Convert Your Fans to Customers

Are you feeling like all your social media efforts are for naught? That all your time in social media is going down a black hole?

If you are then, first consider, are you being personal and engaging? Are you adding value by giving insight and information to others? Are you acting in a socially acceptable manner?

Being pushy about your books on social media will turn people off. However, there are some acceptable ways to utilize calls to action to help move fans to consumers.

Watch this short video to learn more.

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Are You Competing in a Marathon?

I have never run a marathon. Twenty-six miles is not even on my bucket list of things to do in my lifetime. I have, however, participated in another type of marathon—marketing and selling the same book for ten years.

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Too many independently published authors I have the privilege of talking to don’t endure the whole race. Instead, they have a spring mentality and, thus, burn out and quit the race early.

Book sales don’t come overnight. They must be cultivated. Some people are slow to warm up to purchasing a book. Remember, on average, it takes seven to twelve times of exposure to a product before a consumer decides to make a purchase. I know, I tend to be one of those slow consumers.

Two years ago, I heard an author speak at a seminar I attended. I did not buy this gentleman’s book that day, but I did add it to my list for later. Now, two years later, I have finally gotten around to purchasing a copy of his book to read.

Had this author had a sprint mentality, his book would no longer be available for me to purchase new. All that would be available would be used copies and, in that case, this author would have missed out on earning money from my purchase.

I know that I am not the only consumer who may take awhile to decide to purchase a book I hear about. Take heart, if you are an independently published author, stay in the race and you will most likely continue to sell books. Remember, selling books is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Innovative Ways to Sell Digital Content

It seems like every week I read about a new online ebook retailer featuring a new twist.

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I recently told you about eBookPlus (see “Ad Supported eBooks“). This website allows readers to download and read ebooks for free, but the ebooks come with advertisements that the reader must view before each chapter.

Now, a new start-up, Total BooX, is offering ebooks for free, but charging customers for what they read. In other words, customers can download as many ebooks as they want and look at them. However, if they stay on a page of the ebook longer than 6 seconds, they are charged for reading the page. The charge is a fraction of the ebook price and based on how many pages the reader reads. In other words, if a customer reads 10 pages of a 100 page book priced at $10, he will pay $1.

With the recent data showing that most people only read about one-half of any given nonfiction book, maybe Total BooX has stumbled upon a brilliant idea. What better way to determine if you want to read a digital book fairly risk-free.

Gone are the days when you bought the whole print book and found out part-way through it wasn’t what you had hoped. Now, people can pay for just what they read—allowing them to take risks on more books.

Besides being an additional way to obtain revenue on ebooks, Publishers might benefit from a program like Total BooX. Knowing which pages in your books people read the most gives you feedback on what information people are most interested in.

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A Print-Free World

The world is going digital. I recently had to have my heater fixed. The repair man came out to my house and fixed the broken part. He then went to his truck to “write up” the invoice. Back into the house he came holding an iPad with my invoice in PDF format on the iPad. He showed it to me and I paid him. He then asked if I wanted my receipt emailed. The company no longer gave out paper receipts.  The whole process was digital—except the check I wrote to pay the bill (did I ever feel out-of-fashion).

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Everywhere you turn, businesses are pushing digital over paper. Banks and credit card companies are asking their customers to accept digital versions of their statements over printed, mailed versions. Associations are doing away with print newsletters in lieu of digital newsletters. Even many churches are now putting their announcements online and no longer handing out Sunday bulletins.

So, the question lingers in my mind: How long until paper books become an antiquity?

Recently, some statistics were showing ebooks as high as 50% of all book sales. However, when I dug deeper, I discovered that this was a misleading statistic. In actuality, ebook sales do account for 50% of all sales for fiction titles, but for nonfiction, ebooks account for only 25% of sales. Overall, ebooks still only represent about 20% to 25% of all trade book sales.

Each month, Bowker conducts a survey of 6,000 book buyers. One of their recent surveys revealed the following:

  • 23% of all books purchased were ebooks
  • 24% of all book buyers purchased an ebook
  • 29% of ebooks purchased were bought by people under 30
  • 35% of all romance books bought were in e-book format

This leaves two questions:

  1.  When will ebooks outpace print books? In 2014? In 2016?
  2.  Are you ready?

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Where Children Get Books

Have you written or published a book for children? If you have, you may find the discoveries from a new study by Bowker interesting.

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Based on an online survey conducted last fall of 1,000 parents of children aged infant to six years, and 1,000 parents of children aged seven to 13 years, the study discovered the following trends.

The top six places kids up to thirteen-years-old get the books they read for pleasure are:

  1. Public Library
  2. Amazon.com
  3. Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club
  4. Barnes & Noble
  5. School Library
  6. Scholastic Book Clubs

Top three places kids get recommendations for new books are:

  • Friends and family
  • Bookstore browsing
  • Library

I think this information is encouraging for small publishers and independent authors. The number two place kids (really parents at this age) buy books to read is Amazon.com. Amazon makes it easy for every book published to be available through their website. So, if you are serious about selling your books to kids, make sure it is available on Amazon.

Friends and family is the most cited way kids get recommendations for new books. You can bet that some of those recommendations come from mom and dad who hear about a book from someone they know. Remember, in our current digital world, the definition of “friends” is expanding. Parents can get book recommendations from “friends” on places like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other online social sites.

This means that after making sure your book is for sale on Amazon.com, you should be spending your time getting people to talk about your book. This includes getting moms and dads to blog about your book and recommend it to their friends via social sites.

Don’t be shy. Ask your friends, family, and customers to help you spread the word about your book. If they really like your book, they will agree to do so.

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