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Booklet Tips From Paulette

Writing, producing, and promoting tips booklets for marketing, motivating, and making money.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Your Booklet Story in a Book

One of the easiest and effective ways of promoting your booklet and your business is by finding people who are looking for more stories for a book they are writing. Dan Poynter publishes two different newsletters each month. One of them (Marketplace) includes queries from such people who are looking for stories. You can read the recent newsletter at this link.
One of the best parts about your story being included in someone else's book is that people are already in buying mode when they contact you after reading your story. In fact, that may be how you found me! I will always say yes when someone asks, and will often take the initiative when I see a good match.

Until next time,
Paulette - who has been in computer reconstruction mode this week (sigh).


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Excellent Example of a Booklets Site

I had the pleasure of working last year with James Samans, an author who created a booklet based on a book he had written. This week brought a Google alert about his booklet site. It's one of the best I've seen for promoting his booklet and his business. See for yourself at http://www.93tips.com/ It looks like he'll be doing more booklets, based on his "93 tips" brand.

Until next time,
Paulette - delighted to see where some booklet authors go

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Ask Questions Before Answering Them

Someone emailed me about whether my company provided booklets in various sizes besides the 3.5" x 8.5" I recommend. It was unclear as to whether the person wanted to buy printed booklets from my site or create original booklets, and what their purpose was for distribution.

When someone wants a customized print run or wants to license a booklet that already exists, all kinds of modifications are entertained. When a person is doing their own, and doesn't know the history of my suggested booklet size, they are operating without useful info.

Turns out the person wanted to create original booklets and didn't know it's less expensive to create and mail booklets the size I advocate. Simple answer once the questions were asked.

Years ago, I tracked 3M for 5 years. You know, the folks that bring us Post-It Notes. For five years, no one told me they didn't produce a product that was the size my booklet would match. Five years!! By the time I found out about that, my contact was retiring and no one else was interested.

Yes, ask questions before answering them.

Until next time,
Paulette - who has always believed size matters and questions are helpful

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Booklets - Too Little, Too Much

Two smaller booklets are better than one larger one, in my opinion. It's better for the reader because it's more approachable and less daunting. It's better for the bulk buyer since it's less expensive to distribute and provides a way to revisit their distribution list a second time. And it's better for your business because you have two things to sell rather than one.

This means that each booklet follows the writing formula I advocate (one sentence starting with a positive verb, followed by no more than two sentences explaining "why" or "how"). Yes, each tip has at least two tightly-constructed sentences, yet not four or five that ramble on.

It's time to end once you've said all you have to on the topic, like I am doing now.

Until next time,
Paulette - believing less is often more

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

I See There's Already a Booklet About ...

It happened again today. A new booklet author expressed concern about seeing other booklets on her topic already posted at the ebooklet catalog on my website. It always fascinates me when someone expresses that concern. Yes, I've written about this topic before on this blog. However, it seems to warrant a repeat peformance, so here we go.

Forget about booklets for a moment. (Only for a moment!) Think cookbooks. Let's say you enjoy cooking a particular cuisine. You go to the bookstore (online or brick and mortar) and you see numerous cookbooks written for that particular cuisine. I'm guessing your reaction is probably a positive one rather than "gee, I already have a cookbook on that cuisine." You're probably pleased to know you have some variety, and are likely to not only buy one of those cookbooks now, you'll come back to buy another one later.

Same deal with multiple booklets on the same general topic. Each person's perspective is a little different from each other. Isn't is great? It's not uncommon for someone to buy all the booklets on a particular topic at my ebooklet catalog.

Now go write yours!

Until next time,
Paulette - who sells lots of other booklets on organizing tips besides her own

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Confused Mind Always Says No

Marcia Yudkin's weekly Marketing Minute ( http://www.yudkin.com/marketing.htm )reminded me of an important concept today that applies to the booklet business as well. The message is about giving people fewer choices when marketing or selling to them. What that means for you is that when you approach a large-quantity booklet buyer, I consistently encourage you to offer them three of the most typical uses for booklets so they can quickly relate without going into overload. They will either realize that one of those three uses is ideal for them, or they will be prompted to think of some more important or immediate use. You haven't thrown them into overwhelm, shut-down, and "no."

I always tell people that the starting place for writing their own booklet is my product, "How to Promote Your Business with Booklets." That's it. No fuss, no muss. Yes, I have other products and services for after that. However, it's crystal clear where to begin.

Look at your starting point and how many choices you have. This doens't mean to eliminate other choices as much as to determine when to present them.

Until next time,
Paulette - who loves choices, and loves making sales

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Narrative vs. Tips

A client recently sent me three booklets for review, two of which were about related topics. The third was not. Most of the three were primarily narrative case studies, with a few specific how-to tips thrown in. The topics of all three booklets were pretty emtional, tapping into deep feelings for the reader. I came to the conclusion once I read through each of the booklets that these had a place in the author's product line. However I still encouraged the author to develop specific tips booklets in addition to the more narrative ones. There is room for both.

The reader can find comfort and encouragement in reading the case studies, yet can still benefit from parallel booklets suggesting specific things to do in the given circumstances. This becomes a both/and rather than an either/or. When appropriate, having your information in both writing styles provides a broader option for the buyer and a better result for your business.

Until next time,
Paulette - considering options

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Monday, February 18, 2008

How Large is Large Quantity?

"Oh yes, I sell large quantities. People buy 10 copies at a time from me." That's some booklet authors' definition of large quantity. It's not mine. In fact, that's missing a few zeros to qualify as large quantity in my opinion. 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 or even 1,000,000 -- now THAT'S large quantity. Too big a stretch to wrap your brain around? It comes under the heading of what you're used to and what you can learn.

Many companies, associations, publications, and websites have a universe of clients and prospects that's huge. You have something that's useful for their efforts in reaching and staying in touch with that universe. I like to tell the story that the year I licensed 250,000 copies of my booklet to the Lillian Vernon Catalog was the year they were distributing 17,000,000 of their catalogs. Yes, 250,000 was a large sale for me. Look at the comparison, though. That 250,000 was a test for them, a drop in their bucket.

Think bigger. You and your checkbook will be glad you did.

Until next time,
Paulette - who definitely believes size matters


Friday, February 15, 2008

Is a Question Better Than a Tip?

The subject of this post is an example of itself. Huh? What does that mean?

It's not uncommon to see questions scattered in and among tips in a booklet, or as the primary content. This is especially true when the booklet author is a counselor, therapist, life coach, or a researcher (am I being redundant there?). Those professions do, in fact, pretty much "live in the question."

A series of questions is not the same as tips. Tips are directives, telling the reader what to do. While I fully support and personally engage in the investigative process, it's something different than what a tips booklet is intended to be. While some professionals may feel uncomfortable suggesting what to do, it can still be within the parameters of acceptability to write a tip that says "Think about the choices you have in such-and-such situation" rather than "What choices do you have in such-and-such situation?" Yes, a subtle nuance, and in my opinion, a crucial one.

What did you say would be your starting point for your booklet?

Until next time,
Paulette - often questioning the questions


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Basketball and Booklets

It doesn't matter if you are a basketball fan or not to understand what I'm about to share with you. Stay with me here for a moment and you'll see why. I do happen to enjoy attending college hoops games here in San Diego, and last night's game was one surprise after another. My guys have had a pretty good season. You couldn't tell that from last night's game at all. The were not in the lead a single time, and got worse as the night went on.

The singular reason for this was that the other team strategically played completely differently than my team. Now, my interest in basketball does not go to following statistics or even knowing much about the rules and who fouled who and why. My interest is much more in some of the amazing stunts, the action, the overall results, the experience of being at the game.

The visiting team had an uncanny ability to come out of nowhere to take the ball from the home team, one after another after another. My guys didn't know what hit them, and seemed to wilt the more this happened.

And this has what to do with booklets, you're asking? Well, you have been doing business a certain way, and your clients and prospects have been doing business a certain way, just like each of the teams last night who play a certain way that's different from each other.

Your ways of doing business may be the same as each other, or one of you is coming out of nowhere doing business completely differently than the other. This may be the first that your prospects and clients have ever heard about the idea of using booklets or any other information products to promote their business. They may have been using other things imprinted with their company info, or they may have only been buying space advertising or some other form of promotion. You come out of nowhere with booklets, audios, card decks.

Like last night's game, your client could crumble under the new-ness of this approach, or they could rise to the challenge of doing things differently. Had my guys had more time to get used to the visiting team's style, I'm guessing they could have adapted and thrived. Same thing with your prospects and clients. They may be able to quickly adapt to the ideas you're presenting, it may take them awhile, or they may crumble and that's the end of them for you. Keep this in mind next time you are starting your dealings with a group that has no background in what you are presenting. In fact, you may even want to bring this basketball game analogy into your conversation with them!

Until next time,
Paulette - curious to see what my team does in the 2 remaining home games of the season


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Variety Good, Confusion Bad

Many people who consider writing a tips booklet have a wide range of interests and expertise. You may be one of those people. I just visited the website today of one such booklet author. There's 6-7 completely different and seemingly unrelated subjects offered as topics for speeches, workshops, and products as the site sits now. I am concerned for this person, who is soon to be moving from corporate employee to entrepreneur.

There's several solutions to this situation, as I see it.
  • Find one theme to make an umbrella for the whole thing
  • Choose one or two areas and let go of the rest
  • Have a separate website for each area

An example of one way to handle this can be found at www.ParaPublishing.com
Look down the left margin and you'll find reference to Dan Poynter's other sites, about being an expert witness, cats, and parachutes and skydiving. Each of his sites has the links to his other sites. Dan has vast expertise in each of these areas and effectively presents that by having individual yet connected sites.

Until next time,

Paulette - sharing ways to dispell the confusion


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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Call Me in Six Months

'Ever heard that before? I heard it yesterday. Not what I wanted to hear, nor is it something you want to hear. I was all revved up to make a large sale -- no, a huge sale. After consistent buying signals from the CEO of a large company last week during a highly produtive meeting, the marketing person (who had not sat in on the meeting with the CEO) said there's just too many fires to put out right now, fires that were more imporant than my proposal. "Call me in six months," said the marketing person after a total of three sentences on the phone with me.

Yes, of course I was disappointed. However I was far from devastated. There's way too many other options, regardless of how ideal a match this particular one would be. I can sit tight and come back to this company down the road. I can go to this company's direct competitor now. I can go off in some other direction. I can follow up with this company immediately, reinforcing direct benefits the marketing person may have glossed over. All of that (and probably more) is possible.

This can be the nature of the beast when dealing with corporations. And the prize can be worth every bit of it.

Until next time,
Paulette - staying in the game


Monday, February 11, 2008

Playing by the Numbers

I saw it again today -- another excellent booklet where the tips were not numbered. There have been several excellent booklets like this in recent months. One of the earlier ones had no indication of a new tip other than it being a new paragraph. The text basically became a big blur. And the infomation is fabulous.

The booklet I saw today had a graphic indication of a new tip, which was some improvement over the one that blurred. What's the big deal about numbering the tips? It's so much easier to reference and to go back to it. Yes, I know, you can think about the third one on page 3, or the fourth one in a particular section. It's still not the same.

Why make it unnecessarily difficult for your reader? Just number the tips one to the end and make your booklet that much more user-friendly.

Until next time,
Paulette - looking at those little things that make the difference


Friday, February 08, 2008

The Purpose of the Exercise is...

It's a frequent event that booklet authors show their booklet manuscript to others in their life to get feedback. When I hear about this, my first question is always "What is the profile of the people involved?" Many times it's people who are unfamiliar with the intended purpose of the booklet and the path it is intended to travel. That means the feedback and evaluation are mismatched with what the booklet is supposed to do. That can leave the booklet author concerned, confused, and doubtful about the whole thing.

As soon as something is a published product, many people in the general population expect the booklet to be offered for sale as single copies in a bookstore. Nothing could be further from the intended purpose. These same folks are often unfamiliar with the notion of using booklets as a promotional tool, selling them in bulk to corporations, and having the booklet be the appetizer whetting the appetite of the reader to want more from the author.

That's in no way intended as a slam to the person giving the feedback. It's merely a different mindset and set of experiences. So next time you ask your circle of people for their thoughts about your booklet, unless it's a marketing-oriented person in line with what's described above, ask them to review it for accuracy of content, and leave it at that once you thank them for their time.

Until next time,
Paulette - encouraging you to keep a clear vision about the purpose of your booklet

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

My Market Is ...

... sometimes different than you think it is. Targeting your market is an excellent starting point. It is often not the finish line.

Start with who you know, where your logic takes you, and where the opportunities seem to be. And be open to someplace showing up that you never considered. I can't tell you the number of times this has happened in the 16+ years I've been in the booklet business. Targeting your market gets you started. Your mission is to stay in motion.

Until next time,
Paulette - who may have found "a home" for the Collection of Experts service
www.tipsbooklets.com www.CollectionOfExperts.com


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I Don't Need a Graphic Designer

My curly hair got curlier today when a client wrote me the subject line of this post. This is, by the way, from a person who has spent the past year saying "next month is when I'll be ready for you to edit my booklet and expect to have the money to pay you."

Why this matters? It doesn't matter one bit to me, personally. Professionally, it's such short-sightedness on the part of the booklet author, however. I am guessing the person's content is likely to be good. The thought of presenting it in a less than professional way just doesn't make sense. Yes, I know people do it. It's more detrimantal than I think they realize. Even when the initial intention of the booklet is to distribute at workshops or sell single copies, it's those same people who are running short on cash that will stay in that situation. Their product will not make it past the review of a large quantity buyer because it is a non-match with the professional image of that large quantity buyer's company.

For a one-time few hundred dollars, the content can be presented professionally and add to the success of the booklet and the booklet's author. Talk to one of our graphic designers. You'll be glad you did. You can find their info in the Resources menu of our site, in the first link, Our Vendors.

Until next tme,
Paulette - who feels better now after that little mini-vent


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Podcasts, Booklets, and Blogs

This morning's email brought a request to share something with you from someone who attended a teleclass I presented a few years ago. At first, I wasn't sure how his request connected with what my biz is about. After all, this is all about booklets. He has done a series of podcast interviews with former Starbucks President Howard Behar. When I expressed my confusion about the connection, the reply was that maybe it was a stretch to think the podcasts were his form of doing a booklet in audio format.

That got me thinking. I am always talking about the three different major learning styles, and encouraging people to look for booklet content in a range of places in their life (articles, speeches, interviews, workshop notes.) The podcast interviews can certainly be repurposed into tips booklets at some point down the road if desired.

So, at the request of Jim Canterucci, I share with you the link to his blog, with his February guest, former Starbucks President Howard Behar. According to Jim:

The interview is very informative. Howard really cares about people and it really comes out how his leadership style supports that.

Personal Brilliance - Up Close and Practical, publishes a new episode each week and Howard is the guest all of February with four episodes - one for each of the Personal Brilliance catalysts.

You can visit the blog designed especially for sharing content each Sunday to pick up a description of the week's episodes with content highlights listed. There is a post there now that you can copy as a preview.


Now, when will you be doing that text booklet, Jim, to get the word out about this great information to those visual learners?

Until next time,
Paulette - who can usually find some reasonable way to connect the dots for mutual benefit

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Follow-on From the UK Connection

Last week's post about lunch with my delightful UK client who has yet to complete a booklet in spite of frequent trans-Atlantic flights brought some useful additional perspective in today's email:

There is another angle to the blog entry, of course, which is along the lines of “life just gets in the way sometimes.” Example: my request for an upgrade to business class (in order to be able to work on the flight back from LA to London) did not come through even though there were seats available. Result I end up in an OK, but non-exit row seat in Coach so not able to open up the laptop or in fact to sleep more than 10 – 15 mins at a time. Outcome: no work on flight (bar some reading), and too tired to work effectively when I got home. In the greater scheme of things, no big deal. However, that planned in-flight work time would have broken the back of a first draft of a booklet. NO excuse of course, but it does reinforce the idea that one must actually schedule time to do the things that you decide to prioritise. Experience indicates that, if you do not do so, those things will not get done.

I am now making the production of a booklet an A item (“must do”), so it will now get done. (It was previously a C; i.e. “would like to….”).


Yes, the point is well taken, indeed.

Until next time,
Paulette - looking at what things are getting pushed off with scheduling time for them

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Friday, February 01, 2008

The UK Connection and Time Lines Once Again

Yesterday I had the pleasure of introducing a client of mine from the UK to my favorite restaurant, on the beach, here in the San Diego area. When you visit, I'll take you there, too. I know you'll love it. The story of this client is all too typical, though the client, of course, is not.

1999 was the first of three trips so far that I've quite happily made to England. It was on the invitation of a seminar producer to speak at a super conference. The event was video recorded and made available for purchase. Yesterday's client invested in that product in 2000. Over the years, the client has stayed on my newsletter subscriber list. This past August I offered a public workshop in Newmarket, England. This client attended, giving us the first opportunity to meet in person. A delightful being, for sure. Also a very busy being who does a lot of business in the US and the UK, flying around as much as 10 days a month.

Yesterday over lunch, I had to ask the obvious: "Where are you in completing your booklet?" The reply was "About 50%. I just haven't made the time to finish it yet, among business and personal demands."

Now, this was right after mentioning that the trans-Atlantic trips provided quite a chunk of hours to relax and think and do whatever.

We're talking about a very intelligent, accomplished person, who could most likely get the booklet finished on the flight home to the UK this week. In fact, now that we've had that conversation, it wouldn't surprise me if I see a booklet ready for editing come at me in the next 10 days.

What's even more interesting to me is that there were several people in that same workshop who fit the dscription I just gave you, complete with having the video product that was produced in 1999.

I can almost guarantee that when (not if) these booklets are completed, their authors will be known to say some variation of "gee, I don't know why I didn't get this done sooner. It's quite valuable to me in my business."

Do you recognize yourself in this real-life story? You have the choice to move it all forward now, or wait a few more years.

Until next time,
Paulette - always fascinated by human behavior (my own, included)

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