Marketing Is a Mindset

Do you want to know what the secret to selling books is? The answer can be summed up in one word: Marketing.

Jack Canfield, best-selling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series should know. He encourages authors to “Spend 90% of your time marketing, selling, and promoting your book.

Then Neil Bradman says, “”90% of marketing doesn’t work because it doesn’t get done.

Marketing is a Mindsest

I know that I don’t do enough marketing. I believe most authors and publishers are in the same boat. We know that there is more that we can do, but we don’t—often because of constraints like time, money, ideas, and even bandwidth.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

We can distill these activities into one sentence: Marketing is about persuading someone to take an action (click on a link, download a free ebook, buy your book, etc.). To persuade someone to take the action you want them to take, you have to know who is most likely going to want to take the action. In other words, marketing is also about knowing who your target audience is.

Many authors want to write something. So, they go about writing, and then they try to figure out who the book is for. Editors of large publishing houses know this. That is why they are gatekeepers. Their job is to find the books that speak to their customers and their needs.

But here is the catch. If you write the book first and then try to figure out who your target audience is, you have a lot more work and less chance of speaking in a meaningful way to that audience (resulting in fewer sales) then if you know who you are writing to before you pen your book.

Good marketing includes an understanding of how your book will fit people’s needs, wants, values, and lives.  Marketing is not a set of activities that you engage in once you have a book. It’s a mindset. It becomes 90% of what you do when you keep your target audience in mind with every step you take in the book publishing process, starting with the conceptualization.  Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you need help with either developing a marketing mindset or ideas for marketing your books, I am pleased to announce that the Fourth Edition of my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books will be released at the end of February!

The book is available for preorder at a special rate of $22.00 that includes free shipping in the US (retail price is $24.99). Order your copy TODAY by Clicking Here.

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Photo courtesy of Geralt.

#NationalLibraryLoversMonth

There are thousands of libraries in the United States. These range from public libraries to school libraries, to academic libraries to military libraries to church libraries and more.

Libraries have a strong impact on communities and people. Studies show:

  • Americans check out an average of seven items per year from the library.
  • Three-fourths of Americans say that public libraries provide them with the resources they need.
  • 65% of Americans say libraries help them grow as people.
  • Over half (53%) of Millennials use their library card each year.
  • Americans go to school, public, and academic libraries three times more frequently than they go to the movies.

Libraries are great for authors. Libraries encourage reading and authors need readers to buy their books. Libraries also help introduce people to new authors, which can drive word-of-mouth recommendation and sales. Additionally, libraries provide another avenue for sales for books for authors and publishers.

February is National Library Lovers Month

The entire month of February is dedicated to the people and places that are devoted to the reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying and otherwise loving books.

As an author, your support of #NationalLibraryLoversMonth is important. Every author should be concerned about literacy and the ongoing promotion of reading in our society. Libraries, as institutions, stand for reading and promote reading. In addition, when you support libraries through donations of Christian books or events featuring Christian books, you spread the Gospel message and bring hope and healing to this world.

Here are six ways that you can love your local library this month (and a nice graphic that you can share):

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Voting is Open for the Christian Indie Awards!

If you read Christian books, you are invited to VOTE for the 2019 Christian Indie Awards!

You can vote online right now at www.christianaward.com. Cast your vote for one book in each of the Awards’ 18 categories.

The Christian Indie Awards aims to recognize outstanding Christian books by small publishers and independent authors. Often smaller publishers and authors produce fresh, innovative books that inspire readers and fill niche needs. Yet, these books go without recognition in an industry that recognizes bestsellers and famous personalities.

The winners of the awards are determined solely by the votes of Christian book lovers and retailers alike. The winners of the 2019 Christian Indie Awards will be announced by May 1, 2019.

The Christian Indie Awards are sponsored by Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA).

What are you waiting for? Go Vote! And, invite your friends to vote also!

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Bringing Hope, Healing, and Life

On a recent Sunday, my church hosted an international worker (that’s the new fancy term for missionary) from Kosovo. This missionary talked about how she was developing oral Bible stories as part of her ministry outreach.

Books Bring Hope, Healing & Life

I was struck by her talk of “oral stories” since Kosovo is a literate nation. I asked her about this. Her response was that while the people of Kosovo can read, many don’t take the time to do so and are more willing to engage with an auditory or visual story. Interestingly, half the population of Kosovo is under the age of 29.

This trend away from reading for young people is not just in the United States. It appears to happening in other countries also. It saddens me. I believe that reading has great benefits and that books bring hope, healing, and life to people in a way that movies and audio stories cannot touch.

Wise King Solomon said, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22) King Solomon is referring to written words when he states “Let them not depart from thine eyes.”

A friend of mine enlightened me about a program that the United States government operated for soldiers in World War II. Keeping up morale for American soldiers was a national concern. The Library Section of the U.S. War Department partnered with over 70 book companies to create and print pocket sized paperback books. Over 123 million copies of a total of 1,322 books were printed and distributed to service members for free. These included Westerns, mysteries, comics, humor, biographies, anthologies of poetry, and classic and contemporary fiction.

A Tree Grows in BrooklynOne of the books selected for the program was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Smith received a flood of mail from soldiers telling her how her book had helped them get through the dark days and horrors of war. One GI expressed in his letter to Smith after reading her book, “I can’t explain the emotional reaction that took place in this dead heart of mine. . . . I only know that it happened. A surge of confidence has swept through me and I feel that maybe a fellow has a fighting chance in this world after all.

Let’s now forget that books are powerful. They bring hope, healing, and renewed life to people. As an author, you are ministering to your readers. Don’t get discouraged. Someone today is in need of a touch from your words.

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Photo courtesy of Nacho Juárez.

Don’t Pull a Bait and Switch

Over lunch, my friend related a recent experience she had with a book. This friend told me that she had taken her daughter to a local bookstore to shop for new books to read.

While browsing, she picked up a nonfiction book whose title caught her attention. She read the back cover. Then she turned to the beginning of the book and read the first few pages.

Don't Pull a Bait and Switch

My friend shared that the story at the beginning of the book drew her in and had her intrigued. She was excited to read the rest of the book.

As her daughter continued to browse, my friend carried the book around the store with her. Just before checking out, she thought that maybe she should read something halfway through the book just to make sure she was spending her money wisely.

My friend reported that, to her horror, the rest of the book was not like the opening. The opening had been a lovely story that drew her in. She had thought that the book would contain more stories like this. Instead it turned out to be a long succession of dry writing about the historical event the book covered. Needless to say, my friend put the book back on the shelf.

My friend shared this story because she had been sorely disappointed with her experience. The opening pages of the book promised something that the rest of the book did not deliver. In essence, she experienced a bait and switch.

The first few pages of your book are extremely important. You must draw the reader in right from the start. But, be careful that you don’t create a bait and switch. In other words, your book’s opening needs to be engaging, but it also needs to reflect what can be found in the remainder of the book.

Draw the Reader in

By the way, the process my friend went through in selecting the book she thought she wanted to buy is the same process most people use when looking at books. When choosing a book, studies show that readers consider in order:

  1. The Title
  2. The Cover
  3. The Back Cover
  4. The Table of Contents
  5. The First Few Paragraphs of a Book’s Content
  6. The Price

Each phase of this process either encourages the reader on to the next step and closer to a purchase, or turns them off and sends them on to the next book.

Delivering on your book’s promise is essential. Readers that don’t receive what is promised in a book will not recommend it to their family and friends. Remember, word-of-mouth recommendation is the most powerful driving force in book sales.

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