How Long Does It Take to Read Your Book?

So many books… so little time.

Wise King Solomon said, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

How long does it take someone to read your book?

We are all strapped for time. Numerous outlets clamor for our attention. As a result,  some people find it hard to commit to reading articles and books. These individuals feel like reading the article or book will take too much of their time.

To combat this issue, some website have begun to post the “read time” for articles on their site. Amazon’s Kindle provides readers a “time left in book” feature that tells each reader how long it will take him to finish reading the book.

Some publishers are also beginning to include the a “read time” on their print books. Morgan James Publishing is one publisher that is listing the read time on the back cover of their books.

Read Time on Book Cover

I think this is a great strategy. Putting a read time on a book lets a reader know approximately how much time it will take them to read your book. This small piece of information might be the deciding factor in purchasing your book for some readers.

How to Determine Reading Time

Reading time is based on the average reading speed. This is measured in words-per-minute. The average reading speed is between 265 and 300 words-per-minute. It appears that 275 words-per-minute is a commonly used number.

To determine how long it will take the average reader to read your book, simply take the number of words in your book and divide this by 275 words-per-minute. This will give you the  number of minutes it takes to read your book. You can leave the read time in minutes, or you can convert it to hours and minutes.

Adding your book’s read time to the back cover of your book is a brilliant idea. Consider using this little tip, especially if your book is a quick read.

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Photo courtesy of suju.

This Book Buying Behavior Can Affect Your Book Sales

Convenience stores have been around for decades. These small shops, usually attached to a gasoline station, offer everyday items that customers can purchase without having to make a specific trip to a grocery store. Clearly Americans like convenience because the number of these shops has steadily grown over the years.

Buyers Like Convenience

In a recent survey, BookNet Canada found that the single most important reason Canadian book buyers choose a particular store or website for their purchases is convenience. In the study, convenience ranked higher than other factors like good service and cheap delivery.

Amazon, the retail giant, understands this desire for convenience. To be more convenient, the company stores your credit card information and provides you with a “one-click” buying option. Amazon’s Prime one-day shipping is also convenient, unless you live in a remote location. Prime members in Alaska and Hawaii have to wait up to seven days and pay expedited shipping fees.

Clearly, what is convenient for one person is not necessarily convenient for another person. This is why it is important for your book to be available for consumers to buy where they shop. After all, not everyone shops on Amazon.

Just about half of all online paperback book purchases are made on Amazon. That’s 50%. The other half of paperback books are being purchased in other places. Since three-quarters (about 75%) of books purchased are print books, this is important.

If your book is only for sale on Amazon, then you are losing out on sales. Your book could potentially be selling twice as many copies if it were available in multiple online stores—think Books A Million, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and ChristianBook—to name a few.

I am continually surprised at how many authors publish their book through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and that is all they do. These authors act as if Amazon is the only store in town. I have news for them: It’s not!

One of the twenty marketing fundamentals listed in my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books is:

The more channels through which consumers can purchase your books, the more books you will sell.

If you want to sell more books, then your book has to be available for sale in multiple places. How many places online can people buy your book? If you are unsure, do a Google search for your book’s title or ISBN and see what comes up in the search results.

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Are You Sharing Your Story?

We like to think that we are logical creatures. The truth is, humans are highly emotional.

In fact, science shows that we are driven more by our emotions than our logic. Research shows that feelings are more important than we think.

Emotion is a required ingredient in decision making.

In studying people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated, neuroscientist Antonio Damsio made an important discovery. These people seemed normal, but they were not able to feel emotions. They all had one thing in common—they could not make decisions. Simple decisions, such as what to eat, were difficult for these people.

Damsio believes that emotions are not barriers to decisions, rather, they are a crucial component of decision-making. In other words, emotion is required for our brain to make a decision. I think he is right.

Someone I follow on Facebook recently made this post:

Did you notice his first few words? He said, “I felt for this mom.” In other words, this man had an emotional reaction to this mom’s story. That reaction led him to buy her book.

This author was highlighted on WCNC, a local news channel in Charlotte. She wrote a children’s book on bullying, and the station was highlighting her story and how the book came about. You can read it here.

Authors, you can learn two lessons from this mom author.

1. This author secured local media coverage.

Are you pursuing local media coverage? It is much easier to be featured as a local author in the news than to gain national media coverage as an author. Start local and grow from there.

2. This author shared a compelling story.

Experts report that between 2,000 and 4,000 books are published every day. With that many books published; a new book is not “news”. What makes a book newsworthy is a story. To grab journalists’ attention, share a compelling story that either led you to write your book or ties into the theme of your book.

It took courage for this mom to share her embarrassing story. Yet, it allowed her to gain media coverage and created the emotional reaction that led my Facebook friend to buy her book.

If you want to sell more books, you have to create an emotional connection with people. Studies show that 90% of Millennials say that authenticity is important in their purchasing decisions. Create an emotional connection by being transparent and real.

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The Declining Web Traffic Conundrum

Have the number of people visiting your website declined this year?

I have noticed a downward trend in the number of organic site visitors for  ChristianPublishers.net, ChristianAward.com, BookCrash.com, and this website since the beginning of 2019. I have also heard from others that they are experiencing the same thing.

Website Traffic Decreasing

This decrease in site traffic has me perplexed. No significant changes were made with the websites, so the downward shift in numbers has been rather disconcerting.

At first, I wondered whether Alexa and smart speakers were part of the problem. Households using smart speakers are increasing and expected to reach 55% of U.S. households by 2022. Smart speakers only give one answer for search questions, so it is easy to not be featured for a question asked of a smart speaker. Yet this did not seem like the right answer since smart speakers have not replaced the use of search engines. Google is still ranked the number one website worldwide.

Then, someone suggested that it might be that Google was ranking websites with links to YouTube videos higher than other websites. Since Google owns YouTube and makes money from the site, that made some sense. However, I was not sure that this was the answer either.

Recently, I ran across an article by Social Media Examiner. In this article, they report that they have also been experiencing a decrease in website traffic. After some research, they discovered that this decline is directly linked to Google and changes Google is making.

The article asserts that, historically, Google has been in the business of providing people millions of answers to any one question. Smart speakers are changing this. Smart speakers—think Alexa—are giving ONE answer to a question. Google is following suit. Social Media Examiner states:

“Google is no longer in the business of delivering up lots of answers. Instead, it’s in the business of delivering a single answer—without the need to click.”

Bingo. This rang true. I believe that this is why website traffic has been declining this year. Google search is changing. It is becoming harder for any website to be “discovered” in a Google search.

Google Search

If it is becoming harder to get website traffic from search engines, how can you compensate? What can you do to still have people discover you and your books? I suggest that a shift needs to be made in focus. Instead of concentrating on trying to get more website traffic from search engines, focus on what you have.

1.  Increase Your Website Conversion Rate

Conversion means that you convince a website visitor to take an action on your website. This action might be to buy your book or sign up for your email news or tips. The average conversion for an e-commerce site in the United States is 2.63%. This means that out of 100 visitors, an average site will have less than three people take an action.

Website traffic is great, but it does not mean much unless you get people to commit. Focus your time and attention on making your website draw visitors in so that they sign up for your email news or tips. Offer freebies—think tip sheet, recipe, or novella— or host a giveaway to encourage people to sign up to receive ongoing helpful information and insights from you. Increase your conversion rate your audience will still grow.

2.  Nurture Your Fans

Your email list provides you the opportunity to consistently remind your target audience that you and your books exist. You can nurture this group of interested people and turn them into fans and super fan. Fans and super fans believe in you. They will tell others about you, helping you enlarge your audience without having to rely on traffic from Google search.

I would love to hear from you. Have you been experiencing a decline in organic website traffic this year?

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We All Need a Little Encouragement

I was having one of those days. You know the type of day I am talking about. A day when you feel discouraged and entertain the idea of throwing in the towel.

Everyone has these days. Days when we feel ineffectual, like what we do does not matter. We feel that no one cares about our writing or efforts; that we are not making a difference.

You are doing an outstanding job.

I was having one of those days, well, maybe a week of those days, when I received the following note:

“By the way, of all of the publishing and writing organizations I belong to, CIPA consistently has the most usable information of any of them. You are doing an outstanding job!”

Wow! That little note made my day. It gave me the boost I needed to keep going.

God knew what I needed. He knows what you need also. If you are discouraged, I want you to know that your writing and publishing does make a difference. The written word has the power to shape our lives by touching our emotions and expanding our knowledge.

The message God has given you to write and publish is needed by someone. People are hungry for truth.

According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in their recent StatShot report:

  1. Sales of religious books have grown year over year for the past five years. Religious presses’ revenue grew 14.7 percent in 2018 with 75.7 percent of that revenue coming from print formats.
  2. Non-fiction books experienced the largest percentage revenue growth for publishers over the past five years. Adult non-fiction unit sales grew 20.9% from 2014 through 2018. Unit sales for Children’s and Young Adult non-fiction grew 17.8% over the same five-year period.

It can get easy to get discouraged as an author. Marketing a book is hard work. It is increasingly difficult to make any book stand out. Each book is competing with millions of other books available for sale, while other media is claiming more and more of people’s time.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) exists to help indie authors and small publishers have access to the information and tools you need for publishing and marketing the Christian books God has called you to produce. Take advantage of our Summer Membership special—$120 dues for membership through December 2020—and join today to receive encouragement, information, and money-saving benefits.

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