Predictions for 2015

No one can predict the future. Only God knows the future. Still, every year, people make all sorts of predictions about the coming year. I don’t make predictions. I don’t feel qualified to do so. Besides, usually only about half of the predictions made come true, meaning anyone has a 50-50 chance of making a true prediction.

2015

Here are a few predictions I have seen for 2015:

  1. Reviews will become more important and powerful for businesses—this includes books as well. Surveys show that 78% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews.
  2. Author and marketing guru, Seth Godin, thinks that 2015 will be a big year for breakout self-published titles. We are already starting to see this trend.
  3. Amazon’s ebook market share will continue to grow. Amazon already holds a 65% share of ebook sales.
  4. Humor will be needed to create an authentic connection with Millennials and secure their business. Some believe 2015 will be the year of humor in digital marketing.
  5. Something bigger is going to happen with GoodReads. Some predict it will more tightly integrate with parent company Amazon.
  6. The United States economy will continue to grow. This growth will be driven by increased consumer spending. More money being spent is always good for book sales.
  7. Jeb Bush, Republican, will run against Hillary Clinton, Democrat, in the 2016 Presidential race. This would mean a repeat of a Bush-Clinton race.

Based on these predictions, I don’t see any major new shifts for publishing and marketing books. I believe independently published books will continue to grow as will book sales via the Internet. Currently, less than 10% of books are sold through brick-and-mortar bookstores.

If you plan to publish for the first time this coming year, or you are just continuing to publish—and you produce Christian materials—I encourage you to consider membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) as part of your business plans for the coming year.

CSPA provides both small publishers and independently published authors with a number of resources to help you be more successful in both publishing and marketing your books. You can read our complete list of membership benefits on our website by clicking here.

Membership for the 2015 calendar year is just $90. I encourage you to become a member today by clicking here.

Do you need to read testimonials (reviews) before you decide to join? These are also available on our website. Just click here.

The one thing I am certain of for 2015 is that God holds our hands. May you find strength and comfort in this.

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Accessibility

Are you accessible? In other words, are you easy to approach, reach, or speak with?
As an author, this can be important.

Headphones with Code

Early on in my writing life, I received some interesting advice. I met an author who told me that she felt that it was important to place an author photograph on the back cover of her books. She stated that this little technique served to give the reader an instant connection to her, the author, increasing the likelihood that they would purchase the book.

As I have grown and learned much about marketing books over the years, I believe that this author was on to something. Readers do want to feel a connection to an author. They want to know that the author is human and someone who is accessible.

Today, with social media, the author-fan interaction is much easier to facilitate. Social media allows authors to be much more accessible to their readers, then in bygone years.

However, social media is not the only method authors can use to make themselves available to their readers. One little used technique to increase an author’s accessibility that can be quite powerful is to place a recorded message in your books for your readers. It is really quite simple. Here is how to do it:

First, record a voice message for your readers. You can do this using a number of free services online including:

Second, upload the recorded message to your website or blog.

Third, create a QR code that links to the recorded message on your website or blog. You can make QR codes for free at:

Last, include the QR code in your book’s Foreword or Introduction letting the reader know that they simply need to scan the QR code to hear your special audio message for them.

Just like an author photo on your book’s cover can help readers feel a connection with you, so can a recorded audio message shared in your book.

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Engaging

I am drawn to engaging people. For me, engaging people are those individuals who have charisma and the ability to make people feel comfortable. When I am around this type of person, making and sustaining a connection is easy.

engage 2

Much like people, our marketing efforts need to be engaging to attract readers. While this may take work on our part, our receivers (our target audience) should feel drawn in to what we are sharing.

Take social media for example. Studies have shown that people who “add value” to other people’s lives with their social media posts and interactions get the most followers and most activity with their social media efforts.

The question to ask yourself is, “How engaging are my book promotion efforts?”

That question should then be followed up with, “How can I change my social media efforts to make them more engaging?”

Studies have shown that the social media posts that get the most attention are visual. In other words, shared pictures and videos get more likes than other types of posts. This is partly why sites such as YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo, Pinterest, and SnapChat are so popular. These sites are built around photos and videos.

One way to improve your social media efforts is to increase your engagement by sharing more photos. These photos don’t even necessarily need to be about your book. You can share interesting photos that highlight your message.

One great place to find stock images that you can use on your blog and other social media sites is Getty Images. This company hosts over 80 million photos. The best part is that earlier this year, Getty Images created an open-embed program (much like YouTube’s embed program) that allows users to drop any of their images to a blog, website, or social media site. The service simply appends a footer at the bottom of the picture with a credit.

If you want to increase your engagement on social media, start using more photos. Getty Images is one resource that makes it easy for you to find and use more photos in your social networking posts.

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Connectivity

Connection—it’s what every human seeks. Humans are social beings. We are born into a social unit called a family, and we have the desire for relationships built into our DNA.
All humans look for connections. We look for connections with other people, with ideas, with nature, and with purpose. The things we connect with, we pursue.

connectivity

This concept of connectivity can be used in promoting books. The goal is to get people to connect with your message, your book’s cover image, or the book’s story. Once someone has connected with one of these things, they are more likely to purchase your book.

One way that many authors and publishers are pursuing connectivity in their promotional efforts is through creating engaging book videos. Book videos are much like movie trailers; they show what a book is about with pictures, words, and music.

Engaging, short videos work the best for connecting people to a book. While book videos appear to be the most effective for fiction works, they can also help connect people to a nonfiction book as well.

While there are many studios that are willing to create a book video for authors and publishers, most charge a substantial fee. Fortunately, there are a few do-it-yourself services online that offer you the ability to create a slick-looking book video either free or for a small fee. These include:

You can also check out two book videos created using Animoto on YouTube by clicking here and here.

Each of these video-making sites allows you to upload your video around the Internet to YouTube and other social media sites. If you create a book video for your book, place the video on your website, your blog, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, and all your social media sites.

Remember the purpose of create a book video is to increase the possibility that readers will connect with your message or story. Our world is bombarded by media noise. The messages trying to grab our attention are unending. To compete, you must jump in and try to grab some of the attention. Book videos are one way to compete and, hopefully, tip the scales in your favor.

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