Using Videos to Promote Your Book

Internet video consumption just keeps growing. Here are some interesting statistics:

  • YouTube is the second-largest social networking site (behind Facebook).
  • 63% of Internet users view videos on YouTube.
  • Experts estimate that by 2019, video watching will account for 80% of Internet traffic.

The bottom line is that many people prefer watching videos online to reading text. More importantly video drives sales. It drives sales of products, including books.

Savvy authors are using videos to promote their books. Yes, many are making book trailers, but that is not the only type of video you can use to promote a book. If you are a nonfiction author, you can upload how to and tip videos to promote your book. You can actually upload any video related to the subject of your book to promote your book.

However, uploading a video is not enough. You want each video that you upload to point back to your book. Otherwise, you are simply just sharing something that is interesting or entertaining. Fortunately, YouTube makes it easy for you to promote your book in each video you upload to your YouTube channel.

Many authors will put information about their book (including a website) at the beginning or end of a video. That is great, and I encourage you to do that. But, when viewers only watch part of a video, they may miss the information about your book. With YouTube’s Branding Watermark tool, you can point people to your book throughout your entire video.

The YouTube Branding Watermark allows you to place an image in your YouTube videos. This image shows up on the bottom right hand side of the video as it plays (see photo below). You can choose whatever image you want to include in your videos. However, since this is a branding watermark, the one image you choose will appear in all the videos on your channel. You can’t choose different branding images for different videos on the same channel.

As an author, you can place your book’s cover image as your Branding Watermark in your videos. That way, each video you upload will carry the image of your book’s cover throughout the video, pointing viewers to your book.

Here are the steps to include a Branding Watermark in your YouTube videos:

  1. Go to “Creator Studio” on your YouTube Channel (you can access this by clicking on your channel icon picture in the upper right hand corner).
  2. Then select “Channel” from the list that appears.
  3. Under “Channel” select “Branding”.
  4. The Branding Watermark screen will appear. This screen allows you to choose a file on your computer to upload.
  5. Choose the file on your computer that contains your book’s cover image.

Don’t waste space in your YouTube videos. Use the Branding Watermark tool on YouTube so that your viewers are continually pointed to your book.

Related Posts:
Selling Books in an Overcrowded Market
Creating a Book Video Trailer
Should You Use Live-Stream Video?

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Photo courtesy of Seth Doyle

To Give or Not to Give?

The Internet abounds with advice. Some of it is good and some of it is not.

When it comes to advice for independently published authors, often what you find on the Internet is contradictory. Some authors assert one thing, while others assert the opposite.

One area where advice given for independently published authors on the Internet contradicts itself is in the area of giving books away. Some advice givers say you should, others say you shouldn’t.

Advice is cheap. Anyone can give advice. The advice taker must discern whether or not the person has the knowledge or experience to give good advice.

Whether you, as an independent author, should or shouldn’t give books away for free is not the question to ask. Rather, you should ask: What is the industry standard?

1. Giving books for free in exchange for reviews is standard in the book publishing industry.

Providing a free book in exchange for a review is a publishing industry practice. In fact, it is such an integral part of the book industry, that when Amazon recently stopped allowing the giving of free products in exchange for reviews on their websites, they exempted books from this policy. Amazon even stated in their policy revision, “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.

2. Giving away books as part of a book promotional campaign is industry standard.

If you have ever attending an industry convention—think BookExpo (BEA) or CBA Unite—then you would be aware that giving away free copies of books to decision-makers (retail buyers and influencers) is standard practice. Most publishers include a certain number of books to be given away for promotional purposes as part of a book’s advertising budget.

At the recent NRB Proclaim 17 convention, one Member author of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) told me that while he was giving away books for free, he wondered if he was just throwing his books away. I encourage him to consider the investment he was making in giving away free books as part of his advertising campaign. After all, the attendees at NRB are influencers. If they read his book and write a review or recommend the book to someone else, he has not wasted his money.

Henry Ford said, “At least half of my advertising budget works…I just don’t know which half.

The same is true for giving books away as part of your advertising budget. Some of the books you give away will help with your promotional efforts, others won’t.

So, if you need an answer to the question of whether you should give away books or not, the answer is: You should. After all, it is industry standard and as an independently published author, you are now part of the book publishing industry.

Related Posts:
Book Review Scare
Scarcity vs. Abundance
Thoughts on Book Reviews

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Photo courtesy of Dev Benjamin

The Importance of Finding Your Niche

I recently spoke with a new Member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) who has produced a book on forgiveness. We were speaking of the importance of knowing who the target audience is for his book.

This gentleman told me that all Christians were his audience. After all, every Christian needs to forgive since it is commanded in the Bible.

I wholeheartedly agree. Every Christian does need to forgive. However, not every Christian currently needs information or help with forgiveness and some are not yet ready to entertain the idea of forgiving. Additionally, this author’s voice will not resonate with everyone.

As more and more books are published, competition escalates. For example, doing a search of “forgiveness” in books on Amazon reveals 31,399 results. That is a lot of books on forgiveness that Christians have to choose from.

How does this author compete with 31,399 other titles on forgiveness? He competes by targeting a niche audience. Through channeling his message to a very targeted audience that his book speaks to—and not broadly to all Christians—this author can gain some attention for his book.

How can this author funnel his message to a more niche market? I encouraged him to consider the following:

  1. What is his backstory? In other words, what did he need to forgive that prompted him to write the book. Maybe it was a spousal affair or a senseless random act of violence. Whatever the reason, targeting Christians who have had a similar experience is one way to reach a niche audience.
  2. How is the message in his book different from other books on forgiveness? One thing this gentleman included in his book was 21 ways to forgive. I suggested that he use this to find a niche audience. He could speak to Christians who know they need to forgive, but don’t know how. After all, he provides the how in his book.

With any book that has a broad topic appeal such as prayer, parenting, forgiveness, etc., targeting the niche audience is done through the marketing messaging. A generic message on forgiveness is not going to attract much attention, but a message targeted toward those who have experienced a senseless act of violence or who need help on practical ways they can work on forgiveness will resonate with the niche audience and draw them in.

I encourage you to identify niche audiences for your books. Then target your messages to these groups of people to maximize your marketing efforts.

Related Posts:
Micro-Target to Get Results
Get to Know Your Target Audience
What Your Readers Want

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Photo courtesy of Masha Danilova

Is Your Message Distilled?

To distill means to condense or refine.

Distilled water is water that has had most of its impurities removed through the process of distillation. Distillation involves boiling the water and then collecting and condensing the steam into a clean container. The result is water that is pure.

Is your message distilled? Have you condensed and refined your message so that it is pure and clean—free from distractions and extraneous information?

I get to hear a lot of elevator pitches from authors. Sadly, many of these authors have not taken the time to distill their message. A good elevator pitch about your book should be both condensed and refined so that you can give a clear message in three sentences or less.

Your elevator pitch should answer these three questions:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What is their need?
  3. How does your book meet that need?

Answering these three questions in developing a distilled message is a great place to start. First answer these questions and then determine whether you will phrase your elevator message as a problem/solution or as a benefit.

Here is an example of a distilled problem/solution message based on my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace:

“Over 1,200 books are published every day in America. Most new authors are at a loss as to how to make their books stand out from the crowd and get noticed. My award-winning book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, gives Christian authors the information and resources they need to effectively promote their books.”

Here is an example of a distilled benefit message based on what Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) does:

“Christian Small Publishers Association provides small publishers and independent authors information and access to affordable marketing venues so that they can be successful in promoting and selling their Christian books.”

I encourage you to take some time and distill your message about your book. That way, when people ask you about your book, you are ready with a quick answer that grabs their attention and immediately lets them know what problem your book solves or what benefit your book provides.

Remember, you want to keep your message to three sentences or less. Your message should be no longer than 30 seconds, but keeping it shorter, more like 20 seconds or less, may be more effective with most people’s short attention spans.

Related Posts:
What’s Your Elevator Pitch?
30 Seconds
It’s the Story

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Burden

The Benefits of Showcasing Books at Conventions

Are you thinking about attending a book industry trade show such as Book Expo, CBA Unite, Christian Product Expo (CPE), or NRB Proclaim? These venues present wonderful opportunities to learn about the industry, network, obtain media coverage, and promote your books.

I encourage you to listen to these testimonials from five members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) who attended the recent NRB Proclaim 17 (National Religious Broadcasters Convention) with us in Orlando. Hear what they have to say about their experience at this convention.

Related Posts:
Finding Connections and Opportunities
Trade Show Value
Trade Shows: A Book Promotion Tool

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