Five Ways to Embrace Marketing Your Book (Guest Post)

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

Today is guest post day! Client, author (LOSING THE LIGHT, Simon and Schuster/Atria Books 2016), and social media expert Andrea Dunlop is here to talk about how to embrace marketing your book. Don’t panic! She has all the answers. (And if you like what you read she is now taking on clients herself as a consultant.)

Having worked with authors for over a decade—first in publicity, now in social media—I know how reluctant many feel about marketing their own work. And as a newly-minted author myself, I can completely empathize. I often see authors with new books out—a time that should be exciting and celebratory—wracked with misery, guilt, and even outright panic. A little of this is expected, just as with any big life event (weddings, births, new jobs) it can be unsettling. But often the level of despair leaves authors unable to enjoy their momentous accomplishment…

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6 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Failure As A Startup Entrepreneur

6 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Failure As A Startup Entrepreneur

by Tyler Basu

Many would-be entrepreneurs let their fear of failure stop them from starting a business. Maybe it’s because of all the statistics we’ve heard (you know, the ones that tell us that 90% of all new businesses fail within 3 years, or something along those lines).  

There are many reasons why a business fails (and just so you know, it’s not the end of the world when it does), but the fear of failure alone should never be enough to justify not starting one. It is perfectly natural to have feelings of uncertainty about what you’re getting yourself into as you become an entrepreneur. The trick is to not let those feelings paralyze you and keep you from taking action.

The only way to truly overcome a fear is to face it. You must decide to take action in spite of your fear. Yes, that fear will reappear from time to time, but the good news is you can learn to ignore it and stay focused on building your dream.

Here are 6 strategies to help you overcome your fear of failure as a startup entrepreneur:

1. Redefine what it means to fail

One of the main reasons why many aspiring entrepreneurs allow the fear of failure to stop them from starting their business is because they view failure as something that is negative. Interestingly enough, if you study the lives of successful entrepreneurs you will discover that in most cases their careers were riddled with “failures” before they succeeded.

Failure is not the opposite of success. It is a part of success. A failure is nothing more than a result that you get that you do not want. It is neither good nor bad, it is just feedback. By learning from feedback, and continuing to take action and make decisions that produce more feedback, you eventually learn precisely the lessons you need to learn to earn your success.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

Every industry has a select group of individuals and companies that rise to the top of that industry. One of the most effective ways to succeed quickly is to learn from their approaches and emulate them. In fact, it is wise to study the successes (and the failures) of entrepreneurs in general, regardless of what business or industry they are in. Just be careful not to compare yourself to them.

In order to build a unique business, you must hold on to your uniqueness as an individual. It is unwise to compare yourself to others for the simple reason that you are not them, and you shouldn’t try to be them either. Admire the success of others, but don’t envy them. Respect the results that other entrepreneurs are able to create, but focus your attention on the results that you want to create.


3. Just keep going

Another effective way to overcome your fear of failure is to take action in spite of fear. When doubts, fears, or any other negative thoughts enter your mind just stay focused on taking action. Fear is a common feeling when you do things you have never done before. When you try something new, you leave your comfort zone – you enter the unknown. But instead of retreating back to your comfort zone whenever you feel fear, embrace that fear and praise yourself for having the courage to step into a new, unfamiliar experience.

By facing your fear head on, and continuing to take action, your comfort zone expands and eventually that new experience becomes a familiar experience and the fear will subside. Successful entrepreneurs have learned to use fear as a motivator to keep moving forward. Whether it’s the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of mediocrity, or the fear of poverty, they purposely use that fear to fuel their motivation to succeed.

“I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

4. Don’t focus on problems, find solutions

Never forget that businesses exist to provide products or services that solve specific problems to the marketplace. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you must learn to embrace problems, but not focus on them. Learn to perceive every problem as an opportunity to create a solution, to fill an unfilled need.

If your employees are complaining about specific challenges, there may be an opportunity there. If your customers are having challenges in certain areas or with certain products, there may be an opportunity there. If your suppliers are complaining about something, there may be an opportunity there. The more problems that you and your business are able to solve, and the more people you are able to solve them for, the more you will be rewarded (financially and otherwise) for providing those solutions.


5. Stay positive

Another important point for overcoming your fear of failure as a startup entrepreneur is to maintain a positive attitude always. As a leader of an organization and as the visionary for the future of your business, you must remain focused on the possibilities of the future and not so much the challenges of the present.

Expect setbacks and obstacles and know that overcoming them are the price you must pay to succeed. Your team will be looking to you for encouragement during difficult times, and so you must never fail to display a positive, optimistic attitude.

Keep in mind that a positive attitude alone will not be enough to save your business from failing (would a positive attitude alone have saved Blockbuster from failing as Netflix emerged?). It is important to acknowledge market conditions for your business and face certain facts that may not be ideal. You must operate from objective reality, but lean on your positive attitude to look for the hidden opportunities within that reality.

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki

6. Start small and count your successes

The final strategy for overcoming your fear of failure is to start small, achieve positive results, and build on that momentum. You may have the expression “go big or go home”. Many people have used this expression to justify taking massive action or taking no action at all. In some scenarios this is a wise approach, but for many startup entrepreneurs it is better to begin with smaller goals – goals such as setting up your website, launching a crowdfunding campaign, or acquiring your first customer – and then building on those successes.

Success breeds success. By consistently achieving positive results on a smaller scale, you build momentum. That momentum is what will help to create the larger successes later.



Your Story is Your No. 1 Marketing Tool

story telling marketing tool
Human beings have been telling stories since the dawn of our ability to communicate through spoken words, and even before that if you consider petroglyphs and pictographs. When it comes to business, many companies and marketing professionals tend to forget this fact, and push for more data, less story and above all, dry PowerPoint presentations with lackluster pie charts.

But recent research suggests that storytelling isn’t just an interesting habit we have developed over time, it’s actually the ultimate marketing tool for businesses in every industry.

You’ve probably heard before that storytelling is a great way to sell a product or persuade during a business deal. Chances are you’ve heard stories about why storytelling is so compelling in the marketing world, and you’ve seen it first hand in native advertising, well-branded websites and captivating blog articles.

Well, it’s no longer just a good story. Psychology is giving us scientific evidence that shows our emotions, hopes, fears, morals and beliefs are strongly influenced by the power of stories. Interestingly enough, fiction seems to be a better fit for changing people’s minds than persuasive writing that is meant to convince through argument and evidence.

So, how did this come about? And should we as marketers really forsake our spreadsheets for stories?

Data will always have its place in the business world, but storytelling is every brand’s most powerful marketing tool – period.

The Power of a Great Story

Why is it that fiction is better at changing minds than anything else? In a world where we are relentlessly data driven, results-oriented, key performance indicator-tracking and split tested every step of the way, what is it about stories that push our minds to forget logic and focus on the imagination?

It all comes down to human nature. Psychologists who’ve done recent research on the subject report that imagining a fictional world within a story (as we often can’t help but do when we are told a story) changes the way the information being delivered is processed. The more the listeners or readers become wrapped up in a story, the more the story changes how they feel, and potentially what they think.

In addition, those who become very absorbed in a story tend to find less fault with it, despite discrepancies or mistakes. Furthermore, it’s not just that people become so wrapped up in given stories that they don’t mind the mistakes, on the contrary: mistakes don’t seem to register in the first place.

The most crucial insight here is that when we are exposed to stories, we let our guards down, we forget about the little details and we focus on the big picture – how the story makes us feel. We don’t need logic to feel our feelings and that seems to be the key to crafting the winning tale.

That is exactly why stories are so powerful: they force us to forget the numbers despite ourselves and encourage us to return to our basic, natural existence as emotional creatures, or as Jonathon Gotschall puts it, “storytelling animals”.

How to Use Storytelling to Boost Your Brand   

We’ve talked about the power of stories and storytelling, but how exactly do we spin that within our branded content and marketing collateral? Good question. There are many ways to boost your marketing through storytelling, and below you’ll find a list that shows you where to start.

  1. Develop your brand voice if you haven’t already done so. You’ll have a very hard time telling a story or getting a good response from your brand’s story without a unified and unique voice behind it doing the talking and writing. That doesn’t mean it’s up to one person to tell all the stories, but rather, your company needs a coherent way to tell them.
  2. Cut through the clutter of dry subjects and marketing fluff with honest and authentic storytelling. Instead of trying to be formal and align your brand voice with other, more lackluster corporations, infuse your brand’s story with life and stand out by being different.
  3. Be descriptive and helpful to your customers instead of focusing on the sale. Great storytelling shows readers that your company gets it. Instead of merely claiming to understand their problems, you’re applying real world examples so show the solutions you offer.
  4. Use multimedia to deliver the message. Think about the vastly different ways people absorb information, be it by reading, listening, or through visual aids like pictures and videos. Leave out any one of those, and you’re abandoning a significant portion of your potential target market when it comes to helping them understand your story.
  5. Stick to your content strategy and measure results. Even when you stay focused on storytelling, you still need a stellar content strategy to move forward with creating content. Measuring results allows you to see what works and what doesn’t.

Once you’ve gotten your story out there, you can track the results to see how it performs on various channels and in different formats. Use this data to inform your ongoing content strategy and be ready to evolve your story based on what packs the most punch for the most viewers or readers.

Just remember, if your brand’s story doesn’t start with “Once upon a time…” it might not be that compelling.


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