Not Everyone Uses Social Media

She was young, pretty, and a reader. I immediately knew she read a lot because she had three paperback books stuffed into her purse.

I wasn’t snooping. Honest. Her purse was open and the three books were sticking slightly out. They were crammed in spine down, so I could not discern the genre.

As I talked with this Young Adult just starting out on her life’s journey, I discovered that she does not fit the Generation Z mold. She told me that she is not on social media and she does not watch television. It’s not that she’s not tech savvy. She takes online college courses and met her boyfriend online.

Yet, here is a young adult who is not hanging out online—and she reads. Why am I pointing this out? Because it is important to remember.

Not everyone uses social media. Not everyone gets the majority of their information online. I am pointing this out because I want to remind you that a comprehensive book marketing plan includes both digital and physical marketing.

Most likely you don’t have a large marketing budget for your book. As a result, spending time creating content online and posting it on your blog and social media sites, as well as sharing it through email, is where you focus your attention.

That’s a good strategy, but you won’t reach all your potential readers this way. A better strategy is to include some print marketing.

There are still print newspapers, print magazines, and print fliers and postcards. These are all good ways to broaden your marketing reach to those who prefer print.

Expanding your marketing to include print venues does not have to cost you a lot of money or time. Start local. Focus on local newspapers and magazines that reach your target audience. Every community has these.

You can find local newspapers by keeping your eyes open as you go about your community. Often public libraries and grocery stores have a spot for free local newspapers and magazines. You can also use an online newspaper search engine like the one at www.usnpl.com to identify local newspapers.

Magazines and newspapers are always looking for fresh, interesting news. Be creative. Send a press release to your local magazine editors and newspaper journalists featuring you and your book. However, make sure your press release is not just about you writing a book. It needs to have something newsworthy such as a local cause your book is supporting, how your book ties into local history, or even an interesting journey you took to research your book. Tie your press release in with an upcoming local author appearance for better results.

Including traditional marketing with your digital marketing efforts will broaden your reach and help you secure more readers for your books. After all, not everyone uses social media.

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Photo courtesy of Miguel Runa.

Selling Books is Challenging!

Industry statistics show that, while print book sales have been slowly growing over the past few years (about 2% to 3% per year), sales of fiction books have declined. According to 2017 estimates by the Association of American Publishers, sales of adult fiction fell 16% between 2013 and 2017.

Selling books is challenging. On any given day, more nonfiction than fiction books are sold in the United States. While there are numerous best-selling novels, year after year Americans still buy more nonfiction books than fiction. In fact, one recent report reveals that, in the United Kingdom, nonfiction outsells fiction by a two to one margin.

Why this decline in sales?

The most commonly shared view is that reading for pleasure is declining and it has become extremely difficult to generate exposure for novels.

As fiction sales decline, so do the vehicles that authors have available at their disposal to promote their books. Over the fifteen years that I have been involved in the Christian book industry, the number and breadth of vehicles that authors can use to reach readers has steadily declined.

The latest vehicle to fall by the wayside is Book Fun Magazine. Citing a drop in readership as well as a drop in revenue, Book Fun Magazine recently announced that their final issue will be released in December 2018.

With fewer avenues available for marketing and advertising both fiction and nonfiction books, authors need to become more creative at reaching readers directly.

1. Developing Your Audience Is More Important than Ever

Instead of relying on publications and other historically industry-standard venues to reach readers, authors now have to become more creative in their marketing efforts. Knowing your target audience and where they hang out and get their information has become more important than ever. More and more authors need to engage their target audience through avenues like professional organizations, online interest groups, church leaders, partnering with parachurch organizations, and speaking engagements.

Targeting your audience effectively is not enough. It takes seven to twelve exposures to a product before a consumer decides to make a purchase. Your goal in developing an audience is to offer a free lead magnet to hook your target audience into giving you their email. Then, you develop this audience by building trust with these people through providing them ongoing content that meets a need they have and enriches their lives in some way.

2. Format for Quick Reading Is Becoming More Important

We now create more data in one year than in the 5,000 that came before. Information overload is present in almost every area of our life. Numerous studies reveal that people’s attention spans are getting shorter. Long-form reading is on the decline.

People no longer want to read dense passages of prose. Instead, we want the facts and we want them in an easily digestible format. Authors need to make it easy for readers to consume the next line and keep going. This means that the interior layout of books is becoming more and more important in attracting and keeping readers.

In essence, authors need to make their words as visually appealing as possible. This means using more space and separators in your chapters. For nonfiction books, include bolding, italics, underlining, and pull quotes to attract the eye. In fiction books, keep your chapters shorter with cliff-hanging hooks at the end of each one.

As times change, are ways of doing things also need to change so that our books remain relevant. Selling books is not an easy task. The growing number of distractions in our society that pull people away from long-form reading is only going to continue.

Related Posts:
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Photo courtesy of PatheMathos.

Embellishments Help Create an Emotional Connection

As humans, we crave connection. We want to feel connected to our family members, our friends, our community, and God. This sense of connection meets our need for belonging.

Authors can use humanity’s innate need for connection to enhance your marketing efforts. You can use stories and information to help your readers feel a connection with you. You can also use adornments to create a sense of connection and anticipation.

Not too long ago, I ordered a book. The book was mailed to me. It came in an envelope. What caught my eye was the sticker on the back of the envelope. It was an oval gold sticker that helped “seal” the envelope shut. The sticker simply read ENJOY.

This caught my attention. It also served to increase my anticipation of reading the book. A simple sticker embellishing an envelope created a stronger connection to the book for me.

We are emotional creatures. Simple adornments strategically placed can heighten our emotions.

Consider how you might be able to use a similar strategy with your books to increase readers’ connection to you and your books. The ideas are endless. Let your creative juices flow.

Maybe you can use a similar sticker when you send out copies of your book. Maybe you can add a sticker to your book’s cover that creates an emotional response. Even a “Signed by the Author” sticker can help create an emotional connection for readers.

You can find some great sticker ideas on Zazzle or Demco.

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10 Daily Book Marketing Activities for 2019

It’s the time of year people start to think about New Year’s Resolutions. Even if you don’t make New Year’s resolutions, the end of a year is a great time to reflect on what you have done the previous year and what you want to improve on in the coming year.

For authors and publishers, reflecting on what you have accomplished in writing, publishing, and marketing is important. Now is the time to start setting goals in these areas are for 2019.

If marketing is an area that you have found yourself becoming lax in, then resolve to do better in 2019. To build an audience for your books, strive to engage in marketing activities on a daily basis. A constant drip of marketing activities will add up, much like a dripping faucet eventually fills the sink.

Following are 10 book marketing activities that you can do every day.

Don’t be intimated or overwhelmed with the idea of marketing. Strive to do a little each day.

If you want to improve your marketing efforts, I encourage you to join Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). CSPA provides our Member authors and publishers a number of resources to help them be more successful in marketing. Our newest offerings are CSPA Reference Guides which include the following:

  • Book Launch Marketing Checklist
  • List of Radio and Podcast Media
  • CSPA Guide: Author Media Kit
  • CSPA Guide: Media Pitches
  • CSPA Guide: Media Interviews
  • CSPA Guide: Bookstore Events

You can join Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) today for the 2019 calendar year. You will receive access to these great resources and many more. Membership through December 2019 is just $90. Join today on CSPA’s website.

Marketing is any activity that brings attention to your books. Marketing activities focus on creating, keeping, and satisfying customers. You must engage in marketing activities to spread the word about your book so that people will know it exists. After all, people cannot buy something they don’t know exists.

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