The Feather Duster

You might think my purchase of a feather duster has nothing to do with writing, but I found a correlation.

Relationships. That is why I bought my feather duster from Fly Lady (website here).

Fly Lady has an excellent housecleaning system that I am too free-spirited to follow. However, I have been receiving her emails for years. I know she is not my friend. She is running a business. However, her consistency and warmth led me to believe she cares about her customers.

When I needed a new feather duster, I first went to Amazon. The reviews on every duster I saw said the dusters that arrived weren’t as pictured, but had as few as four feathers. Other dusters disintegrated quickly. I remembered that Fly Lady sells cleaning supplies. Because of our email relationship, I elected to pay more than twice the price for her duster. As you can see from the photo, I was not disappointed.

What Fly Lady did to convince me to buy her feather duster over others I could have purchased at a lower price is what you, as an author, are trying to do for your customers. You are trying to convince your potential readers to purchase your book over other, similar books. Your competition is fierce, and readers’ time is limited. Even competing by price won’t work because, at the same time, readers have a plethora of cheap and free selections.

Here are a few tips to help you connect with readers, so they choose your book:

  • Be consistent in correspondence.
  • Be warm and approachable.
  • Deliver a superior product.

Fortunately for writers, people need more books than they do feather dusters. Here’s to you selling oodles of books!

Your turn:

What tips can you offer for connecting with readers?

When have you chosen to spend more money on a book or other product because you like the author?

What authors do you follow and support with your book purchases?



32 Responses to The Feather Duster

  1. Avatar
    Les April 16, 2020 at 5:06 am #

    That is a beautiful product.

    Thank you for sharing your constructive thoughts.

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    Pamela Gossiaux April 16, 2020 at 5:15 am #

    I write Christian fiction and non-fiction books, and I’ve tried all sorts of approaches in my newsletters and ads. I find what my readers appreciate the most is when I’m REAL. When I put myself out there and admit to having a bad day, being overwhelmed as a parent/writer/spouse, having a difficult time trusting God in a certain situation…or whatever the struggle of the day is. I try not to whine and complain, but simply say what I’m feeling and wondering if there is any solidarity out there. And there is! People respond with “Yeah, me too!” Maybe that’s why FlyLady is so popular. (I love her too!). She connects with us on a real level, and lets us know that we’re not the only ones who can’t always shine their sink! And because of that, we feel a connection with her, enough of one to want to buy her feather duster. And I’ll bet every time you use that feather duster, you think of her. You asked what books we are willing to pay extra for: I find myself buying full price books of authors I have connected with either personally or online. And sometimes from authors I feel I “know” because their newsletters or blogs are so personal. Jen Hatmaker, Maria Doria Russell, and Patsy Clairmont come to mind.

  3. Avatar
    Carrie Turansky April 16, 2020 at 6:07 am #

    This was a fun post, Tamela! It encouraged me to evaluate how I am doing with my social media posts and email newsletter. Thank you!

  4. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks April 16, 2020 at 6:26 am #

    I also have a FlyLady duster!!! It is lovely and my 3 rowdy sons have had many a fine sword fight with it and the duster still stands. I like that you are too, “free-spirited” for her amazing cleaning precision. We might have much in common, although I hope to achieve more success in the cleaning department … as soon as I prise that duster away from my young sword-fighters! This is a great example of how someone’s regular correspondence can gain our trust above the random advice of the crowd. I will sometimes try someone’s book if they are fun to follow on social media. I enjoy RomComs and so if the author tells personal stories that are funny and awkward and enjoyable, I wonder if their books will have this delightful element as well. Hmmm … perhaps I should tell more of my awkward stories online, ha! My family would surely be thrilled.

  5. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser April 16, 2020 at 7:21 am #

    I don’t know how to connect
    with readers, or with anyone;
    all I can is genuflect
    to the Father and the Son.
    This whole thing has worn me out
    and raised to life my deepest fears;
    please tell me what it’s all about,
    they said months, it’s been years.
    Body says “I can’t go on!”
    Heart says, “But you must,
    for although things seem so wrong,
    your hope remains to trust
    that you will not be defeated,
    that God will place your words where needed.”

    • Avatar
      FlyLady April 17, 2020 at 4:11 pm #

      Praying for you!

      • Avatar
        Elizabeth August 6, 2020 at 6:04 pm #

        I love FlyLady. I’ve bought many of her cleaning devices but the feather duster is my favorite. I enjoy reading every testimonial about every product. I watch every video demonstration of her products. I rave about her to my friends, but most importantly my house is becoming clean automatically. Routines are the answer. Encouragement is what the FlyLady gives away, twice a day. I need that. As a new children’s author this fall, I am discovering the pressure of working with readers, just finding them and trying to get more of them. I am reading and reviewing all kinds of books, trying to develop my approach. You are right, the authors I follow mean more. I’m willing to pay more for their books. I’m thinking seriously about what choices I should make. Thanks for your excellent post and raising these questions.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray April 17, 2020 at 6:54 pm #

      Hang in, Andrew!

    • Avatar
      A Adams May 10, 2020 at 8:15 am #

      Beautifully put. I’m no author and have never even been to this blog before but since I’m a flylady follower was drawn to see what this bloggers point was. Well, Andrew, I think your words make the point and I resonate so much with what they seem to be saying to me. If only each of us could come to the point where we realize that only HE can satisfy our deepest longings and HE can handle our biggest doubts. Then we would all see the intrinsic value of every person HE has made and treasure the opportunity to be in “relationship” to them. I’m no poet FOR SURE but your words for me and in my brain were a great reminder.

  6. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson April 16, 2020 at 8:34 am #

    I strive to be prompt with responses whether its emails, messages, or social media. Treating people with respect is key. I avoid negativity or anything controversial. I have several authors I admire and follow with book purchases, but to name a few, I follow Lynette Eason, Patricia Bradley, DiAnn Mills, Natalie Walters, Virginia Vaughan, Darlene L. Turner, and others.

  7. Avatar
    Frank caudle April 16, 2020 at 8:48 am #

    Your emphasis on quality content really matters struck home. It’s something that we all need to be reminded of often. Thanks for re-stirring my memory

  8. Avatar
    Linda Riggs Mayfield April 16, 2020 at 9:49 am #

    My history web site Seeking Siloam Springs has loyal followers who are interested in a mineral springs resort community that existed near here from the1880s to the 1940s, when it was bought, razed, and turned into a state park. Followers appreciate the documented research, my prompt responses to their questions, and interesting old photos I post of people who might be their ancestors. I have name recognition because I write for a weekly history column in the local newspaper. So I think I’m following your advice in your three bullet points, and those are also my recommendations. But that’s all non-fiction. The web site for my fiction was totally unsuccessful in attracting followers, and I’m doing a makeover now. (I bought WordPress for Dummies.) My most recent book purchase, however, was Jane Eyre. That’s not exactly supporting an author, is it? ;-D

  9. Avatar
    Constance Buckley April 16, 2020 at 10:40 am #

    I support Elaine Miller, Cecil Murphey, Michael Hyatt, James Scott Bell, Dennis Hensley, Holly Miller, Jerry Jenkins, Eva Marie Everson, Jeff Gerke and various Bible study authors. I get my fiction books mostly from the library.

  10. Avatar
    Kathy April 16, 2020 at 2:06 pm #

    Great story that really gets across your message to authors! Thanks, Tamala!

  11. Avatar
    Paula Geister April 17, 2020 at 9:05 am #

    I became familiar with Fly Lady almost 15 years ago. Instantly, she impressed me with her ‘voice.’ She wrote her messages to us (see, to “us”) in a voice that was probably how she sounds in real life. That’s how I try to communicate with readers. There’s a time for sounding somewhat ‘authoritative,’ but people just want us to be ourselves and talk like we talk. Non-fiction demands it, the topic not withstanding.

    Something we always stress when evaluating a message/speech in Toastmasters is the listener may not be hearing what you think you’re saying to them. They may misunderstand because of our tone.

    Thanks for the post to remind us we always think of the reader first. Also, I have a feather duster from Fly Lady too. It’s the best!

    • Avatar
      Dr. Paddi Barnes April 17, 2020 at 10:37 am #

      Thank you for being a long time FlyLady member. We truly love all of our FlyBabies! AND thank you for purchasing our Feather Dusters. That’s what keeps our website and routines FREE to help you have a home that hugs you. You are all so wonderful! Thank you so much!

      FlyLady and Team

  12. Avatar
    FlyLady April 17, 2020 at 11:44 am #

    Thank you so much for your lovely words! Keep Flying!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray April 17, 2020 at 6:57 pm #

      Thank you for stopping by! I’m humbled and honored. I appreciate you and will keep buying your great products!

  13. Avatar
    Arliss April 17, 2020 at 2:39 pm #

    Gorgeous floor! Is it cedar?

  14. Avatar
    NewMexicoNative April 17, 2020 at 4:39 pm #

    Good to hear that everyone has discovered the benefit and value of friendly and consistent contact. However, it saddens me to hear that you do not consider FlyLady your friend. I am happy for you if you do not need the FlyLady system that she offers, but there are bazillions of us who do and who love her and consider her our very best friend! Please do not discourage people from following her FlyLady method. It might be just exactly the thing that they need just as you discovered that her feather duster is just exactly the feather duster that you need. I, too, have one of her feather dusters and it’s true that it is absolutely the very best one that you can purchase. Blessings to all from one of FlyLady’s grateful “FlyBabies”!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray April 17, 2020 at 6:47 pm #

      Hi New Mexico Native! Thanks for stopping by. Just to clarify, I adore Fly Lady and her system! As for friendship, I meant that I don’t expect her to stop by my house with a casserole when I’m under the weather, that’s all. Indeed, she’s a great friend in her capacity as a teacher, mentor, encourager, and so forth. And her system is great! I hope this blog encourages people everywhere to learn more about her and her fabulous company!

      • Avatar
        Brennan S. McPherson April 17, 2020 at 7:53 pm #

        I’d buy 10 feather dusters from her if she dropped a casserole off at your house. :’D

    • Avatar
      NewMexicoNative April 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm #

      Hi again! Thanks so very much for your lovely clarification of intent and kind words about FlyLady. Indeed, it is difficult to think that anyone could not consider her a friend because of the way her sincerity and caring shine through her writing. Betcha having her stop by with a casserole and a chance to chat over a cup of tea would be wonderful though, don’t you think?! Receiving her emails and seeing her online makes me feel as though we are having a marvelous chat. And that is part of what you mentioned about consistent, friendly contact being important (vis-à-vis your bullet points).
      Although I have never personally met her, I believe that I am correct in stating that FlyLady’s business is actually to help us to find peace in our homes by getting rid of physical clutter, and thus mental clutter, both of which destroy peace. She has a blessed-by-God focus on ministering to those of us who need the benefits of her system and her mentoring.
      Tamela, thank you for your kindness in allowing me to share my thoughts although they have absolutely nothing to do with selling books! And thank you for all that you do for others through your business! NewMexicoNative

      • Avatar
        FlyLady April 25, 2020 at 8:25 pm #

        I usually don’t know where people live! And I would never drop by a FlyBaby’s home without being invited! I am intrigued by the mention of Hickory in the comments. My husband grew up in Hickory, NC. So it is a small world!

  15. Avatar
    Sy Garte April 18, 2020 at 10:34 am #

    I just have one question. What’s a feather duster?

  16. Avatar
    Julie Christian April 21, 2020 at 12:54 pm #

    This is so funny! I have been a Flylady fan since 2000! I don’t follow her as closely now as when I did as a new housewife and mother, but I still never go to sleep unless my sink is spotless! What a great comparison. Setting standards for my brand as a writer is something I can control and enjoy!

  17. Avatar
    Kathleen Hansen April 26, 2020 at 9:24 am #

    Hello! from California. We have been in lock down for 8 weeks now and have been able to discover a lot of new things about myself. First off I never would have made it if I wan’t following the Fly Baby steps. By now I would have been covered by the piles of clutter that I use to keep around. Because of Marla and her consistent encouragement I now have a peaceful and serene atmosphere
    in my home. Something I really need right now. Fly Baby routines are quick and easy to follow leaving me the rest of the day to…….Dream, Write, Connect with friends and family, Create an outline for a book, Write to friends, Read and research, Explore the arts, Listen to birds sing, Fill my spirit with the wonder of nature….I have time to look outside my back door. All of this because I use the Fly Baby routines and follow Marla on her blog. Give it a try it works!

  18. Avatar
    Louisa Cahan April 26, 2020 at 10:31 am #

    I am a flybaby and have FlyLady’s feather duster and several others of her tools. I’m also a free spirit, but I find that FlyLady works for me because she allows me to use the parts of her system that work for me and to delete any of her emails that I’m not ready for. I recently began listening to her on YouTube and find that her speaking voice is just like her written voice. Glad her feather duster is good for you and gave you a great intro to helping authors relate well to their readers.

  19. Avatar
    Vicki April 27, 2020 at 5:42 am #

    If you haven’t done so already, you need to send a copy of this post to Marla Cilley (FlyLady. She’d love it!

  20. Avatar
    Anita Schrader May 10, 2020 at 9:49 am #

    I am a Flybaby for many months! Her products are well researched and do exactly what she says they will do! Just bought the feather duster and have.not received it yet but know it will be fantastic as all her products are! I was a holdout on the feather duster because of the cost but since others have testified it lasts for years finally splurged in myself! Her videos are funny, motivating m, a little of anything and everything just like a conversation with a best friend might be which is why we all love them! Sometimes it is just having a cup of tea and sitting on the back porch!

  21. Avatar
    Jenny August 6, 2020 at 7:49 pm #

    I followed a link here from one of FlyLady’s email. What a wonderful thing she promoted your blog and personally commented on your post.

    Like you, I own one of her dusters. It’s my second one actually, since finding her back in first decade of 2000. I never knew why I ever needed one in the first place.

    Like you I’m not a dedicated follower of her routines and advice, but I try. I always come back to trying again.

    Love the way you used something I’m passionate about (FlyLady, & her system) with another passion of mine. Writing.

    I’m not yet an author, but my dream is to write a book, actually multiple ones, some day. It’s something I’ve always known is part of my destiny.

    Something I wanted to do since I was an 8yo little girl, reading The Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene (pseudonym), Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingles Wilder, and T the Black Stallion Series by Walter Farley.

    As a previous avid reader who mainly relied on libraries to be able to obtain books to read. I have had little income for luxuries for purchasing books. Thrift Stores are the best place to find him gems of authors & series.

    However, certain authors I needed the latest release and did so anyway. 2 of my favorite authors who remain so for over the last two decades, I found purchasing economy books at Walmart. Christine Freehan, and Sherilyn Kenyon.

    After purchasing those initial introductory books, I was hooked on them. I’ve purchased new releases, and spin off & new series from them.

    Other authors I’ve been willing to sacrifice to purchase their books have been Dean Koontz, John Saul, Jim Butler, Maggie Shayne, Nora Roberts among just a few.

    When purchasing non fiction books it’s been more about subject matter than authors, except in the case of Caroline Myss, along with a few others.

    Keep creating.

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