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.

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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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Three Challenges in Selling Books

Selling books is challenging. A challenge is something that requires special effort. Special effort is required to sell your books.

Challenges in Selling Books

The book selling climate is fiercely competitive. Every author must meet and overcome the following three challenges to sell books.

1. Attention

In today’s economy, attention is a valuable commodity. People have numerous entertainment options all clamoring for their attention: social media, movies, television, podcasts, sports, hobbies… and the list goes on. Reading faces stiff competition for attention from other entertainment activities.

Every author faces the challenge of hooking an audience into noticing their books. Catching people’s attention is becoming more and more challenging. With over 4,200 books published every day in the United States, even avid readers have a vast array of books they can pay attention to.

2. Time

Twenty-first century life is busy. Between work, family, church, and other activities, people have less time to devote to leisure activities like reading.

In fact, a recent study found that people spent 9% less time reading in 2019 than they did in 2018. Time is a precious asset. More and more, people are spending bite-sized minutes on content. For example, Facebook users spend an average of 2.5 seconds on any given piece of content.

3. Declining Readership

The number of people who do not read a single book in a given year is growing. In 1978, that figure was 8%. In other words, only 8 out of every 100 people did not read a book during the year. Now that number is closer to 25%. This means that one out of every four people in the United States did not read a book last year.

Woman reading

In addition, readership for Christian books is declining. Only 49% of the largest consumer group in America—the Millennials—identify as “Christian.” In the past decade, the percentage of all Americans who identify as “Christian” has dropped from 77% to 65%. The upshot is that the number of people in the target audience for any given Christian book is shrinking.

Overcoming these Challenges

The good news is that these challenges are not insurmountable. In fact, religious books have been selling well over the past five years. Following are three suggestions to help you overcome each of these challenges.

1. Increase your Familiarity Factor

The number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. The best way to grab attention is by being known. Become known by writing and publishing multiple books. Those people who read one of your books and like it will go on and read your other books, helping you sell more books.

2. Shorter is Better

Time is tight for most people. As a result, we are consuming content in bite-sized chunks. Write to accommodate this new way of reading. Use shorter chapters that can be finished in a few minutes. Also keep your paragraphs short so that readers don’t become overwhelmed when viewing a page. Remember, most people are going to read your book in spurts using short chunks of time.

3. Become Irresistible

Write and publish a compelling book. Your book should not just be good. It should be “too good to not read.” When people feel they are missing out on something good, they will make time for it. Make your book so good that people won’t want to miss out.

Related Posts:
Author: Are You Doing These Marketing Activities?
Selling Books is Challenging
Your Christian Book is Crucial!

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Do You Suffer from Fear of Public Speaking?

I recently spent some time coaching a woman who had high anxiety around giving presentations at work. Within the last year, this individual had started a new job. Her new position included presenting at least once a month to colleagues and coworkers.

Fear of Public Speaking

This woman was a professional with a Masters Degree. Yet, her anxiety around public speaking was getting the best of her. She described to me how her anxiety caused her to miss major points in a recent presentation. She also reported that the energy in the room seemed to shift during her presentations. She felt this was due to everyone in the room feeling the anxiety she was projecting.

The fear of public speaking is common. The majority of people report that they fear public speaking more than spiders or even death itself. Studies show that three out of every four people (74%) suffer from speech anxiety. One statistic I read said that the fear of public speaking has a 10% impairment on wages.

For authors, speaking is an effective platform for selling books. Because people buy books from authors they know. Authors who speak often sell more books.

Yet, many authors suffer from speaking anxiety. They dislike being the center of attention and talking in public. The thought of doing so makes them want to run for cover.

What was fascinating for me was watching the transformation that took place in the woman I was coaching. Through identifying and tweaking some underlying faulty thoughts she had about her presentations, we were able to dramatically decrease her presentation anxiety.

Glosphobia: Fear of Public Speaking

The false assumption that this professional was struggling with was that she had to be the expert. For her, that meant that she had to have all the answers. Maybe you feel the same way.

This belief is a huge burden. My client knew she did not have all the answers, so when she gave a presentation, she felt like a fraud.

Here’s the truth: You don’t have to be an expert to speak to groups of people. The purpose of a presentation is to share information or knowledge that you have—including a personal experience and what you learned from it—with a group of people. That’s all.

Having all the answers is not required. All that is required is your authentic self, sharing what you know. This small thought shift can make a huge difference. And it is an important one. It is even important for you, as an author, in your writing.

You are not called to have all the answers. You are called to write what you know.

When you are part of God’s Kingdom, this is all that is required—sharing what you know. What people do with what you share is up to God. The outcome is in his hands.

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Write Up, Speak Up, & Change the World
Passion and Expertise
We All Need a Little Encouragement

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Six Ways to Promote Your Books as Gifts

Did you know that 42% of Americans start their holiday shopping in November?

Now is the best time to start promoting your books as great Christmas gifts. Here are six ways you can promote your books as Christmas gifts.

Six Ways to Promote Your Books as Christmas Gifts

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6 Reasons Books Make Great Gifts
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