Marketing Ideas for the Technology-Challenged Author

One of the questions that I frequently encounter when I speak at writers conferences is:

 “I’m not tech savvy. Are there other ways to market a book besides social media?”

Marketing for Technology-Challenged Authors

My answer is always “of course”. Social media is just one tool in an author’s marketing toolbox. There are numerous tools in a toolbox. Over reliance on one tool is not good. After all, not all situations need a screwdriver. In the same respect, not all readers use social media, and social media is not the only way to reach readers.

If you can relate to these authors who are not tech savvy or if social media is not your preferred method to gain exposure for your books, take heart. There are other tools. Following are five book marketing methods that don’t require you to be engaged online.

1.  Speaking

 Speaking engagements are a powerful marketing tool. The number one reason people purchase a book is because they know the author. The reader may know the author because they have read other books by the author, or they may know the author because they have heard the author speak.

Start by finding local speaking engagements with your target audience. All sorts of venues seek speakers. Local rotary clubs, schools, retirement centers and churches are a great place to start.

2.  Media Interviews

 Radio is still alive and well. If you include online radio shows and podcasts, radio is growing. Every talk radio show needs guests. Research your local radio stations and find those that interview authors. Then approach the show’s producer with a request to be a guest.

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) provides Members with a list of over 100 podcast and radio shows seeking guests. This list includes contact information for each show’s producer. In addition, CIPA provides its Members Guides on how to make a pitch for a guest spot on a radio or podcast show. You can Join the Association today for just $110 for Membership through December 2021.

3.  Local Print Interviews

 Most communities across America either have a local newspaper or magazine for their residents. Many of these publications feature articles about local residents and their interesting ventures.

As an author, you qualify as newsworthy. Approach your local magazine or newspaper and let them know that you are a local author to see if they may be interested in featuring you in their publication.

4.  Articles

Christian Writers Market GuidePrint is not dead. Over two-thirds of Americans still read print magazines. Magazines are always in need of material. Most magazines accept article submissions from writers. You can write articles related to your book’s topic and submit them to magazines for publication.

In your byline, be sure to mention that you are an author and include the name of your book. You can find a listing of Christian magazines and the type of articles each one is seeking in the Christian Writers Market Guide.

5.  Mailings

Over half of all Americans (56%) say receiving snail mail is a pleasure. Snail mail boasts a higher open rate then email. You can rent a mailing list of your target audience and send out a mailing announcing your book.

When my book, The Adoption Option, was published, I rented a mailing list of adoption agencies around the country. I then sent a postcard to each of these agencies with information about my book.

As an author, you have numerous tools at your disposal for marketing. All your book marketing does not have to be done online. Be creative. Look around and see what other companies with products are doing in the physical world and mimic their ideas to gain more exposure for your books.

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Three Reasons to Use Videos to Promote Your Books

Are you using videos to connect with your audience and promote your books?

Three Reasons to Use Video

Videos are popular and a great tool for promoting books. Check out these three reasons to use videos to promote your books.

1. Videos are Extremely Popular on Social Media.

Not only are people watching videos, they are sharing those they like. One study found that 97% of consumers are willing to share videos on social media.

2. Videos Allow You to Reach People Who May Not Take the Time to Read Your Articles or Blog Posts.

Studies show that only 20% of people read a complete article online. Most only read the first one-fourth. Additionally, 80% of people say they would rather watch a live video than read a social media post or blog. Video is a powerful marketing tool.

3. Videos Help You Connect with Your Audience.

Using videos, especially live stream videos, help people feel like they “know” you—the real authentic you. Remember, people buy from those they know and like.

If you live stream or are thinking about live streaming to promote your books, then watch this YouTube video that teaches you how to be authentic when streaming live. This video shows you three ways to help your audience feel closer to you.

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Photo courtesy of Linda Xu.

Promote Your Book as a Great Christmas Gift

Have you ever received a book as a gift? I have, many times—and I have been blessed by a number of these books.

Christmas gift shopping is big business. The average American spends around $700 on holiday gifts and goodies. Retail stores start promoting Christmas items as early as September. These stores want to catch early holiday shoppers.

Piggybacking on this, the American Booksellers Association has launched a marketing campaign this fall to entice readers to shop early for the holidays. The campaign’s messaging reads:

“Buy Early. October is the New December.”

Research from the National Retail Federation shows that about 40% of people start holiday shopping before Halloween each year. Since almost half of all consumers are already beginning to think about what to purchase for Christmas gifts, it’s not too early to start promoting your book as a great Christmas gift. Start now with the following three ideas.

1. Position Your Book as a Great Gift

Let your readers and fans know that your book makes a great gift. Feature it as a gift idea on your website, in your newsletter or email updates to your fans, and on your social media posts. Your readers may not automatically think of your book as a gift. You must plant and water this idea for your followers.

Remind your readers why books make great gifts. If you need inspirational ideas for why books make great gifts check out the infographic located here.

Promote Your Books as Christmas Gifts

2. Offer a Special Christmas Discount

One way to make your book more appealing as a gift is to offer shoppers a special Christmas discount. You can offer a two-for-one deal, free shipping, or even just a special holiday price.

Be sure to make your Christmas special or discount time limited to give shoppers a sense of urgency so that they will act on your prompting to purchase your book as a gift with your holiday discount.

3. Offer a Free Shipping

Everyone loves free shipping. Some studies indicate that 58% of people purchase more items just to qualify for free shipping and 83% of people are willing to wait an extra 48-hours for delivery to get free shipping. If you sell books directly from your own website, offering free shipping is a great way to convince readers to buy and close the sale.

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4 Lessons from a Book Purchase

This summer, I was introduced to an author and his book on spiritual discernment through an article in an online news outlet. The article featured the author and the topic of the book caught my attention. The article did not include the title of the book. Rather, it was a story about the author with the article mentioning that he was the author of a recently released book on spiritual discernment.

4 Lessons from a Book Purchase

I noted the author’s name and decided to check out his book. In my research, I discovered that this author has actually penned a number of books.

Lesson #1: Media exposure sells books.

With my interest piqued, I went to Amazon to check out the author. Amazon was the logical place for me to look first since that website features just about every book published.

The book’s page on Amazon revealed that the book had over 350 reviews with an average rating of 4.8 stars. I was interested in the topic and was convinced that the book would be worth my time and money when I saw the reviews.

Lesson #2:  Positive reviews, especially a large number of positive reviews, sells books.

I bought the book on Amazon. It was just convenient. I could bundle it with other purchases and get free shipping (I am not a Prime Member). When the book arrived, I was excited to read it—and I did.

It was a good book. I enjoyed it. It was an easy read. The chapters were short and the book was only about 100 pages. When I got to the end, I realized the book was only 100 pages. I was a little disappointed that it had cost as much as it did. The book’s retail price is $14.95, but Amazon sells it for about $13.00. This price seems a little steep for a 100-page book.

I realized that I had not paid much attention to the number of pages in the book when I purchased it. Rather, the description and reviews had convinced me that the book was worth buying and reading.

Lesson #3:  Price is not typically a deciding factor in book purchases—unless the book is priced unusually high.

At the end of the book, I realized how this author had been able to accumulate over 350 positive reviews in a short period of time. The book was released in January, and I purchased it six months later. The author had used a launch team.

This book had something that I have not seen before. At the very end of the book, the last six (yes, six) pages of the book were dedicated to “Special Thanks to Our Launch Team”. I counted the names on just one page and counted about 120 names. If you multiply 120 times six pages, you get a launch team of about 720 people.

This author had around 720 people talking about and writing positive reviews for his book when it launched. That is truly impressive.

Lesson #4:  Launch teams (a.k.a. Street teams) help make books successful.

If you are unfamiliar with what a Launch Team is or how to go about gathering and using one. I recommend that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) and download our reference guide on Book Launch Teams. This guide covers recruiting a team, communicating with your team, promotional activities for our launch team, and rewarding your team.

Christian Indie Publishing Association’s (CIPA) Book Launch Team Guide is just one of the many resources Members of the Association have access to. You can join CIPA on our website at https://www.christianpublishers.net and have access to this Guide and many more.

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5 Ways to Promote Your Book for Free

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic distress for many people. As an independent author, you may be struggling financially.

As an author, you have at least one book to sell to generate a little income. Maybe you are struggling with sales. You don’t want to spend money on advertising and promoting your book because money is tight.

Free Book Promotion Ideas

You have to spend money to make money.” This common phrase may have you in a double-bind. You just don’t have the funds to play with.

Fortunately, there are many ways to promote your book without spending a lot of money. My book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books is dedicated to helping authors market their books on a small budget.

Following are five no-cost marketing strategies that you can employ right now to help sell more copies of your book.

1. Create a Website

If you do not have an author website, you need one. Readers like to learn more about authors. One method readers use to find out more about an author is through an author’s website. Having an author website sends the message that you are serious about being an author, which raises your esteem in readers’ eyes.

If you do not have a website, you can create one for free. BookLaunch provides any author a free landing page. This landing page is easy to create and provides you with a custom URL.

BookLaunch.io

If, for some reason, you are not able to create a website, then I recommend that—at the very least—you complete your Author Page on Amazon. You can then use this page as your website.

If you are unsure what a complete Author Page on Amazon looks like, check out my (Sarah Bolme) author page on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/sarahbolme.

2. Run a Price Special on Your Book

It doesn’t cost you a dime out of your pocket to reduce the price of your book. Consumers love bargains. Offer a summer sale on your book to get people to buy it now.

Scarcity drives people to buy. Think about the recent toilet paper shortage. Stores were short of toilet paper, causing people to buy more than they needed so they would not run out.

Special Offer

You can use this same idea with book sales. Make your special book price or discount time limited or limited to a select number of copies. This helps people choose to buy it now rather than wait until later because they don’t want to miss out on the special price.

3. Get More Book Reviews

Book reviews are marketing gold. As humans we operate with FOMO. FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out. When people rave about your book, then other readers will be more inclined to buy your book because they don’t want to miss out on the great information or story you provide.

One option for getting more book reviews is to give away a limited number of your books for free in exchange for a review. The saying “You have to give to get” applies here.

Sweeten your request for reviews by offering a select number of free books in exchange for a review. You can ask your friends and followers on social media, as well as the members of the forums and groups you belong to.

4. Write Articles and Guest Blog Posts

Writing articles costs nothing but your time. As an author, you are an expert on the subject matter of your book. This means that you can write and speak with authority on the subject and people will take notice.Christian Writers Market Guide

You can leverage your author authority through writing articles and guest blog posts. Then you can submit these articles and posts to magazines and blogs for publication. When people read your article or post, they are exposed to you and your book, increasing the chances of more sales for your book.

You can find a list of Christian magazines that accept article submissions in the Christian Writers Market Guide. If you want to guest post, you can find a list of over 200 websites and blogs that accept guest posts at https://www.websitehostingrating.com/list-of-200-websites-that-accept-guest-posts.

5. Be Interviewed on Podcasts and Radio Shows

Exposure is key for selling books. After all, people cannot buy something they don’t know exists.

You can leverage your author authority to gain more exposure through radio and podcast interviews.Christian Indie Publishing Association

You can search for podcasts that speak to your subject using a podcast search engine like Listen Notes. Or you can sign up for Membership in Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) for just $75 and have access to a list of over 100 podcast and radio outlets interviewing Christian authors. The list alone is worth more than the $75 Membership fee.

The famous saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” applies to your book marketing. You must venture something—whether that is time, money, or effort—to gain book sales.

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Photo courtesy of Chronomarchie.