Book Marketing Advice

Earlier this year at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention, I was asked to do an impromptu interview for The Book Publicist Podcast.

The Book Publicist Podcast

During the interview, I covered a number of different marketing ideas and tactics. I invite you to listen to the interview to glean some book marketing advice!

Listen at:

https://recast.simplecast.com/01d0a534-4f0e-4063-93e7-ad4874b6c661
or
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-publicist-podcast/id1503562889

By the way, Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) receive a discount when signing up for Jason Jone’s Local PR Toolkit service. You can join today for just $120 for Membership through December 2021 with our Summer Membership Special!

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5 Ways to Promote Your Book for Free

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic distress for many people. As an independent author, you may be struggling financially.

As an author, you have at least one book to sell to generate a little income. Maybe you are struggling with sales. You don’t want to spend money on advertising and promoting your book because money is tight.

Free Book Promotion Ideas

You have to spend money to make money.” This common phrase may have you in a double-bind. You just don’t have the funds to play with.

Fortunately, there are many ways to promote your book without spending a lot of money. My book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books is dedicated to helping authors market their books on a small budget.

Following are five no-cost marketing strategies that you can employ right now to help sell more copies of your book.

1. Create a Website

If you do not have an author website, you need one. Readers like to learn more about authors. One method readers use to find out more about an author is through an author’s website. Having an author website sends the message that you are serious about being an author, which raises your esteem in readers’ eyes.

If you do not have a website, you can create one for free. BookLaunch provides any author a free landing page. This landing page is easy to create and provides you with a custom URL.

BookLaunch.io

If, for some reason, you are not able to create a website, then I recommend that—at the very least—you complete your Author Page on Amazon. You can then use this page as your website.

If you are unsure what a complete Author Page on Amazon looks like, check out my (Sarah Bolme) author page on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/sarahbolme.

2. Run a Price Special on Your Book

It doesn’t cost you a dime out of your pocket to reduce the price of your book. Consumers love bargains. Offer a summer sale on your book to get people to buy it now.

Scarcity drives people to buy. Think about the recent toilet paper shortage. Stores were short of toilet paper, causing people to buy more than they needed so they would not run out.

Special Offer

You can use this same idea with book sales. Make your special book price or discount time limited or limited to a select number of copies. This helps people choose to buy it now rather than wait until later because they don’t want to miss out on the special price.

3. Get More Book Reviews

Book reviews are marketing gold. As humans we operate with FOMO. FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out. When people rave about your book, then other readers will be more inclined to buy your book because they don’t want to miss out on the great information or story you provide.

One option for getting more book reviews is to give away a limited number of your books for free in exchange for a review. The saying “You have to give to get” applies here.

Sweeten your request for reviews by offering a select number of free books in exchange for a review. You can ask your friends and followers on social media, as well as the members of the forums and groups you belong to.

4. Write Articles and Guest Blog Posts

Writing articles costs nothing but your time. As an author, you are an expert on the subject matter of your book. This means that you can write and speak with authority on the subject and people will take notice.Christian Writers Market Guide

You can leverage your author authority through writing articles and guest blog posts. Then you can submit these articles and posts to magazines and blogs for publication. When people read your article or post, they are exposed to you and your book, increasing the chances of more sales for your book.

You can find a list of Christian magazines that accept article submissions in the Christian Writers Market Guide. If you want to guest post, you can find a list of over 200 websites and blogs that accept guest posts at https://www.websitehostingrating.com/list-of-200-websites-that-accept-guest-posts.

5. Be Interviewed on Podcasts and Radio Shows

Exposure is key for selling books. After all, people cannot buy something they don’t know exists.

You can leverage your author authority to gain more exposure through radio and podcast interviews.Christian Indie Publishing Association

You can search for podcasts that speak to your subject using a podcast search engine like Listen Notes. Or you can sign up for Membership in Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) for just $75 and have access to a list of over 100 podcast and radio outlets interviewing Christian authors. The list alone is worth more than the $75 Membership fee.

The famous saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” applies to your book marketing. You must venture something—whether that is time, money, or effort—to gain book sales.

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Photo courtesy of Chronomarchie.

 

 

Use Direct Mail for Better Response Rates

The average response rates for an email marketing campaign are about 1%. That means if you send out an email promoting a special on one of your books to 100 people, only one person will act on your email and buy the book—if you are lucky.

So, the question that marketers ask is: How can we increase this response rate?

The answer involves direct mail. Yes, it is more expensive. But it can also be more effective.

According to a study by Millward Brown, physical media generates a deeper brain activity than digital media, leaving a longer lasting memory when compared to email or television.

Studies also show that direct mail has the highest response rate when used in conjunction with digital channels such as email, website, and social media. Check out this infographic on The Power of Direct Mail & Digital.

The Power of Direct Mail & Digital

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Extend the Reach of Your Marketing Videos

Video has become one of the most effective ways to grow an audience. Studies show that 8 in 10 people would rather watch a video than read a blog or social media post.

Video traffic on the Internet keeps growing in popularity. Experts estimate that by 2022, video will make up 82% of all Internet traffic. Since search engines know that people prefer videos, they tend to rank video content higher in search results.

Video Tips

If you are creating videos to market your books, you may want to consider the following two steps to make your video content more accessible for everyone, and thus extend the reach of your video marketing.

1.  Add Captions to Your Video

Adding captions to your video means that the text of your script is synced with the video in real-time. Having your spoken words appear as captions in your video means that your content is available for any audience.

People who want to watch your video in a place where they may not be able to have the volume on can still do so. In fact, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Studies have found that videos with subtitles are 80% more likely to be watched in full.

You can easily add captions to your videos via your video editing software. In addition, you can also add captions to your videos using tools that Google Drive and YouTube video editor provide, or a service like Subly.

2.  Make a Transcript of the Video Content

Not everyone wants to watch videos. A smaller percentage of people still prefer to read when consuming content online. These are often people who are busy and are either great speed readers or like to scan articles for important information.

You can reach these people by providing a transcript of the words in your video on the page the video is published. The full script of the video should be written out from start to finish.

You can either write out your script yourself, or you can use a free service like Happy Scribe or oTrascribe to convert the audio in your video to text.

The Apostle Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” In a similar fashion, as an author, by adding captions to your videos and including a full-transcript of your videos, you are ensuring that your content is accessible to anyone who may be interested.

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Photo courtesy of CreaPark.

Presence: It’s Essential in Selling Books

Do you know the answer to these questions?

  • Which online store nets 49% of all money spent on online shopping?
  • Where do half of all online product searches begin?
  • Who sells half of all print books in the United States?

Presence: It's Essential in Selling Books

In case you have not yet guessed, the answer to all of these questions is:

Amazon

Amazon is the behemoth of book sellers.

Here is an important marketing tip:

If you are an author trying to sell books, then you want to have a presence at the store selling the most books.

Okay”, you say. “I have my books for sale on Amazon. I’m good. I have a presence there.”

Yes, but the greater your presence, the better. So, how do you increase your presence on Amazon? I suggest you try these two strategies.

1. Complete your Amazon Author Central Page

I am still surprised at how many authors skip this important step. A recent cooperative marketing effort with Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) featured four of our members’ books. I was dismayed to find that only one of those four indie published authors had taken the time to complete their Author Central page.

Amazon’s Author Central allows every author to have a greater presence on Amazon’s website. On this page, you can upload a photo of yourself, write a biography for readers to start to know+like+trust you, and make sure all the books you have penned show up on this page.

Authors who skip this vital step on Amazon are truly leaving marketing dollars on the table. Creating an Amazon Author Central Page is free! This Page allows you to expand your presence on Amazon. It’s a great marketing tool.

You can set up your Amazon Author Central Page at https://authorcentral.amazon.com.

2. Advertise on Amazon

I recently heard a marketing expert say the following:

“The first wave of advertising on the Internet was Google. The second wave of advertising on the Internet was Facebook. We are now in the third wave of advertising on the Internet and it is Amazon.”

In 2019, Amazon secured $9 billion in ad revenue. This number is expected to reach $38 billion by 2022. Since 50% of all product services start on Amazon, then advertising on Amazon is a smart move. Advertising with this online store helps increase your presence.

Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) allows any author with a book in advertise the book. These ads are pay-per-click, meaning that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. AMS allows you to control how much you want to spend per click and per day. Setting a daily marketing budget with AMS of a few dollars shows your book to many more readers than just having your book on the site.

If you are not sure how to get started with advertising on Amazon, you can take the FREE course offered by Kindlepreneur at https://kindlepreneur.com/ams-book-advertising-course.

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Photo courtesy of justynafaliszek.