Creative Marketing with Bookmarks

Effectively promoting a book takes dedication and effort—and not just a little effort, a lot of effort.

There are more books available today than at any other time in history. Some estimate that Amazon has over 11 million titles available for purchase on its site with a new book added every five minutes. With so many books competing for readers’ attention, creative efforts are necessary to grab that attention.

I am always on the lookout for creative marketing ideas. I like to pass these ideas on to authors, so that you can either copy the idea or use it to get your own creative juices flowing for out-of-the-box marketing ideas for your own books. I frequently highlight innovative ideas that I come across on this blog and a number are listed in my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace.

Recently, I ran across an author who suggested that since bookmarks are cheap to produce (you can purchase a thousand bookmarks for under $100), that authors should make use of them in their book promotion activities. This author said that he had printed a number of bookmarks with the image of his book and a little information about it, along with the URL of his book’s website. He then offered a stack of these bookmarks to his local public library.

This author figured that since public libraries have tight budgets, they can’t afford to purchase trinkets to give to patrons. So, offering his bookmarks as a freebie that his local library could give to their patrons was a win-win proposition.

This sounds like a good idea. Since many people still read print books, bookmarks are a great handout. However, many public libraries might be reluctant to accept a bookmark for a book that promotes Christianity and/or is not available for checkout in their library system. So, where else might Christian authors use bookmarks to promote their books?
Here are four ideas I came up with.

  1. Offer your bookmarks to your local church’s library or bookstore to give to patrons.
  2. If you have a book for children or young adults, offer your bookmarks to local Christian schools to give to the students in whatever grades your book is geared to.
  3. If you have a book geared for seniors, offer your bookmarks to your local senior center to give to seniors who frequent the center.
  4. Put a stack of your bookmarks in your local Little Free Library for your neighbors to use.

If you have more ideas on how Christian authors can use bookmarks to promote a book, please share them.

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An Important Element in Publishing Nonfiction

Experts say that most healthy teenagers and adults are unable to sustain attention on one thing for more than about 20 minutes at a time—usually up to about an hour at most. However, overall, our attention spans are getting shorter. Recent research reveals:

1. People generally lose concentration after eight seconds.
The average attention span for a goldfish is nine seconds. A study by Microsoft Corporation found that since the year 2000 the average online attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.

2. The average time spent reading is on the decline.
A study by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, on average, Americans read only 19 minutes per day, down from 10 years ago. Young people spend even less time reading. On weekends, Americans between the ages of 25 to 34 read for just eight minutes a day on average. Older Americans read more. Those over 75 spend more than an hour a day reading over weekends and holidays.

3. Most people read only part of a nonfiction book.
In fact, a study by Kobo found that Religion books were the most abandoned of any genre. In North America, only a little over one-third of all religion books are read all the way to completion.

With decreased time spent reading, decreased attention span, and knowing that the majority of readers don’t read a Christian nonfiction book in its entirety, every author should pay attention to this important element for nonfiction books.

Keep it short.

Yep, you read that right. If your book is for the average Christian individual, keep it short. Unless you are marketing a reference book or a scholarly tomb to pastors, scholars, professors, or others in academia, shorter is better.

Many nonfiction authors have good and useful information. However, if a reader is not reading your entire book, some of your information is lost. To help readers glean more from your nonfiction books— in addition to writing compelling prose—make the following adjustments to your books:

  • Keep your nonfiction book under 200 pages, but closer to 120 to 150 pages.
  • Keep the chapters short. More chapters with fewer pages per chapter is better. People often read in soundbites.
  • If you have a long nonfiction book that is over 200 pages and not selling well, either reduce the size or turn it into two books.
  • Keep the price down. Since you are selling a shorter book, don’t price it as high as a book that is 200+ pages. Keep the price just a little lower so that readers perceive value for their money.

Our culture is changing and, if we want to be relevant and sell books, our books must accommodate these changes.

Related Posts:
Important Information for Christian Authors
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Are You Paying Attention?

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Photo courtesy of Charles Deluvio.

Market Your Book as a Gift

It may feel early, but it’s not. Christmas items are already beginning to pop up in stores. Christmas is the biggest gift-giving holiday in the United States.

Experts report that 25% of books are purchased as gifts. Children receive many of these books as gifts. Studies show that 43% of the books purchased as gifts are for children ages 12 and under.

 

Christmas will be here in no time. It’s not too early to begin promoting your book as a great gift. Consider running a Christmas special on your book to encourage people to buy it as a gift this year, especially if you have a children’s book.

You can remind your fans and followers that books make great gifts. Following are six reasons books are great to give as a gift.

1. Books Don’t Go Out of Style.
When you buy someone a book, you don’t have to worry about whether it is in fashion or not, whether it is the right size or color, and whether the recipient will actually wear it or not. Because, they won’t be wearing it, they will be reading it.

2. Books are Affordable.
Books usually cost anywhere from $6 to $20. There is a book for every budget, so you don’t need to break the bank to give someone a great gift.

3. Books are Life-Giving.
Books are life-changing. Additionally, studies show that reading a book reduces stress and that those who read regularly live longer than those who don’t read much. If you give a Christian book that encourages the reader into a relationship with God, then you help someone have eternal life.

4. Books are for Everyone.
There is a book for every age, gender, and interest under the sun. As long as a person can read, a book exists that will be of interest to them.

5. Books Last.
Books last and last. You don’t use them up and they don’t wear out. They can be read again and again.

6. A Book is a Gift You Can Open Again and Again.
Every time someone opens that book you give them, they are re-opening your gift.

Sadly, the average amount of time Americans spent reading for personal interest on weekend days and holidays fell by six minutes to just 21 minutes per day over the past decade. So, one additional reason to give books as gifts is to encourage reading.

Promoting books as great gifts and your book as a gift to your friends and fans not only benefits you and your book sales,it also benefits the larger book community. Promoting books as gifts benefits every author and encourages people to read more.

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Are You Capturing Hearts?

He failed to win my heart.

I had just completed reading a full-page biography of a Christian author. His bio looked like a listing of who’s who in the Christian world. This gentleman had worked with numerous Christian organizations and for well-known Christian leaders. He had spoken at numerous Christian gatherings and penned a couple books. Yet, the author failed to win my heart because reading his bio felt like I was reading a résumé.

At the close of reading this Christian author’s bio, I had no clue what he was passionate about or what his message was. All I knew was that he hung around some well-known people and places.

To engage people, you must connect with them on an emotional level. As an author, even your author bio should conjure emotions in the reader. What you are passionate about must shine through for a connection to be made. You must win the heart of readers so they are drawn to know more about you and your message or books.

When crafting your author bio, consider these three important elements:

1. It’s Not About You.

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all, it’s your bio. It is your bio, but it should not just be about you. After all, few people care where you live, how long you have been married (unless it relates to your book’s topic), or how many pets you own.

Ultimately, your bio is a tool to tell the reader about yourself. Yet, more importantly, it is a means to let readers know how what you are or do relates to who they are and what they do or want to do. Your bio is a tool to draw readers in to capture their hearts.

2. Let Your Personality Shine Through.

Your author bio should reflect your personality. Readers should feel they know you a little more when done reading your bio. If you write with humor, be playful in your bio. If you write about your personal struggles, be transparent. Share your passion.

3. Include Your Relevant Expertise.

Use your author bio to tell your readers the expertise you possess to write on the topics your books cover. This requires a difficult balance. You want to build credibility without overtly bragging. Provide just enough information to let your readers know you possess the knowledge and experience to speak with authority on the subject. Keep it relevant.

People do business with the people they like and trust. The goal of your author bio is to help people like and trust you. Use your author bio to create an emotional connection with your readers and book sales will follow.

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Photo courtesy of Jakob Owens.

Call for Nominations for the Christian Indie Awards

As the number of independently published Christian books grows, vehicles are needed to bring awareness and give recognition to these books. The Christian Indie Awards is one tool striving to do just that.

The Christian Indie Awards are sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). These awards are open to any small publisher or independent author who has published a Christian book. 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.
  • Books must be published with a 2015 or 2016 copyright and released for sale in 2015 or 2016. New editions of previously published books are eligible. Reissued editions are not.
  • 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 visit the Christian Indie Awards website at https://www.christianaward.com. Nominations are accepted through November 15, 2017.

Discover four great benefits of wining a book award. Watch this video:

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