Are You Leaning into Your Authority?

One of the best ways to be seen as an authority in a subject is by writing an excellent book on the topic. So, once you publish a book on a given topic, people perceive you as an expert.

Leaning into Authority

In fact, research from The Visible Expert by Hinge Marketing shows that books deliver the highest overall impact for building visibility and authority. This research shows that books have a greater impact on perceived authority on a given topic than:

  • keynote addresses
  • company websites
  • blogs and articles

As an author, you can parlay your authority on your topic to gain more visibility for your book and to help people improve their lives. The perceived authority you possess allows you to speak on your book’s subject to numerous audiences via:

  • Podcasts
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Journalists
  • Articles
  • Speaking engagements

The media will interview you because you are an author. Magazines and websites will print your articles because you are an author. Event coordinators will book you to speak because you are an author.

The question to ask yourself is: Am I leaning into this authority? In other words, are you taking advantage of the opportunities that being an author brings?

man speaking

You wrote a book because you had something to say on your book’s topic. Your desire was that what you had to share would impact and change people. Now that your book is published, you can use your author authority to continue to influence people.

Lean into your authority and seek opportunities to share. Where can you find these opportunities? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Use the Christian Writers Market Guide to find magazines accepting articles on your topic.
  2. Find resources for guest blog posts in my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books.
  3. Become a Member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) and use our big list of podcast and radio shows interviewing authors to secure media exposure.
  4. Attend a Christian Writers Conference and gather ideas and resources from the workshops and attendees.
  5. Step out of your comfort zone and contact local organizations about speaking—churches, senior centers, schools, libraries, local clubs (e.g. Lions Club and Rotary), etc.

There are so many possibilities for leaning into your authority for more exposure and influence. Make a list, then get to work.

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Three Challenges in Selling Books

Selling books is challenging. A challenge is something that requires special effort. Special effort is required to sell your books.

Challenges in Selling Books

The book selling climate is fiercely competitive. Every author must meet and overcome the following three challenges to sell books.

1. Attention

In today’s economy, attention is a valuable commodity. People have numerous entertainment options all clamoring for their attention: social media, movies, television, podcasts, sports, hobbies… and the list goes on. Reading faces stiff competition for attention from other entertainment activities.

Every author faces the challenge of hooking an audience into noticing their books. Catching people’s attention is becoming more and more challenging. With over 4,200 books published every day in the United States, even avid readers have a vast array of books they can pay attention to.

2. Time

Twenty-first century life is busy. Between work, family, church, and other activities, people have less time to devote to leisure activities like reading.

In fact, a recent study found that people spent 9% less time reading in 2019 than they did in 2018. Time is a precious asset. More and more, people are spending bite-sized minutes on content. For example, Facebook users spend an average of 2.5 seconds on any given piece of content.

3. Declining Readership

The number of people who do not read a single book in a given year is growing. In 1978, that figure was 8%. In other words, only 8 out of every 100 people did not read a book during the year. Now that number is closer to 25%. This means that one out of every four people in the United States did not read a book last year.

Woman reading

In addition, readership for Christian books is declining. Only 49% of the largest consumer group in America—the Millennials—identify as “Christian.” In the past decade, the percentage of all Americans who identify as “Christian” has dropped from 77% to 65%. The upshot is that the number of people in the target audience for any given Christian book is shrinking.

Overcoming these Challenges

The good news is that these challenges are not insurmountable. In fact, religious books have been selling well over the past five years. Following are three suggestions to help you overcome each of these challenges.

1. Increase your Familiarity Factor

The number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. The best way to grab attention is by being known. Become known by writing and publishing multiple books. Those people who read one of your books and like it will go on and read your other books, helping you sell more books.

2. Shorter is Better

Time is tight for most people. As a result, we are consuming content in bite-sized chunks. Write to accommodate this new way of reading. Use shorter chapters that can be finished in a few minutes. Also keep your paragraphs short so that readers don’t become overwhelmed when viewing a page. Remember, most people are going to read your book in spurts using short chunks of time.

3. Become Irresistible

Write and publish a compelling book. Your book should not just be good. It should be “too good to not read.” When people feel they are missing out on something good, they will make time for it. Make your book so good that people won’t want to miss out.

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Author: Are You Doing These Marketing Activities?
Selling Books is Challenging
Your Christian Book is Crucial!

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Your Christian Book Is Crucial

The United States is steadily becoming less Christian and less religiously observant, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

Only 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christian today. This represents a 12-point decrease in the past decade. In 2009, 77% of American adults identified as Christian.

65% of Americans are Chrisitan

In this same period, those who describe themselves as having no religion, referred to as “nones” in the United States have grown. Currently about 17% of the American adult population identifies as “nothing in particular” when asked about their religion. This is up five points from 12% in 2009.

The Pew Research Center data shows a wide gap between older Americans and younger generations. More than eight out of ten members (84%) of the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians, as do three-quarters (76%) of Baby Boomers. In contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians, while four out of ten are religious “nones”.

The need for Christian witness in the United States in great. Christian books are needed today as much—if not more—then they ever have been.

Christian books are lights—shining beacons that accomplish two important purposes:

1. Christian books point people to God.

Studies show that Millennials read. In fact, adults aged 18 to 35 purchase and read more books each year than those in other age groups. Your Christian books can be a tool in proclaiming the Gospel and drawing people to God.

2. Christian books strengthen believers.

Christian books reveal truth about God’s Word to believers. Your Christian book serves to encourage and strengthen Christ followers so that they can shine the light of Jesus to the dark world around them.

Christian author, don’t give up. Your Christian book is needed in America today. Our country (and the whole world) needs to know God and his son Jesus.

My prayer is that your Christian books would touch people’s lives. I pray the Caleb Prayer for our country. I invite you to pray it with me.

O High King of heaven,
Have mercy on our land.
Revive your church;
Send the Holy Spirit
For the sake of the children.
May your kingdom come to our nation.
In Jesus’ might name.
Amen.

P.S. If you live in or around the Capital of our country, I invite you to join me at the Capital Christian Writers Fellowship Conference on January 25, 2020. I will be presenting a keynote talk on “What Makes a Book Christian?”

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Print or Digital? No Choice Required

Black or white. Hot or cold. Night and day. Rich or poor. Digital or print.

When approaching marketing, many authors have an either-or mentality. They either invest in digital or they invest in print.

Print informs our digital activity.

The most successful book marketing is not an either-or mentality, but a both-and mindset. Print and digital work together to bring the best results.

A popular journal for church leaders recently switched to a digital-only format. Previously, the journal had been mailed to subscribing church leaders. With the switch the publication is now only available for reading online.

In moving to a digital-only magazine, it would make sense that the entire process would become digital. In other words, subscribing church leaders would be reminded to read the online journal via their email.

However, the creators of this publication knew better than to embrace an either-or mindset. They knew that switching from a print publication to a digital publication would cause them to lose a number of readers unless they embraced a both-and mindset.

So, instead of moving to all digital, this publication decided to mail print postcards to subscribers each month to remind them to read the latest edition of the journal online. Then, the publication polled their subscribers to find out what they thought of this new model: a postcard reminding them to read the publication online.

Magazine

About 1,000 subscribers responded to the poll and 92% reported that they were fine with the postcard reminder to view the latest issue of the publication online. Only about 8% reported that they preferred the print copy mailed to them.

Here is the takeaway lesson from this situation:

Print informs our digital activity.

Have you noticed that signs and billboard include URLs? Have you seen URLs in other printed ads? We don’t live in an either-or world. We live in a both-and world where what we see in print influences what we do in the digital world.

What does this mean for book marketing?

Just like authors and publishers must embrace both-and for producing books in both digital and physical format to reap the most sales, so too, you must embrace this mindset for marketing. Use print to drive readers to purchase your books in the digital world. Combine both print and digital marketing strategies for the best success.

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Photos courtesy of gillnisha and stevepb.

One Technique for Requesting Book Reviews

“Dozens of good book reviews are a must if you want to sell print books or ebooks and create mountains of publicity.”  ~Joan Stuart, Publicity Expert

Book reviews help sell books. This is why I frequently talk about the importance of book reviews in marketing a book.

How to Ask Readers to Review Your Book

One technique to acquire more book reviews is to ask your readers to review your book. You can do this by including a plea in your email newsletter that you send out to your subscribers (those people who have signed up on your website to receive your content).

I recently received the following request from an author in my email box. It is a plea for his readers to write a review of his book on Amazon.

I am sharing it with you as a sample of what asking for reviews in your email newsletter might look like.


Dear Email Subscriber Name:

If you have a few minutes, I am asking for a favor. 

Book reviews on Amazon are important for many reasons including:

  1. They help potential buyers make their decision to buy a book based on the words of a reader. It is not just the number of stars that are given but the description of some of the content of the book.
  2. They help the authors to know how their book was understood and received which will improve the writing of their next book.
  3. Amazon uses the reviews and the number of reviews in their algorithm which they use to market books. The more good reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote the book and show it more often to potential buyers.

Now the favor! There are currently 10 reviews on my book “name of book” I know many more have read it.

I need at least double that number of reviews.

If you have read my book and have not yet written a review, I am asking you to write a review now. Just a simple sentence or two in your own words is fine.

It will take less time than it has taken you to read this email. 

Just click this link to leave a review (Amazon.com link to book’s page).

If you want to leave a review and have any problem, email me and I will try to solve the problem.

Thanks in advance!

~Author name


If you need more reviews for your books, ask your email subscribers as this author did. People like to help others out. If you let your readers know that writing a review helps you out, they will be more willing to do so.

Did you know that book readers cannot post a review on Amazon.com unless they have an Amazon account and have spent at least $50 on Amazon? You can read more about Amazon’s rules for posting reviews on the retail website.

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Photo courtesy of JESHOOTS.