Choose Your Colors Carefully

Did you know that color plays a major role in decision making? Research shows that people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. Between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.

Colors influence how we feel. This makes them a powerful marketing tool. Colors are often a primary factor in purchasing decisions.

Check out this infographic by Kissmetrics to learn more. Then, pay careful attention to the colors you choose for your book’s cover image, your website, and your advertising and marketing messages. The colors you pick will determine whether you draw people in to buy your books or turn them away.

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Have You Given Your Book Feet?

The newspaper article headlines read:

Fire chaplain drives 300 miles to leave crosses for Jacksonville victims

He’s left crosses at Ground Zero in New York City, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Dallas after a gunman ambushed police officers, and most recently, after the school shooting in Parkland.

Have you given your book feet?

Another headline reads:

Chaplain, Impressed By Pittsburghers’ Strength, Offers Comfort At Synagogue Memorial

With a simple greeting and wearing a navy-blue coat that reads “Chaplain” across the back, Bob Ossler is a constant these days.

Triumph Over TerrorChaplain Bob is the author of Triumph Over Terror, an eyewitness account from a first responder at Group Zero on 9-11 that recounts the questions, fears, struggles, and sacrifices of the families and workers overwhelmed by despair. Bob knows how to give his book feet. Bob is a chaplain with a heart for victims of terror. He lives out what he believes and his book goes with him on his journeys.

Books are inanimate objects. They cannot move or talk on their own. You, the author, must give your book feet.

You may not have the mission or ability to travel as far and wide as Bob does, but you can still give your book feet. You may not be as extroverted and easily able to talk and pray with people as Bob is, but you can still give your book feet.

You can follow Chaplain Bob’s example to give your book feet. Like Bob, you can take your book with you wherever you go, broadening your book’s audience and reach.

  1. Know what need your book meets and who struggles the most with this need. This is your target audience and the people you should focus on as you take your book with you. Bob knows that his target audience are people impacted by terrorist activity.
  2. Always have a copy of your book near. Carry them in your car. Carry your author business card or bookmark featuring your book in your purse or wallet.
  3. Look for opportunities to connect with others around the subject matter of your book. Bob travels to places that have experienced terrorist activity. He brings hope to victims through prayer and kind actions. In this way, he is connecting with others around the subject matter of his book.
  4. Don’t be shy about your actions. If you, like Bob, are doing something good for the community, let the local news know about it. People need to be encouraged and having good-will stories reported encourages people. It can also bring attention to your book.
  5. Share your actions and your book’s journey on social media. Chaplain Bob readily shares on social media about the people his book has touched, about responders and victims he admires, and about his care for those who are impacted by terrorist actions.

Here’s a recent Facebook post from Bob sharing about his book.

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Photo courtesy of Ian Baldwin.

Marketing Wisdom

There is so much wisdom in this world. Here are six pieces of wisdom for you to ponder and act on as you take your next step in writing, publishing, and marketing your books.

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Headlines Are More Important Than You Think

Advertising tycoon David Ogilvy once said:

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

Ogilvy was referring to advertising headlines in his quote. However, his idea stands true for all types of headlines including:

  • Book Titles
  • Article Titles
  • Blog Post Titles
  • Email Subject Lines
  • Advertising Copy Headers

Each of these headlines are important for drawing the reader in. Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger says that 80% of people will read your headline copy, but only 20% will read the rest.

Additionally, studies show that:

  • One-third (33%) of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone.
  • The average click-through-rates on Facebook ads is less than 1%.

In other words, your headlines must be compelling enough to make people want to read more, whether that is your book’s title, your email subject line, or your blog post title. Your headline is either going to draw a reader in or it is going to send them looking for something else.

Your headline is like a fishing hook

Think of your headline as a fishing hook with bait. You want the bait to be attractive and tasty enough for the fish to take a bite. When crafting a headline consider using one or more of these morsels:

  • Fear of Missing Out
  • Curiosity
  • Funny
  • Pain Point
  • Emotional
  • Personal
  • Straightforward
  • Numbers

There are numerous tools online that help you generate great title ideas. There are also tools that analyze how effective your title will be at engaging readers.

You can generate better headlines with these tools:

You can analyze the effectiveness of your chosen title with these tools:

Your headlines require more creativity and thought than all the rest of your writing. If you want reader engagement, don’t skimp on your headlines. Craft a great headline and readers will follow.

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Photo courtesy of The Lazy Artist Gallery.

Hashtags: Use Them or Lose

The other day, I showed my teenage son a post on my Instagram feed. He took my phone and started looking at my Instagram account. Then he said, “Mom you have more followers on Instagram than I do.”

I am not a serious Instagram user. I have been messing around a little with Instagram since last fall. I am not seriously spending time on the platform. Mostly, I play with it to learn more about how to use it effectively.

Instagram hashtags

My son is social media savvy. He runs a YouTube channel. He has a Twitter and Instagram account. He is active on Reddit and Discord. He is no slouch when it comes to social media.

So, I asked him, “Are you using hashtags with your Instagram posts?”

His response was what I suspected. He told me that he was not using hashtags since he is mostly using Instagram to follow and communicate with his friends.

I explained to my son that this is why I have more followers on Instagram than he does. While I do not post much, when I do, I use hashtags. On Instagram (like Twitter) hashtags are how people discover you and your content.

Instagram makes using hashtags easy. When you type the # followed by a word in an Instagram post, Instagram brings up a list of popular hashtags containing that word. You can choose as many hashtags to use from this list as you like.

For example, if I post a picture of my new puppy, and I type #puppy, the following options come up:

Instagram Hashtags

  • #puppy
  • #puppylove
  • #puppytraining
  • #puppyforsale
  • #puppyfun
  • #puppypic
  • #puppyworld
  • #puppydog
  • #puppylover
  • #puppystagrams
  • #puppypaws
  • #puppylife

I then choose the most popular ones that fit best with my image.

Hashtags can also help you find useful information and resources. You can also use hashtags to find authors and other influencers to collaborate with. When I recently posted a picture of my puppy, I received the following comment on the post.

Influencers on Instagram

This company does not follow me on Instagram. Instead, they found me through the puppy hashtags I use on my posts. Clearly, they are using these hashtags to find people who might be willing to showcase their doggy products on Instagram so they can increase their exposure for these items.

You, too, can search on Instagram using hashtags. For example, if you are looking to find more reviewers for your book, you can find book reviewers by using some of the following hashtags:

  • #bookrecommendations
  • #bookreviewer
  • #bookreviewers
  • #bookreads
  • #booksreviewblogger
  • #bookreviewersofinstagram

Hashtags help you gain exposure and acquire more followers as well as finding other authors to collaborate with. So, use them. Use lots of them.

On Instagram, you can use hashtags generously. It’s acceptable to use multiple hashtags in your posts. In fact, you can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but experts say nine hashtags a post is ideal. The more hashtags you use, the more people will see your posts. The more people see your posts, the more your audience will increase and you can gain more exposure for you and your books.

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Photo courtesy of Energepic.com.