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:
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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.

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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.

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Photo courtesy of Alejandro Escamilla.

Announcing: Christian Indie Awards

Independent publishing is growing. I have quoted this statistic before, but it bears repeating. The number of self-published (or independently published) titles has grown from 133,036 published in 2010 to 727,125 published in 2015. That is a 446.5% increase in the number of self-published titles in five years.

Additionally, self-published titles accounted for 17% of total book sales in 2016 (229,000,000 units sold). That means that almost one out of every five books sold was an independently published book.

For the past ten years, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has sponsored the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. This award recognizes books published by small publishers and independent authors.

To better reflect the increasing numbers of independently published books and authors, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has changed the name of our book award.

CSPA is pleased to introduce the:

Christian Indie Awards

It’s the same great award, just a new name!

The Christian Indie Awards are now open for nominations for the 2018 Award. To be eligible to nominate a title, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Books must be Christian in nature, promote the Christian faith, and intended for the Christian marketplace. The Christian marketplace is defined as the marketplace that is served by CBA member retail stores (mainly individuals who maintain Catholic or Protestant beliefs and doctrines).
  • Books must be published with a 2016 or 2017 copyright and released for sale in 2016 or 2017. New editions of previously published books are eligible. Reissued editions are not.
  • Books submitted in previous years for the award may not be submitted again, unless they are a new edition with a new ISBN number.
  • Books must be printed in English and available for sale in the United States.
  • The nomination of a title must be made by the publisher or author of the book.
  • Eligible publishers must be small presses or independently published authors with revenues of $450,000 or less per year.

The award is offered in 14 categories. To nominate your title or to learn more about the Christian Indie Awards visit the award’s website at www.christianaward.com.

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A Powerful Way to Reach Readers

Have you ever noticed that a target has multiple rings? When playing darts, the thrower receives the most points for hitting the center circle. Each concentric ring from the center outward to the edge of the target awards the dart thrower fewer points.

The goal is to get your dart in the center of the target. Authors should have the same goal when it comes to their target audience. The closer you can get your marketing darts to reach your core audience, the more success you will have with promoting your books.

For example, a national Christian TV show is not going to reach your core audience as strategically as a blog devoted to that audience will.

Let’s say you wrote a book on Christian parenting for single moms. A national radio show on parenting is not going to reach single moms that same way that a blog written by a Christian single mom for other single moms will. The radio show will reach a wide cross section of both fathers and mothers (a circle further out on your target), while a blog written for single moms will attract only your core audience (the center circle on your target).

I believe that blogs (and podcasts) are a great way to reach your core audience and hit the center of your target with your book promotion efforts. In other words, a review of your book or a guest post on a blog or podcast designed for your target audience will reap a better harvest than arrows slung at the outer edges of your target.

Consider these statistics. Only 50% of Christians read Christian books. However, 87% of blog readers are book buyers.

Do you see the logic? With a national television or radio interview, you reach less than 50% of the audience, while exposure on a blog that speaks to your core audience allows you to reach over 80% of the audience.

If you are not reaching out to bloggers to promote your book, I suggest that you add this strategy to your marketing plan. Start by finding bloggers speaking to your core audience (one good directory can be found at Faithful Bloggers). Then offer your book to the blogger in exchange for a review or offer a guest post (if the blog hosts guest posts) providing useful information for the blog’s audience.

With a little research and effort, you can hone your marketing darts to hit the center of your audience target, effectively reach your core audience, and score bigger rewards.

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