The Pandemic’s Lasting Effect on Book Marketing

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our world. Some of these changes will be long-term while others will cease once the pandemic is past. It is difficult to determine which changes will last and which won’t.

Many experts predict that many changes will be long-term. These long-term changes will transform the book marketing and selling landscape.

Pandemic Effect

Following are some of the changes that experts predict will be long-term. Since we are not God—who sees the beginning to the end—we are left to guess. I, for one, am hoping that not all these predictions will be true long-term.

1.  Working from home will continue.

 As many companies see the cost-saving without a loss of productivity from their workers, many will move to a new model of work from home.

2.  Print book sales to schools and universities will become obsolete.

As more institutions move to online learning models, fewer will host print books in their classrooms and libraries. Learning will become increasingly digital, including both textbooks and supplemental reading material.

3.  Large conventions and conferences will become a thing of the past.

With fears of spreading viruses, large conventions and conferences will become virtual events. Smaller venues may still be held in-person. This will leave fewer avenues—think book fairs, writers’ conferences, trade shows—for authors to promote their books in person.

Many experts predict that moving forward, events will be hybrid—meaning they will feature both in-person and online participation options. Hybrid events will broaden conferences’ ability to widen their reach by integrating virtual attendees with physical attendees.

For authors who specialize in speaking engagements to earn money and sell books, this will signal a big change. With virtual events, speaking engagements will be virtual, which means fewer impulse book buyers at the end of your talk.

4.  Physical bookstores will continue to decline in number.

Over 50% of books were purchased online before the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit, the majority of book sales moved online. Bookstores will have difficulty recovering and the new online book buying habit may stick, meaning fewer bookstores will survive in the new economy.

Fewer bookstores signal fewer venues for authors to host events such as book signings, book readings, and book launches.

In a nutshell, experts predict that the nature of our interactions will become increasingly more virtual. I think that it is harder to connect with people in a virtual setting. There is something to rubbing shoulders and physical connection that is lost in the virtual world.

Moving forward, those authors who embrace virtual interactions and conferences will be the most successful at marketing and selling their books.

I would love to hear from you. Which changes do you think will last?

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A Prayer for Writers

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Photo courtesy of Anna Schvets.

A Prayer for Writers

My son graduated from high school this year and is enrolled in a university for his college degree. One of the courses that this university offers as an elective course (and which fulfills a required general education credit) unnerves me:

A Prayer for Writers

 

“Magic and Religion Ancient incantations and adjurations, spells and amulets, magic words, prophecy, divination – in what ways can and do religious practices, ideas and ritual intersect with magic? To answer these questions (or, at least, try to), we’ll begin by studying what ‘religion’ and ‘magic’ mean for scholars. Then we’ll explore how magic and religion overlap in both ancient and modern societies – including some of our own time.”

Sadly, I did not see a similar general education course offered on Christianity or the Bible for students to choose from.

As Christian authors and publishers we sometimes need to be reminded that our work is important. We are in a war. Our fight is about demolishing arguments and every proud thing that is raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Earlier this year—before the pandemic hit—I was honored to be a key note speaker at the Capital Christian Writers Fellowship writers conference. This group of writers had compiled a handbook for praying for your writing life titled Prayers for Writers.

The following prayer, written by Jean Soehnlin, is from that book. May it bless you and your writing efforts.Prayers for Writers

Heavenly Father,

Bless me with confidence in the anointing You have given me to write. Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)

Open my eyes and ears and heart to hear Your whispers of truth and love You have for me and those You want me to share them with.

Protect me from the lies and deceit of the evil one. May I rest confidently in Your truths and in my anointing, rather than getting sidetracked by doubts, insecurities, and distractions.

Bless my writing ministry, Father God. May my pen flow with Your words and message burning in my heart to share with others, to bring healing and hope to hurting hearts.

Bless my writing time, that it would be productive and fruitful.

May I be able to grasp how wide and deep and long is Your love for me as I write and always.

Amen.

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Photo courtesy of Ben White.

 

Free Tools Any Author Can Use

No one is good at everything. We all need help, whether that is with our grammar, our time management, or just concentrating so we can be productive.

Following are five free tools. Check them out. You might find one or more of them helpful in your quest to be the best author that you can be.

Free Tools Any Author Can Use

1.  Make Sure Your Titles Are Capitalized Correctly.

Are you confused about which words to capitalize in a headline? Do you guess when capitalizing a title or headline?  Check out Capitalize My Title. This program applies the correct capitalization based on the style you want to use: Chicago, APA, MLA or AP.

2.  Reduce the Number of Clichés in Your Writing.

Too many clichés can make your writing uninteresting. Don’t be trite. Ditch the clichés. Cliché Finder is a free program that finds and highlights clichés in your writing so you can remove them.

3.  Get Organized.

An organized writer is a more productive writer. There are many tools that can help you become more organized. Milanote is an easy-to-use creative writing app to organize your research, ideas, characters and outline in one place.

4.  Be More Productive with Time Management Help.

Many people struggle with time management. Marinara Timer is a free time management timer promotes productivity. The timer allows you to choose to work for 25 minutes with a 5-minute break at the end, or you can choose your own time limits.

5.  Block Out Background Noise so You Can Focus Better.

Do background noises interrupt your concentration when writing? Noisli can help. This program provides free background sounds that help to mask annoying noises in order to keep you sane, improve your focus, and boost your productivity.

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Take the June Audiobook Challenge

June is Audiobook Month!

If your book is available in audiobook format, this month provides a great opportunity for you to promote, promote, and promote your book.

June is Audiobook Month

As an author, you don’t want to inundate people with just information about yourself and your books. Your followers—on social media, your blog readers and those who receive your emails—want you to add value to their lives. This means giving them information or entertainment that enriches their day.

So, here are two ideas to add value during Audiobook Month while promoting your books. Let these two suggestions get your creative juices flowing to help you create more ideas.

1.  Host a Giveaway of Your Audiobook.

Hold a contest and give away one or more copies of your audiobook this month. This is a great way to highlight your book and collect emails for your future email marketing efforts.

Unsure how to go about hosting an online giveaway? Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) have access to the CIPA Guide: Online Giveaways, which provides instructions on how to host a giveaway and the best free and low-cost services available to help you run an online giveaway.

2. Take Part In and Encourage Your Fans to Join the June Audiobook Challenge.

The Audio Publishers Association is hosting the June Audiobook Challenge. Throughout the month of June, adults participate in the daily Instragram challenge. Here is how:

  • Take a photo of yourself doing the daily challenge (see chart below).
  • Post the photo on Instagram, follow and tag @audiobooks and use the hashtag #audiobookchallenge.

#audiobookchallenge

The Audio Publishers Association will DM the daily winner around 24 hours after the original post went up.

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Should You Create an Audiobook?

Audiobook listening has been growing for the past decade. The 2018 Annual Audiobook Sales Results published by the Audio Publishers Association showed that audiobooks experienced double-digit sales growth since 2012.

Audiobook Infographic

June is Audiobook Month—a month dedicated to highlighting audiobooks. Audio publishing is a growing segment of the book industry. Many indie authors are dipping their toes into creating audiobook versions of their print books.

Should you make your book into an audiobook? Here are two questions to ask yourself to determine if creating an audiobook is right for you.

1. Is My Book Selling Well?

If you are only selling a couple copies of your book a month—or have sold less than 1,000 copies of your book or book series overall—then creating an audiobook is probably not the best use of your publishing and marketing funds. A better use of your money and time might be to invest in a robust marketing campaign to increase sales of your print and ebook.

Remember, an audiobook is just another format of your book. People still have to know about it to purchase your book in audiobook format. In other words, creating an audiobook version of your book does not guarantee more sales.

2. Am I Willing to Invest a Chunk of Money into Creating an Audiobook?

Creating an audiobook is not cheap. According to Findaway Voices, an average audiobook created with their service has about 50,000 words and costs between $1,000 and $2,000.

The narrator often makes or breaks an audiobook. Most traditionally published audiobooks have professional narrators. Sometimes an author will narrate their title. Even with an author narrating, the cost to professionally edit the audiobook to remove extra sounds and make it smooth starts at about $250 per hour.

There are ways to save money when producing an audiobook. For example, with ACX, indie authors can find narrators willing to split royalty payments instead of being paid upfront. This can help save money when producing an audiobook.

A new service has recently popped up. Indiepub claims that they can make audiobooks 100 times more quickly with 10% of the regular cost to produce an audiobook using artificial intelligence. This new service claims they will turn your print book into an audiobook in 15 minutes for $499 (currently offering an introductory price of $99). However, I was unable to find a sample of an audiobook recorded with a digital voice on their site—so I have no idea how it sounds.

Related Posts:
Should You Publish an Audiobook?
Audiobook Listening Keeps Growing
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