Do You Have This Habit?

“Motivation gets you started. Habit keeps you going.” ~Jim Rohn

One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t the due to decision making, but were habits.

The beauty of habits is that we don’t have to think about whether we are going to do the activity or not. It is simply part of our daily routine. We shower, brush our teeth, eat lunch, walk the dog, and check our email without pondering whether we should do the activity or not. These are all habits that are part of our daily routine.

habit

Successful, productive people have work-related habits that drive their daily behavior. These work habits keep them from being distracted and getting off track. As a result, productive people can accomplish more tasks then someone who is constantly getting distracted or making a decision about whether he should do a work-related activity or not.

As a writer, you should have a writing habit that is part of your day. Maybe you set aside an hour every morning before you go to work or your family members rise to write. Maybe you write on your lunch hour. If you want to produce more books, having writing be part of your daily habit is a good way to ensure that you do.

One member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) says that writing a book was always on his bucket list. However, it did not become a reality until he decided to set aside one hour a day for writing. He has now written more than four books. You can bet that his writing hour is now a habit.

If you are an independently published author, then performing marketing activities each day should be included in your daily routine. That way, you don’t need to think about whether you are going to approach a blogger, submit a guest post to a blog, or create an advertisement each day. You simply know you are going to do a marketing activity, so you just have to choose which one.

Have you made it a daily habit to:

  1. Spend a few minutes on social media connecting with and informing others?
  2. Create material to use in your ongoing content marketing efforts?
  3. Perform at least one (hopefully more) marketing activity for your book(s)?
  4. Follow trending news stories that relate to your book’s topic so you can jump on media opportunities?

The good news is that it is never too late to start a new habit. If writing or marketing are not part of your daily routine, make them a part of it. Make these activities a habit that becomes automatic and you will begin to experience more success.

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Book Review Scare

Reviews drive sales of books. According to one analysis of online recommendation systems: “Review systems have casual and positive effects on sales; to nobody’s surprise, books with more and better reviews are shown to sell better.”

Readers do look for reviews written by other reader to help determine whether a book is worth buying. Therefore, good reviews drive more book sales.

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Recently, Amazon put out an update on Customers Reviews on their website. In the update, Amazon stated, “Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program.”

Incentivized reviews refer to products given for free in exchange for a review.

Of course, this update scared a number of authors. Does this mean that authors can no longer give out free books in exchange for a review on Amazon?

Fortunately, at the end of their announcement, Amazon wrote, “The above changes will apply to product categories other than books. We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books.”

So, take a deep breath. Book reviews resulting from a complimentary copy of your book on Amazon are still safe.

As an author, you need multiple reviews to drive book sales. The more reviews your book has on Amazon, the bigger and better it looks to consumers. If you are struggling to secure reviews for your book or just want to learn some tips for getting more reviews, check out my new on-demand seminar Book Reviews: Tips for Getting More Reviews.

This one hour on-demand seminar covers the importance of book reviews, how to ask readers for reviews, how to find bloggers to review your books, how to secure more online book reviews, and how to respond to reviews. You can view this on-demand seminar for just $25 at http://www.marketingchristianbooksinc.com/university.

As always, members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have free access to this on-demand seminar on CSPA’s website at http://www.christianpublishers.net/mcbuniversity.

Learn how to get more reviews for your books. More reviews can help you sell more books.

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6 Reasons Books Make Great Gifts

Books make great gifts. In fact, more than 25% of all book sales in the United States happen in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The holiday shopping season is here. Christmas is a great time to market your book as a gift. Check out these six reasons books make great gifts. Then use them to encourage your readers to give your books as gifts this season!

books-make-great-gifts

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Independent Publishing Continues to Grow

Bowker, the agency that is responsible for distributing ISBN numbers, recently released their report “Self-Publishing in the United States 2010-2015”. The report looks at the amount of ISBN numbers that Bowker assigned and distributed to self-publishing entities, including small publishers.

According to the report, Bowker shows that 727,125 ISBN numbers were assigned to self-published titles in 2015. That is three-quarter of a million self-published titles! Bowker reports that ISBN registrations made by self-publishers have grown more than 375 percent since 2010, climbing from 152,978 then to the 2015 figure of 727,125.

bowker-graph

However, a recent article by Publishing Perspectives cautions that this 727,125 ISBNs assigned in 2015 number should not be taken at face value. The reason for this is that many books tout two ISBN numbers—one for the print version and one for the ebook version. Therefore, the actual number of self-published titles may be a smaller figure.
I agree, that actual number of self-published books may be lower than the stated 727,125. However, I don’t think it is much lower because Bowker states that 573,965 ISBNs were assigned to self-published print books.

According to the report, Createspace alone assigned 423,718 ISBN numbers to print books. That is astounding! Createspace alone published almost half a million books in 2015. Createspace is growing by leaps and bounds. In 2014, Createspace assigned 292,167 ISBN numbers to print books—that is a 45% increase in books published via Createspace in one year.

I began to wonder whether all of Createspace’s business was growth for self-publishing—or, were more authors choosing to use Createspace over the traditional self-publishing houses like Xulon, Westbow, Lulu, and Xlibris. So, I checked the numbers just for print books.

Bowker assigned 573,965 ISBNs for print books to self-publishing entities in 2015. This was an increase of 146,755 over the number they assigned in 2014 for print books, which was 427,210. Hence, Createspace’s increase of 131,551 additional print books produced from 2014 to 2015 was indeed part of self-publishing’s growth.

Clearly, Createspace is far and away the number one producer of self-published titles. This clearly speaks to the power of free entry. After all, to produce a book via Createspace requires no upfront fees, making it feasible for just about anyone to publish a book via Createspace.

If you have independently published via Createspace or another route, the continued increase in self-published books is good news and bad news.

The good news is that self-publishing has become an acceptable way to produce a book. As self-publishing grows, the quality of books produced in this manner grows. It is becoming more difficult to distinguish self-published books from those published by traditional publishing houses. The number of independent authors now showing up on prominent bestseller lists indicates that readers are embracing author-published titles.

The bad news is that the competition gets tougher as more books are published and fight for readers’ attention. Stiffer competition makes it harder for your book to stand out from the pack. As an independently published author, you must take marketing seriously if you want to sell books.

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