A Special Offer

Out with the old, in with the new!

This American idiom is usually said at the beginning of a new year. With a new year—2021—right around the corner, now is the time to contemplate this idea.

What new things or fresh start are you going to usher in with the new year?

In regards to writing, publishing, and marketing books, what do you need to focus on or do more of?

  • Writing
  • Publishing more books
  • Book promotion
  • Book marketing
  • Networking

Joining a professional publishing association can help you with your goals for 2021. Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) provides its Members with information, tools, and cost-saving benefits to help both indie authors and small publishers have more success with publishing and marketing Christian books. Members have access to:

  • Checklists for designing a professional book and book marketing activity timeline.
  • Webinars to increase your proficiency.
  • Cost savings when publishing a book including discount on purchasing ISBNs and free title uploads and revisions with IngramSpark.
  • Mastermind groups in 2021 for learning and networking with likeminded individuals.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has been helping authors and publishers since 2004. As one Members says:

“CIPA has been the most helpful resource for self-publishers I have found. Thank you for the monthly journal and the videos.” —Kathy

Right now, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is offering a Membership special for 2021.Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

Join the Association for just $90 for the 2021 calendar year and you will receive a FREE copy of Sarah Bolme’s award winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books!

If you are not already a Member of CIPA, don’t miss out on this great deal! Join the Association today. JUST CLICK HERE!

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3 Ways to Amplify Your Readers’ Praise

They say 90% of the promotion of a book comes through word of mouth. But you’ve somehow got to get your book into the hands of those mouths first!”  —Claudia Osmond, author

This quote sums up the struggle all authors and publishers face. The first step is getting your books into the hands of people who would love to talk about them. The next step is amplifying those word-of-mouth messages.

Amplify Your Readers' Praise

The more people talking about your books, the more noise they make. When noise is generated, other readers take notice. Sadly, if you have not yet developed a large following of readers, the noise your reader’s word-of-mouth makes may be more like a whisper.

Your challenge is to take that whisper and amplify it so that it becomes louder so more people can hear it. This is where the strategy of engaging your readers to help you market your book comes into play. As an author, you can engage your readers in your marketing efforts in the following three ways.

1.  Feature testimonials.

Readers that enjoy or benefit from your book will sometimes write a review, share a thought with you, or even give you a testimonial on how your book has helped them. Post these reviews, thoughts, and testimonials on your website, share them across your social media platforms, and use them in your marketing materials. They are gold.

2.  Elicit feedback.

One great way to engage your readers is to ask them for feedback. You can use opinion polls to ask your readers and fans which one of two characters in your book they liked better, which of two pieces of advice helped them the most, etc.

Post these polls on your blog and social media sites to encourage readers to interact with you. You can use a service like FyreBox, Interact, or SurveyMonkey to create free quizzes.

Once you have responses to your quiz, then use the responses to magnify your readers’ word-of-mouth further. Post the quiz results on your blog and social media sites. Spread the news about what readers are saying about your book based on your quiz.

3.  Leverage social proof.

“Social proof” is a term that refers to the phenomenon that people assume that others possess more knowledge about a situation or product than they do. Thus, individuals look at what other people are doing or saying to help them decide how they will act.

You can leverage social proof by using reach marketing. Reach marketing is where your followers spread your message to their followers on social media and thus exponentially expand the reach or your message. You can use a service like Pay with a Tweet to offer content or a discount to readers in exchange for a social media post about the content or discount.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.

Use Social Proof to Sell More Books

We are social creatures. As humans, we are influenced by others. The choices others make influence our own decisions.

This powerful force—called Social Proof—is important for authors to be aware of and use. Evidence that other people have purchased and found value in your book is social proof. People are more likely to purchase a book that others are already buying.

Use Social Proof to Sell More Books

Social proof is an influential selling tool. As an author you can use social proof in the following three ways to help you sell more books.

1.  Endorsements

An endorsement by an expert, a celebrity, or a person of influence is social proof that important people find your book worthwhile. Securing endorsements for your book demonstrates to potential readers that your book is worth their money and time.

Often independent authors don’t take the time and effort to secure endorsements. Yet, endorsements help you sell more books. Most best-selling books sport endorsements because publishers know that endorsements are social proof that a book is worthy of readers’ attention.

2.  Reviews

Positive reviews by readers is another form of social proof. When current users of a product or service praise it, others can feel left out and want to have the same experience these users are having. This is why business reviews on Yelp and Facebook are so popular.

People do consult reviews before they make a purchase decision. In fact, according to a 2017 study by Spiegel Research Center, nearly 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase.

The power of this social proof increases as the number of positive reviews increase. That same study by Spiegel found that having five reviews increased people’s purchase likelihood by a factor of four.

Secure reviews for your book. Ask your friends, members of your writing group, and your followers on social media to write a review of your book. One study by Goodreads found that 84% of authors who asked for reviews saw an increase in the number of reviews they received on their book.

 3.  Awards

A stamp or seal of approval by an authority in an industry is another form of social proof. Think about the Academy Awards. Any movie that wins an Academy Award receives a seal of approval that raises the movie’s esteem in the eyes of the viewing public. The same is true for book awards.

Winning a book award is a form of social proof. Of course, you can’t win a book award unless you nominate your book for an award. So, take the time and money to enter book award contests. A win will boost the social proof for your book and result in more sales.

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Photo courtesy of carlos pereyra.

10 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know

Social media is an important part of many successful book marketing campaigns. For authors, social media can help you broaden your audience and increase your reach—exposing more people to you and your books.

If you use social media as part of your book marketing efforts, below are 10 social media statistics that you need to know. In particular, these two statistics stood out for me:

  • 54% of social browsers use social media to research products (this includes books).
  • 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations on social media.

These statistics indicate that if you can get your readers and fans to talk positively about your book on social media, sales will follow.

10 Social Media Statistics

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Your Book Matters

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on our world. COVID is damaging our human connections.

Your Book Matters

A recent study by Barna found:

The relational well-being of Americans was already strained prior to the pandemic. U.S. adults and practicing Christians alike noted anxiety and depression as the most commonly faced challenges to relational satisfaction, with 40 percent of all U.S. adults and 34 percent of practicing Christians saying this is true.

More than half of all U.S. adults (58%) and practicing Christians (54%) say they have at least one relational or emotional / mental health issue that impacts their relationships. Younger generations were also already reporting higher levels of loneliness and a longing for connection.

A pandemic shakes up our sense of safety. It brings a new struggle to life. Struggles often highlight deep wounds and problems that lurk in our lives. Issues like:

  • Ungrieved losses.
  • Unresolved conflict.
  • Unforgiven hurts.
  • Unconfronted sin.

Christians and non-believers alike need the Good News that you share in your book. This Good News includes:

  • You are not alone.
  • Jesus loves you.
  • Jesus still heals.
  • Jesus gives new and abundant life.
  • Joy is available for the taking.
  • Heaven—a place with no more sorrows—awaits you.

Studies reveal that during this pandemic, people are reading more. In fact, Unit sales of print books were up 6.4% in the first nine months of 2020.

This means that the interest in books has increased this year. Now is a great time to let people know about your book and how your book can give them a solution to a struggle they face.

Right now, people desperately need hope. God’s timing is not wrong. Your book is just what someone needs today to improve their life.

Don’t shrink from promoting your book as this pandemic continues to rage. Someone needs to hear the words of encouragement, healing, and hope that your book offers.

In January of this year, I presented a keynote address at the Capital Christian Writers Fellowship Conference. The topic of the keynote was “What Makes a Book Christian?”

What Makes a Book Christian?

In my talk, I proposed that the following three things make a book “Christian”:

  1. Points People to God
  2. Reveals Biblical Truth
  3. Offers Hope

This last one—hope—is in short supply today. Globally one million people commit suicide every year—that is one person every 40 seconds. Calls to suicide hotlines have skyrocketed during the pandemic.

By the way, Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) have access to the audio file of the complete 40-minute talk.

If you are struggling with how best to promote your book, I suggest that you read my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books. It is full of great ideas with specific resources to help you get the word out about your book.

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Photo by Christina Morillo.