Why Would Someone Buy Your Book?

The number one reason people buy a book is because they have a connection to the author. This connection can come in a variety of forms:

  • They personally know the author.
  • They have heard the author speak.
  • They have read other books by the author.
  • The author is an influencer they listen to, watch, or follow.
  • They have a friend or family member who has recommended the author or book.
  • A publication or organization they trust recommends the book.

Sometimes people buy books they discover in a bookstore or online because they are looking for a good read or a book on a particular subject to help them with a problem they have. However, the majority of the time, people purchase a book because they have some type of connection to the author.

Are you making connections with readers?

I recently heard a speaker say that there are four reasons people will do business with you. These four reasons are:

  1. They like you.
  2. They trust you.
  3. They find you competent.
  4. They believe you have integrity.

How are you doing on these measures as an author? Are you likable? Are you providing potential readers with competent, trustworthy information that can improve or enrich their lives in some way? Are you a person of integrity?

According to Dictionary.com, one definition of connect is to associate mentally or emotionally. Do you want to make a connection with readers so that they buy your books? Then associate mentally and emotionally with them.

An easy place to start connecting mentally and emotionally with potential readers is through social media. Join the conversation. Spend more time responding to others and being empathetic to their needs. Develop a connection before you bring their attention to your book and what it can do for them.

Remember, Jesus often asked people “What do you want?” when they came to him. He did not assume that he knew their need. He asked them to tell him. Once they told him, he provided. Follow his example.

Related Posts:
Are You Selling or Connecting?
The Key to Selling Books
Are You Making This Connection?

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Is Social Media a Waste of Time?

“I have heard that social media is important for authors to use in promoting their books, but does using it really help authors sell more books?”

The independent author who asked me this question did not use social media. She had heard that it was important, but she wanted more evidence that spending her time and energy on social media would help her sell more books.

Sadly, I could not give this author hard and fast evidence. While 90% of marketers say social media is important to their business, according to The CMO Survey up to 80% of marketers said they were not able to measure a return on their investment. Basically, a lot of marketers—authors included—are investing time and energy on social media, yet they cannot definitively say doing so has helped them sell more books.

The Harvard Business Review conducted 23 experiments over the past four years. They wanted to know whether attracting and engaging followers on social media leads to increased sales. The researchers focused on Facebook since it is the dominant social network. Here is what they found:

  1. The act of following a brand on Facebook does not affect a customer’s behavior or lead to increased purchasing behavior.
  2. Seeing a friend like or engage with a brand on Facebook had no effect on purchasing habits of other friends.
  3. Boosting or advertising brand content to followers can have an impact. When a brand paid Facebook to display two posts each week to their followers, they found increased participation or spending.

Here is my takeaway from this research.

1. Social Media is about building an audience.
Authors should use social media to build a following, an audience. Don’t expect your social media posts to translate into book sales. Instead, the purpose of your social media posts should be to drive your audience to your website where you can convince them to sign up for your email newsletter. Email newsletters have a much higher conversion rate (engaging recipients to buy your book) than social media posts.

2. Enhancing your social media efforts with advertising provides the best return for your time and energy.
For the best return on your social media efforts, paying for advertisements shown to your followers on social media sites will help increase sales. In other words, social media use combined with paid advertising is the most powerful combination for encouraging your followers to buy something.

So, to answer the question whether social media really helps authors sell more books, the answer is: Not by itself. Social media alone is not enough, you must combine your social media efforts with other marketing efforts—including purchasing advertisements—for your invested time and energy to pay off.

Related Posts:
How to Make Your Social Media Efforts More Fruitful
How to Effectively Use Social Media for Your Book
Evaluating Your Social Media Interactions

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Photo courtesy of Damian Zalesky.

It’s Never Too Late

Last week, I presented a six-hour training session on “You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book” at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (I will be presenting it again at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference this summer). One of the keynote speakers at the conference was Louise Looney.

I had the opportunity to meet and get to know this lovely lady. Louise embodies the statement “It’s never too late.”

You see, Louise began writing at age 79. In the past six years, she has written three books. Not only has she penned three books, she has independently published her Christian books through Createspace.

Louise sells most of her books through her speaking engagements. However, she wanted to expand her audience and her reach. Her goal is to reach nonChristians with her message to draw them to Christ. To attain this goal, this octogenarian began a YouTube channel. Now, she posts weekly videos on her Looney Tidbits channel.

Louise is inspiring. As an almost 80-year-old, she did not let the “It’s too late” mindset win. You don’t have to be old to have this mindset. I’ve seen much younger authors with this mindset. Sometimes discouragement creates this attitude. I have seen authors who have done very little or no marketing get discouraged when their books do not sell, and they develop this mindset. They think: “It’s too late now. I should have started earlier.”

It’s never too late. It’s never too late to start eating healthier. It’s never too late to start exercising more. It’s never too late to take the time to build better connections with family members. It’s never too late to get right with God—and, it’s never too late to start a new marketing endeavor.

You can start new marketing endeavors at any point, even years after your book has been published if the material is still relevant. So, if you are struggling with marketing and selling your book, take heart. Like Louise, you too can learn a new marketing technique and implement it. Maybe now is the time to:

1. Start a blog.
2. Start a YouTube channel.
3. Get active on social media.
4. Start a podcast.
5. Request to be a guest on podcasts and radio shows speaking to your audience.
6. Volunteer to speak at local churches and other venues.
7. Seek out more book reviews.
8. Go on a blog tour.

The ideas are endless. Take a risk. Start something new to either jump start your books’ sales or to enlarge your audience to increase your reach and your sales.

Related Posts:
Are You Developing an Audience?
Enlarge Your Audience with Micro-Influencers
A Powerful Way to Reach Readers

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Photo courtesy of Wil Stewart.

10 Book Advertising Ideas for the Physical World

Everyone knows the solid advice for investing their money: Diversify, Diversify, Diversify.
It’s good advice and you probably even follow it. This advice does not just hold true for your financial investments. It also is good advice for your investment in marketing your book.

Yes, diversifying your marketing efforts is solid marketing advice. We live in and operate in the physical world as well as the virtual world (Internet). Therefore, to reach people, you should diversify your marketing efforts to include both the physical world and the online world.

Here are 10 creative ideas for cost-effective ways to advertise your books in the physical world. Let this list spark your own creative ideas for ways that you can market your book in the physical world.

Related Posts:
Are You Marketing Effectively?
Sales Text that Sells
An Interesting Letter

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Deterring eBook Piracy

Nielson, a data research company that tracks sales of books, recently teamed up with Digimarc to conduct a study on book piracy. From the study, Nielson believes that publishers in the United States are losing around $325,000,000 each year from lost revenue due to illegal downloads of ebooks.

Following are a few other interesting findings from the Nielson’s book piracy study:

  • The majority of illegal downloaders are 18 to 34 years old, educated and wealthy (the digitally savvy generation).
  • Roughly 30% of illegal downloaders either obtain their content from friends via IM, email, or flash drive or from downloading from public/open torrent sites.
  • Illegal downloaders acquire, on average, 13 to 16 ebooks per year—only 3 to 7 of these ebooks are acquired illegally.
  • Men are more likely to pirate a book then women (66% of illegal downloaders are male).
  • 44% of illegal downloaders surveyed reported that they would be much less likely to illegally download ebooks if they believed it harmed the author.

I find this last finding fascinating. What is says is that many of these illegal downloaders don’t understand how obtaining an ebook illegally affects an author. They currently don’t think it does.

If you are concerned about book piracy, this finding gives you an answer as to something you can do to deter piracy. After all, piracy hurts all authors and artists.

When was the last time you heard a public service announcement denouncing piracy and telling people that piracy is harmful to the creators of the content? Maybe the book publishing industry needs to start sponsoring public service announcements about piracy to inform the public how it harms authors.

I know that movies include warnings on piracy and the consequences if you are caught pirating a movie. Here is what is usually presented:

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in a federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Have you ever seen this warning in an ebook? I haven’t. Yet, you can use this warning in any copyrighted materials including books.

So, if you are concerned about piracy and in particular people pirating your ebook, I encourage you to put this warning in your ebook. Put it right in the beginning of the book either on the copyright page or a separate page all by itself. You could even add a line about how obtaining copyrighted materials illegally harms the author.

After all, if 44% of illegal downloaders would be much less likely to obtain ebooks illegally if they believed it harmed the author, tell them that it does. Your statements may deter these people from continuing to illegal download yours and other authors’ ebooks.

Related Posts:
The Game of “Life”
Napster vs. eBooks
Global eBook Sales are Within Your Reach

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Photo courtesy of Alejandro Escamilla.