An Audience of One

Everyone.

This is a word I commonly hear from authors when I ask them who the audience is for their book. Authors often tell me that “everyone” would benefit from reading their book.

An Audience of One

Everyone is a huge number. It is around 7.7 billion people—that’s the number of everyone living on the Earth right now.

Reaching everyone is overwhelming and impossible. When we feel overwhelmed, we often get stuck. We don’t know what decision to make or what to do because there is just too much.

“Do the next thing” has become a popular phrase. The phrase encourages people not to get overwhelmed by all there is to do, but to simply start with the next thing in front of them.

Everyone is too many. Thinking about reaching everyone is too much and impossible. Instead, narrow your audience to one. Ask yourself, “Who is the next person who needs to hear about my book?” Then focus on that one.

The North American Mission Board has developed a similar concept for evangelism. They believe that people become overwhelmed when considering all the people who need to hear the Gospel message. Many end up feeling inadequate and don’t do anything. In response, the organization has launched the Who’s Your One? campaign.

The motto of this campaign is “We must do whatever it takes to reach the lost, and it starts with one.” The campaign is designed to help people focus on one person—the next person they want to reach with the Gospel message.

I think the same concept works for marketing for authors. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the numerous marketing tasks you could engage in, focus on an audience of one. Ask yourself:

Who is the next person who needs to know about my book?

After you reach that person, focus on your next audience of one, and so on. Try it. Your audience growth may not be fast, but slowly, you will build a solid audience for your book.

Related Posts:
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Photo courtesy of Guilherme Almeida.

Write Up, Speak Up, and Change the World

Today is World Book Day in the UK and Ireland. World Book Day is a celebration of books and reading.

The slogan for World Book Day is: Reading is Power. Read up, Speak up, and Change the World.

Reading is power. Many, many lives have been changed through reading a good book. Some readers have received hope or inspiration to get them through a tough time. Others have received eternal hope through the Gospel message found in a book.

Reading is power, but writing is also power. Reading cannot be power without having life-changing words to read. Authors, take heart. Your writing is important and powerful.

The world needs Christian authors writing and publishing books that point people to God. As Romans 10 says:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I believe the same is true for the written word. Beautiful are the hands of those who write good news!

But all your writing and publishing will amount to nothing, if your books don’t get into the hands of people. People have to read your books to be impacted by your words.

Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you are struggling with promoting your Christian books, help is here. The Fourth Edition of my award-winning book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, is now available for purchase.

This book provides authors and publishers the advice and resources you need to effectively promote your Christian books. I recently received the following message from a reader:

“I’ve read your book. It’s fantastic!  I’m definitely going to use it as my guide for marketing!”

The hardest part is not writing or publishing a book. The toughest part is marketing the book—getting the word out to let people know how your book meets a need in  their life. Marketing involves speaking up in numerous ways.

The slogan for World Book Day in part says, Read up, Speak up, and Change the World. Authors, our slogan can be similar. Let’s make it:

Write up, Speak up, and Change the World

If you would like a copy of the Fourth Edition of Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, the price for the print book is just $24.99. You can order your copy today direct from the publisher or from Amazon.

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5 Affordable Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

It’s the season of giving. As an author or publisher, you know a lot of book lovers (at least I hope you do). To help you with Christmas gift ideas this year, I have collected five affordable, yet unique, ideas for gifts you can give the bibliophiles in your life.

1. Book Magic Book Clip and Stand

This book clip and stand is a great gift for those who love to read while they eat. It holds a book or magazine upright and open. It is also small, lightweight, and portable—it will easily fit into a purse.

2. Over Tub Caddy

If the book lover in your life prefers to read in the bathtub, then this bathtub caddy is the gift for her. The book holder in the caddy is adjustable and great for keeping books dry.

3. Mighty Bright Book Lamp

This is the perfect gift for those who enjoying reading in bed at night. This clip-on book lamp sports a rechargeable battery with a life of up to 60 hours. The lamp lets you read all night if you want!

4. Knock Knock Personal Library Kit

For a bibliophile, there is pleasure in sharing beloved books, but also pain in losing from for good. This personal library kit helps ensure that books that are loaned are returned.

5. Lit Chat: Conversation Starters about Books and Life

This 50-card conversation deck is perfect as an icebreaker or a conversation starter at any party. The cards give readers of all persuasions an excuse to talk about books, ideas, and life itself.

If you have another unique gift idea for book lovers, please share it in the comments section!

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It’s Not Too Early for Christmas

You are probably thinking, “Halloween has not yet arrived. It’s too early to be shopping for Christmas.

Except, it’s not. Many people are already beginning to think about Christmas and gift buying. On survey by eMarketers found that more than 10 percent of Internet shoppers said they start their holiday shopping before September. Another 40 percent start purchasing holiday gifts before November.

Did you catch that? Just about half of the people who buy gifts for Christmas start shopping before November. And that is not just one study. Research from the National Retail Federation shows that about 40 percent of people start holiday shopping before Halloween each year. That number has stayed consistent for more than 10 years.

It’s not too early to start promoting your book as a great Christmas gift. Start now. Promote and advertise your book as a Christmas gift. Offer a holiday special or bundle to entice early shoppers. This month is a great time to include your specials in your email campaigns, on your website, and through advertisements.

In today’s entertainment saturated world, you might want to remind shoppers why books make great gifts. Feel free to use the reasons listed on the infographic below in your marketing efforts.

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Awareness Is Not Enough

“I need distribution for my book right away. I am doing radio and TV shows and bookstores are wanting to order my book.”

This caller’s frantic plea for help is something that I have run into a number of times. It turns out that this author published her book via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). The only place it was for sale was on Amazon.com.

The author had hired a publicist—spending thousands of dollars. Fortunately, the publicist was doing a good job of lining up radio and television interviews. The problem: no distribution.

So, while this author was getting lots and lots of publicity for her book, her book was not positioned for that publicity.

I have seen this happen to a number of independent authors. It is not a publicist’s job to educate her client on book publishing and distribution. After all, the publicist’s specialty is publicity. As a result, many publicists fail to make sure that their clients’ books are in distribution and widely available for sale in numerous outlets before booking media interviews. Sadly, when this happens, much of the publicity achieved goes to waste.

Publicity alone does not sell books. Most book sales are determined by three factors.

1. Awareness

People have to know your book exists to be able to purchase it. This is where publicity is very helpful. The more exposure you have for your book, the more people you make aware of your book.

2. Decision

Decision comes after awareness. Only after readers know about a book can they decide to purchase the book.

3. Availability

Once a reader decides to buy a book, the book must be available in the format and place he or she wants to buy the book. If readers cannot find the book where they usually shop, the sale is easily lost. Not everyone shops on Amazon.

When it comes to selling books, awareness is not enough. Availability (think ease of purchase) is just as important a factor in the buying process. Having your books available for sale in multiple places enhances your ability to sell your book.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) offers our Members ease of access to distribution through IngramSpark and Lightning Source. Member publishers and authors of CSPA can use their CSPA membership benefit to upload titles for free with these print-on-demand services that also provide distribution through Ingram—ensuring that their books are widely available for sale.

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Distribution Is More Important Than You Think
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Photo courtesy of Pablo García Saldaña.