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Farewell to the Sweetie Lady

Farewell to the Sweetie Lady

Relationship building authors know how to create a warm audience. An audience who will trust them enough to try out new products and services they may offer in the future.

The “Sweetie Lady’s” aged fingers point to the range of sweets, chips and the odd banana and apple which her patrons can afford. Her shop is at the corner of Margaret and Gibson Drive. It consists of an old plastic box that she sits on in front of a patchy, weather-worn plank covered by her product range. 

Despite her simple setup, she has quietly nurtured a set of skills in my children in a way they do not learn at school. Skills which many authors also need to learn.

My children often would beg me to walk the 5 minutes from our home to her informal set up so that they could gain access to cheap sweets. During the last 4 years, they learned to budget in a very simple and practical manner. She would forgive any miscalculations by softly repeating the correct amount and redirecting them to what they could afford. No calculators, smartphones, spreadsheets or tills, just good old-fashioned maths.

My kids knew what they wanted and would budget accordingly in their exchanges with her. So often, authors just look at the cost of the publishing and do not have a budget in place to sell and market their books. This stifles their growth. Progressing as an author has to entail knowing what you want and budgeting and planning for it. It requires goal setting and the determination to get the work done.

Another key skill my children learned was about customer loyalty. They loved the Sweetie Lady because, after every few purchases, she would randomly hand over a free lollipop. It kept them going back again and again. It is akin to what social media marketers depend on; that dopamine boost you get from acquiring likes and follows. It is the fuel that keeps you going back for more.

Yet when I speak to the average author about creating a free lead magnet for their book business, they seem shocked. The excuse is they never seem to have the time or they ask why would they give their writing away for free? These authors don’t realise that successful competitors are attracting and retaining potential clients. People who may have already visited your website, but you failed to harvest. 

This is probably a good time to tell you that a short distance down the road from the Sweetie Lady is a large formal store with a massive variety of sweets. But it is not the store my children want to visit. They love their Sweetie Lady and her informally crafted brand.

In the last year, some opportunists invaded her space. Men who were younger and stronger spent weeks in her territory. For a while, the Sweetie lady succumbed to the pressure and disappeared. However, the throngs of public transportation commuters closed up their purse strings, effectively evicting the invaders of this micro economy.

It did not take long for the Sweetie Lady to re-emerge and for her loyal fans to reappear. My children learned that consistency and friendliness are the hallmarks of customer loyalty. Authors who persistently take the time to send out their newsletters understand this slow build of trust. It is not the “flash in the pan” approach that makes a big marketing splash for a single event.

Relationship building authors know how to create a warm audience. An audience who will trust them enough to try out new products and services they may offer in the future. This is how many coaches and speakers build multiple streams of income; but harnessing the power of the newsletter. It is why in my book coaching programme I encourage my authors to write the lead magnet first. I cover this topic in my book “What Would a Successful Author Do?”

Sadly, my children had to bid farewell to their beloved Sweetie Lady. Our recent move positioned us at a 27 minute drive away from her. Nadine and Michael have to visit the convenience store at the complex where we now live. No longer can my children give a cheery goodbye until their next visit to the Sweetie Lady. It was a firm farewell which leads me to one of the most valuable lessons for our dear authors. If you are relying on one book store to market your books, you do not have a sustainable business plan.

Print on demand online stores such as Amazon give you access to a far larger market than just your website or the events you host. A market that spans multiple territories. If you don’t include this in your business plan, you may find that your book business, like the Sweetie Lady, will be left on the corner wondering where those customers went to.

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Hello, I am Kim Vermaak

I spent most of my adult life helping other companies build their dream and their brands.

After I turned 40, I wondered if there was more to life than taking care of children and slaving away to earn a living.

I wanted to create a legacy for my children and the next generation. I found that through my books I could celebrate who I am as well as teach others to earn a living through their writing.

Being an author is not a hobby. It is a business, and it is my passion to teach authors how to thrive in that business. I look forward to seeing your book business grow.

Your Book Whisperer


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BookSirens is a legitimate resource for authors and readers alike that can help readers find books they’ll love, while matching authors with prospective reviewers so they can get more honest reviews.

What Kim was able to offer me in terms of insight, price with her experience in understanding the needs of authors was outstanding. Kim is not only creative, but she takes on your views and comments willingly and it’s professional open process.
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