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Love Letters To Bookworms | Liebesbriefe an Bücherwürmer

Global Online Marketing For Modern Publishing Entrepreneurs


Hey, my beautiful Bookworm!

Are you feeling sad, down — or just not like yourself these days?

Struggeling with the *new normal*? 

Finding it hard to focus and get things done?

If so, it's 100% understandable.

The emotional toll of this global pandemic is real for all of us.

Sending you love and soothing vibes to each of you from my neighbourhood here in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany.

Just a moment ago, 7 PM, I was hanging out the window here, listening to live music for the essential workers.

My heart goes out to all of them.

In this week’s LOVE LETTER TO BOOKWORMS I want to share the knowledge and experiences of my 10 hardest lessons,  I had to learn – and how they can help you during this global health crisis.

I’d love to hear from you if these resonated with you!

When I started my business in 2011 I never thought that I’d still be working for myself (and still loving what I do). I’m so honoured to work with amazing clients and challenging projects that make a difference in this world.

#1. Focus on your business, not someone else’s

I spent too many years playing the comparison game – worrying that I would never be as successful or celebrated as others. But I learned to let go of comparing myself to others with my perceived competitors, the resentment and the fear of not being good enough faded away.

Coronavirus lesson: Feel you triggered by certain people, especially in uncertain times like these? Hide them from your feed, unsubscribe from their newsletters and social channels. 

#2. Working with friends

Treat them the same way you would regular clients.

Anytime I deviated from my process and wasn’t clear on how I worked (or what I charged) the working relationship got sticky and interfered with our friendship.

Today if I work with friends, I’m super clear about procedures, deliverables and financial investment. 

Coronavirus lesson: In times of a pandemic it's about striking a balance between staying-on-top-of-mind without appearing to capitalize off a crisis.

#3. It’s ok to say NO

This is one I learned the hard way more than once. I know (especially when you’re starting out) that you want to say *YES* to everything and everyone.

You want to get clients, make money and thrive. And we’re told too often to start before we’re ready.

But I’ve found that if something feels off in the initial contact or it just feels like something I don’t really want to get into – I have to say no.

Coronavirus lesson: Now I know that space creates opportunities. In the last year – during my international business school - I decided to becoming more selective with the clients I work with and not take on new projects,  except they would *wow my p**ts off*.

Yes, it can be scary to stop the flow of new projects (and guaranteed cash flow and novelties).

But as a result, I had the space to create my new website, my ebooks and now I'm about to create own products, programs and mini-courses and can collaborate with my long-term clients – with less stress and more impact.

#4. It’s ok to let go of clients

Not every client is going to work out (and you might not be right for every client).

It hasn’t happened too often, but there have been a few cases where we just weren’t a good fit (or over the time not anymore) and I felt disrespected (red flags are: poor communication skills, rude behaviour, unrealistic expectations, unethical demands) or they're late payers.

I always made sure to either see the project through or find an alternate solution.

Coronavirus lesson: It’s not a failure – it’s an opportunity to refine your intake process, change your rates and process and determine who you will (and won’t) work with in future.

#5. Stick to your guns

People hire you because you are the expert. And you have the right to say no to their requests (especially if their requests place unrealistic pressure on you to deliver faster, better AND cheaper or even worse work for free and claim that it will be great exposure or to expect you to do anything you consider unethical).

Coronavirus lesson: I can’t tell you how many times potential clients were bad-mouthing other freelancers, publishers and agencies or told me they only wanted to copy my own expertise, my skills, my work, my copy and my material or steal my contacts. That was an instant red flag that they weren’t a good fit for me.

#6. Self-promotion isn’t evil

We live (and often hide) behind our computer screens. Most of us are super humble, introverted and don’t want to attract attention. But you are depriving the world by not sharing your gifts (and letting people know who is responsible for your work!)

Coronavirus lesson: You can’t wait for people to just stumble upon you – share your work and your knowledge – and you will be rewarded.

#7. You never ever know where your next (or best client) will come from 

Your next client could come from the Doctor’s Medical Center in Florida, a chance meeting or even a neighbourhood party.

Last week a prospect replied after our initial contact in which I've shown him his opportunities to make his book travel: “You're a delightful person and I'm sure you deserve all the success you had over the years.”

Coronavirus lesson: Don’t rely just on people coming to you. Be active, go out and make connections.

8. Deal with problems sooner rather than later

We all make mistakes. There are gonna be rough days. Servers go down. Files get deleted. Schedules get pushed.

Keep your client informed at all parts of the process – I find people can be pretty forgiving if you keep them up to date and outline your process for getting things back on track.

Coronavirus lesson: Global Publishing in times of coronavirus

I'm seeing delays in foreign advance payments, royalty statements, and royalties received.

Although a lot of payments (those without payments) have come in on time or slightly belated.

None of my contracts or offers have been cancelled — although some did contact me to restructure payouts for deals in process.

Offers are still happening but mostly for contract renewals.

The worst-hit countries (and publishers) have implemented furloughs of two weeks on, two weeks off, some implemented a pay cut for the staff, some turned to home-offices or remote work or a four-day workweek and others executed a round of layoffs.

A recent McKinsey survey found out, that 79 percent of all companies around the globe have cut costs in response to the global economic crisis —but only 53 percent think that doing so will help their companies weather it.

Coronavirus lesson: Publishing in Germany during COVID-19 pandemic

Germany's largest book wholesaler and distributor, Koch, Neff and Volckmar (KNV Group), which filed for bankruptcy in February 2019 left a shattered industry. Nearly 2/3 of all publishers in Germany have experienced business disruptions stemming from the bankruptcy, including lost revenue (x-mas sales).

In the aftermath several publishers went bankrupt and had to close for good, the *lucky ones* were acquired by a new owner.

Not yet recovered from the disastrous event, coronavirus pandemic hits German publishers hard.

Publishers have to further reduce their costs, send staff home or forced to layoffs.

Many Spring 2020 novelties couldn’t be printed nor distributed through traditional channels before the lockdown. Sales trips, fairs are canceled until Autumn. Conferences and meetings have been reduced and switched to digital only events. The production of the Autumn 2020 novelties (usally launched in Summer) has been stopped. 

Online giant Amazon as the most dominant force in global bookselling today, accounting for over 90 percent of ebooks and audiobooks, and around 42 to 45 percent of print sales has set new priorities and put book distribution into the Slow Lane, so the delivery of books will be until the end of May 2020.

Some German publisher have implemented furloughs of three weeks on, three weeks off, most implemented a 50% work and pay cut for the entire staff (paid by the government not the publishers), home-offices and remote work are the *new normal* and others executed a round of layoffs already.

And Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 seems off the cards for the most publishers so far.

Coronavirus lesson: Book sales around the globe in times of coronavirus pandemic

Publishers are reporting ebook sales are up by 40%. This might helping to keep the publishing picture stable for now. But how long will it last?

Some publishers turned to digital-first launches to get their books out without printing them and showcasing them at book fairs or in brick-and mortar bookshops. Some turned to social selling on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

Print sales initially did a sharp drop (down by 25%).

My prediction: It's just the beginning of a global economic disruption. Professor of International Economics Richard Baldwin's and Beatrice Weder di Mauro's eBook Economics in the Time of COVID-19 is a must-read on pandemic's global economic impact.

9. Money rules are important 

1. Pay for all large recurring expenses (rent, gas, electricity a.o. expenses) monthly via sub savings account
2. Don’t buy it if you don’t have the cash to pay for it (no cc debt)
3. Every month a small amount goes into savings account
4. Spending on health and quality food  (from local businesses) get priority
5.  Buy the best and keep it for as long as possible
6. Pay cash for daily expenses and use possible discounts.

Coronavirus lesson: It always makes sense to have at least 6-12 months expenses in cash because s""t does happen.

10. Continual education is your best investment 

I’m not self-taught – but that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped educating myself.

I’ve invested hundreds of Euros in courses, books and conferences.

I devote several hours a week to researching new techniques, trends and software.

And I set aside a percentage of savings each year to attend conferences and invest in programs.

Want to learn more about how to change your business, your approach and boost your sales even in an econmonic downturn and recession? Click here.

I can't wait to hear from you, my sweet Bookworm.

May we all move through these interesting times with grace and compassion for ourselves, our loved ones and the entire planet.

So much love ❤️
xoxo Claudia 

ps - What would you love my help with next? Let's stay connected to our incredibly kind and creative global community. I will do my very best to support you.


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