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My First WSO -- The Background

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Posted 3rd May 2009 at 06:07 AM by AnneE

Here is why I created the WSO offer that I did.

I'm a children's book writer who opted to self-publish, because letters from editors saying, "You have talent, but this story doesn't meet our needs" just wasn't cutting it. I carefully researched self-publishing children's books and then took the plunge and published Poster Girl.

A couple things held me back from selling more books:

1) Lack of time
2) Not being a natural in sales — okay, I stunk at marketing

Growing up, when a salesman knocked at the door, they were considered a pest. A salesperson who called on the phone? Worse yet. So, is it any wonder that once I had a product to promote, I might hesitate and be less-than-a-pro at selling?

I bumped around Warriors forum, read lots of free advice on copywriting and started getting a clue about marketing.

Enter Claude Hopkin’s Scientific Advertising. A bunch of Warriors recommended this book and Hopkin’s My Life in Advertising, so I bought them both and read them.

Wow! This was a serious eye-opener. So many ideas that I would never have thought of, even though I had read other books on advertising, marketing and promotion. The most valuable concept so far, has been the notion that when you give away free samples, you shouldn’t just scatter them to the winds. Only give a free sample to people who have indicated they want one.

Hopkins offers a couple methods for making people want a free sample of your product. The first is to tell them about the product, just as if you were trying to convince them to purchase it. The second is to offer the free sample to a select group. Such as only offering a free sample to residents of your county and ask people to offer proof of residency. Hopkins writes, “people who are entitled to any seeming advantage will go a long way not to lose that advantage.”

This was a breakthrough idea. For Poster Girl, I chose a very influential group in the world of children’s books — elementary school librarians. And so I wrote up and promoted, my free book offer for elementary school librarians, which brought me great testimonials, word-of-mouth advertising for Poster Girl and a review on the School Library Journal website – an unthinkable accomplishment for a first-time self-published author.

Because I am short of time, I usually only ‘read’ books available on audio. And at the time that I bought this book, I couldn’t find an audio version and therefore almost didn’t buy it. But boy am I glad that I did!

Still the lack of an audio version for this public-domain book, seemed a potential market. To really get the best of Hopkins, one needs to read both My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising. But there is a lot of overlap of information between them. When I realized that only Scientific Advertising was in the public domain and therefore could be edited and published at will, I abridged and modernized it. Gone were references to ‘dentifrice’, replaced by ‘toothpaste’. Sections where Hopkins belabored his points were trimmed. SOME of Hopkins advice in 1923 no longer applies today — I took that part out. I wrote a biographical introduction of Hopkins, including the most valuable examples which I had learned from My Life in Advertising and other biographical sketches about Hopkins. The stories I included in this introduction were ones that had made me toss aside my reading and scribble promotional ideas on my notepad. Hopkins was a pioneer in thinking outside-the-box!

Now all I needed was the audio version. I briefly considered reading and recording it myself, but then sanity returned and I used to find a professional to read and record. Many months later — not the reader, John Merriam’s fault — but my own schedule causing me to stall out on the effort, I am proud to say, that you can FINALLY purchase Everything You Need to Know from Claude Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising as an audio download with instructions to burn it onto 2 CDs or listen to it on your computer or iPod.

But, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself, to the fact that the WSO offer is in place.

The truth is... it's A LOT OF WORK to really get a product set to go
- professional graphics
- a purchasing and download process
- a sales letter
- adding some kind of bonus

And even when I thought I had it just about set -- Friday evening, it still took staying up all night, to be able to post the thread first thing on Saturday.

And then... I held my breath and...

Story continued in tomorrow's post
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