Which One Are You?

Most people know about the 80/20 rule. 20% of the people do 80% of the work. 80% of a church’s budget is met by the tithe of 20% of the congregation. 20% of the users of social media post 80% of the content.

80-20-Rule-JPEG

I believe that the world would be a better place if we applied the 80/20 rule to our everyday lives. Imagine how different the world would be if everyone spent 80% of their time listening to what others have to say and only 20% of their time talking.

You might be thinking, how does the 80/20 rule apply to promoting a book? After all, you think, to promote a book, I need to talk a lot. I have to talk on blogs, talk in person, talk on social media, etc. True, promoting a book does take a lot of talk, but remember, part of promoting a book is “connecting” with your audience.So think of the rule as spending 80% of your time connecting with your audience and 20% of your time promoting your book.

This 80/20 rule is especially important for your social media communications. Since you may be part of that 20% of the people producing 80% of the content on social media, consider how you might spend more time “connecting” with your followers.

One way to do this is to keep 80% of your posts reserved for connecting with your audience by showing them you care. Showing care to your audience can be in the form of social media posts that:

  1. Share news that your target audience is interested in.
  2. Share tips that would make your audience’s life easier in some way.
  3. Share interesting and humorous anecdotes from your own life that people can relate to.
  4. Respond empathetically to your audiences’ posts, comments, and stated concerns.

Then, the remaining 20% of your posts can focus on promoting your books. Try not to do the “buy my book” routine with these posts. Instead, share what readers are saying about your book, share specials you are hosting, and share excerpts and tips from your book.

Related Posts:
Are You Paying Attention?
Social Media Tips for Authors.

Bookmark and Share

Expectations

Expectations: We all have them. You have them about the books you write, publish, and sell. Most likely you expect your book to be well received by readers, you expect it to touch people’s hearts and lives, you expect it to get good reviews, and you expect your book to sell well.

Often many of our expectations are not met. This can lead to frustration and discouragement. We can even begin to question whether God really called us to write and publish what we thought we were called to do.

Most new products follow a typical curve of expectation, disappointment, and reality. It looks like this:

Expectation curveThis curve is not just true for books. It is true for most new product releases.

Yes, God may well have put the desire in your heart to write and publish. If you are in the trough of disappointment right now with your book, ask yourself: Did your expectations come from God or yourself?

Take heart. Remember that God will accomplish the purpose he ordained for your book. His ways are not our ways. God will establish and bless the work of your hands in His way. This may not always line up with your expectations, but it will accomplish the purpose God has intended for it.

Related Posts:
There is No Magic Pill
Learning From the Numbers

Bookmark and Share

The Most Common Error

However, what bothered me most about this book was the need for some serious editing. I find it quite difficult to take an author seriously who has not checked for spelling, grammar, word usage, and accurate Biblical quotes.

This recent comment from a BookCrash book reviewer is not a comment you should ever see for a book that you publish. There is no need.

errors

Sadly, while some things this reviewer said about the reviewed book were positive, she only gave the book a one-star review on Amazon due to the need for editing.

Don’t let this happen to you. Get your manuscript edited and proofread by a professional! Nothing kills a book’s sales faster than poor editing and proofreading that leaves grammatical and spelling errors.

One of the most common flaws in self-published books is the presence of typos. Even books published by traditional publishing houses can sometimes contain a typo or two. However, when the number of unintentionally misspelled words becomes noticeable in a book, it distracts the reader and takes away from the book’s message.

To keep typos from preventing an adverse reaction to your book by your readers (and book reviewers), get it proofread. If you truly do not have the funds to hire a professional proofreader, then you need to learn do it yourself with diligence.

Two tips the experts recommend for effective self-checking of a manuscript include:

  1. Read every letter. When we are familiar with what we have written, we have a tendency to read what we expect to see instead of what is actually there. Force yourself to look at every letter.
  2. Read the manuscript backwards. Reading backwards helps you to focus on each word, not on what the content is saying. This perspective helps you catch spelling errors (although it often does not help with typos such as “hut vs hurt” where both are actual words but one may not fit the content).

Too many independently published authors skimp on the important steps of editing and proofing reading their manuscript when publishing a book. Don’t make this mistake. Invest in your book and you will reap the reward in sales.

Related Posts:
How’s Your Grammar?
The Inside Does Matter.

Bookmark and Share

Above and Beyond

When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised by a customer service experience? Anytime a business goes above and beyond in providing good customer service, they gain a loyal customer.

customer-loyalty-2

Recently, I had one of those pleasant surprises. One of Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) Partner Members went above and beyond.

In June, CSPA had taken out a full-page cooperative ad featuring books from some of our member publishers’ books in the Book Fun Magazine. I was recently contacted by the magazine asking for update info for the ad, which they were going to be running in the August issue of the magazine.

I immediately contacted Book Fun Magazine to get clarification. I figured this must be a mistake. After all, CSPA had only paid for the ad to run one month, in June. Their response was that there was no mistake. They told me to read their tagline. Here is what their tagline reads:

“We reserve the right to do more than we promise.”

Wow. This company was running our ad for an extra month. Why? Because they reserve the right to do more than they promise. Running CSPA’s cooperative ad for an additional month has scored major points with us.

How are you doing in providing exceptional customer service? Do you ever go above and beyond with your customers?

Bookmark and Share

Book Awards Matter

Standing out from the competition is a problem every author faces. Gaining exposure and recognition for your book is tough. One avenue to earn your book additional notice is to enter it into book award contests.

award winning author

As an award-winning author, myself, I can attest to the following five reasons to enter your book into book award contests:

  1. A book award gives you another opportunity to receive media coverage.
  2. Awards create interest in your book, which can lead to more sales.
  3. A book award can give your book an edge over other books in your genre / subject matter.
  4. If you win a book award, you get to bill yourself as an award-winning author.
  5. Entering award is a low cost marketing endeavor.

If you have written or published a book for the Christian marketplace, I encourage you to enter the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. Nominations for this award are open through November 15, 2015.

Nominations are accepted in 14 categories: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Bible Study/Theology, Biography/Memoir, Christian Education, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive.

To be eligible for this award, books must be published in 2014 or 2015 by an author or publisher with annual revenues of $400,000 or less. Nominated books must be Christian in nature and intended for the Christian marketplace. All nominated books must be printed in English and for sale in the United States.

Any small publisher can nominate books for the award. Nominations are accepted in the following categories: General Fiction, Romance, Bible Study/Theology, Biography, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive.

Christian retailers and book readers will be invited to vote on the nominated titles in February and March 2016. The winners of the award will be the books that receive the most votes.

Complete guidelines, eligibility, and the nomination form can be found on the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award’s website at http://www.bookoftheyear.net.

P.S. The Award Winning Author stickers (as pictured above) can be purchased on the Autographed by the Author website. They are a smart marketing idea. Any author who has had one book win an award can place these stickers on all the other books he or she has published.

Bookmark and Share