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Why Keeeping in Touch with Old Clients is Vital (and How Best to Do It)

Why Keeping in Touch with Old Clients is Vital (and How Best to Do It)

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am semi-retired these days.

That doesn’t mean I have stopped working altogether, though, and I wouldn’t want to.

Things have been a bit quiet over the last few months, though, so I decided to get in touch with some old clients to remind them I was still around if there was anything I could help them with.

Some didn’t reply, but others did. I got more work almost immediately from two of them, with the promise of more in future from a third. I thought it might be worth looking at what lessons can be learned from this…

One very important thing is that when you work with companies, people move on and – shock, horror! – they don’t always tell you. A new guy or girl moves into their role and doesn’t know you from Adam (or Eve). If they need a freelance, your name is unlikely to be the first one to come into their mind. Consequently, the flow of work suddenly dries up.

That was the scenario in one of the companies I got more work from. I received a reply from a woman saying that she was fairly new in the role, apologising for not getting in touch sooner, and asking if I could also do proofreading work.

Of course, I said yes, and the upshot was that I got a dozen short novelty books to proofread, along with the company’s trade catalogue. Although I am not primarily a proofreader, it is  something I am happy to do when the occasion arises. In some ways I rather enjoy correcting work someone else has produced, rather than having to write it all myself!

At the other company I got new work from, the same person was still there. He was pleased to hear from me again (he said) and mentioned that they wanted a Kindle e-book writing to help promote their seminars business. Of course, as a published Kindle author myself, I immediately volunteered my services. The result was that I got a sizeable commission to write a book on their behalf, with more projects promised in future as well.

Clearly then, while not all my old clients replied positively, enough did to make this a very worthwhile exercise. Here are a few more points you might like to consider if you find yourself in a similar position to the one I was in…

  • If it’s been a year or two since you last worked for a client, it’s quite likely your previous contact will have moved on, so start by briefly introducing yourself and mentioning projects you have worked on in the past.
  • It may also be a good idea to write to the company’s main email address rather than one that belonged to your previous contact. Or at least, copy it to that address also.
  • If you have a good pretext for contacting a business, don’t hesitate to use this. In one case a company had promised to send me an author’s copy of a print book I had written for them, but I  never received this. So I wrote politely to ask if I could be sent it now. I also reminded them that I was available for other work if required. I got an immediate reply apologising for the oversight and promising to send me three copies of the book (which they did). They didn’t have any work for me straight away, but promised I would be top of the list if anything else came up. So I would say I am definitely back on their radar now.
  • Another good pretext for contacting a new client is if you are now offering a new service, e.g. blogging or social media work.
  • You could also write to let them know if, for example, you have launched a new blog or website (and this might be of interest to them). As you may know, I recently launched a personal finance blog called Pounds & Sense, and I mentioned this in several cases. It certainly generated a degree of interest, although I didn’t get any work related to it directly.
  • Remember as well that a client may not realise the full range of skills you have to offer, especially if you have acquired new ones since last working for them. So it’s always good to remind them what you can do. In the case of the company mentioned above, they evidently hadn’t realised I could also do proofreading work. I fully expect to receive quite a lot more work of that nature from them in the coming months.

Finally, since I’m on this subject, I do still have some spare capacity at the moment – so if you have any writing, editing or proofreading work you need doing, please get in touch!

And if you have any comments or questions about this post – or any other ideas for generating work from old clients – do post them below.

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readers favorite

Get Your Book or Ebook Reviewed for Free at Readers Favorite

All self-publishing authors know that getting reviews for their books or e-books is an essential requirement for getting sales.

So I thought today I’d bring to your attention a website that promises to review your book free of charge through a network of volunteer readers.

The website is called Readers’ Favorite. It’s been around for a while, and is used by top authors and publishing houses as well as self publishers. It’s a site that any entrepreneurial author should definitely check out.

And yes, they do genuinely offer to review your book for free. The way it works is that once you have registered your book or ebook, it goes on a list that is circulated to their volunteer reviewers. If one of these people likes the sound of your book they can claim it, and promise to provide a genuine review once they have read it.

Obviously, this does mean that there is an element of chance about how quickly your book gets reviewed, although you can improve its prospects by creating a compelling description. If you want to guarantee a quick review, however, you can also pay for a guaranteed “express review” in two weeks or less. They review both print books and ebooks, and even audio books.

Readers’ Favorite posts reviews on their own site, Barnes and Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest. You can also post their reviews on your Amazon page.

In addition, they say that their reviewers will often post reviews of your book on their own websites and blogs, and on popular review and social media sites.

You might wonder what if the reviewer gives your book a bad review? Readers’ Favorite say they only post 4 and 5 star reviews. If a book receives a poor review, they provide constructive criticism direct to the author instead. As they say, they are in the business of helping authors, not hurting them.

There are certain other advantages to submitting your work to Readers’ Favorite. For example, if their reviewer gives your book a five-star rating, they allow you to use the Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review Seal on any of your marketing materials (website, book cover, etc.).

Readers’ Favorite also run their own Book Award Contest, which is quite heavily promoted on the site. There are substantial cash prizes for the winners, but of course you do have to pay a fee to enter.

The Awards are run separately from the reviews service, and you don’t have to submit your book for review to enter it for an award (or vice versa).

There is quite a bit more to the site than I have been able to mention here, so I strongly recommend visiting Readers’ Favorite and spending a little time exploring it. There is nothing to lose, and potentially a lot to gain, by submitting your book for a free review at least.

Lastly, I should also mention that they are always on the lookout for more volunteer reviewers – so if you fancy getting your hands on some extra reading matter, it’s worth checking out the site as well!

If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

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TV crew

What I Learned From My First TV Appearance…

I’m hardly an ‘A List’ writer, but from time to time I do get asked to appear on TV or radio. Typically, nowadays, this happens when a producer Googles the topic of his show, and one of my books comes up in the results list.

TV appearances in particular can be a great opportunity to promote yourself and your books to a large audience – so while I do still get a bit nervous before going in front of the cameras, I usually accept any invitations. (Although I did turn down one opportunity recently to discuss obituaries, where I had been asked because I wrote a novelty book about ‘famous last words’ ten years ago.)

Anyway, I thought in this post I’d tell you about my first-ever TV appearance, over twenty years ago, and what I learned from it. It was arranged by the publishers of a book I had written called How to Find Your Ideal Partner. As you may gather, this was a guide for single people on how to find the love of their life – sadly it’s out of print now…

The publisher told me I’d be appearing on a regional evening news programme. Unfortunately it wasn’t in my area but in the East of England. I was promised a rail travel voucher and an overnight stay in a nice hotel, but no fee. Still, hopefully the appearance would give sales of my book a big boost, in East Anglia anyway…

At first, all went well. I arrived at the station mid-afternoon and found my way to the hotel. I had been told a taxi would pick me up at six pm, so I amused myself for an hour or two watching afternoon TV and using the hotel swimming pool and sauna.

The taxi duly came, but instead of taking me to the studio as I expected, I was delivered to a local technical college. ‘This is where they’re filming,’ the taxi driver explained helpfully.

OK, then. I headed for the college reception and explained my business. I was directed to a small room where a trio of bored-looking technicians were drinking coffee from plastic cups. I introduced myself to the one with the most impressive stubble. ‘Oh, you’re the relationships expert, aren’t you?’ I duly accepted this description. ‘They want you up in the library.’

So off I went. I was immediately grabbed by the producer and told to stand by one of the bookshelves while the Glamorous Female Presenter introduced me. He gave me a slip of paper: ‘Here’s what we want you to say.’ It was along the lines, ‘I’ll be telling you everything you need to know on how to meet the man or woman of your dreams.’

And within moments a camera was pointing at me and the GFP began, ‘Tonight I want to introduce you to Nick Daws, our very own Doctor Lurrrve…’ I was so stunned by this, I completely forgot what I was meant to say and instead muttered something like, ‘Hey, there.’ ‘That’ll do,’ the producer said, and off we marched to the next location…

To cut a long story short, instead of the cosy studio discussion I had envisaged, the show in question was a manically paced, ‘zany’ affair. After the library, we invaded a workshop, where the only female student was asked embarrassing questions about whether she fancied any of the men there, and I was asked to pontificate on the attractions (or not) of evening classes for those in search of a mate.

Eventually I got a chance to sit down and the GFP asked me a few more serious questions about the dating game. I answered as best I could, and then suddenly the shoot was over. ‘Thanks, mate,’ one of the techs said as they were leaving. ‘That was good TV.’

It was half-past six and I was left on my own as the crew bundled into their van and headed off to the local pizza house. I realized as they drove off that, in all the frantic excitement, I had completely forgotten to mention my book….

So that was my introduction to the crazy world of television. Here are a few things I learned from it. I pass them on in case any of you find yourselves in the position I was…

* Find out as much as you can beforehand about the show you are appearing on. Don’t trust your publisher to tell you the whole story!

* If it’s a regular show, try to watch it yourself a few times to get a feel for the style and approach.

* If it’s not in your area, ask a friend or relative who does live there to watch and report back (and preferably send you a recording). Nowadays, you may be able to check it out on the Internet as well.

* Remember that the producer and interviewer will have their own agenda and ‘angle’ they want to pursue. Try to find out in advance what this is. If you’re not happy about this, then say so.

* Have your own goal or target as well. If you’re going to promote your book, DON’T forget to mention it! Be sure to take a copy with you, and if at all possible show it to the viewers.

* If you have a good anecdote to impart, tell the researcher beforehand. There is every chance it will be passed on to the interviewer, who will take the opportunity to ask you about it.

* And finally, don’t take any of it too seriously. Try to relax and be yourself. TV is entertainment – it’s not a matter of life or death.

So those are some of the lessons I learned from my first TV appearance – I’m glad to say others I’ve done subsequently have been a little more successful. But what about YOU? If you’ve been on TV or radio to discuss your work, I’d love to hear about your experiences and any tips you’d like to share. Please leave your comment below as usual.

Photo Credit: CC BY-NC by Roo Reynolds

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