Book Reviews Are Social Proof

“I hate asking people for reviews”.

This statement was made to me by an independent children’s book author at a recent conference I attended. Most of us can relate to this statement. Asking is hard.

Quote by Sarah Bolme

Yet reviews are extremely important in marketing and selling books. In fact, Cassie M. Drumm, a book publicist says:

“Getting Reviews is one of the most important elements to selling books.”

Humans are social creatures. When we see lots of other people engaging in something, our brain’s perception of risk associated with that idea or activity is reduced.

Given the choice of two restaurants to eat at—one crowded and one empty—people will gravitate to the one that is crowded. Our brains tell us that the crowded restaurant must be the better option since other people have chosen it. This is social proof.

Social proof is the construct that the actions and attitudes of people around us influence our behavior. This is why 97 percent of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. The online reviews provide social proof that what we are about to buy is worth our money.

Book reviews are social proof. They tell readers that your book is worth their money and time. Studies indicate that 85 percent of Amazon Kindle readers look at the reviews of a given book before making a purchasing decision.

If you want to sell more books, you need reviews. In fact, the more reviews you have the greater the social proof that your book is worthy to be purchased.

So, go ahead and ask people for reviews. I know it’s hard, but the results may well be worth it.

Review for BookCrashAs an author, you should be willing to give as well as get. This means that you should be writing reviews of books. Be generous. Write reviews of other books in your genre. When authors in your author groups request reviews, step up and write a review if the book is in the same genre as your book.

You can also help out other independent authors by signing up to be a BookCrash reviewer. You can pick and choose which books you want to review. BookCrash reviewers are required to post their review on one social site (blog, Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and on one retail site (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook, Walmart, etc.). You can sign up to become a BookCrash reviewer at www.bookcrash.com.

Related Posts:
Social Proof Can Help You Sell More Books
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
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Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

Is Advertising a Waste of Money?

“I don’t advertise; it’s a waste of money.”

These words came out of the mouth of a small publisher I was conversing with at the recent CPE International. CPE stands for Christian Product Expo. It is a twice-yearly industry trade show where publishers and others producing products for the Christian market gather to showcase their offerings to Christian retailers.

This thought, that advertising is a waste of money, is a commonly held belief. Yet, it is inaccurate.

If advertising did not work, would businesses continue to spend billions of dollars on advertising? Think of all the places you encounter paid advertising:

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Radio ads
  • Television ads
  • Billboards
  • Display boards (think public transportation and sports games)
  • Google ads
  • Website ads
  • Social media ads
  • Amazon ads

And this list does not even cover everything. The truth is advertising works.

However, paid advertising in and of itself is not a sufficient marketing strategy. Every business and every publisher and author needs a comprehensive marketing plan. Why? Because people need multiple exposures to a product or service before they will buy.

Advertising is just one strategy; and it does work. In fact, as organic traffic from web search engines continues to decrease, so will book discovery. In response, authors need to engage in more old-fashioned marketing and advertising tactics (think print).

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) had a booth at CPE International where we represented some of our Members’ books. At the show, a retailer came to our booth asking to place an ad for a book that was featured in our catalog. This particular book was not even on display at the show. The retailer had seen an ad for the book in two periodicals—one being the annual Christian Indie Publishing Association Product Catalog (our annual cooperative catalog featuring our Members’ books). This is just one small example of the power of advertising.

You can view pictures of CIPA’s booth at CPE International in the video below.

Related Posts:
The Goal of Advertising
10 Book Advertising Ideas for the Physical World
How to Sell More Books

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Photo courtesy of RitaE.

New Award for Christian Authors

The Christian Authors Network (CAN) is sponsoring a new award for Christian authors. The CAN Crown Awards celebrate excellence in Christian Media and Marketing by authors.

Crown Awards

The Crown Awards were first implemented in 1973 by ICVM (International Christian Visual Media) to honor the work of Christian film producers. The awards now recognize the best and highest achievement in video and film productions that are created to reflect Christian values. CAN is expanding these awards to media and marketing developed by Christian authors.

Open to both traditional and independent authors, the CAN Crown Awards purpose is to recognize, educate, and encourage excellence in marketing and promotion skills of all Christian authors.

This new award focuses on three categories of marketing excellence:

  1. Visual Campaign—includes memes, social media, and physical media (print materials: postcards, posters, flyers, etc.).
  2. Broadcasting —includes television, radio, podcast, or interview specific to the author or their book, series, or brand.
  3. Web Presence—includes website, blog, and newsletter.

Any campaign, broadcast, or web presence entered for the CAN Crown Awards must focus on a book, book series, or brand. The marketing campaign (visual, broadcasting, web presence) must have started between February 1, 2018 and August 27, 2019. The campaign does not need to encompass the entire 18-month span, only begin within those dates to be eligible.

Nominations for this award are open from August 28 through September 28, 2019. Finalists will be announced in advance of the Crown Award Banquet. The final Crown Awards will be presented November 16, 2019 during the awards banquet at the Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin TN.

For complete guidelines and elibigility or to nominate your marketing campaign, visit https://christianauthorsnetwork.com/can-crown-awards.

Christian Indie AwardsChristian Indie Awards

The Christian Indie Awards is open and accepting nominations through November 15, 2019. These awards honor Christian books by small presses and independent authors.

Nominations are accepted in 18 categories for books published in 2018 or 2019. Books must be in English and available for sale in the United States.

For complete guidelines and eligibility or to nominate your book, visit https://www.christianaward.com.

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Is It Worth It?
The Hidden Benefit of Winning a Book Award
Book Awards Help Promote Books

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What influences Book Purchasing Decisions?

Whoever coined the phrase “Familiarity breeds contempt” was not talking about readers who buy books. In fact, when it comes to book purchasing, the opposite is true.

Familiarity is a leading influence on readers' book choices.

BookNet Canada conducts studies on book reading and buying behavior. In one of their studies, they looked at which element influence readers to purchase a particular book. Were readers drawn in by the awesome cover design? Were they won over by the gripping book description? Did endorsements influence readers purchase decision?

Familiarity

It turns out familiarity was the most cited influence for reading a given book. In other words, the reader was familiar with the author. Somehow the reader knew about the author. They may have read another book by that author. They may be familiar with the author because he or she is already famous. Maybe they saw the author on television or heard her on the radio. The key ingredient was that they “knew” the author somehow.
Here is the breakdown of the percentage of people who ranked each option first in terms of how they influence when books they read / listen to:

  • Familiarity with the author – 35.5%
  • Read a synopsis – 25.8%
  • Familiarity with the series – 17.2%
  • Cover design – 6.9%
  • Awards and bestseller stickers/badges – 6.5%
  • Saw an ad for the book – 4.7%
  • Author or celebrity endorsement – 3.1%

Notice in this breakdown that “Familiarity with the Author” was chosen by over one-third of the readers, and “Familiarity with the Series” was chosen by just about one out of every six readers. Combined, over half of all study participants chose familiarity as their number one influence in deciding what to read.

This means that as an author, you have to work hard to make yourself known to readers so that they are “familiar” with your name. In order for people to become familiar with you, you must be visible. Here are a four ways to increase your visibility as an author so readers can become more familiar with your name:

  1. Get interviewed on radio and television shows, as well as podcasts.
  2. Write articles and guest blogs.
  3. Speak at events.
  4. Write more books.

Reading a book sample

Book Samples

One-fourth of all readers reported that the number one influence for choosing what book to read was “Read a Synopsis or Sample.” A 2017 survey by BookNet Canada found that 15% of book buyers had downloaded a free extract/sample of a book in the previous year.

If you want to catch more readers for your books, then you should be offering free samples. Make the most of giving readers a taste of your book by:

  1. Allowing readers to read a chapter or two of the book on your website.
  2. Enabling the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon for your book.
  3. Getting wider exposure on social media for your book sample through Pay With a Tweet.
  4. Posting your sample chapters on reading sites like Wattpad, Booksie, and Noisetrade.

Through making yourself more visible so people become familiar with you and offering free chapters of your book to readers, you increase your chances that readers will by your book. After all, three-fourths of readers surveyed choose these two reasons—familiarity and reading a sample—as the most influential factor in their decision on what book to read.

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Are You Making This Connection?
Pay With a Tweet
Sampling: An Effective Marketing Tool

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Photo courtesy of Andrewlloydgordon.