Grow Your Audience In Spite of a Pandemic

The coronavirus has upended our world. Almost everyone across the country – and even the world – is now facing “Shelter in Place” restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. Most businesses are taking a significant financial hit.

Grow Your Audience with Radio and Podcast Interviews

As an author, you can still grow the audience for your books—right from your home—during this pandemic. The good news is life has not ground to a complete halt. While where we go in public has been restricted, where we go on the Internet is still wide open.

Online radio and podcasts are still open for business. These shows are still interviewing people. Since radio and podcasts are all recorded over the phone or the Internet, there is fear of spreading the virus. So, the shows go on.

People are still listening to radio and podcasts, and may even be listening more because they have more time to do so, as their leisure activities are restricted. Being a guest on radio shows and podcasts is a great way to grow your audience.

As an author stuck at home, you can spend time securing radio and podcast interviews. And conduct them right from your home over your phone or computer.

After all, people need to hear a message of hope during this difficult time. As a Christian author, you have that message.

Christian Indie Publishing AssociationIf you are not sure how to go about securing interviews on podcasts and radio shows, I suggest that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). We are running a Coronavirus Special during the month of April.

The Membership fee has been reduced to $75. With your membership fee, you will have access to the following:

  1. List of over 100 Radio and Podcast Shows actively interviewing authors – with host names and contact information. The value of this list alone is worth more than your Membership fee.
  2. Reference Guides on:
    • Creating an Author Media Kit
    • How to Pitch the Media for a Guest Interview
    • Tips for a Successful Media Interview

Being interviewed on a radio show or podcast is one of the best ways to grow your audience and expose more people to your books. Take advantage of your “Shelter in Place” time to grow your audience. It will pay off.

Related Posts:
Are You Pursuing Radio Exposure?
Are You Leaning into Your Authority?
Do You Want to Sell More Books?

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Photo courtesy of Christina Morillo.

Just How Important Is an Author Platform?

Go to any writer’s conference and you will hear the term “Author Platform” tossed around.

Just how important is an author platform?

Just how important is an author platform?

I have met more than one author who felt led to write a book. These authors began to write what was on their hearts. Then they attended a writer’s conference and heard from agents and editors that they needed a platform in order to be considered for publication by a traditional publishing house.

Many of these authors went home and threw themselves into developing a platform. They worked hard on posting on social media—sharing pictures, creating memes, and posting videos. Some developed the number of followers they were looking for, others did not. Most would agree that their focus became their platform and their writing took a back seat.

A few of these authors ended up receiving contracts for their books from a traditional publishing house. Most did not. Many ended up self-publishing.

Does an author platform guarantee book sales?

Here’s the rub. Most experts agree that the number of followers on social media does not translate to book sales. In other words, there are authors who have thousands of followers on social media, but they aren’t selling thousands of books.

Social media is just that—social. Just because someone likes what you post or followers you on social media does not mean:

  • That they read books.
  • That they buy books.
  • That they read books in your genre.

What’s the best way for an author to build a platform?

An author platform is not so much about numbers as it is about adding value. When you offer something that resonates with a group of people, they will buy what you are offering.

At a recent writer’s conference, I met a gentleman who told me that his wife has been battling cancer for the past decade. During this time, she has written a gratitude blog. The purpose of the blog was twofold. She wanted to remind herself to be grateful in the midst of her suffering, and she wanted to encourage others to count their blessings no matter what they are going through.

An editor at a Christian publishing house discovered her blog through social media. She began to read the posts. The result was that the editor offered this woman a book deal. Why? Because this woman was sharing a message that people desperately need.

Instead of trying to win as many followers as you can on social media to build your platform, focus on your message. Write what is on your heart. If it resonates with people, they will read it and come back for more.

By the way, I will be presenting Three Things to Do Before You Publish at the Write Stuff Conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, March 14. If you live in the area, I invite you to sign up for the conference.

Related Posts:
Are You Using This to Build Your Author Platform?
Proof! Author Platform Building Works
An Audience of One

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Photos courtesy of Hugo Ataide and John Hain.

Double Your Book Marketing with This Little Trick

What would you think if I told you that you could double your marketing efforts with just one little move?

Double Your Book Marketing

It is possible—and indie author David Winters has done it.

David recently published a “making faith real” book for men. Exercise Your Faith: Defeating the Lies Men Believe examines thirty plus lies that can derail effectiveness and steal satisfaction.

Playing on his title, Exercise Your Faith, David decided that using a healthy, fit male as the image for his book’s cover would have the most impact in drawing men to the book. David happens to have a friend who is a fitness guru and owns a gym.

In a brilliant move, David asked his friend Nick Singer if he would like to be on the cover of his book. Of course, David’s fitness friend said yes. After all, who wouldn’t want that type of exposure? Who wouldn’t want to be able to talk about their fame from being featured on the cover of a book?

Exercise Your FaithBut, the exchange was not been just one-way. In being featured on the David’s book cover, Nick Singer became invested in the book.

Nick is a Christian. He wants to serve God and further His kingdom. To that end, he got onboard with helping David promote the book.

One of the marketing activities that the two have done together is to hold the book launch party at the Nick’s gym Fitology. At the launch party, David and Nick did a double book signing. The fitness guru signed the cover (since that is where he is featured) and David, as the author, signed the interior of the book.

So, in addition to selling books to people who know+like+trust the author, David is also able to sell books to people who know+like+trust his friend Nick, the fitness guru.

In case you don’t do math, two people promoting a book to their respective audiences means double the book marketing.

Do you want to sell more books? Then, consider who you might feature on the cover of your next book.

After all, in giving someone celebrity status by featuring them on your book’s cover, you will invest them in the sales of the book.

Related Posts:
Why Would Someone Buy Your Book?
How to Sell More Books
Marketing Is a Mindset

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Photo courtesy of Jill Wellington.

Do You Want to Sell More Books?

Do you want to sell more books?

1,416,384

This is the number of print books that were self-published in 2018.

91.5%

This is the percentage of those self-published print books that were published through Amazon’s KDP.

Amazon is huge. It is a dominant factor in the book-selling industry. However, it is not the only place books are sold. Currently, the breakdown of print books purchased online versus in physical stores is:

  • 34% of print books purchased in stores.
  • 66% of print books purchased online.

Amazon is not the only book seller in town (or state, or country, or world). If you are an independent author who has published through KDP, you are probably missing out on sales. In fact, you may only be selling half as many books as you could be selling.

The major publishers—those companies whose business is to sell books for profit—do not get all their sales from Amazon. In fact, here the breakdown for where major publishers sell their print books is:

  • 50% Amazon
  • 25% Libraries and specialty accounts
  • 17% Barnes & Noble
  • 8% Independent bookstores

Sales Breakdown

Only half of all print book sales for major publishers comes from Amazon. So, if you are only selling your books on Amazon, you are missing out on sales.

If you want to sell more books, here are some suggestions:

1.  Sell your book through multiple channels.

Not everyone shops on Amazon. If half of the major publishers print book sales come from other channels (both online and physical), then you are missing out on sales by exclusively selling your book through Amazon.

2.  Think outside the box.

One-fourth of the major publishers print book sales comes from library and specialty accounts. While you may have some difficulty getting libraries to pick up your book as an independent author, thinks about specialty stores. There are thousands upon thousands of gift stores in the United States. What type of gift, museum, or novelty shop might your book be a good fit for? Pursue these type of stores (both online and physical) for selling your book.

3.  Do more in-person events.

People buy books from authors they know, like, and trust. The quickest way to get people to know, then like and trust you is to do an in-person event. This could be a book signing, an author reading, a seminar, or other speaking engagement. These types of events allow you to sell your books during or after the event, increasing your sales.

4.  Pursue media coverage.

The number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. People cannot become familiar with you unless they have exposure to you. One great way to expose yourself to people is through an interview on a radio or podcast show.

If you don’t know where to begin, I suggest that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) and download our list of over 80 radio and podcast outlets interviewing authors. The list is a steal of a deal and worth more than the Association’s annual dues.

If you need help in knowing how best to approach radio and podcast hosts to request an interview, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) can also help with that. After you become a Member, you can download our Reference Guides on Media Pitches and Media Interviews to learn what to do to be a successful media guest.

Related Posts:
What Influences Book Purchasing Decisions?
Do You Suffer from Fear of Public Speaking?
Don’t Make These Rookie Mistakes

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Photo courtesy of Goumbik.

Does Your Book Need an Update?

This summer, two houses on the block where I live were put up for sale. Both houses were built about the same time. They are comparable in size. The asking price for each house was similar.

In selling, presentation makes all the difference!

One house sold in three days! The other house is still on the market six months later.

Why did one house sell so fast while the other still languishes on the market?

A quick look at their online listings gave me the answer. The house that sold in three days sported an updated look. The inside was pristine! The kitchen sported a modern look. The house had wood floors throughout. In addition, it was clearly staged with just the right kind and number of furnishings.

The house that is still languishing on the market sits empty. There is no furniture in the house. The inside sports a mix of old and new. The kitchen has new counter tops, but the cabinets are dated. The house has new carpet, but only some of the floors are hardwood.

In selling, presentation makes all the difference. The same is true for books.

Are you struggling to sell your book(s)? Are you taking out Amazon or social media ads, but not having much success with sales? Maybe it is time to refresh and update your presentation.

Refresh Your Presentation

Ask yourself these questions:

Book Cover

  • Does your book’s cover need to be refreshed?
  • Is your book cover accurately reflecting the genre of your book?
  • Does your book’s cover sport a similar look to other books on your subject matter or fiction genre?
  • It your book title and subtitle easy to read in a thumbnail sketch?
  • Does your book cover’s color send the right message?

Book Description

  • Does your book description page on Amazon need updating?
  • Are you using the best keywords?
  • Do you need to try new Amazon categories for your book?
  • Have you optimized your Amazon Book Page to utilize all the options available for giving the best information to hook people into buying your book?
  • Does your book description answer the “What’s in it for Me?” question?
  • Are you using bullet points in your book’s description for easy scanning?

Book Reviews

  • Do you need more reviews of your book on Amazon for better social proof to convince readers that your book is worth their time and money?
  • Is your book’s overall review rating four stars or better?

Publisher RocketSince about 50% of PRINT books and 80% of EBOOKS are sold via Amazon, keeping your Amazon listing updated is essential for selling your book.

Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) now receive a 30% discount on Publisher Rocket. This software helps authors and publishers pick the keywords that readers frequently use and the best book categories.

Related Posts:
The Importance of a Cover
Is Your Book Cover too Cluttered?
Book Reviews Are Social Proof

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