Don’t Lose Focus

The events in our world and our country in 2020 cannot be ignored. They are affecting all of us.  Yet, I would encourage you to not allow these events to sidetrack you from the message that God has given you.

Don't Lose Focus

I recently read a post by an influencer in the indie publishing world. This individual was advocating that indie authors take a break from marketing their books to spend some time dealing with the pressing issues in our country.

While this advice might be beneficial for secular authors, I don’t think it is good advice for Christian authors.

2 Timothy 2:4 says “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” In season and out of season means when it is favorable to do so and when it is not favorable to do so – or when it is convenient to do so and when it is not convenient to do so.

We are in an out of season time. There is pressure all around us to jump on the hot topic of the moment. Don’t get sidetracked.

It is easy to get dragged down by worldly concerns involving conflicts and fears. When this happens, we get distracted from the hope we have in Christ.

Do not lose your focus. As a Christian author, your gaze should remain fixed on spiritual things that offer the hope, security, and peace people need in this trying time.

Whatever your message was before the events happening this year, it is still needed. People’s spiritual needs have not diminished with current events—in fact, these needs are growing since churches have not been open and people have been isolated.

People are still struggling with relationships, parenting, finances, health problems and other issues related to Christian living and spiritual growth. They need the hope you offer in your books. Hope both for this life and the life to come.

So, I encourage you to not veer from the message God has given you. Your message is timely. Your message is needed. God’s word never goes out of season.

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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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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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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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Reuse, Reduce, Recycle: A Great Marketing Strategy

Reuse, reduce, recycle is not just good for the environment; it’s good for authors too.

In marketing books, reusing, reducing, and recycling saves you time and energy, and allows you to be more efficient in content marketing. Content marketing involves using content—information—to engage and convince a target audience to buy your books.

A Great Marketing Strategy!

Content marketing builds trust with an audience. The people you are trying to reach who read or listen to your content develop trust in what you offer (information or story), and then purchase your books because they want more.

As an author, you have plenty of content. It’s what you have written in your books—and it’s where the practice of reusing, reducing, and recycling comes into play.

Reuse

You don’t have to constantly write new material. Take the material you have written and reuse it. Your books are full of information that you can take and reuse for marketing purposes.

You can excerpt sections of chapters in your book and reuse them as blog posts, articles, white papers, and content for videos or podcasts.  You can use sections in your books as they appear in the book, or you can restructure the information and even add to it to compose a fresh piece.

Reduce

Your books are lengthy. They are probably anywhere from 100 to 250 pages. That’s a lot of information. You can take the information in your book and reduce it—condense it—into a list or a step program.

This list or step composition can be used as a giveaway in exchange for an email address. Doing this helps you build your email list so you can drip your message into a select group of people who are interested in hearing what you have to say.

Recycle

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. While the information in your books is not “waste”, you can use the same concept of taking that material and turning it into a new object.

Take the information in your book and turn it into articles. Each article can also be recycled by changing it or adding to it and submitted to multiple magazines or blogs.

You can then recycle the information in your articles by turning each piece into an infographic, an informative video, or even a talk for a speaking engagement.

Reusing, reducing, and recycling keeps you from constantly having to reinvent the wheel and come up with new content. Your evergreen content can keep working for you over and over again.

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