What’s Your Promise?

Integrity. It’s about keeping your promises—doing the right thing in a reliable way.

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Are you reliable? Can people trust you?

If you are an author, readers need to trust you to buy your book. Readers need to trust that you will keep your promise.

What is your promise? Your promise is what you tell readers they will get from your book. This promise is extremely important. It is what draws the reader into purchasing the book.

Yes, your book meets a need, but if all you tell your potential reader about is the need, you are not hooking them. You need to not only identify the need your book fills, but also to let the reader know how your book will fulfill that need. This is your promise.

I recently met with co-authors of a book that was just released. They wanted me to look over their sell sheet and tell me how they could improve it. The authors had done a great job of leading with a need and making it bold and big on their sell sheet—“Do you need comfort in the midst of trouble?

However, their promise was buried in the text. It was not bold and attention grabbing. I encouraged these authors to make sure that they made their promise as big and bold and arresting as identifying the need their book met—“Find comfort and hope in these stories from those who have suffered.

What does your book promise? If you are struggling with this concept, or just want to learn more about creating a brand—also known as a promise—for your book, I encourage you to watch my new online, on-demand seminar Branding Your Book.

This 30-minute seminar covers how your book is like a business, what a brand is, how to craft a brand for your book, and how to create a book title that reflects a brand. You can access Branding Your Book by clicking here. The cost is just $20 to watch the video. Members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have free access to this on-demand seminar on CSPA’s website.

Learn how to make a promise to your reader. When your book keeps your promise, your readers trust you and keep coming back for more.

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Are You Asking?

Why don’t we ask? Is it pride? Fear of rejection? Not wanting to inconvenience others? Feeling unworthy?

James, the brother of Jesus, said, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” It’s not just God that we don’t ask. We don’t ask people either.

Are you lacking? Maybe you need to ask.

Asking

Recently I was talking with a member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) about the importance of endorsements. This gentleman publishes a number of authors. He told me that one of the authors that his press recently published was a personal friend of best-selling author Max Lucado.

This publisher had told the author to have Max Lucado write an endorsement for the book. After all, an endorsement by such a well-known Christian personality would ensure book sales.

The author declined stating that “he did not want to take advantage of a friendship.”
Is asking for an endorsement taking advantage of a friendship? Aren’t friends supposed to help each other? True friendships are two-lane streets. Sometimes one person gives and the other takes, and then the roles get reversed.

This small publisher went on to tell me that the book had sold very few copies. If only the author had asked, he might have received an endorsement and the book would have more sales.

Don’t be hesitant to ask. Everyone starts out at the same place—as a non-author and an unknown person. Every person who is now a best-selling author or person of influence started where you are at. They had people who helped them get off the ground. These authors and personalities are now willing to do the same for others, because they remember being there themselves and the help they received along the way.

Don’t be afraid to ask. After all, the worst that can happen is the person you ask will say “no”. Then, you are in the same place you where before you asked and not any worse off for asking. If, however, the answer is “yes”, then you are in a better place and the effort of asking paid off.

Does your book have endorsements? If not, start asking. If you are unsure about how to go about asking for endorsements, watch my on-demand online seminar Endorsements Help You Sell More Books. You can access the seminar by clicking here. Members of CSPA have free access to this seminar on CSPA’s website.

Jesus also encouraged us to ask. He said, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” So, ask God, but also ask others.

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A Marketing Snafu
Is Your Book Endorsed?

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An Interesting Letter

I recently received a snail mail letter from a gentleman who had self-published a book via a large self-publishing press. In the letter, he requested my help with marketing his book.

The letter stated:

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I understand that you help self-published authors market their books…I do not have email, so I have to correspond by postal mail. I have limited funds which is another drawback.

This author reported in his letter that he had done some advertising in Christian magazines with limited results.

Since this author does not have email, I can conclude that he also does not have a blog, nor is he present on any social media sites online. In other words, he is not an Internet user. Therefore, his book promotion efforts are severely limited. He can do the following two things:

  1. Advertising—which can be very expensive and usually has limited results.
  2. In-person marketing efforts such as speaking and book readings—although many of these are scheduled via email (again, the Internet).

In essence, this author is missing out on connecting with potential readers through numerous marketing opportunities that can be done for low- or no-cost using the Internet including:

  • Internet presence through a website
  • Internet presence through blogging and joining blog conversations
  • Connecting with readers via social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
  • Email marketing
  • Internet radio and podcast interviews
  • Video or live broadcasting
  • Connecting with media through press releases and scheduling interviews, since this is now done largely through email.

Self-publishing houses or subsidy presses—like Xulon, Xlibris, and Westbow—receive all their money upfront when publishing a book. The author pays the company to produce the book. Therefore, these publishing houses have no vested interest in helping their authors promote and market their books to produce sales.

The bottom-line is that authors must meet readers where they hang out to promote their books. Since most readers hang-out online, if you are not marketing online, you are missing most of your audience.

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Can I Trust You?

The other day, I received a phone call from a reader looking to purchase a book that is listed on Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) website. CSPA members can list their books on CSPA’s website as a marketing tool.

CSPA provides this service for a couple reasons:

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1. To increase the online visibility for our members’ books.
The more places a book is listed on the Internet, the more search engine results will appear for that book when someone searches the title. You want someone searching your book’s title to be able to find it easily. The more places your book is listed, the easier it is to find.

2. To increase the number of backlinks to our members’ websites.
The more backlinks you have to your website, the higher your site will rank in search engine results. In other words, when other websites host a link back to your website, search engines count this. The more links to your site exist on the Internet, the higher you rank in search engine results for your keywords. You can find out how many websites link to your website by using the free link tool at Free Backlink Check.

3. To broaden our member’s exposure for their books.
By listing a book on CSPA’s website, CSPA members gain additional exposure for their books. Visitors to CSPA’s website can browse the listed books, helping get more eyeballs on our members’ books.

Generally, when someone calls CSPA about a book listed on our website, it is because the member selling the book does not have their phone number listed on their website. So, in pursuit of actually talking to a person and getting an answer, the customer calls CSPA, thinking that we sell these books also since they are listed on our website.

I usually simply direct the person back to the CSPA member who is actually selling the book. Often, I provide the phone number since the member did not do so on their website. After all, I don’t want to see authors miss out on sales.

If you sell books from your website, don’t neglect this important piece of information in your contact information. Be sure to provide a phone number where someone can at least leave a message. If you want people to buy a book from your website, you must provide them the information they need to trust you. Consumers need to know that if something goes wrong with their order they will be able to get a hold of a human being to resolve the issue with.

In the recent phone call I received, the reader was trying to find out if she could have a copy of the book expedited to her as she needed it by a certain date. By not providing a phone number, this author risked losing a sale.

One of the important questions that your website must answer for consumers is: Can I trust you? Before someone will make a purchase, they must have trust that you will fulfill your promise. Providing a phone number in your contact information is one way you can let consumers know that you are trustworthy.

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Customer Service Matters
Are You Discoverable?

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