiar with the keywords in your market. Let’s see how these searches relate to popular topics on Amazon.

Step-by-step, here is what you’ll need to do:

• On the Amazon page, search in the Kindle store tab. I want you to isolate your searches there for now.

• Plug in your search term and see what comes up. You’ll generally get 5-10 suggestions. Click on one of them.

• Look at the books that come up in search and click on the “customers also bought” section.

• Your focus should be on books that have a low sales rank. Depending on the category, it could be as low as 20,000 or as high as 50,000.

• You want to make sure there’s a variety of books in this segment, preferably more than five and they should all have this range of sales volume. If it’s lower than 20,000 that’s great, but when you get into the super saturated or unpopular categories, neither of those will help you.

• Some Amazon experts say that a 20,000 rank indicates that the book is selling five copies a day, but I find this hard to prove either way. Just know that given Amazon’s volume, it’s definitely not languishing. Regardless, this research will really help to expose hot topics and market segments within your area of expertise that are selling well.

Staying on the Short and Narrow

While full-length books will never go away, there’s a surge towards shorter, niche books—books that “own” a narrow market segment. When I first published How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, I was surprised at how the sales out-paced my other books. While I know the title had a lot to do with this, it was also the fact that the book was shorter and focused on one particular area.

If you decide to do this (write shorter books), I wouldn't suggest just keeping the book short. While short is the new long, there’s still plenty of room for full-length books, too. So, in other words, if you can mix it up, that’s the best track for success. How short can short be? Ten thousand to seventeen thousand words is generally acceptable. Keep in mind that if you do short, you don’t have room for fluff. You’ll want to be as crystal clear as you can be on specific instructions, maybe even include step-by-step instructions or checklists, which readers love.

Other Ways to Develop Book Ideas

There’s an element of research that goes into every book you create, and I’m not just talking about the topic research, but content, too. When you’re developing your book idea and trying to decide what to include and exclude from the book, consider spending a bit of time doing a comparison with other, similar books in your market. Take a look at their book pages on Amazon, read through their reviews. In particular, the negative reviews that give constructive feedback about what the reader thought was missing, or things they wished had been expanded upon, will be particularly helpful. Readers will tell you what they want, and they’ll often do it in a review.

One Final Note on Shorter Books

On Amazon there is the “look inside the book” feature. This covers just a short section of your book, so be cautious when you’re preparing your final content. If your book is too short, the “look inside” feature will reveal most of the book, or enough of it that readers may glean what they want and not buy it. You want to fill the book with sufficient content so that you don’t end up with this problem. If you've finished the book and it seems a bit too short, consider adding things like checklists, free resources or bonus chapters from other books you've written that relate to this topic.

Keep in mind that this isn't meant to pump up your book page count just for the sake of doing that, but if the book looks too much like a white paper or report instead of a book, you may end up with a lot of window-shoppers who don’t end up buying. How short is too short? Anything under 50 pages is too short. Generally I’d recommend that you sit somewhere over 55 pages, ideally 65 pages to be safe. And again, don’t stuff your book with useless content. Make sure that if you need to add pages, you are adding helpful, useful information.

Doing some book research is not just a great idea to help develop some high-selling product, but a great idea overall. We invest so much of our time and effort into our books that the more we can make sure we’re on target, the less time we’ll spend languishing in obscurity. Given that there are 3,500 books published every day in the US, whatever you can do to stand out above the crowd can make all the difference.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

WITS Announcements July 2014

As a subscriber to Writers in the Sky Newsletter, you are entitled to share your announcements with our readers. See guidelines at and send your material to us before the 24th of each month to make the next month’s issue. Anything posted in the WITS Newsletter is also shared with our blog readers at
Graphic Design Internship offered fall semester in Nashville with Perfect Memoirs. Must be enrolled in an educational program and have basic knowledge of InDesign. Contact Deborah Wilbrink for more info.

The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing their innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful literary art of poetry and/or writing a great story that is worth telling everyone. Write a poem or a short story for a chance to win cash prizes totaling $1275! All works must be original. Postmark deadline: July 31, 2014. Visit our website for details on how to enter:
Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long MP3 audio book of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife for only $7.00.
Do you have a great idea for a book but don't have the time or skills needed to complete the project? Our team will use your notes or rough draft, conduct author interviews, and/or transcribe your audio files to write your book. And the best part is, your name will be on the cover! Learn more:
Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance.
Writers in the Sky offers three different levels of editing--developmental, copy editing, and proofreading for books, articles, and other documents. WITS has edited many books for publishers, several of which became bestsellers in their category. We offer full or partial edits, as well as the opportunity to work with an editor as much or as little as you like.
Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. See all purchasing options at
Are you losing money by doing your own work? Hire a Virtual Assistant(VA)! Having a VA lets you focus on higher level objectives as your VA takes part of your workload.

Katie Perry serves as the virtual administrative assistant to the WITS team. She is responsible for much of the online distribution of articles, media releases, podcast guest info, blog posts, blog tours and social marketing pieces written by our network members. She also is in charge of putting together each issue of the WITS Newsletter.

Katie is available to work with clients who need a virtual assistant on a per-project basis. You can contact her at katie [at] writersinthesky [dot] com.
State of Appreciation is a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical and spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. This publication offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads at
If you are looking for someone to create an original piece for your book cover, you might want to connect with Diane Daversa on Facebook:!/pages/Diane-Daversa-Fine-Art/109782219119036.
Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience is about how to embrace multidimensional frequencies, lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension, and offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

WAO and WITS Podcast Schedules July 2014

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows for people from all walks of life to discuss their spiritual journey and life—transforming experiences that remind us that we are all one in spirit. Uplifting, enlightening, and insightful topics include healing, empathy, intuition, spiritual/psychic gifts, metaphysics, soul development, afterlife, spirit communication, and more. The metaphysical shows are archived at feed:// You will also find us on iTunes. Please subscribe to the We Are One in Spirit mailing list to receive the call log-in information:

This month’s interactive calls include group coaching for empaths on July 8th and for walk-ins on July 24th. Both webinar conference calls are at 2 p.m., central time.

Learn more about the group coaching calls at

WITS Podcast Schedule
Writers in the Sky Podcast is a Nashville-based talk show about writing, publishing, and book marketing. An educational tool for people who want to learn more about the craft and business of writing, this show offers interviews with authors and writers, as well as the latest news about books currently on the market. You will also learn about publishing methods and marketing techniques as we interview publishers and publicists. Listen to archived shows via RSS Feed. Download WITS Podcast on iTunes for your iPod or iPad.

On July 11, tune in to the Writers in the Sky podcast to hear Zaheen Nanji discuss her new groundbreaking book,‎ Attract Your Ideal Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off.‎

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Editor's Corner July 2014

Welcome to the July edition of the Writers in the Sky newsletter!

It's hard to believe that it's already July--seems like just yesterday, we were donning scarves and hats to brave the cold. Yet here we are, getting ready to fire up the grills and watch the fireworks in celebration of Independence Day. And while we certainly deserve a break from those long hours in front of the computer, I cannot help but point out all the wonderful inspiration we might find over the holiday. In our interactions with family, friends and the new people we meet lie the seeds of our next scene, chapter--even an entire book! So, while enjoying the sun and sand, I encourage everyone to use their writer's eyes and ears to take it all in and store it up for the next time they're looking for the right words to tell their story.

Happy Fourth of July, and happy writing!

Dana Micheli
Writer and editor, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

Writers in the Sky is a team of ghostwriters, editors, and book marketing specialists committed to the craft and business of writing. We work with our clients on all levels of the publishing process from editing and manuscript assessments to book formatting and marketing. So whether you are a first-time author or a veteran of the craft, let Writers in the Sky help you get your book out into the world. We also provide assistance with résumés, business documents, and academic essays. For more information, visit