Are You Making It Hard?

Recently, I went to Best Buy to help my teenage son buy a computer. He had worked hard and saved his money to buy a special gaming computer (he is a typical teen). We chose Best Buy because they had a sale on the computer and also offered a student discount. We went to our local Best Buy because I believe in supporting retail stores and because my son wanted his computer sooner rather than later.

As we were at the register ringing up the purchase, I inquired about the student discount. The sales clerk told me that I had to apply for the discount on their website. I asked him if we could do it in the store. He told me that I could use my cell phone to make a Best Buy account and apply for the student discount.

I asked the sales clerk what the point of coming into the store was if I had to “apply online” for this discount and the store did not offer a way for me to do this in-store (i.e. a kiosk with a computer for such purposes—or a store clerk willing to assist me in doing this). I pointed out that Best Buy was making it hard for me to make an in-store purchase, ensuring that I would, instead, make my next purchase online.

Retail stores in America are struggling. They are struggling because people are buying more online. But, they are also struggling because they are not providing good customer service. The Editor of Christian Retailing recently wrote that she stopped at a chain Christian bookstore to make a purchase. She asked the sales clerk where the biographies were located and was told “in the back of the store”. She contrasted this experience with shopping at Publix grocery store where the sales clerk will walk you to a specific aisle when asked about a product and point it out.

This whole experience made me think about building a platform and selling books. What are independent authors doing that might be “making it hard” for potential customers to give their email or buy a book? Here is my conclusion.

1. Buying Books

We make it hard for readers to buy our books when our books are only offered for sale in a few select places. Not everyone shops on Amazon. Some people actively avoid Amazon because of its practices. Others want to support Christians, and so prefer to buy books at Christian outlets. Still others want to support authors, thus preferring to purchase books directly from an author or publisher.

Are you books for sale in multiple channels? Can a reader easily find your book in his or her preferred shopping venue? If not, you are making it hard for people to buy your book.

2. Collecting Personal Data

Most authors are working on building a platform. This means that you are trying to collect email addresses so that you can communicate directly with readers and potential readers on a regular basis to build trust and increase loyalty. Collecting email addresses is great, but if you are asking too much information, you are making it hard and losing out.

Studies show that the more information you ask of people in exchange for a freebie, the greater the drop out rate. When building your email list, all you really need is a first name and an email. Don’t ask for more. Make it easy, not hard and you will grow your email list faster.

Are you making it hard? I hope not. Ease and convenience drive more sales.

Related Posts:
Don’t Make It Hard
Selling Books in an Overcrowded Market
How to Become a Best-Selling Author

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Photo courtesy of Vera Arsic.

Do You Need Marketing Confidence?

You have heard the clichés “Dress for success” and “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” While familiar and maybe a little overused, they are still true.

Similar to dressing for success, there are steps that you can take to build your confidence for success in marketing your books. If you find yourself lacking marketing confidence, implement these three suggestions that will boost your confidence the way dressing does.

1. Present a Professional Image.

A professional image is about dressing sharply. As an author, your website, business card, letterhead, email signature, and social networking sites are where your audience receives their first impression of you. Make sure these look sharp and professional. Use a professional author photo. Have consistency across all your platforms in image, color, and theme so that you present a branded image.

Studies show that the clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others. In other words, the image you present to the world affects how you think and act. So, present a professional author image and you will gain confidence.

2. Stay in The Know.

Nothing builds confidence like knowledge. The more you know, the more secure you are in stepping into that knowledge. Staying up-to-date on publishing and marketing trends helps you act more confidently. Learn what others are doing successfully and then mimic these tactics with your target audience for successful exposure.

Join writers’ or publishers’ associations to receive cutting-edge information and join with others in group marketing efforts. Network with members of the organization to learn what is working for them and for collaborative opportunities. Right now, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is offering a summer membership special for small publishers and independent authors producing Christian books. For just $120 you can join CSPA through December 2019.

3. Show Your Passion.

As an author, you should be passionate about your book and the message it conveys. A passionate person displays confidence in the subject they are passionate about. Let your passion shine through as you communicate with people. Enthusiasm is catchy. As your fervor for your book shines, others will also catch your excitement and want to know more about your book and how their lives might benefit from your message.

Pursue and respond to opportunities to let your passion shine. Write guest blog posts and articles aimed at your target audience. Look for speaking opportunities to share your message.

Developing a professional, well-dressed image will build your confidence and help establish trust with your readers and other professionals you interact with as you market your books.

Related Posts:
Don’t Be Unprofessional
Do You Look Professional?
Is Fear Paralyzing You?

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Enhance Your Marketing with Bonus Content

Recently, BookBub ran a compilation of New Year’s Resolutions from bestselling authors. Each of these resolutions focused on what the author is planning to do in 2018 to more effectively market her book.

One author’s resolution stood out for me. I thought it was worth sharing.

Debbie Macomber is an extremely successful American author. She writes romance novels and contemporary women’s fiction. Six of her novels have become made-for-TV movies and her Cedar Cove series of novel was adapted into the television series of the same name. Many of her books have been on the New York Times bestselling list.

I am seriously impressed by the extras she provides her readers. Here is what she said on BookBub:

“I have always been an author that wanted to do more, something extra above and beyond. In many of my books I have included a recipe used in the book, a knitting pattern or anything to enhance the reader’s experience of connecting to the story while reading the book. Something little, not a lot, but that has garnered big results. I have also built up my reading list by expanding on the experience while reading the books by providing town maps, character lists, and newspaper articles surrounding the series. In today’s digital world, I often offer themed recipe and holiday cards for readers to print and use as well as desktop wallpapers. Each book has a Pinterest page associated with it to help inspire readers to connect to the story in as many ways as possible. Since these efforts have allowed me to engage more with my readers, I’d like to create more of these types of assets in 2018.”

I think this concept of bonus content is worth exploring further. Let me break out for you the type of bonus content that Debbie Macomber gives her readers:

  • Themed recipes
  • Knitting patterns
  • Maps
  • Character lists
  • Newspaper articles related to her story
  • Desktop wallpapers
  • Dedicated Pinterest Board for each book related to topics in the book

Whether you are a fiction or a nonfiction author, you can take a lesson from Debbie Macomber. Providing your readers with bonus content is a great marketing tool. Bonus content rewards your readers and enhances a connection between you (the author) and your readers.

I encourage you to follow Debbie’s example and make one of your goal’s this year to create bonus content to enhance your marketing efforts.

Related Posts:
Sampling: An Effective Marketing Tool
Association: A Powerful Marketing Tool
Your Number One Marketing Tool

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