The Antidote to Holiday Travel Stress

If you have ever traveled for the holidays, you know that it is stressful. Holiday travel is often marked by crowds, delays, and traffic jams. All this stress can cause headaches, heartburn, and short tempers.

Here is the good news:
Authors and publishers have the cure for holiday travel stress.

Barnes & Noble, Inc., the world’s largest retail bookseller, recently commissioned an independent survey to explore consumer reading habits around the holiday season. Conducted as an online poll among the U.S. general population, the study revealed that Americans turn to books and periodicals on Thanksgiving Eve more than any other day of the year to help ease the stress of traveling. Historically, the Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest travel time of the year.

The study also found that:

  • 73% study participants reported that reading makes a trip more relaxing.
  • 72% said reading a book they enjoy makes their trip more enjoyable.

It appears that READING is a great antidote to holiday travel stress.

Additionally, study participants also reported that the top five benefits of reading a book while traveling are:

  • Reading is a good pastime if I get delayed while traveling (56%).
  • Reading is relaxing and helps ease the stress of hectic traveling (53%).
  • A good book “transports” me somewhere else (47%).
  • I can catch up on books that I have wanted to read, but normally do not have the time to read (47%).
  • Reading gives me a chance to learn something new (46%).

Everyone wants holiday travel to be less stressful. Now you have the perfect countermeasure for holiday travel stress: Books for travelers to read!

This holiday season, in addition to promoting your book as a great gift, let people know that reading your book may well be the remedy they need to combat stressful holiday travel!

Feel free to use the graphic in this article to promote your books as a great way to combat holiday travel stress.

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Four Creative Ways to Sell Your Books this Season

Books make great gifts. They are affordable, easy to wrap, and cover subjects to suit everyone’s interest. Books are the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

Historically, about 25% of books sales are made between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This means that people do buy books as gifts. So, don’t miss out on this great opportunity to promote your books as gifts this holiday season and increase your sales.

Here are four creative ways to market your books as gifts this year.

1. Offer a Coupon or Holiday Special.

Send a special holiday coupon for dollars off the purchase of your books to your email list. Post the coupon on all your social media sites and your website to entice people to buy your books this season. Or offer a holiday special pricing such as Buy One Get One or even Buy Two Get One free for your books. Simply offering a limited time special encourages people to buy.

2. Offer a Gift Bundle.

Offer a prepackaged gift bundle to make shopping easy for your readers. Bundle a gift card or a box of chocolates with the purchase of your book. For example, you could offer a $10 Starbucks gift card with your book as a great gift bundle.If you have a devotional or bible study, offer a journal and special pen with the book as a bundle. The ideas are endless; just use your imagination.

Another great gift bundle can be a boxed set. Either create a boxed set of some of your own books, or better yet, partner with two or three other authors to offer a multiple book boxed set with a similar theme. For example, if you have a Christian romance book, then find a few other Christian romance authors and offer your books together as a boxed set for the season. Not only will you sell more books, you will enlarge your audience as each author will promote the set to their fans.

3. Offer a Subscription.

Do you have a book series? If so, instead of selling the entire series to be given at once, offer a subscription. Readers can buy the first book with a subscription to have an additional book in the series shipped each month. Just mail the first book with a subscription certificate. That way, the gift-giver can give a gift that really keeps on giving. This idea works especially well for children’s book series.

4. Exhibit at a Christmas Bazaar or Holiday Event in Your Community.

Many local community centers, libraries, and churches host holiday bazaars and other holiday events. Often you can rent a table for a reasonable fee at these events. Then set up shop and offer your book and book gift bundles to shoppers. If the event is already booked, find out if you can hand out flyers to attendees with information on how to purchase your books. The more exposure your books have, the more sales will follow.

Get creative this year with your holiday book promotions. If you have another idea for creatively selling books during the holidays, I would love to hear about it. Just leave a comment.

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Photo courtesy of Visual Hunt.

A Little Yeast…

“Please note that if I review this book, I would have to give it a 2 star based on its poor punctuation and grammar. The story is great and wonderful, but the writing is sub-par.”

“For the story content and the impact it had on me, I would definitely award this book 5 stars. But, I could not give it 5. Sadly, the book is riddled with typos, wrong words, formatting mistakes, misspellings, and other editing issues that kept jerking me out of the story and making me wish the publisher had edited it properly.”

I cringe when I read comments like these from book reviewers. Indie publishing has come a long way in shedding the stigma attached to it. This stigma said that self-published books were sub-par. Poor covers, bad editing, and mediocre content is what people expected from these books.

Fortunately, the stigma attached to self-publishing is fading. However, every time a book reviewer writes a statement like the ones above, indie publishing takes a hit.

I often feel like a broken record because I repeat myself so much about this issue. If you choose to publish a book yourself, professional editing, layout, and cover design is a must. If your book is a Christian book, it not only has an impact on God’s reputation, it also has an impact on the reputation of indie published books.

After all, Paul says in I Corinthians 5:6: Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Is your yeast good or bad?

I interact with a lot of indie authors. Many are frustrated because they have trouble selling their books. However, I find that often many of the authors that vent this frustration did not take the care or money to have their books properly edited.

Indie publishing is an incredible gift. We live in a time when almost anyone can afford to publish a book. But, just because you can publish a book doesn’t mean you should. Before you decide to publish, be sure that have done your homework so that you know what an industry-standard book looks like and you know the basics involved in promoting and marketing a book to readers.

Part of the mission of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is to strengthen small publishers and independent authors in the Christian marketplace. One way CSPA does this is by providing tools and information to help you produce quality books.

Members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have access to the on-demand seminar “Create a Professional-Looking Book” as well as the “Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book.”

You can join CSPA for just $90 for the 2018 calendar year and have access to this great information and more. Join today at http://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member.

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Age-Old Marketing Wisdom for Authors

Wise King Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun. His advice is still relevant today, and so are these eight common English proverbs. Let each one give you wisdom for your book marketing journey.

1.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Anything that takes a long time to finish begins with one step. Marketing a book can be overwhelming. The number of tasks can be daunting. Instead of looking at the whole picture, look at one step at a time. Ask yourself: What is my next step? When that one is done, then ask again and repeat the process.

2.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

An image not only tells a story, it draws people in. This is especially true on the Internet with social media. Use images to convey your marketing messages. Studies show that people engage more with social media posts that contain images. In fact one study showed that social media posts with pictures are 40 times more likely to be shared than those posts that don’t feature a picture.

3.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What is “beautiful” is different for each person. That means that not everyone will like your book. Not everyone will find your story beautiful. Don’t take it personally. Know that your book is not meant for everyone and seek the people who will find the beauty in your book.

4.  Better late than never.

Promoting your book should start about a year before you publish it. If you failed to promote your book before you brought it to fruition, take heart. It is better to start marketing your book late than to never market it at all. If you have stopped marketing, it’s not too late to pick it back up again and remind people that your book exists and meets a need for them.

5.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

In marketing, it is a little of this and a little of that makes the most impact. No one marketing channel or task will ensure your book sells well. Don’t just use social media. Don’t just advertise online. You have numerous options for promoting your book. Use as many as you can.

6.  Fortune favors the bold.

Those who are willing to take risks tend to be more successful than those who play it safe. Take some risks with your marketing endeavors. Some will fail, but some will pay off.

7.  Honesty is the best policy.

It is always better to tell the truth than a lie. Make sure that your marketing messages are truthful and that you can fulfill your promise to your reader.

8.  There is no time like the present.

Don’t procrastinate. Don’t wait. Do it now. Yes, it may be uncomfortable. But, if you don’t try, you can’t succeed. Start doing whatever marketing tasks you have been putting off today. Write that press release. Email that influencer. Call that radio producer. Schedule that book signing.

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Are You Limiting Yourself?

“This book is for men,” the author said to my daughter as she stood at the book display looking at his book.

“This book caught my eye because I like to travel,” my daughter responded.

“But it’s really for men,” the author countered. “It would make a great dad gift. It’s really for men.”

At that point, my daughter, feeling embarrassed for showing interest in a book “for men” walked off.

Later, she related this story to me. She told me that the book was a travel book with maps and a journal written by a male author. She stated that the author was actively discouraging her from reading his book, even though she was showing interest.

Clearly, this author knew his target audience—men who enjoyed travel. However, he was so tuned to his target audience, that he was limiting himself to “men only”.

Maybe he was not aware that women read books geared for men and that men read books geared for women. While this author may not want to spend his marketing efforts and advertising dollars on women, he could sell more books by keeping in mind that some women might be interested in his book. This mindset would help him keep from shutting out females who show an interest in his book.

One author at CBA Unite shared that she had written a book for young adult females ages 13 to 18. She, too, knew her target audience. However, she went on to say that many moms and dads also read the book. She stated that one of her best reviews was from a dad who read the book.

Knowing your target audience is important. It helps you hone your marketing message and efforts. However, don’t limit yourself to your target audience. After all, a target is just a place to aim.

You should encourage anyone showing interest in your book to read it because:

  1. God can speak to anyone he chooses to through your written words.
  2. Stereotypes are generalizations. They don’t apply to everyone.
  3. The person may be considering purchasing the book as a gift for someone.
  4. Even if your message is not for the person reading the book, they might recommend the book to someone they know will enjoy it.

Whatever you do, never discourage interest in your book. Don’t limit yourself. Keep an open mind when considering who might be interested in reading your book.

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Photo courtesy of Oscar Keys