Is Your Link Universal?

Last June, I wrote a blog post titled “Are You Using the Right URL?“. The article educated authors on how to use the best URL when sending potential buyers to your book on Amazon.

Is Your Link Universal?

The short version of that article is that many authors search for their book on Amazon, then they copy the URL from the search. This URL link is long and complicated. It is much better to use the shorter, correct URL when sending people to Amazon.

I am still amazed at how many authors are not following this advice. I still consistently receive long complicated URLs from authors for their books on Amazon.

Using the best URL when marketing a book is important. So, now I am going to encourage you to go one step further with your Amazon URL.

If you are marketing your book to a large audience, and some of these people might live outside the United Sates (or the country in which you reside if you are not in the U.S.), then it is best to use a Universal Amazon Link.

What is a Universal Link?

A Universal Link automatically takes readers to the Amazon store in the country in which they live.

If you use a regular Amazon.com link in your marketing, people who live outside the United Sates are taken to the U.S. Amazon store. If they want to purchase your book, they have to switch to the Amazon store in their country. Amazon has different URLs for sales in different countries. For example:

You can make it easy for people to purchase your book by using a Univeral Amazon Link in your marketing. The good news is that creating an Amazon Universal Link is free. There are a number of services that you can use to create one for your book. These include:

For example, my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, can be found on Amazon.com at:Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Bolme/dp/0991299515

The Universal Amazon Link for my book is:

https://rxe.me/GQJJ29

If you provide a link to Amazon on your author or book website for readers to purchase your book via Amazon, then changing that link to a Universal Amazon Link can help you sell more books.

Related Posts:
Are You Using the Right URL?
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Are You Securing Repeat Customers?

Email marketing is one tactic many authors use to connect with their audience. Email marketing allows you to have regular exposure to a group of people who are interested in what you have to say.

Repeat Customers Help You Sell More

Conventional wisdom encourages authors to provide a sign-up form on their website where interested readers can subscribe to your author newsletter or updates.

Smart authors usually go one step further and offer a freebie in exchange for an interested reader’s email. This freebie might be a novella, a recipe, a tips sheets, or something else with entertainment or educational value.

Providing a sign up in this fashion is smart marketing. With social media, you cannot control who sees your posts. With email, your information is sent to everyone on your email list. These people at least see that they have received an email from you, reminding them of you and your books.

Some experts encourage authors to sell books direct from your website. This way, you get to collect the contact information on people who buy your book. You can add these people to your email list and continue to market to them as you produce more books.

However, most authors don’t sell books directly from their website and many people prefer to buy books from a book site like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. So, how do you collect contact information for these buyers?

Enter end-of-book offer.

An end of book offer is where you offer the reader of your book access to a freebie in exchange for their email address. This could be similar to the freebies that you offer on your website, but something of value for someone who has finished your book.

I recently finished reading a book. Now, this is not unusual for me because I read at least one book a week. What was unusual was the offer in this book.

collecting emails

This author offered free access to a series of free online mini-courses on the subject of his book. I was somewhat surprised because this was a generous offer.

However, when I visited the site where the free mini-courses were listed, I realized that this author was using these free mini-courses connected to his book as just a gateway into his much larger program.

It turns out that this author has multiple books and numerous online courses available. By offering free access to his mini-course, he is not only collecting email addresses, he is also building his audience for his other offerings.

If you are a one-book author, this technique for building your audience may not be the best idea. However, if you have multiple books and offer online courses, I think that implementing a similar offer in your books would be smart marketing.

Repeat customers help you sell more. According to Small Business Trends:

  • 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers.
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%.
  • The probability of selling to a new customer is 5–20%.
  • 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of their existing customers.

If you have more than one product to offer, you want to hook your readers into becoming repeat customers. It is just smart marketing.

Related Posts:
How to Sell More Books
Is Free Really an Effective Marketing Tool?
Are You Offering a Compelling Reason to Buy?

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Photo courtesy of Brett Jordan.

A Spiritual Response

The year 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for the United States and much of the world. We have experienced a worldwide pandemic and political and civil unrest in America.

A spiritual response

Coronavirus Pandemic

Authors across the United States as well as the world have been impacted by the pandemic. Shutdowns have greatly restricted authors ability to promote their books. Book launch parties, book signings, book tours, and author speaking engagements have been cancelled.

Numerous authors have lost income from these cancelled events. In-person author events and speaking engagements sell books. Not all conferences and speaking engagements have transitioned to a virtual venue, leaving fewer avenues for authors to promote their books this year.

Political and Civil Unrest

The United States has been tremendous political and civil unrest resulting in the burning, looting, and destroying of property and businesses. These activities have a large cost to society. The cost to repair and rebuild the damage, as well as the loss of business, means fewer discretionary dollars for people to buy books.

While books still sell in a depressed economy, they do not sell at same numbers as when the economy is robust. Authors and publishers book sales are and will continue to be impacted by effects of both the pandemic and the unrest in our country.

The Response

As Christians, our response should be to pray. We need to be praying for our country and our leaders on a daily basis. We must cry out for God to heal—both from the coronavirus and from the unrest that is rocking our country.

Religious leaders around the country are seeing the need for collective prayer and fasting. I encourage you to take part in these events. Two events that you can be involved in are The Return and Eleven 11 at 11.

1.  The Return

Jonathan Kahn, a best-selling Christian author, has spearheaded a national and global day of prayer and repentance. This is an event for Christians to fast and pray at our Nation’s capital on September 26. The event will feature a live simulcast for those who cannot be in Washington D.C. Christian leaders are encouraging all Christians to fast and pray that day, wherever you are. You can learn more on the event’s website at https://thereturn.org.

2.  Eleven 11 at 11

I was made aware of this event at the NRB Convention earlier this year. This event aims to have millions of believers all across America gather, Bibles in hand, to stand side by side and appeal to heaven and to declare that God is the God of this nation. You can learn more about this event on the event’s website at https://www.eleven11at11.org.

I hope that as a Christian author, you will take part in one or both of these events. Our struggle is not with the physical world, but with the Spiritual world. Our best weapons are prayer and God’s word. Let’s employ these to defeat the enemy and continue our Kingdom work.

Related Posts:
Have You Asked?
A Prayer for Victory
The Pandemic’s Lasting Effect on Book Marketing

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Photo courtesy of Nathan Damlao.

4 Lessons from a Book Purchase

This summer, I was introduced to an author and his book on spiritual discernment through an article in an online news outlet. The article featured the author and the topic of the book caught my attention. The article did not include the title of the book. Rather, it was a story about the author with the article mentioning that he was the author of a recently released book on spiritual discernment.

4 Lessons from a Book Purchase

I noted the author’s name and decided to check out his book. In my research, I discovered that this author has actually penned a number of books.

Lesson #1: Media exposure sells books.

With my interest piqued, I went to Amazon to check out the author. Amazon was the logical place for me to look first since that website features just about every book published.

The book’s page on Amazon revealed that the book had over 350 reviews with an average rating of 4.8 stars. I was interested in the topic and was convinced that the book would be worth my time and money when I saw the reviews.

Lesson #2:  Positive reviews, especially a large number of positive reviews, sells books.

I bought the book on Amazon. It was just convenient. I could bundle it with other purchases and get free shipping (I am not a Prime Member). When the book arrived, I was excited to read it—and I did.

It was a good book. I enjoyed it. It was an easy read. The chapters were short and the book was only about 100 pages. When I got to the end, I realized the book was only 100 pages. I was a little disappointed that it had cost as much as it did. The book’s retail price is $14.95, but Amazon sells it for about $13.00. This price seems a little steep for a 100-page book.

I realized that I had not paid much attention to the number of pages in the book when I purchased it. Rather, the description and reviews had convinced me that the book was worth buying and reading.

Lesson #3:  Price is not typically a deciding factor in book purchases—unless the book is priced unusually high.

At the end of the book, I realized how this author had been able to accumulate over 350 positive reviews in a short period of time. The book was released in January, and I purchased it six months later. The author had used a launch team.

This book had something that I have not seen before. At the very end of the book, the last six (yes, six) pages of the book were dedicated to “Special Thanks to Our Launch Team”. I counted the names on just one page and counted about 120 names. If you multiply 120 times six pages, you get a launch team of about 720 people.

This author had around 720 people talking about and writing positive reviews for his book when it launched. That is truly impressive.

Lesson #4:  Launch teams (a.k.a. Street teams) help make books successful.

If you are unfamiliar with what a Launch Team is or how to go about gathering and using one. I recommend that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) and download our reference guide on Book Launch Teams. This guide covers recruiting a team, communicating with your team, promotional activities for our launch team, and rewarding your team.

Christian Indie Publishing Association’s (CIPA) Book Launch Team Guide is just one of the many resources Members of the Association have access to. You can join CIPA on our website at https://www.christianpublishers.net and have access to this Guide and many more.

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.

Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?

I recently came across an article in the New York Times titled:

“Self-Publishing Is a Gamble. Why Is Donald Trump Jr. Doing It?”

It appears that Donald Trump, Jr., has written a book titled Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats’ Defense of the Indefensible. He plans to release the book in early September.

Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?

Interestingly, even though Center House, an imprint of Hachette—the publishing house that published Trump Jr.’s first book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us—made an offer to publish Liberal Privilege, Trump Jr. turned them down.

Why?

Because self-publishing is not the gamble that the authors of the article believe.

Trump Jr.’s book Triggered has sold 286,000 copies since last November when it released, according to NPD BookScan. It is still selling steadily.

By self-publishing, Donald Trump, Jr., a public figure, can easily sell thousands of copies and make a much larger profit then he can with a traditional publishing contract.

The New York Times article states:

Authors who sign with a publisher typically receive an advance payment before the book goes on sale, then about 10 to 15 percent of hardcover sales after they earn back their advance. If the book is self-published, there is no advance but an author can generally walk away with anywhere from 35 percent to as much as 70 percent of the sales.

Trump Jr. is a savvy business man. He already has his own platform, so, he does not need the publicity that a major publisher can create. He is a New York Times best-selling author as his book Triggered was a No. 1 best seller last year. In addition, the Republican National Committee will use this new book for fund-raising—ensuring Trump Jr. large quantity orders of his book.

Of course, self-publishing comes with its own challenges, including editing and proofing. This summer, Trump Jr. posted a photo on Twitter of his new book. The cover image contained a typo. The apostrophe was in the wrong place. The cover has since been corrected.

Book Cover Error

What this story demonstrates is that self-publishing, rather than being a gamble, has become mainstream. As with starting any business, self-publishing a book comes with risks. You have no guarantee your venture will succeed. But, neither does any other startup.

The good news is that indie authors are no longer on the fringe. After all, even public figures are ditching traditional book contracts to self-publish.

Related Posts:
Self-Publishing Keeps Growing!
Three Principles for Self-Publishing Success
5 Common Indie Publishing Errors

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Photo by fotografierende.