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.

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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Use Sales Techniques to Sell More Books

Often the word “salesman” conjures up an image of a less- than-ethical, pushy, used-car sales-man. In poll after poll, survey respondents typically rank sales-people above only members of Congress on trust, honesty and competency. Poor salespeople have left many people with a distaste for selling.

Sales Techniques

Selling can be good. Good selling involves true empathy and a desire to solve a problem. It creates value for the customer while overcoming the obstacles to a sale. According to Zig Ziglar, “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”

As an author, you can use effective sales techniques in your marketing messages. Selling with integrity is possible. Good sales techniques focus on developing trust, meeting a need, and cutting through the obstacles to help people make a purchasing decision.

You can use the following three sales techniques to improve your marketing efforts and sell more books.

1.  Make a Connection

A popular saying in business is “People do business with people they know, like, and trust.”  Studies show that people buy books from authors they “know.” Building trust requires making a connection. All connections have an emotional component.

You can create an emotional connection with your audience by being transparent and real. A study by Stackla found 86% of people reported that authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.

Instead of just pushing your book, be relational. Make a connection with your audience whether that is in person, on social media, or in your marketing messages. Remember, first make a connection, then draw attention to your books.

2.  Always Follow Up

Always, always follow up with people you meet or who show an interest in your books. Studies show that only 2% of sales happen at the first meeting. Instead, 80% of sales prospects report saying “No” four times before they finally say “Yes”.

After making a connection with someone, follow up. Send them an email, a message, or even a postcard reminding them about your books. Remember, it takes multiple exposures to a new product before most people decide to make a purchase.

3.  Create a Sense of Urgency

One sales technique to increasing chances that interested parties will decide to make a purchase is to create a sense of urgency. When people feel that they will miss out on a good deal if they don’t act now, they are more likely to act then to put off acting. Putting off buying something is easier when there is no sense of urgency.

So, offer time-limited promotions and specials to your audience to create a sense of urgency. One study found that promotional emails that included a sense of urgency had:

  • A 14% higher click to open rate.
  • Twice as high transaction rates compared to average marketing emails.

While you may not see yourself as a “sales” person, the truth is that using effective sales techniques in your marketing efforts will increase your book sales.

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Three Under-Used Book Marketing Techniques

The book 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer lists that many ways to market a book. There really are thousands of ways to market a book.

Not every marketing technique can or should be used for every book. However, there are a few marketing techniques that work well no matter the theme or genre of a book.

Under-Used Book Marketing Techniques

I have found that many independent authors fail to implement some easy techniques for marketing their books. The following three are just a sample of a larger list, but I think they are a good starting point.

1.  Inviting Readers to Connect with You in Your Book

Inviting readers to connect with you is an effective way to build a loyal following of readers and fans. Don’t make it hard for your readers to find you. Give them information on how they can connect with you.

A quick perusal of the last 10 title nominated for the 2021 Christian Indie Awards—a good random sample—revealed the following:

  • Only 5 out of these 10 books even listed the author website either on the back cover or in the “About the Author” section in the back of the book.
  • Only one out of these 10 titles included an invitation for readers to connect with the author in the book. This author listed his social media profiles (Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram).

If you are not inviting readers to connect with you in your book, you are missing out on connecting with your audience and building a loyal following for repeat sales. A study by Goodreads found the following:

  • 82% of authors that included an invitation to sign up for their newsletter or mailing list in their books see an increase in subscribers.
  • 73% of authors who invite readers to follow them on social media see an increase of followers.

Don’t forget to invite readers to connect with you in your books. You can invite them to send feedback to your email address, you can invite them to sign up for your newsletter to hear about future books, and you can invite them to read your blog or follow you on social media. Be sure to include all the necessary URLs and links to make it easy for your readers.

2.  Asking for Reviews in Your Book

Of those 10 nominated books, only one sported a request in the back of the book for readers to write a review of the book. This request was titled:

“If you’ve enjoyed this book, please tell others…”

Then it listed six ways that readers could do this including writing a review of the book on Amazon, sharing about the book on social media, and recommending the book to others via word-of-mouth.

Reviews help sell books. Many readers don’t think about writing a book review. Asking for a review is a great way to lead people to do what you want them to do.

The Goodreads study found that 84% of authors who ask in the back pages of their book for a review see an increase in reviews. So, ask for reviews in your book.

Collaboration

3.  Collaborating with Other Authors

For the most part writing is a solitary activity. However, publishing a book and marketing a book are not. It takes a team to publish a book—editors, cover designers, book designers, printers, etc.

Marketing—while it can be done in solitude—is much more effective when done in collaborative efforts with others. Joining together with other authors with the same target audience reaps more exposure and sales. When authors piggy-back on each other’s audiences, the reach is augmented.

On rare occasions, I stumble across Christian indie authors engaging in collaboration and doing it well. Yet, your marketing reach is greatly enhanced when you collaborate with other authors in creative ways like:

  • Creating boxed sets (a set of ebooks all sporting the same genre or theme)
  • Conducting a newsletter swaps (promoting each other’s books to your respective email lists)
  • Hosting combined author events (like a multi-author book signing)

If you are not using these three book marketing techniques, I encourage you to do so. In addition to helping you grow your audience, they won’t cost you a cent to implement.

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