Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: July 27th, 2011 ]

Do you watch Real Housewives of New York? If not, surely you’ve seen all the press about the show. Did you know that you can learn a lot about how to market your book and build your author brand by watching it? Here are just a few of the lessons to be learned when watching the show for any period of time (some old and some new):

  • Follow trends: Take note from Ramona and her jumping on the “renew your vows” trend. Sure, it is a good idea to be unique most of the time, but sometimes you have to “do the stuff everyone else is doing” in order to get your momentum going. After all – it works well for everyone else – isn’t it at least worth a “try”?
  • Defend the grapes: Bethenny offered to “stomp the grapes” to make wine. Not if Kelly had anything to do with it – she planned to eat those grapes. If you take a stand on some issue or cause that you really believe in and make this public knowledge, that’s a good way to network and build demand for you and your book.
  • Start your own team: It works for the Twilight saga (remember “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob”?) and is even working for RHONY with the “Team Blonde” and “Team Brunette” fiasco. Have you considered starting “teams” for the main characters in your book? This will build audience excitement for sure because people love to choose sides.
  • Refer to yourself in the third person: Did you see how Sonja referred to herself in the third person on the recent reunion show? Well, don’t do it that way, but this is a great way to write an effective author bio that will stand out amongst the crowd. Author bios should never be written in first person (neither should social media profiles and the like).
  • Toss modesty to the wind: Also in the recent reunion show, Kelly mentioned that Cosmo rated her as one of the Five Nicest Celebrities. Why can’t you do the same as an author? Naturally, you don’t want to tout your achievements at inappropriate times, but don’t be afraid to brag a little – especially when it comes to your bestselling author status.
  • Wear cream to the wedding: This is not the best thing to do in “real life”, but it can be very effective when promoting a book. Don’t allow other authors in your genre to get all of the spotlight. It’s OK to steal the show just a bit for yourself.

Many newly-published authors are faced with the question of: “How do I market my book?” Believe it or not, your answer could be as close as your nearest TV set.

– by Elise L. Connors

Does anyone still watch reality television these days?  I remember the day, back in 2008, when Real Housewives of New York premiered–and even further back, it must be said, to a day before any of the Real Housewives cluster of shows aired.  Since Real Housewives of Orange County is now in its eleventh season, you can imagine that that’s quite a ways further back!  But let’s face the facts.  A show that births such classic one-liners as:

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… and:

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… just can’t die.  I won’t let it.  That’s not a world I want to live in–a world of sincerely self-aware nature documentaries is a fine and wonderful thing, but it can never rival a world in which the absurdly rich are given finely scrulpted eyebrows and scripted lines worthy of Homer.  And Bravo, home to all things Real Housewives, has some of the most loyal fans out there.  Over 1.4 million people proved their loyalty by tuning in for the premier of last season, the weakest yet.  But 1.4 million?  That’s still a lot of people.  And while the jury’s out on whether sticking around for another round of brunches and office tours with the rich and famous qualifies Real Housewives of New York marks quality decision-making, the show’s longevity puts the proof in the pudding of Elise’s 2011 blog post, above.

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Don’t take this as a drawn-out advertisement for a television show that I don’t even watch–but do take it as a reminder not to turn off your “out-of-the-box” skills when it comes to strategizing and marketing your self-published book.  Elise found value and inspiration in a television show because she refused to just sit back and “shut off.”  Her mind was active and engaged–even when watching reality television!  Maybe your inspiration will come through some other unorthodox channel, like a podcast or a nature walk or a recipe in a kitsch 80’s cookbook.  But it’s still valid.

It doesn’t matter how good ideas come to us, not nearly so much as it matters that we put them into real-world application.  When push comes to shove, the television we watch and the books we read and the lines we repeat to ourselves in moments of crises aren’t what define our success or failure as self-publishing authors.  Only we get to draw the line, and make the call, and cast the judgment.  What matters is the work, and that we stick with it–and keep coming back with new ideas to move that work forward!  Find your inner diva, dear readers.  Find your Real Housewives.  Be innovative.  Defy the critics, and the numbers.  Be indomitable!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠

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