Networking Is Easier Than You Think

What’s the best way to land a job? By networking.

networking is easier than you think.

Often getting a job is all about who you know and who knows you. That’s why LinkedIn is so popular. It lets professionals network online and expand their connections.

Good marketers also network. Most good opportunities come from making a connection with someone who has connections that will help you.

Networking for book marketing is simply making connections with others to find new opportunities to grow your audience and sell more books.

I am sure you have heard of the Six Degrees of Separation. This idea is that all people are six (or fewer) social connections away from each other. Meaning that you are six introductions away from any other person on the planet.

According to this belief, it follows that with networking you will be able to find any opportunity you are looking for. You just need to ask.

  • Do you want to speak in schools? Ask the people you know if they have contacts at local schools who you could talk to.
  • Do you want to speak at conferences? Ask the people in your life to introduce you to the women’s or men’s leader at their church.
  • Do you want to do an author event at a library? Ask authors you know who they have contacted to do an event.
  • Do you want more book reviews? Ask your social circle if they know anyone who would be interested in reading your book in exchange for a review.
  • Do you want to partner with a nonprofit? Ask your current network if they know of any nonprofits doing the kind of work you want to partner with.

Many people are averse to asking. Meaning that they feel like they are imposing on others if they ask.

Ask and you will receive

Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive.” Of course, Jesus was speaking of asking God.  Yet the principal is true for asking others for things we desire. If we don’t ask, we won’t receive.

There is no shame in asking. For the most part, people want to help others—and that includes helping you.

You probably have a larger network of people to ask than you realize. Your network includes:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Church community
  • Colleagues and coworkers
  • Followers on social media
  • Members of the groups and associations you participate in

Lean on these people. They are your support system. Use them to expand your circle of connections, then enjoy the new opportunities that open up for you to expand your marketing reach.

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Photo courtesy of Geralt.

Are You Engaging the Five Senses with Your Book Marketing?

I have a favorite Chinese dish that I love to order at Chinese restaurants. Sadly, few restaurants carry this dish. When I find one that does, I savor every bite of my meal.

Market Your Book with the Five Senses in Mind

As humans, our five senses are powerful. Not only do they keep us safe, they also keep us informed. Did you know…

  • Your eyes are capable of processing 36,000 pieces of information per hour:
  • You can smell about 10,000 odors.
  • 80% of what we experience as taste is actually smell.
  • 90% of a young child’s knowledge is attributable to hearing background conversation.
  • Being touched can reduce stress, by lowering levels of ­hormones like cortisol.

We use our five senses on a daily basis to make decisions. The psalmist encourages us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  He understood that we use our senses to inform our decisions—including what to purchase.

As an author, you can play to these five senses when selling your books. Take each one into account as you craft and market your books.

Sight

Make a positive first impression. Make sure your book cover is eye-catching and your title can be easily read. Ensure that your book cover is not too cluttered. Our eyes need white space to frame what we see.

Hearing

Speak the language of your target audience. Even in the written word—such as your book description—write in a manner that the reader can “hear”. Use common phrases and points of view that your audience is accustomed to.

Smell

People can “smell” a fake. So, don’t be phony. Be transparent and authentic. Don’t pretend that you are perfect or know everything. If you smell fishy, you won’t develop trust with your audience.

Touch

We only allow people we trust to touch us. Trust is a necessary ingredient in selling books. Establish trust with your audience because you cannot succeed without trust.

Taste

Know your audience’s preferences. The better you know your audience—their beliefs, interests, and desires—the more effectively you will communicate with them.

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Photo courtesy of Pablo Merchán Montes.

Coronavirus and Book Publishing

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting everyone. It has hit every business and is impacting our world and economy.

For fun, I compiled the top COVID-19 book-related headlines from this past week.

COVID-19 Book-Related Headlines

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Are You at Risk of Being Locked Out?

On February 26, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Internet giants like Google (owns YouTube) and Facebook (owns Instagram) can censor content on their platforms.

Locked Out

Conservatives claim the tech companies have violated their First Amendment rights by removing certain messages or videos, or shutting down their accounts. The court ruled unanimously that these companies are private forums, not public forums, and therefore not subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment.

This ruling means that individuals and organizations cannot sue big Internet tech companies under the First Amendment for decisions on content moderation. In other words, if YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter remove your content or shut down your account, you have little to no recourse.

Maybe you are wondering how this affects you. I think this ruling has some big implications for Christian authors.

1. Your Social Media Account Could be Shut Down or Censored.

As a Christian voice on social media platforms, Christian authors risk being shut out and losing out. I know Christian authors who have had this happen to them on both Facebook and Twitter.

2. Amazon Could Remove Your Book from Its Website.

Last summer, Amazon removed a number of books written by former LGBTQ people, after being pressured by LGBTQ activists. Amazon already limits where ads for Christian books can show up on their website. This Internet giant—that sells about 50% of print book sales and 80% of ebook sales—could choose to not allow any advertising for Christian books or remove more or all of the Christian books from their website.

Jesus told his disciples: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

When it comes to censorship by tech companies on the Internet, this instruction would translate to: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Eggs in one basket

You are putting all your eggs in one basket if:

  • Your books are for sale exclusively on Amazon.
  • You mainly rely on social media to promote your books.

Shrewd authors diversify. They make sure all their eggs are not in the same basket by:

  • Having their books for sales in multiple outlets online.
  • Having a robust website where they collect email addresses and send out regular messages directly to everyone on their list.

Sports enthusiasts will tell you that your best defense is a good offense. The same is true for marketing. An offense-oriented marketing plan utilizes multiple avenues for selling and promoting books. Do you have an offensive marketing plan?

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Photo courtesy of MasterTux.

The Responsibility Rest on You!

I recently had a conversation with a Christian author. This gentleman makes his living through writing. He does not have another job. He supports his family through the sales of his books.

The Responsibility Rests on You

This author is traditionally published. He waxed eloquently about the changes in the Christian book publishing industry and how they have affected him. He reported that his publisher, a large Christian publishing house, no longer bothers with hiring a sales rep to sell their books into bookstores. Almost all their efforts are focused on selling books directly to consumer—and they largely leave this up to the authors.

Gone are the days when an author could find a publisher to bear the weight of the publishing and publicity costs for a new book. Now, the vast majority of the marketing falls on the author’s shoulders even when the publishing company foots the bill to publish the book.

One of the authors that Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) recently represented at the NRB Convention was published by a traditional small publishing house that is a member of CIPA. This first-time author’s book had just been released, and she was excited to be at the show.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

The author showed up without a clear understanding of how she was going to promote her books or where she needed to be when. She told me that she thought the publisher, who was also attending the show, would lead and she would follow. However, her publisher was busy networking and taking care of other business.

This new author said, “I should have taken the time to better prepare before I came instead of expecting my publisher to do it for me.

It doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or self-published. The responsibility is yours.

If your book is not selling as well as you would like, look no farther than yourself. Ask yourself:

  • What am I doing on a daily basis to market my book?
  • What more could I do?
  • Which marketing activities are bringing most of my sales?
  • What new marketing strategy can I try?

John Kremer wrote a book called 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. If you need ideas, just consult the book. It has more ideas than you could ever implement. If you want ideas and specific resources for reaching more Christian consumers, my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, will provide you with plenty to keep you busy for a long time.

Yes, the responsibility for marketing and selling your book rests on your shoulders. But, remember, that you rest on Christ. Partner with him. Do what you can and trust that he will multiply the work of your hands for the glory of his Kingdom.

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Photo courtesy of Adi Goldstein.