Final Call for Nominations

There are only four weeks left to nominate your book for the 2021 Christian Indie Awards. Nominations are due by November 15, 2020.

Christian books published by an independent author or small publishers in 2019 and 2020 are eligible for nomination. Books can be nominated on the awards website at https://www.christianaward.com.

If you are wondering whether you should nominate your book, check out these 10 reasons to nominate a book for an award.

10 Reasons to Enter a Book Award

 

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Three Reasons to Use Videos to Promote Your Books

Are you using videos to connect with your audience and promote your books?

Three Reasons to Use Video

Videos are popular and a great tool for promoting books. Check out these three reasons to use videos to promote your books.

1. Videos are Extremely Popular on Social Media.

Not only are people watching videos, they are sharing those they like. One study found that 97% of consumers are willing to share videos on social media.

2. Videos Allow You to Reach People Who May Not Take the Time to Read Your Articles or Blog Posts.

Studies show that only 20% of people read a complete article online. Most only read the first one-fourth. Additionally, 80% of people say they would rather watch a live video than read a social media post or blog. Video is a powerful marketing tool.

3. Videos Help You Connect with Your Audience.

Using videos, especially live stream videos, help people feel like they “know” you—the real authentic you. Remember, people buy from those they know and like.

If you live stream or are thinking about live streaming to promote your books, then watch this YouTube video that teaches you how to be authentic when streaming live. This video shows you three ways to help your audience feel closer to you.

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Photo courtesy of Linda Xu.

Use Sales Techniques to Sell More Books

Often the word “salesman” conjures up an image of a less- than-ethical, pushy, used-car sales-man. In poll after poll, survey respondents typically rank sales-people above only members of Congress on trust, honesty and competency. Poor salespeople have left many people with a distaste for selling.

Sales Techniques

Selling can be good. Good selling involves true empathy and a desire to solve a problem. It creates value for the customer while overcoming the obstacles to a sale. According to Zig Ziglar, “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”

As an author, you can use effective sales techniques in your marketing messages. Selling with integrity is possible. Good sales techniques focus on developing trust, meeting a need, and cutting through the obstacles to help people make a purchasing decision.

You can use the following three sales techniques to improve your marketing efforts and sell more books.

1.  Make a Connection

A popular saying in business is “People do business with people they know, like, and trust.”  Studies show that people buy books from authors they “know.” Building trust requires making a connection. All connections have an emotional component.

You can create an emotional connection with your audience by being transparent and real. A study by Stackla found 86% of people reported that authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.

Instead of just pushing your book, be relational. Make a connection with your audience whether that is in person, on social media, or in your marketing messages. Remember, first make a connection, then draw attention to your books.

2.  Always Follow Up

Always, always follow up with people you meet or who show an interest in your books. Studies show that only 2% of sales happen at the first meeting. Instead, 80% of sales prospects report saying “No” four times before they finally say “Yes”.

After making a connection with someone, follow up. Send them an email, a message, or even a postcard reminding them about your books. Remember, it takes multiple exposures to a new product before most people decide to make a purchase.

3.  Create a Sense of Urgency

One sales technique to increasing chances that interested parties will decide to make a purchase is to create a sense of urgency. When people feel that they will miss out on a good deal if they don’t act now, they are more likely to act then to put off acting. Putting off buying something is easier when there is no sense of urgency.

So, offer time-limited promotions and specials to your audience to create a sense of urgency. One study found that promotional emails that included a sense of urgency had:

  • A 14% higher click to open rate.
  • Twice as high transaction rates compared to average marketing emails.

While you may not see yourself as a “sales” person, the truth is that using effective sales techniques in your marketing efforts will increase your book sales.

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Promote Your Book as a Great Christmas Gift

Have you ever received a book as a gift? I have, many times—and I have been blessed by a number of these books.

Christmas gift shopping is big business. The average American spends around $700 on holiday gifts and goodies. Retail stores start promoting Christmas items as early as September. These stores want to catch early holiday shoppers.

Piggybacking on this, the American Booksellers Association has launched a marketing campaign this fall to entice readers to shop early for the holidays. The campaign’s messaging reads:

“Buy Early. October is the New December.”

Research from the National Retail Federation shows that about 40% of people start holiday shopping before Halloween each year. Since almost half of all consumers are already beginning to think about what to purchase for Christmas gifts, it’s not too early to start promoting your book as a great Christmas gift. Start now with the following three ideas.

1. Position Your Book as a Great Gift

Let your readers and fans know that your book makes a great gift. Feature it as a gift idea on your website, in your newsletter or email updates to your fans, and on your social media posts. Your readers may not automatically think of your book as a gift. You must plant and water this idea for your followers.

Remind your readers why books make great gifts. If you need inspirational ideas for why books make great gifts check out the infographic located here.

Promote Your Books as Christmas Gifts

2. Offer a Special Christmas Discount

One way to make your book more appealing as a gift is to offer shoppers a special Christmas discount. You can offer a two-for-one deal, free shipping, or even just a special holiday price.

Be sure to make your Christmas special or discount time limited to give shoppers a sense of urgency so that they will act on your prompting to purchase your book as a gift with your holiday discount.

3. Offer a Free Shipping

Everyone loves free shipping. Some studies indicate that 58% of people purchase more items just to qualify for free shipping and 83% of people are willing to wait an extra 48-hours for delivery to get free shipping. If you sell books directly from your own website, offering free shipping is a great way to convince readers to buy and close the sale.

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Photo by Giftpundits.com from Pexels.

Three Under-Used Book Marketing Techniques

The book 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer lists that many ways to market a book. There really are thousands of ways to market a book.

Not every marketing technique can or should be used for every book. However, there are a few marketing techniques that work well no matter the theme or genre of a book.

Under-Used Book Marketing Techniques

I have found that many independent authors fail to implement some easy techniques for marketing their books. The following three are just a sample of a larger list, but I think they are a good starting point.

1.  Inviting Readers to Connect with You in Your Book

Inviting readers to connect with you is an effective way to build a loyal following of readers and fans. Don’t make it hard for your readers to find you. Give them information on how they can connect with you.

A quick perusal of the last 10 title nominated for the 2021 Christian Indie Awards—a good random sample—revealed the following:

  • Only 5 out of these 10 books even listed the author website either on the back cover or in the “About the Author” section in the back of the book.
  • Only one out of these 10 titles included an invitation for readers to connect with the author in the book. This author listed his social media profiles (Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram).

If you are not inviting readers to connect with you in your book, you are missing out on connecting with your audience and building a loyal following for repeat sales. A study by Goodreads found the following:

  • 82% of authors that included an invitation to sign up for their newsletter or mailing list in their books see an increase in subscribers.
  • 73% of authors who invite readers to follow them on social media see an increase of followers.

Don’t forget to invite readers to connect with you in your books. You can invite them to send feedback to your email address, you can invite them to sign up for your newsletter to hear about future books, and you can invite them to read your blog or follow you on social media. Be sure to include all the necessary URLs and links to make it easy for your readers.

2.  Asking for Reviews in Your Book

Of those 10 nominated books, only one sported a request in the back of the book for readers to write a review of the book. This request was titled:

“If you’ve enjoyed this book, please tell others…”

Then it listed six ways that readers could do this including writing a review of the book on Amazon, sharing about the book on social media, and recommending the book to others via word-of-mouth.

Reviews help sell books. Many readers don’t think about writing a book review. Asking for a review is a great way to lead people to do what you want them to do.

The Goodreads study found that 84% of authors who ask in the back pages of their book for a review see an increase in reviews. So, ask for reviews in your book.

Collaboration

3.  Collaborating with Other Authors

For the most part writing is a solitary activity. However, publishing a book and marketing a book are not. It takes a team to publish a book—editors, cover designers, book designers, printers, etc.

Marketing—while it can be done in solitude—is much more effective when done in collaborative efforts with others. Joining together with other authors with the same target audience reaps more exposure and sales. When authors piggy-back on each other’s audiences, the reach is augmented.

On rare occasions, I stumble across Christian indie authors engaging in collaboration and doing it well. Yet, your marketing reach is greatly enhanced when you collaborate with other authors in creative ways like:

  • Creating boxed sets (a set of ebooks all sporting the same genre or theme)
  • Conducting a newsletter swaps (promoting each other’s books to your respective email lists)
  • Hosting combined author events (like a multi-author book signing)

If you are not using these three book marketing techniques, I encourage you to do so. In addition to helping you grow your audience, they won’t cost you a cent to implement.

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