Awards Make a Difference

Before the FDA, the Good Housekeeping Institute existed. Since 1990, this team of engineers, scientists, analysts, and products experts have rigorously tested products so that Americans can rest assured they are not wasting their money.

Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval

Appearing on everything from cookware to computers to clearing supplies, the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval says that consumers can trust the product to deliver what it promises. The Good Housekeeping Seal has been around for over 100 years because it works. People trust it.

Studies show that seals of approval, awards emblems, and best-seller stickers all make a difference for consumers. Maybe you are wondering just how much of a difference they make when it comes to selling books.

Interestingly, a study done by BookNet Canada in 2018 looked at what influences book buyers’ decisions to make a purchase. This study found that award emblems were just about as influential in influencing a purchasing decision as a book’s cover design.

Numerous studies have indicated that cover design is important when choosing a book to buy. But, just how important?

The BookNet study found that 6.9% of book buyers ranked a book’s cover design as the number one influencer in their book purchasing decision. Awards and bestseller stickers or badges were reported as the number one influencer in book purchasing decisions by 6.5% of book buyers in the study.

Award Stickers Influence Buyers

This means that six or seven out of every hundred people will buy a book because it sports an award or bestseller sticker.

If you have been skeptical about whether a book award really makes a difference in selling a book, you can now put that question to rest. The study by BookNet Canada showed that book awards do make an impact on readers book choices.

If you have a quality book, money spent on book award entry fees is not wasted. I believe it is smart use of your money to designate a portion of your marketing dollars to entering book award contests.

There are numerous contests to enter. You can find a list of Christian book award contests at www.christianbookaward.com. A longer list of book award contests with religious categories can be found in my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books.

In addition, nominations are still open for the 2020 Christian Indie Awards. You can nominate your Christian book published in 2018 or 2019 at www.christianaward.com.

Related Posts:
What Influences Book Purchasing Decisions?
Are Awards Worth It?
Book Awards Help Promote Books

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Photo courtesy of Sophieja.

How to Get People to Read Your Emails

The world is now mobile. Studies show that 67% of email is opened on a mobile device.

This means that if you have an email newsletter that you send to subscribers—and every author should be using this marketing technique—your email needs to be mobile friendly. Email subject lines and the first few lines of text render differently on mobile devices than they do on computers. Adjusting your emails to accommodate these differences can encourage more of your email recipients to read your emails.

Remember, just because someone has subscribed to your email list does not guarantee that they will read your emails. I encourage you to follow these 8 Tips for Making Email Campaigns Mobile Friendly to increase the open and read rates for the emails that you send.

Tips for mobile-friendly email campaigns

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How’s that Working for You?
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Headlines Are More Important than You Think

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Are Children Still Reading?

Generation Z, those children born after 1995, are digital natives. The first generation to grow up with ready access to the Internet, smartphones, tablets, and social media, concern has been raised about this generation’s short attention span and disinterest in reading.

Sales of Children's Books Have Grown

Interestingly, the rumors of the demise of reading with Generation Z may be exaggerated. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) reports that sales of Children’s and Young Adult books have grown over the past five years. Specifically, unit sales for Children’s and Young Adult nonfiction grew 17.8 percent.

A study by Scholastic and YouGov in 2017 found that 86 percent of Canadian children aged 6-17 years old were reading or had finished reading a book for fun recently. Another study by Common Sense Media in 2015 of U.S. children found one in four tweens and one in five teens reported reading for pleasure regularly. Both studies found that the majority of these children read print books (67% in Canada and 83% in the United States).

While it is good news that Generation Z is reading, we know that overall reading has decreased in the past few decades. One study on young people’s reading habits over the last 50 years summarized in “The Rise of Digital Media, the Decline of TV, and the (Near) Demise of Print.” cited a depressing finding. There has been a decline of daily reading of some form of print—whether magazine, book, etc.—from 60 percent in the late 1970s to 12 percent today. The authors use the notion of “displacement theory” to explain this decline—82 percent of young people use social media today (not to mention video games), which more than likely displaces time they might formerly have given to reading.

If you are a children’s author, these studies hold both good news and sad news. The good news is that Generation Z is still reading, and that they prefer print books. The sad news is that reading continues to fall wayside to other forms of entertainment.

Books Still Make Great Gifts

What can you as a children’s author do about this? I have two suggestions.

1. Help create a love of reading in children.

Studies show that children with classroom libraries are more likely to be frequent readers. Yet, only 43% of school-age children have access to a classroom library. You can be part of the solution. Volunteer to help build a classroom library for a teacher at a local Christian school. Donate some of your books as well as other age-appropriate books the teacher and kids are interested in.

2. Promote your books as great gifts.

Studies show that busy Millennial moms like online gift guides. In fact, some big box retailers like Toys R Us have gone out of business because many Millennials prefer to shop online. If you are a children’s author, put together an online Christmas gift guide for moms. Offer a range of gift ideas for the age-range your books target, and be sure to include your books in the guide.

Whether you are a children’s author, a young adult author, or an author of adult books, helping increase literacy and reading in children is a good cause to participate in. After all, children grow up to be adults, and you want to have adults read your books in years to come.

Related Posts:
What Every Children’s Author Needs to Know
Authors Profit By Encouraging Children to Read
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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok.

What Shoppers Want

I am a coupon clipper. Every Sunday I go through the ads in the newspaper (yes, I still get a print newspaper) and clip the ones that I think I will use. I put these on my refrigerator so they are handy when I go to the grocery store. Sadly, half the time I forget to grab the coupons on my way out the door to the store.

Could offering coupons for your books spur more sales?

Clearly, extreme couponing is not for me. My intentions are good. It’s my follow through that needs some work. Usually, I remember I forgot the coupons about halfway to the grocery store. At that point, I don’t feel like going back to get them. So they sit unused  on my refrigerator.

I am not alone in coupon clipping or in using them (although I could improve in this aspect). Recent research by Inmar found that shoppers today are driven by the use of coupons. According to this research:

  • 60% of shoppers reported using paper as well as digital coupons.
  • 28% of shoppers reporting using paper coupons exclusively.
  • 13% said they use only digital coupons.

Coupon use is regular and ongoing for many consumers:

  • 42% of surveyed shoppers reported they “always” or “usually” use digital coupons.
  • 37% said the same about coupon inserts from the Sunday newspaper.

It’s clear that consumers see value in coupons. In fact, 80% of consumers in the Inmar study reported that coupons changed their behavior in some way. This raises the question: Could offering coupons for your books spur more sales?

Offer coupons

There are many ways you can use coupons to sell your books. You can offer a digital coupon in your email newsletter. You can offer a coupon in a print mailing such as on a postcard. You can even offer a coupon at a live event where you are selling your book.

Giving consumers what they want is a great way to encourage them to buy your book. Creating a coupon is not difficult. Free online services like Send a Coupon make creating a coupon easy. Send a Coupon allows you to create free coupons that you can email or tweet to your followers.

Try it. You might reap a few more sales just by giving out coupons.

Related Posts:
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Photo courtesy of Nathan23.

A Book Marketing Recipe

I once met an author who wrote a book that she was promoting as a Christian book. I spoke with this author and really liked her. She had a charming, likable nature. She was very personable. However, during our conversation, she told me that she did not read the Bible. In fact, she did not even know some of the more familiar Bible stories such as Esther.

A Marketing Recipe

When I discovered this piece of information, I decided to not read her book. Why? Because I did not trust that her book was really a Christian book. On another level, I did not trust this author. After all, she was promoting her book as a Christian book, yet she did not read the Bible.

Relationships follow a predictable pattern. First you must meet someone and get to know them. As you get to know the person, you start to like him or her. Then, as you spend more time with that person, your trust in the individual grows.

This pattern—Know + Like + Trust—is repeated over and over in our life with each new person we meet and befriend. The same pattern is replicated in selling products. After all, we buy products from people we know, like, and trust.

When you think about marketing your book, this simple pattern should permeate what you do. Your marketing efforts need to help people first get to know you, then to like you and what you offer, and lastly to trust your message and writing.

Let’s examine each step a little more closely.

Know:

People have to meet you to know you. This meeting does not have to be in the physical world; it can be in the print or digital world. There are many ways for people to meet you. They might read an article you wrote or see one of your social media posts. They might hear you interviewed on a podcast. For people to meet you, you have to show up. The more places you show up at, the more people will get to know you.

Like:

We like people who help us. As an author, you help people by enriching their lives with your useful information, stress-relieving humor, or compelling stories that speak to hearts. We help people by showing up regularly and offering value to their lives. When we help our audience, they like us.

Trust:

Trust builds as like deepens. When we are consistent and people can rely on us, they trust us more. Your message matters. When your message speaks to someone’s heart, they feel that you know them and their struggles, and they begin to trust you.

This pattern is rarely completed in a quick getting. Sometimes the Know + Like + Trust pattern can all happen in a one-time meeting. Usually, it develops over time. Repeated exposure is necessary. Consistency is key.

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What Influences Book Purchasing Decisions?
A Marketing Strategy that Works

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