Do You Know This Simple Facebook Trick?

Facebook is the most popular social networking site worldwide. With 2.1 billion active daily users, the site has been a great way for authors and publishers to connect with their audience. Sadly, that is changing.

Mark Zukerman, the founder of Facebook, has announced that he is changing Facebook’s algorithm to show more posts from family and friends in individual’s News Feeds, and to give preference to posts that get the most engagement (comments).

This is bad news for authors and publishers who have a Facebook Page (not a personal profile) for their fans to follow and engage with them on the social site. This change means that the already shrinking exposure for any given Facebook Page post will continue to shrink. Currently, less than 10% of the people who follow your Facebook page see any given information you post. This means that if you have 500 followers on Facebook, less than 50 of them will see anything you post.

Facebook has been decreasing the exposure for Facebook Pages for a couple years as they try to push you to spend money to get your information seen. You can pay to Boost a Post to all your followers and beyond, and you can pay to place ads on Facebook so more people are exposed to you and your books.

If you have put a lot of effort into building up your following on Facebook, this news can be very discouraging. After all, Facebook does provide a valuable avenue to connect with masses of people.

Don’t despair. I have a simple trick that you can use and you can get your followers to use so that you can stay in contact with them through Facebook. If you follow any Pages on Facebook, you can use this simple procedure to make sure you still see the information that these authors, musicians, and businesses post. You can also encourage your Facebook Page’s followers to implement this simple move so that they don’t miss any posts from you.

Here is the trick in three simple steps:

  1. Go to any Facebook Page you follow.
  2. Click on the down arrow next to “Following”.
  3. Then click “See First” under “In Your News Feed”.

Doing this ensures that anything this Facebook Page posts will show up in your News Feed. That way, you won’t miss anything from that Page.

If you follow Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) Facebook Page, I encourage you to enable the “See First” option so you don’t miss any of the great information we post there on a daily basis.

Just go to https://www.facebook.com/ChristianSmallPublishers and complete the three steps listed above. If you don’t yet follow CSPA on Facebook, I encourage you to do so and then enable the “See First” option.

This little Facebook trick can help you and all your fans stay abreast of all the great information your favorite Facebook Pages post.

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Are You Using Videos in Your Marketing Efforts?

In 2017, 90% of the most shared content on social media was in video format. The increase of video online is phenomenal. Check out these statistics:

  • 55% of people watch videos online every day.
  • By 2019, global consumer Internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic.
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others.
  • Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-users.

Not only are people watching videos online, businesses are finding that videos are effective in selling products. Here are some more statistics that back up this claim:

  • 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process.
  • Including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.

Videos are a powerful marketing tool. Should you be using them? Yes.

Creating videos to use in your book marketing campaigns can be a challenge, especially if you write fiction. Other than creating a book trailer for your book, what type of content should you put in your videos?

Interestingly, Curata, a content creation company, found that the top three most effective types of video content are:

  1. Customer testimonials (51%)
  2. Tutorial videos (50%)
  3. Demonstration videos (49%)

Here is the good news. Every author can create the most effective videos—customer testimonials.

Customer testimonial videos don’t have to be fancy. They can just be a quick 30 to 60 second video of a reader talking about how great your book is. Just like this testimonial video for my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace.

Getting customer testimonial videos doesn’t have to be difficult. With a Smartphone camera, you can take them and your readers can create them. Here are three quick ideas to help obtain customer testimonial videos on your book:

  1. Film your friends or family members who love your book sharing their thoughts.
  2. Ask your readers to film their review of your book and share it with you.
  3. Hold a contest with a great prize (like a gift card to a restaurant) and make the entry requirement be that readers share a video of themselves raving about your book.

Make videos a part of your marketing plan for 2018. Start today. Get one or two video testimonials from readers that you can share on your website and on all your social media channels.

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Conferences Are Worth It!

Why invest time and money to attend a writers conference when you can just watch a webinar online? After all, many online webinars are free, or at least cheaper than the cost to attend a conference.

I believe that there is great value in attending live events. Here are three reasons why attending a writers conferences provides greater benefit than reading a book, watching a webinar, or engaging on a forum.

1. The Live Experience

There’s nothing like being in the same room with other authors. Being with others of the same ilk in a room learning together heightens your senses. Learning in a live setting with others deepens the experience and makes it more meaningful.

2. Interaction with Experts

Writers conferences give you a great chance to not only learn from experts, but to interact with them one-on-one. Many conferences allow attendees to sign up for one-on-one consultations with the instructors so that you can glean from their expertise in the area that you need the most direction. Writers conferences truly give you the best return on your dollar in terms of training and consultation from experts. In addition, the passion and energy conference presenters exhibit are catching.

3. Networking

Due to the nature of writing, being an author can be isolating. Writers conferences are a great place to meet other authors. The networking opportunities are limitless. You can find others writing in the same genre who will be willing to support you, write you an endorsement or a review, or collaborate with you on a joint marketing venture. In addition, you will be amazed at what you learn just from talking with other authors.

In a nutshell, writers conferences offer you information, encouragement and support for your journey. I guarantee that if you attend a writers conference you will come away with a renewed vision and passion for your work—like this Christian writers conference attendee:

“I want to begin by thanking you for teaching such a wonderful and enlightening class at the Christian Writer’s Conference. I was blessed immensely with all that you shared, and it was an answer to prayer. I had intended to attend another continuing session when the Lord prompted me to attend yours instead. I’m so glad He did! It was precisely what I was praying for and needing. I can honestly say that because of your class, I was able to return home with everything I had wished to glean.” ~Erin

Writers conferences are not just for aspiring authors. Many Christian writers conferences often have more attendees that are already published authors than those who are not. After all, you can always learn new skills and strategies to improve your craft.

If you live in or near the Carolinas, I invite you to join me at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on March 9th and 10th. I will be teaching two workshops. You can learn more about the conference at https://www.fbs.org/christian-writers-conference-2018.

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Enhance Your Marketing with Bonus Content

Recently, BookBub ran a compilation of New Year’s Resolutions from bestselling authors. Each of these resolutions focused on what the author is planning to do in 2018 to more effectively market her book.

One author’s resolution stood out for me. I thought it was worth sharing.

Debbie Macomber is an extremely successful American author. She writes romance novels and contemporary women’s fiction. Six of her novels have become made-for-TV movies and her Cedar Cove series of novel was adapted into the television series of the same name. Many of her books have been on the New York Times bestselling list.

I am seriously impressed by the extras she provides her readers. Here is what she said on BookBub:

“I have always been an author that wanted to do more, something extra above and beyond. In many of my books I have included a recipe used in the book, a knitting pattern or anything to enhance the reader’s experience of connecting to the story while reading the book. Something little, not a lot, but that has garnered big results. I have also built up my reading list by expanding on the experience while reading the books by providing town maps, character lists, and newspaper articles surrounding the series. In today’s digital world, I often offer themed recipe and holiday cards for readers to print and use as well as desktop wallpapers. Each book has a Pinterest page associated with it to help inspire readers to connect to the story in as many ways as possible. Since these efforts have allowed me to engage more with my readers, I’d like to create more of these types of assets in 2018.”

I think this concept of bonus content is worth exploring further. Let me break out for you the type of bonus content that Debbie Macomber gives her readers:

  • Themed recipes
  • Knitting patterns
  • Maps
  • Character lists
  • Newspaper articles related to her story
  • Desktop wallpapers
  • Dedicated Pinterest Board for each book related to topics in the book

Whether you are a fiction or a nonfiction author, you can take a lesson from Debbie Macomber. Providing your readers with bonus content is a great marketing tool. Bonus content rewards your readers and enhances a connection between you (the author) and your readers.

I encourage you to follow Debbie’s example and make one of your goal’s this year to create bonus content to enhance your marketing efforts.

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Do You Believe in Your Book?

I recently heard about a woman who loves to write. People who read her manuscript tell her that her book would sell. The writing is phenomenal.

Because this woman does not have a platform and would be a first-time author, others encouraged her to indie publish her book. One indie publisher actually offered to publish it for her.

However, the woman declined. She did not like the idea of having to promote and market her book. She did not want to do all those activities. Instead, she wanted someone to do those for her.

She found a company that told her they would publish and market her book for $10,000. They showed her how to start a Go Fund Me account to have people give her the $10,000.

Here is the irony. It takes promotion and marketing to get people to fund a crowdfunding project. So, whether this woman wanted to admit it or not, she had already begun to promote and market her book—the very thing she was opposed to doing.

If you are like this woman and don’t like the idea of promoting or marketing your book, consider this question:

Do I believe that my book has the power to help someone change their life for eternity?

Marketing a Christian book is a lot like sharing the Gospel. How will people hear and believe unless you tell them?

It’s not “send someone else” but “Here I am, send me.”

You won’t spread the Gospel if you don’t believe it is true and has the power to change people’s lives. The same is true for your book. You have to believe in your book, that it has information that people need to improve their lives to be able to promote it.

Here is another way to look at it:

  • Would you send ten emails to turn a person away from bitterness to forgiveness?
  • Could you push yourself to do a radio interview if you knew someone listening would seek treatment for their addiction and be restored to God?
  • How many restored marriages is a book signing worth?

Here’s the deal. When God is in an activity with you, it’s not your power, your strength, your genius that is driving the results. It’s God.

Marketing your Christian book is not about promoting yourself. It’s about promoting a message that the God of the Universe entrusted you to write down and share. It’s about spreading the Gospel and bringing light to a dark world.

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Photo courtesy of Ben White.