Three Tips for Selling Books to Millennials

Maybe you are wondering “Why so much emphasis on Millennials?”

Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, form the biggest generation in U.S. history, even larger than the Baby Boomer generation. Millennials are moving into their prime spending years, and, as such, command a good percentage of purchases, including book purchases. Therefore, it is important to understand what drives this generation and how to best reach them with your marketing message.

Do you want to sell your books to Millennials? Then consider these three characteristics of this generation and adjust your marketing accordingly.

1. Millennials are readers.

Reports from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) and Pew Research reveal that individuals aged 18 to 35 outmatch other age groups in the number of books purchased and read each year. Millennials are also more likely to visit a library than other generations. A study by Pew Research found that 53% of Millennials used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months.

This is good news for authors. However, just because Millennials read does not mean that they will read your book. Keep in mind that Millennials are also socially conscious. They aren’t so much concerned about the product, they want to know the back story. When marketing to Millennials share with them the back story to your book. Hook them with the uniqueness of your book and its message and how it relates to the things they are most concerned about.

2. Millennials are social.

This generation is connected via social networking sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. This is their primary means of communication. This generation knows what their peers are reading and purchasing. Social influence is a big factor in what Millennials choose to purchase.

However, Millennials are not fans. They want to be active participants. They want to be part of the conversation and have influence. To reach this group, you need to show up where they hang out on social media. Join the conversation and invite them to interact with you. Respect their intelligence and ask for their input.

3. Millennials are bargain shoppers.

Millennials get marketing. They grew up with it. They are smart and don’t fall for the usually marketing tricks. Millennials want bargains. Over half (57%) compare prices while shopping. This generation wants maximum convenience at the lowest cost. After all, they have huge student loan debt.

When selling your books to Millennials, offer them a bargain. Give them a coupon or discount that they can make use of.

Have you had success in reaching Millennials? If so, I would love to hear what has worked for you.

Related Posts:
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Are Millennials Buying Your Books?

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Photo courtesy of Zachary Nelson.

The Goal of Advertising

Most independently published authors shy away from paid advertising for their books. After all, paid advertising sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s usually expensive and the benefits (sales reaped) often don’t equal the money spent.

Interestingly, a new survey from Clutch, a B2B ratings and review firm, found that advertisements influence 90% of consumers in their purchasing decisions. That makes advertising a powerful tool.

The survey also looked at which advertising mediums consumers found the most trustworthy. People find traditional advertising mediums (TV, print, radio) more trustworthy than digital advertising (online, social media).

In addition, this survey revealed that Millennials are more likely to make a purchase after seeing or hearing advertisements than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. About 81% of millennials surveyed (those ages 18 to 34) made a purchase after seeing or hearing an advertisement in the last 30 days. The survey also found that Millennials trust advertising more than older generations.

This is good news for authors seeking to reach Millennials. If this younger generation is your target audience, you may experience more success with paid advertisements than those authors trying to reach older generations.

 

The truth is, for advertising to work the following must happen:

  1. You have to use the right vehicle to reach your target audience.
    Your target audience must match the target audience of the newspaper, magazine, website, or radio show where your advertisement is run.
  2. You have to convey the benefits of your book in your ad.
    After all, advertising is all about persuasion.
  3. You have to have repeat exposure for people to be convinced.
    People need to see or hear about a new product seven to twelve times before they decide to purchase. And it’s important to advertise through multiple mediums to engage consumers.

This quote by Mitch Leigh sums up what the purpose of advertising is:

“You can’t make money on advertising; you just have to seed the clouds. What you’re after is word of mouth.”

Whenever you decide to use paid advertisement, remember that your goal is to ultimately generate word of mouth for your book. You want the few people who purchase your book through an advertisement to love it so much that they tell all their friends and acquaintances about it. For that to happen, your book must be compelling.

Related Posts:
10 Book Advertising Ideas for the Physical World
How Visuals Affect Purchasing Decisions
Are Millennials Buying Your Books?

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Photo courtesy of Ben White.

How to Become an Indie Author

One study shows that 80% of people feel they have a book inside of them. If you have a book inside of you that is waiting to come out, now is a great time to make your dream come true.

Independent publishing is growing. The cost to produce a book is within the average person’s reach, and with the Internet, marketing opportunities are right at your fingertips.

So, becoming an independent author is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Simply write your book, publish it, and then start selling. Wait—is it really that easy?

Sadly, some new indie authors fall into this belief system. These authors fail to learn what is required to produce a quality book that resembles books published by traditional publishing houses. Then they get frustrated when their book doesn’t sell.

If you are thinking about publishing a book as an indie author, I encourage you to gain the knowledge you need to produce a quality book that meets industry standards and glorifies God. Here are two ways you can get that information:

1. Attend my “Going Indie” seminar at the upcoming Write to Impact Lives Conference.

The Write to Impact Lives Conference will be held in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, on February 9 to 10, 2018. I will teach a four-hour session on Friday afternoon that will cover everything you need to know to publish an industry-standard book. The seminar will cover:

  • Three things to do before you publish your book.
  • Preparing your manuscript for publishing including editing, interior layout and design, and your book cover design.
  • Publishing your book affordably.

If you do not live near Philadelphia, you have another option to get this great information.

2. Become a Member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is open to individuals who have published or are considering publishing a book. You do not have to have already published a book to join the association.

Members of CSPA have access to on-demand seminars covering all the information you need to publish an industry standard book. CSPA Members also have access to a Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book. Additionally, as a Member of Christian Small Publishers Association, you have access to free title setup and revisions with IngramSpark, a print-on-demand service that also provides distribution for your book.

Membership in CSPA is just $90 for the 2018 calendar year. You can join today on CSPA’s website.

Make 2018 the year you indie publish that book you have been wanting to complete!

Related Posts:
Sales of Indie Books Continue to Grow
Oh, The Places Your Book Will Go!
It’s Never Too Late

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All Good Things…

It’s a familiar phrase: All good things must come to an end.

Sadly, another good thing has come to an end in the world of book publishing.

Since 2007, Goodreads has provided an online community for book lovers. This social networking site allows readers to catalog books they have read, keep lists of books they want to read, provide reviews of books they have read, talk about books they are reading, and enter contests to win free books. For authors, Goodreads is a wonderful place to connect with readers, gain wider exposure for books, and potentially garner more book reviews.

Up until the beginning of this year, the Goodreads book giveaway program was a free program for all—both the author giving a book away and the reader receiving the book. Starting January 9, Goodreads’ new policy goes into effect making this book giveaway program a “pay to play” arrangement.

Moving forward, to place your book into a Goodreads’ book giveaway contest will cost you $119 (if you want premium exposure, you can pay $599).

With the change to a paying program, Goodreads now allows authors to giveaway either a print copy of the book or a Kindle version of the book (remember, Goodreads is owned by Amazon). They have also added a few additional features including:

  • Readers who enter a giveaway automatically have the book added to their Want-to-Read list.
  • The author’s followers and everyone who has already added the book to their Want-to-Read list get a notification about the giveaway.
  • Eight weeks after your Giveaway ends, winners receive an email from Goodreads to remind them to rate and review the book.

I believe that one reason Goodreads has implemented this pay-to-play policy is because the number of book giveaways on their site has grown exponentially as the number of independently published books has grown over the past few years.

In creating a pay-to-play program, Goodreads can keep the number of giveaways contests running at one time to a more reasonable level. My most recent count showed that on one day in December, Goodreads was running 2,700 book giveaways. In other words, as a Goodreads member, I could enter to win 2,700 separate book giveaways.

The beauty of the Goodreads free giveaway contests was that they allowed authors to gain exposure for their books for free. Book discovery is a huge challenge for independently published authors—one that will only become greater as the number of books published continues to grow.

Sadly, there are no quick and surefire methods to ensuring that your book is discovered by dozens of readers. I believe that the best advice for promoting a book was given by King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 11:6:

“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

Heed this advice. Do a little of this and a little of that, and slowly people’s awareness of your book will grow.

Related Posts:
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Sales Data Worth Mining

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Photo courtesy of Skitterphoto.

Inspiration for 2018

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018. Another year, another new beginning, another chance to meet your goals and move into your dreams.

To start 2018, I want to encourage and inspire you with six pieces of wisdom from books I read in 2017. Takes these nuggets of truth and carry them with you as beacons to light your path this year.

On Writing and Marketing:
“The beauty of content is that it isn’t just for marketing. It also grows the content creator at the same time. Creating content forces you to grapple with ideas and grow and evolve your thinking.”
Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi

 

On Personal Development:
“When we feel powerful, we’re less self-conscious about expressing our feelings and beliefs, and that frees us to think and do great things.”
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

 

On Perseverance:
“Sometimes the things we would never pick for our lives gives us opportunities to receive God’s provision, to see Him working in ways we otherwise might not experience.”
Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors

 

On Relationships:
“The best apologies are short, and don’t go on to include explanations that run the risk of undoing them. An apology isn’t the only chance you ever get to address the underlying issue. The apology is the chance you get to establish the ground for future communication. This is an important and often overlooked distinction.”
Why Won’t You Apologize? by Harriet Lerner

 

On Faith:
“If someone believes it is our faith that heals us and forgets that it is God who does it, we should ask that person how much faith Lazarus had. Remember, he was decomposing in a tomb when Jesus raised him from death. His faith obviously didn’t matter. It was all God. It is God and God’s grace that heals, not our prayers and not our “faith.” Though we are exhorted by God to pray to him, we cannot compel him to do what we wish.”
Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life by Eric Metaxas

 

On Hope:
“I was seized with the reality that God does do something about evil. This was a defining moment for me: I realized that, no matter what anyone else says, we can pierce through the darkness, and it is worth it to bring the light of God to those deeply hurt by the darkness of this world.”
God Is for Real by Todd Burpo

 

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Attitude: Is Yours Helping or Hurting?
Are You Running With This?
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