A Special Offer

Out with the old, in with the new!

This American idiom is usually said at the beginning of a new year. With a new year—2021—right around the corner, now is the time to contemplate this idea.

What new things or fresh start are you going to usher in with the new year?

In regards to writing, publishing, and marketing books, what do you need to focus on or do more of?

  • Writing
  • Publishing more books
  • Book promotion
  • Book marketing
  • Networking

Joining a professional publishing association can help you with your goals for 2021. Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) provides its Members with information, tools, and cost-saving benefits to help both indie authors and small publishers have more success with publishing and marketing Christian books. Members have access to:

  • Checklists for designing a professional book and book marketing activity timeline.
  • Webinars to increase your proficiency.
  • Cost savings when publishing a book including discount on purchasing ISBNs and free title uploads and revisions with IngramSpark.
  • Mastermind groups in 2021 for learning and networking with likeminded individuals.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has been helping authors and publishers since 2004. As one Members says:

“CIPA has been the most helpful resource for self-publishers I have found. Thank you for the monthly journal and the videos.” —Kathy

Right now, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is offering a Membership special for 2021.Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

Join the Association for just $90 for the 2021 calendar year and you will receive a FREE copy of Sarah Bolme’s award winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books!

If you are not already a Member of CIPA, don’t miss out on this great deal! Join the Association today. JUST CLICK HERE!

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3 Ways to Amplify Your Readers’ Praise

They say 90% of the promotion of a book comes through word of mouth. But you’ve somehow got to get your book into the hands of those mouths first!”  —Claudia Osmond, author

This quote sums up the struggle all authors and publishers face. The first step is getting your books into the hands of people who would love to talk about them. The next step is amplifying those word-of-mouth messages.

Amplify Your Readers' Praise

The more people talking about your books, the more noise they make. When noise is generated, other readers take notice. Sadly, if you have not yet developed a large following of readers, the noise your reader’s word-of-mouth makes may be more like a whisper.

Your challenge is to take that whisper and amplify it so that it becomes louder so more people can hear it. This is where the strategy of engaging your readers to help you market your book comes into play. As an author, you can engage your readers in your marketing efforts in the following three ways.

1.  Feature testimonials.

Readers that enjoy or benefit from your book will sometimes write a review, share a thought with you, or even give you a testimonial on how your book has helped them. Post these reviews, thoughts, and testimonials on your website, share them across your social media platforms, and use them in your marketing materials. They are gold.

2.  Elicit feedback.

One great way to engage your readers is to ask them for feedback. You can use opinion polls to ask your readers and fans which one of two characters in your book they liked better, which of two pieces of advice helped them the most, etc.

Post these polls on your blog and social media sites to encourage readers to interact with you. You can use a service like FyreBox, Interact, or SurveyMonkey to create free quizzes.

Once you have responses to your quiz, then use the responses to magnify your readers’ word-of-mouth further. Post the quiz results on your blog and social media sites. Spread the news about what readers are saying about your book based on your quiz.

3.  Leverage social proof.

“Social proof” is a term that refers to the phenomenon that people assume that others possess more knowledge about a situation or product than they do. Thus, individuals look at what other people are doing or saying to help them decide how they will act.

You can leverage social proof by using reach marketing. Reach marketing is where your followers spread your message to their followers on social media and thus exponentially expand the reach or your message. You can use a service like Pay with a Tweet to offer content or a discount to readers in exchange for a social media post about the content or discount.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.

Use Social Proof to Sell More Books

We are social creatures. As humans, we are influenced by others. The choices others make influence our own decisions.

This powerful force—called Social Proof—is important for authors to be aware of and use. Evidence that other people have purchased and found value in your book is social proof. People are more likely to purchase a book that others are already buying.

Use Social Proof to Sell More Books

Social proof is an influential selling tool. As an author you can use social proof in the following three ways to help you sell more books.

1.  Endorsements

An endorsement by an expert, a celebrity, or a person of influence is social proof that important people find your book worthwhile. Securing endorsements for your book demonstrates to potential readers that your book is worth their money and time.

Often independent authors don’t take the time and effort to secure endorsements. Yet, endorsements help you sell more books. Most best-selling books sport endorsements because publishers know that endorsements are social proof that a book is worthy of readers’ attention.

2.  Reviews

Positive reviews by readers is another form of social proof. When current users of a product or service praise it, others can feel left out and want to have the same experience these users are having. This is why business reviews on Yelp and Facebook are so popular.

People do consult reviews before they make a purchase decision. In fact, according to a 2017 study by Spiegel Research Center, nearly 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase.

The power of this social proof increases as the number of positive reviews increase. That same study by Spiegel found that having five reviews increased people’s purchase likelihood by a factor of four.

Secure reviews for your book. Ask your friends, members of your writing group, and your followers on social media to write a review of your book. One study by Goodreads found that 84% of authors who asked for reviews saw an increase in the number of reviews they received on their book.

 3.  Awards

A stamp or seal of approval by an authority in an industry is another form of social proof. Think about the Academy Awards. Any movie that wins an Academy Award receives a seal of approval that raises the movie’s esteem in the eyes of the viewing public. The same is true for book awards.

Winning a book award is a form of social proof. Of course, you can’t win a book award unless you nominate your book for an award. So, take the time and money to enter book award contests. A win will boost the social proof for your book and result in more sales.

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Photo courtesy of carlos pereyra.

7 Traits for Indie Author Success

Every book is a startup business. A book needs a mission statement, a marketing plan, and a budget. As an indie author, these are all your responsibility—making you an entrepreneur. Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?

7 Traits for Indie Author Success

Indie authors are entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs have a number of things in common. These individuals have a way of thinking and acting that is different from other people. The good news is that anyone can learn to think and act like an entrepreneur and reap the benefits. Following are seven distinct traits of entrepreneurs.

1.  Have Passion

Entrepreneurs tend to be highly passionate about their work. In truth, this passion is what often propels them to success. After all, passion is contagious. As an author, no one else is going to be as passionate about your book as you are. Don’t expect others to sell your book for you. As the author, you are the one with the belief in your message. Let your energy shine through when you talk with others.

2.  Try New Things

An open mind is required to try new things. Don’t stay set in your ways. Successful marketing requires that you adopt new strategies. Instead of just hearing or thinking about new great marketing ideas, try some out. Watch what other successful authors are doing and use what makes sense for your books.

3.  Willing to Take Risks

Little is gained without risk. Entrepreneurs have to be willing to take risks to move their business forward. As an author, both publishing and marketing your book involve risks. Sometimes you have to risk money for advertising and promotion with no guarantee that you will have a return on your money. Be willing to take risks, but be wise about the risks you take. Do your homework to minimize your losses.

4.  Network with Others

Business is all about relationships. Solid relationships are the pathway to success. After all, the number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. The more you work on building relationships with readers, the wider your audience will be for your book. Building relationships with other authors can also help pave the way for more success. Collaboration is a powerful tool.

5.  Think Outside the Box

Entrepreneurs are creative problem solvers. They are able to apply unconventional approaches to overcome challenges. As an author, your challenge is to get your book noticed. This takes creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Being able to brainstorm creative techniques for your book promotion strategies is important.

6.  Ready for Roadblocks

Entrepreneurs understand that they will face problems and challenges. Being mentally prepared to deal with these setbacks is crucial for success. Life and business are not easy. As an author, you will run into roadblocks and become frustrated when your efforts don’t produce fruit. A mindset that is ready to overcome challenges will serve you well.

7.  Determination

Determination is all about the firmness of your purpose. Determined individuals don’t easily give up. They stick it out for the long haul. Entrepreneurs know they must do hard work to succeed. Determination will get you where brains and brawn cannot. So, be determined, be resolved to do what it takes to get your book and message to the people who need it.

I encourage you to incorporate these seven traits into your life and act like the entrepreneur you already are as an indie author. When you do, you will experience more success.

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Photo courtesy of Tumisu.

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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