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How to Host a Book Launch That Doesn’t Suck

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The most memorable literary event I’ve ever attended was held at an art gallery in London. I’d been a judge for some writers’ awards. It was a black tie event so everyone was dressed up to the nines.

Half-way through the evening, the doors were sealed, security guards appeared and a “surprise guest” was announced. Salman Rushdie walked in looking defiant, gave a speech, mingled, and promptly disappeared again.

It was in the early 1990s, just after he had gone into hiding. But I still remember it like it was yesterday. I can still see those canapés dusted with gold icing, the artistic bowls they were served in, and the strategically-placed minimalist sculptures. We were mesmerised even before Salman entered the room. When he did, we were blown away. The thought and planning that went into that event were phenomenal.

Equally, I’ve known of some pretty dire events. At the worst end of the scale, a multi-millionaire business author and TV personality hired a mansion in an exclusive part of London and sold tickets, promoting it as an opportunity to mix with high net worth entrepreneurs. She had a large cake made, with the cover of her book on it, and set up a “mini-bar” and a sound system.

What happened next by all accounts was a cross between a football scrum and a school disco. More people showed up than expected, and jostled with each other for space. Wine had to be served from boxes in white plastic cups. Vases were broken. The neighbours complained about the goings on next door, and the landlord was called. Of course, no permission had been given to hold an event of this scale on the premises. So everyone was asked to leave. Not quite the impression you would want to give, unless perhaps you are one of the Gallagher brothers.

Generally though, book launches tend to follow a pretty standard format whether they’re held in bookshops, libraries or galleries.

A glass of Merlot awaits you when you roll up. You stand around mingling with the great and the good for an hour. The author makes a speech thanking everyone who has helped them. A request is made for you to buy the book if you haven’t already. Half an hour later, it’s time to go home. You’ve enjoyed yourself, but there’s very little to distinguish one event from another.

So the question is: how can you host a memorable book launch that really stands out, regardless of your budget? Any author can do this if you apply the same degree of creativity that went into writing your book in the first place:

1. Find a venue that complements your book

A bookshop or library is a safe, but conventional, option. If you’re looking for something more prestigious, then pick an upmarket venue like an art gallery, a museum, or a university function room. If it’s the height of summer, then consider a BBQ in a park or garden. If you’re a speaker, then why not tie in your book launch with a talk you’re giving? If you’re a children’s author, can you hold the event in a park, a school or a zoo? If you have the resources, how about a boat, a place of historic interest or a castle? One of my clients wrote her book on her laptop while sitting in Costa’s, so it was natural for her to host a signing there. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make an impact.

2. Set the mood for the event

How can you set the mood from the moment your guests walk in? Do you want candlelight, day light, or fluorescent lighting? Will your guests drink from plastic cups or glass goblets or champagne flutes? Will you offer them Beaujolais or bubbly? Will they have cheese on cocktail sticks, or something more exotic? Will they be served on paper plates or silver platters? Will the room be decorated in bunting or photographs that tie in with your book? Roller banners, with your business logo or your book cover, are a very cost-effective way to make an impression.

3. What will your photos look like?

Imagine a photograph of yourself signing a book at your launch. Would you prefer the event to have a serious or a fun feel? Would you like attendees to wear dress suits or jeans? Should it be upmarket or informal? Is this a no-children affair or a family event? How about a theme where people wear fancy dress? If you’ve written a novel set in the 1920s, could you play jazz, serve Mint julep cocktails, and ask the women to wear flapper dresses? I remember a children’s book launch where the author dressed as a big yellow bird with stripy legs. These photographs will be around for a long time to come. You and your attendees will post them on social media and share them. How will you like to feel when you see these photos: proud and happy, or slightly awkward?

4. Determine your grand finale

A finale is essential for any book launch. Often, a speech or a reading from the author will suffice. But you can be more inventive than this. One of my clients taped copies of his book beneath the seats of 150 people who attended a property event. They had no idea until he told them to look under their seats. He then asked everyone to look at a certain word on a certain page inside their books. The person who had the book with the word highlighted in yellow won a £500 prize. The event was fun. Everyone then stood up and gave him a standing ovation.

Another author I’ve worked with enticed people to pay £65 for his book and attend his event, by offering a seminar to teach attendees how to create a successful million dollar business.

How can you surprise or wow your own audience so that you over-deliver on their expectations and they remember your event for a long time to come?

5. How can you attract the media?

A client of mine wrote an anti-evolution book and invited Ireland’s Minister for Science to launch it (though it caused such a controversy that he didn’t). “Darwin” showed up at the book launch, linking arms with a Gorilla. The author had a glass bowl filled with 15 tennis balls which he announced he would dump on the floor to see if they would arrange themselves in a perfect circle. Of course they didn’t. The author had media coverage in over 50 outlets.

Another property author held a book launch at an event near Marble Arch, in London. She held an auction that raised thousands of pounds for a shelter for homeless people, and the event had coverage in various papers including The Times.

Why were journalists interested in these events? Because they were different: they weren’t traditional book launches.

6. Your invitation should excite your attendees

Many authors send out invitations that have an undercurrent of fear and insecurity. You can almost hear the cogs whirring in their head: “What if no one comes?” They say things like: “Please bring along your friends, neighbours and anyone else you know”. What can you offer them that will make sure they’ll move other events in their diary just to be there? Strike a confident tone with your invitation: you are offering a never-to-be-repeated opportunity for a limited number of people. When the tickets are gone, they’re gone. They’d be foolish not to come. Offer more than just a book launch and set the tone of your expectations. Take for example, the author who recently held a launch at The Ritz in Mayfair, telling attendees to “dress to impress!” and bring along a business card to share with others.

7. How can you have impact and influence beyond this event?

It’s been like sales day at Harrods. People have been desperate for you to sign their books. They’ve loved your idea. But once the wine or champagne has gone, and guests start to drift away, what impact will you have? You’ve had a great event. But what can you do to ensure these people buy your future books, come to other events that you host, or want to work with you? Can you give guests a reason to sign up on your Facebook page, your blog or your newsletter? Can you hand out flyers offering them a free consultation with you? Can you ensure that everyone has your business card or contact details? I’ve had clients who have trebled their speaking engagements after publishing their book, authors who have generated weekly leads for their business several years after their launch, clients who’ve got their own magazine columns. What impact will you have?

Pay attention to all these small details and you should have a book launch that really sings!

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Source by Stephanie J. Hale

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Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?

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Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program

Direct Sales Agents

Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.

Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.

Colleges and Universities

Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.

Freelancers

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.

Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.

Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions

There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.

Advertise!

The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.

Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.

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Source by Lina Stakauskaite

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Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them

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The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.

The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?

Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.

Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.

Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon

First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.

Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:

  • 2006 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
  • 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
  • 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
  • 2020 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2020 to? – Prices Decline

*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.

The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.

Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound

Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.

Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.

Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.

To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.

Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care

If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.

However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.

Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.

This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”

Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price

This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”

However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.

Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.

Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price

Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.

Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.

During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.

The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.

Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission

Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction

Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.

For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.

In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.

By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.

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Source by Robert W. Dudek

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Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer

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Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:

1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers

If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.

2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer

It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.

3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part

Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?

4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer

It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.

5) Brand is important

Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider

If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.

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Source by Damien Oh

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