13 Pricing Hacks to Increase Sales

For independent authors and small publishers selling books, there is a lot to learn—especially if you do not have a business or marketing background. Fortunately, there is a lot of information available for those who want to learn.

Smart retailers use pricing tricks, based on brain science, to appeal to shopper’s perception of quality, value, and cost to drive sales. You can employ one or two of the techniques that smart retailers use to improve your book sales. Check out these 13 psychological pricing strategies compiled by Wikibuy.

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You Are More Than an Author

I know a pastor who puts three titles on his email signature. He doesn’t just list “Pastor”, he lists:

Visioneer   *   Guide   *   Pastor

Just as this pastor believes that he is more than a pastor, you, too, are more than an author.

With close to two million books published every year in the world, you have to be more than an author to sell your books. You must add a couple more roles. To sell books, you should also be a marketer and a thought leader.

I know that sounds overwhelming. You’re probably thinking, “You have got to be kidding. Now, in addition to writing compelling prose, I have to also become a marketing ninja and a persuasion guru.

It’s not as complicated as that, but yes, you do need to be more than an author. To put it more simply, you also have to be able to convince people to buy your book and have your ideas taken seriously.

Let’s take a closer look at these two additional roles of marketer and thought leader.

Marketer

A marketer is simply someone that promotes or sells a product or service. In your case, you are promoting your book. You do this anytime you draw readers’ attention to your book. Whether this is through social media, speaking engagements, paid advertisements, book signings, or other marketing avenues, when you participate in activities that draw people’s attention to your book, you are fulfilling this role.

Most authors understand that they must sometimes put on the marketer hat to sell books. Many authors don’t like this role. They prefer to just write. Sadly, writing alone no longer sells books. The competition is too fierce.

Thought Leader

A thought leader is someone who has authoritative or influential views on a subject. All nonfiction authors should consider themselves a thought leader. After all, you wrote the book on the subject. This means you are an expert and have an influential view of the subject matter. Fiction authors are thought leaders in the genre they write in.

Thought leaders spread their influence through blogs, articles, books, and speaking engagements. Your readers view you, the author, as a thought leader and look to you for advice and guidance.

As an author, you are also a thought leader for good books. The interest in books is still high for those who like to read. Your followers and fans are hungry for good book recommendations. As a thought leader and author, you should be recommending books to your audience.

Many authors are reluctant to recommend books to their audience because they feel that they are pointing these people away from their books to someone else’s book. This simply is not true.

Fans of an author really love it when the author introduces them to good books by other authors in the same genre. Doing this keeps your name in front of these readers and helps their trust in you grow.

No longer think of yourself as just an author. Remember, if you are selling your books, you are more than an author, you are also a marketer and a thought leader. Now you have three titles you can add to your signature.

P.S. If you need more marketing ideas, you can preorder the Fourth Edition of my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books!

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Photo courtesy of geralt.

Don’t Get Taken by a Salesman

“You’re a good salesman, if you make people buy product they don’t need.” —Toba Beta

I am not a sales person. I know how to market, but hand-selling through persuasion is not my strong point. A good salesperson knows how to play on your FOMO (fear of missing out). He or she will convince you that if you don’t buy what they are selling that you will miss out.

An independent author of a specialty book recently asked me for recommendations of who he should talk to in the publishing industry for furthering his distribution and sales. I gave him a list of a few companies and he set off to a trade show.

After the trade show, this author called and told me that the companies I told him to meet with did not impress him much. He then relayed that he had met a gentleman who had a publishing house that really impressed him. He stated that the man was interested in publishing his book and wondered if he should take him up on his offer.

With a little more questioning, I discovered that the “impressive” gentleman was the owner of a subsidy (sometimes called vanity or custom) publishing house. This gentleman was willing to take the author’s money to republish his book and place it into distribution.

I explained this to the author and told him that this publishing house would redesign and republish his book and place it in distribution, but they would not “sell” his book for him. This would still be his job.

It appears this author had been taken in by a salesman. The subsidy publisher knew his stuff and was able to “sell” his business well. The other companies I had suggested the author meet with were not about “sales”.  These companies don’t take money upfront like a vanity press. Rather, they make money on how they perform (when they actually move product).

The companies that make money on their performance don’t need to sell anything. Instead, they want to make sure you, the author or publisher, has a product they think they can sell and sell well. They were not “selling” anything to this author, so they had no need to be impressive.

Later in our conversation, the independent author reported that the salesman who he had been so impressed with had admitted that the best way to make money on selling books is for authors to sell them direct to consumers.

Bingo! Mixed into his great sales pitch was the hard truth.

Few publishers—whether traditional or vanity—have a robust program to sell books directly to consumers. Selling directly to consumers is usually left to the author.

I explained to this author that the best marketing plan is a well-rounded plan that includes a variety of sales channels including:

  1. Distribution for bookstore and library sales.
  2. Marketing to bookstores and libraries.
  3. Direct to consumer marketing through a website, blog, social media, email marketing, and print media, as well as speaking engagements.
  4. Pursuing bulk sales via catalogs and organizations.

Don’t be taken by a smooth-talking salesman. Selling books is hard work. Anyone who tells you that they will take a large chunk of your money to sell your books will do just that—take your money. Remember, the vast majority of authors and many publishers struggle to sell enough books to make a profit.

Christian Indie Publishing Association exists to educate small publishers and independent authors on cost-effective ways to market books. All our marketing programs are cooperative and low-cost because we understand that return on investment when promoting books is slow and difficult. If you are looking for information and resources to help you develop a robust marketing plan, join the association today!

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Photos courtesy of Mohamed Hassan.

Marketing Is a Mindset

Do you want to know what the secret to selling books is? The answer can be summed up in one word: Marketing.

Jack Canfield, best-selling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series should know. He encourages authors to “Spend 90% of your time marketing, selling, and promoting your book.

Then Neil Bradman says, “”90% of marketing doesn’t work because it doesn’t get done.

Marketing is a Mindsest

I know that I don’t do enough marketing. I believe most authors and publishers are in the same boat. We know that there is more that we can do, but we don’t—often because of constraints like time, money, ideas, and even bandwidth.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

We can distill these activities into one sentence: Marketing is about persuading someone to take an action (click on a link, download a free ebook, buy your book, etc.). To persuade someone to take the action you want them to take, you have to know who is most likely going to want to take the action. In other words, marketing is also about knowing who your target audience is.

Many authors want to write something. So, they go about writing, and then they try to figure out who the book is for. Editors of large publishing houses know this. That is why they are gatekeepers. Their job is to find the books that speak to their customers and their needs.

But here is the catch. If you write the book first and then try to figure out who your target audience is, you have a lot more work and less chance of speaking in a meaningful way to that audience (resulting in fewer sales) then if you know who you are writing to before you pen your book.

Good marketing includes an understanding of how your book will fit people’s needs, wants, values, and lives.  Marketing is not a set of activities that you engage in once you have a book. It’s a mindset. It becomes 90% of what you do when you keep your target audience in mind with every step you take in the book publishing process, starting with the conceptualization.  Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you need help with either developing a marketing mindset or ideas for marketing your books, I am pleased to announce that the Fourth Edition of my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books will be released at the end of February!

The book is available for preorder at a special rate of $22.00 that includes free shipping in the US (retail price is $24.99). Order your copy TODAY by Clicking Here.

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Photo courtesy of Geralt.

#NationalLibraryLoversMonth

There are thousands of libraries in the United States. These range from public libraries to school libraries, to academic libraries to military libraries to church libraries and more.

Libraries have a strong impact on communities and people. Studies show:

  • Americans check out an average of seven items per year from the library.
  • Three-fourths of Americans say that public libraries provide them with the resources they need.
  • 65% of Americans say libraries help them grow as people.
  • Over half (53%) of Millennials use their library card each year.
  • Americans go to school, public, and academic libraries three times more frequently than they go to the movies.

Libraries are great for authors. Libraries encourage reading and authors need readers to buy their books. Libraries also help introduce people to new authors, which can drive word-of-mouth recommendation and sales. Additionally, libraries provide another avenue for sales for books for authors and publishers.

February is National Library Lovers Month

The entire month of February is dedicated to the people and places that are devoted to the reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying and otherwise loving books.

As an author, your support of #NationalLibraryLoversMonth is important. Every author should be concerned about literacy and the ongoing promotion of reading in our society. Libraries, as institutions, stand for reading and promote reading. In addition, when you support libraries through donations of Christian books or events featuring Christian books, you spread the Gospel message and bring hope and healing to this world.

Here are six ways that you can love your local library this month (and a nice graphic that you can share):

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