Take Time to Love a Bookstore

The second annual Love Your Bookstore Challenge starts tomorrow. This year the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge will run Friday, November 8 through Sunday, November 17.

#LoveYourBookstore

Love Your Bookstore is an industry-wide celebration of all brick-and-mortar bookstores across America. It’s a way for book lovers of all sorts to show support for bookstores.

We need Christian bookstores in America! Christian bookstores can be a shining light of Christ to a lost world. They provide a place for both seekers and believers to find encouragement through books and other resources.

As an author, the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge provides you an opportunity to get to know and support a local bookstore, as well as promote your books.

The Challenge encourages authors to:

  1. Visit a local bookstore during the challenge. Be a patron!
  2. Take a picture with a book you love or want to gift this season—or a picture of you with your book located in the store.
  3. Share the picture on social media using the hashtag #LoveYourBookstore.
  4. Then challenge your friends to participate in the #LoveYourBookstore as well.

I would also encourage you to make a purchase while you are in your local bookstore. Support these retailers who are an important part of the book-selling structure.

Christian Supply Shoppe

If you want to locate a Christian bookstores near you, you can use the Christian bookstore locator found on https://getitlocaltoday.com. Just plug in your zip code and it will let you know where a Christian bookstore is located near you. The site lists over 1,800 Christian stores.

If you do not have a Christian bookstore in your community (and many places do not), then visit a local independent bookstore. Last year, I drove 20+ miles to the nearest Christian bookstore for this challenge. Interestingly, this bookstore is not listed in the Get It Local Today directory. The store has a fairly sizable section devoted to local authors and a number of loyal customers. While I was there a number of local people stopped by including a pastor picking up his order.

Galatians 6:10 says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” The Love Your Bookstore Challenge allows you to put this verse into practice. Visit your local Christian bookstore this coming week and do good by supporting their endeavor.

You can share your plans for the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge below. I would love to hear from you.

Related Posts:
How Many Christian Bookstores Remain?
How to Get a Book into a Christian Bookstore
Why Christian Bookstores Are In Decline

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Author: Are You Doing These Marketing Activities?

I sometimes run into aspiring authors who tell me that they will only consider a traditional book contract for their manuscript. I have no problem with this mindset. I understand that desire to have a book accepted after being vetted by an editor.

Are you doing these marketing activities?

However, some of these authors are holding onto the ideal of a traditional book contract because they believe that the publisher will market the book for them. They like the idea of just writing.

The truth is that authors—whether traditionally published or indie published—are largely responsible for the marketing of their books. In fact, one royalty-paying, Christian publisher states right on their website their expectations of authors. Here is what this publisher says:

Author must:

  • Have created a fully developed marketing plan.
  • Keep a web presence.
  • Be technology savvy.
  • Know how to copy and paste URLs.
  • Can search the web for answers and solutions.
  • Check email daily.
  • Participate in book promotions.
  • Reach out to fan base.
  • Never, ever give up the book!

These expectations are not unreasonable. If you are an indie published author, at the least, you should already be doing these things for your book—especially the last one.

Sadly, I often see indie published authors give up on their books too soon. Book marketing is long-haul trucking. You have to be in it for the long haul to see success.

In addition to the author expectations, this traditional, royalty-paying publisher listed what they would do to market each author’s book. Here is what this publisher says they will do:

Publisher will:

  • Advertise the book with Amazon ads and Goodreads ads.
  • Provide digital Advance Review Copies through BookFunnel.
  • Offer Rafflecopter giveaways of print and digital copies.
  • Submit your book for review to Publishers Weekly.
  • Offer the Kindle version of the book for FREE or 99 cents with Kindle Select promotions.

Trade Show Floor

To be honest, I don’t think this is much marketing support. I don’t see anything about providing the following marketing activities:

  • Press Release
  • Author Media Kit
  • List of Radio and Podcast Show Interviewing Authors
  • Trade Show Representation
  • Foreign Rights Representation

If you are a self-published author, then you wear both the author and the publisher hat. This means that these additional publisher duties for marketing fall under your jurisdiction. Ask yourself: Am I doing all these marketing activities for my book?

If you are an Indie author and you need support in marketing your book, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is here to help you. We provide support and information for marketing your book including reference guides for creating press releases and media kits, a list of radio and podcast shows that interview authors, and numerous cooperative marketing opportunities. Join today at www.christianpublishers.net.

Related Posts:
A Book Marketing Recipe
Marketing Is a Mindset
Market Your Novel Like a Pro

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Photo courtesy of Kaboompics.com.

Self-Publishing Keeps Growing!

The descendants of Abraham are “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore” (Hebrews 11:12). It’s beginning to feel that the same is true for the number of books published.

4,200 book published every day

Self-publishing is showing no signs of slowing down. Bowker, the agency that assigns ISBNs to books, just released their data on the number of self-published books for 2018.

1,547,341

That is the number of PRINT books that were self-published (including small publishers who produce less than 10 titles a year) in 2018 in the United States. This is a 46% increase from the 1,060,821 PRINT books self-published in 2017.

This means a self-published PRINT book is published every 20 seconds in the U.S. That is over 4,200 books self-published a day!

These are just the figures for PRINT books. This does not include books that are published as ebooks only. Nor does this number include the books that are published by traditional publishing houses.

Here is the kicker: 1,416,384 of these books were published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)—formerly CreateSpace, which existed until the end of 2018 when it was folded into KDP. This means that 91.5% of all self-published PRINT books are published through KDP.

Fierce Competition

With over one million books self-published in 2017, 2018, and again in 2019, the number of books available for sale keeps growing exponentially. Books are not going out-of-print much anymore. The sheer number of books available to read or buy boggles the mind. This means that every year any given book is competing against more and more titles.

books

In fact, many readers are beginning to experience overload. They have more books to choose from than they can conceive. Scientists believe that while the presence of choice is appealing in theory, in reality, people find more and more choices debilitating.

This means that for the self-published author, selling books is harder. The book marketing techniques that have worked for years no longer have the same power to persuade people to buy your book. More and more, a personal connection with an audience or standing out in some significant way is required for a book to sell.

If you are a self-published author, then you need information and tools to be as effective as you can be at promoting your book. It is not enough to just write and publish a book anymore, you also must take the time to learn how to market your book effectively.

CIPAChristian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is one resource available to self-published (indie) authors who need guidance in marketing Christian books. The Association provides its Members with information and tools for success in publishing and marketing Christian books.

You can take advantage of CIPA’s Fall Membership special. For just $105, you will receive Membership through December 2020. Sign up to join today at https://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member.

Related Posts:
New Record: One Million Self-Published Books
Your Book: A Needle in a Hay Stack
What Influences Book Purchasing Decisions?

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Photo courtesy of MontyLov.

 

Print or Digital? No Choice Required

Black or white. Hot or cold. Night and day. Rich or poor. Digital or print.

When approaching marketing, many authors have an either-or mentality. They either invest in digital or they invest in print.

Print informs our digital activity.

The most successful book marketing is not an either-or mentality, but a both-and mindset. Print and digital work together to bring the best results.

A popular journal for church leaders recently switched to a digital-only format. Previously, the journal had been mailed to subscribing church leaders. With the switch the publication is now only available for reading online.

In moving to a digital-only magazine, it would make sense that the entire process would become digital. In other words, subscribing church leaders would be reminded to read the online journal via their email.

However, the creators of this publication knew better than to embrace an either-or mindset. They knew that switching from a print publication to a digital publication would cause them to lose a number of readers unless they embraced a both-and mindset.

So, instead of moving to all digital, this publication decided to mail print postcards to subscribers each month to remind them to read the latest edition of the journal online. Then, the publication polled their subscribers to find out what they thought of this new model: a postcard reminding them to read the publication online.

Magazine

About 1,000 subscribers responded to the poll and 92% reported that they were fine with the postcard reminder to view the latest issue of the publication online. Only about 8% reported that they preferred the print copy mailed to them.

Here is the takeaway lesson from this situation:

Print informs our digital activity.

Have you noticed that signs and billboard include URLs? Have you seen URLs in other printed ads? We don’t live in an either-or world. We live in a both-and world where what we see in print influences what we do in the digital world.

What does this mean for book marketing?

Just like authors and publishers must embrace both-and for producing books in both digital and physical format to reap the most sales, so too, you must embrace this mindset for marketing. Use print to drive readers to purchase your books in the digital world. Combine both print and digital marketing strategies for the best success.

Related Posts:
Print Is Not Disappearing
The Growing Demand for Paper
Are You Marketing Effectively?

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Photos courtesy of gillnisha and stevepb.

One Technique for Requesting Book Reviews

“Dozens of good book reviews are a must if you want to sell print books or ebooks and create mountains of publicity.”  ~Joan Stuart, Publicity Expert

Book reviews help sell books. This is why I frequently talk about the importance of book reviews in marketing a book.

How to Ask Readers to Review Your Book

One technique to acquire more book reviews is to ask your readers to review your book. You can do this by including a plea in your email newsletter that you send out to your subscribers (those people who have signed up on your website to receive your content).

I recently received the following request from an author in my email box. It is a plea for his readers to write a review of his book on Amazon.

I am sharing it with you as a sample of what asking for reviews in your email newsletter might look like.


Dear Email Subscriber Name:

If you have a few minutes, I am asking for a favor. 

Book reviews on Amazon are important for many reasons including:

  1. They help potential buyers make their decision to buy a book based on the words of a reader. It is not just the number of stars that are given but the description of some of the content of the book.
  2. They help the authors to know how their book was understood and received which will improve the writing of their next book.
  3. Amazon uses the reviews and the number of reviews in their algorithm which they use to market books. The more good reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote the book and show it more often to potential buyers.

Now the favor! There are currently 10 reviews on my book “name of book” I know many more have read it.

I need at least double that number of reviews.

If you have read my book and have not yet written a review, I am asking you to write a review now. Just a simple sentence or two in your own words is fine.

It will take less time than it has taken you to read this email. 

Just click this link to leave a review (Amazon.com link to book’s page).

If you want to leave a review and have any problem, email me and I will try to solve the problem.

Thanks in advance!

~Author name


If you need more reviews for your books, ask your email subscribers as this author did. People like to help others out. If you let your readers know that writing a review helps you out, they will be more willing to do so.

Did you know that book readers cannot post a review on Amazon.com unless they have an Amazon account and have spent at least $50 on Amazon? You can read more about Amazon’s rules for posting reviews on the retail website.

Related Posts:
Book Reviews Are Social Proof
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
Are You Asking?

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Photo courtesy of JESHOOTS.