Does Your Book Need an Update?

This summer, two houses on the block where I live were put up for sale. Both houses were built about the same time. They are comparable in size. The asking price for each house was similar.

In selling, presentation makes all the difference!

One house sold in three days! The other house is still on the market six months later.

Why did one house sell so fast while the other still languishes on the market?

A quick look at their online listings gave me the answer. The house that sold in three days sported an updated look. The inside was pristine! The kitchen sported a modern look. The house had wood floors throughout. In addition, it was clearly staged with just the right kind and number of furnishings.

The house that is still languishing on the market sits empty. There is no furniture in the house. The inside sports a mix of old and new. The kitchen has new counter tops, but the cabinets are dated. The house has new carpet, but only some of the floors are hardwood.

In selling, presentation makes all the difference. The same is true for books.

Are you struggling to sell your book(s)? Are you taking out Amazon or social media ads, but not having much success with sales? Maybe it is time to refresh and update your presentation.

Refresh Your Presentation

Ask yourself these questions:

Book Cover

  • Does your book’s cover need to be refreshed?
  • Is your book cover accurately reflecting the genre of your book?
  • Does your book’s cover sport a similar look to other books on your subject matter or fiction genre?
  • It your book title and subtitle easy to read in a thumbnail sketch?
  • Does your book cover’s color send the right message?

Book Description

  • Does your book description page on Amazon need updating?
  • Are you using the best keywords?
  • Do you need to try new Amazon categories for your book?
  • Have you optimized your Amazon Book Page to utilize all the options available for giving the best information to hook people into buying your book?
  • Does your book description answer the “What’s in it for Me?” question?
  • Are you using bullet points in your book’s description for easy scanning?

Book Reviews

  • Do you need more reviews of your book on Amazon for better social proof to convince readers that your book is worth their time and money?
  • Is your book’s overall review rating four stars or better?

Publisher RocketSince about 50% of PRINT books and 80% of EBOOKS are sold via Amazon, keeping your Amazon listing updated is essential for selling your book.

Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) now receive a 30% discount on Publisher Rocket. This software helps authors and publishers pick the keywords that readers frequently use and the best book categories.

Related Posts:
The Importance of a Cover
Is Your Book Cover too Cluttered?
Book Reviews Are Social Proof

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Are You Familiar with TikTok?

Do you write books for Middle Graders or Young Adults?

 

If you answered yes to this question, then its time to familiarize yourself with TikTok.

 

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms: The app’s monthly installs

surpassed those of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat last year. Experts predict that TikTok’s popularity will continue to grow.

 

TikTok allows users to create and share micro-videos—up to 15 seconds long—and enhance those videos with songs as sound effects. Video content is extremely popular with Generation Z—the generation of digital natives.

 

Check out this infographic to familiarize yourself with this important platform for reaching your target audience.

 

 TikTok Infographic

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Two Truths You Should Know about Social Media
Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?
How to Improve Your Social Media Success

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Book Reviews Are Social Proof

“I hate asking people for reviews”.

This statement was made to me by an independent children’s book author at a recent conference I attended. Most of us can relate to this statement. Asking is hard.

Quote by Sarah Bolme

Yet reviews are extremely important in marketing and selling books. In fact, Cassie M. Drumm, a book publicist says:

“Getting Reviews is one of the most important elements to selling books.”

Humans are social creatures. When we see lots of other people engaging in something, our brain’s perception of risk associated with that idea or activity is reduced.

Given the choice of two restaurants to eat at—one crowded and one empty—people will gravitate to the one that is crowded. Our brains tell us that the crowded restaurant must be the better option since other people have chosen it. This is social proof.

Social proof is the construct that the actions and attitudes of people around us influence our behavior. This is why 97 percent of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. The online reviews provide social proof that what we are about to buy is worth our money.

Book reviews are social proof. They tell readers that your book is worth their money and time. Studies indicate that 85 percent of Amazon Kindle readers look at the reviews of a given book before making a purchasing decision.

If you want to sell more books, you need reviews. In fact, the more reviews you have the greater the social proof that your book is worthy to be purchased.

So, go ahead and ask people for reviews. I know it’s hard, but the results may well be worth it.

Review for BookCrashAs an author, you should be willing to give as well as get. This means that you should be writing reviews of books. Be generous. Write reviews of other books in your genre. When authors in your author groups request reviews, step up and write a review if the book is in the same genre as your book.

You can also help out other independent authors by signing up to be a BookCrash reviewer. You can pick and choose which books you want to review. BookCrash reviewers are required to post their review on one social site (blog, Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and on one retail site (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook, Walmart, etc.). You can sign up to become a BookCrash reviewer at www.bookcrash.com.

Related Posts:
Social Proof Can Help You Sell More Books
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
Thoughts on Book Reviews

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Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

Is Advertising a Waste of Money?

“I don’t advertise; it’s a waste of money.”

These words came out of the mouth of a small publisher I was conversing with at the recent CPE International. CPE stands for Christian Product Expo. It is a twice-yearly industry trade show where publishers and others producing products for the Christian market gather to showcase their offerings to Christian retailers.

This thought, that advertising is a waste of money, is a commonly held belief. Yet, it is inaccurate.

If advertising did not work, would businesses continue to spend billions of dollars on advertising? Think of all the places you encounter paid advertising:

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Radio ads
  • Television ads
  • Billboards
  • Display boards (think public transportation and sports games)
  • Google ads
  • Website ads
  • Social media ads
  • Amazon ads

And this list does not even cover everything. The truth is advertising works.

However, paid advertising in and of itself is not a sufficient marketing strategy. Every business and every publisher and author needs a comprehensive marketing plan. Why? Because people need multiple exposures to a product or service before they will buy.

Advertising is just one strategy; and it does work. In fact, as organic traffic from web search engines continues to decrease, so will book discovery. In response, authors need to engage in more old-fashioned marketing and advertising tactics (think print).

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) had a booth at CPE International where we represented some of our Members’ books. At the show, a retailer came to our booth asking to place an ad for a book that was featured in our catalog. This particular book was not even on display at the show. The retailer had seen an ad for the book in two periodicals—one being the annual Christian Indie Publishing Association Product Catalog (our annual cooperative catalog featuring our Members’ books). This is just one small example of the power of advertising.

You can view pictures of CIPA’s booth at CPE International in the video below.

Related Posts:
The Goal of Advertising
10 Book Advertising Ideas for the Physical World
How to Sell More Books

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Photo courtesy of RitaE.

Is Your Book Impacting Lives?

The sounds of an old hymn resonated in my ears. Standing behind me in line for dinner at a writer’s conference I recently presented at, a gentleman was singing a lovely hymn.

Do you want your book to impact people?

When he finished singing, this man told me that he had been listening to a CD he had recently purchased that featured hymns. He went on to tell me that the same musician who had produced the CD has also recently written a devotional book using the old well-known hymns.

When I inquired after the book, he told me the title and the author. This brought a smile to my face. The very book he was talking about was published by a member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA).

I love to hear people mention books that are published by Members of the Association. It reminds me that the books produced by small publishers and independent authors are truly making an impact for Christ.

Sometimes I am amazed at how broad and far the reach is for these books. I shouldn’t be because I believe that producing a quality book and then marketing it is the key to successfully reaching an audience with your message. Yet, it still amazes and thrills me when I hear people mention books that were published by ordinary people striving to do what God has called them to do.

Is this the desire of your heart? Do you want your book to impact people?

If your answer is yes, then know that it takes more than just writing and publishing a book. If you want your book to have an impact, then it must also meet the following five criterion.

  1. Be well-written and professionally edited so that it is free of grammatical errors.
  2. Have a strong, clear title.
  3. Sport a professional cover design that fits the genre of your book.
  4. Carry a clear description that answers that “WIIFM” question.
  5. Execution of a robust marketing plan.

Over a million self-published books are published annually. Some studies suggest that less than ten percent of those books sell enough copies to be considered profitable. Your book is competing with millions of other books.

If you want your book to stand out and make an impact on people, then first and foremost, your book must be professionally packaged (well-written and designed). After that, you must engage in marketing your book so that your target audience knows that it exists and provides them with something they need or are seeking.

If you are unsure how to go about creating a robust marketing plan, I encourage you to either read my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, or to join Christian Indie Publishing Association and download our “Book Launch Marketing Checklist” that walks you through book marketing activities to engage in starting before your book is published and continuing after your book is in print.

Related Posts:
Marketing Is a Mindset
Grab More Attention With Your Titles
Impacting Lives

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Photo courtesy of Zach Smith.