An Interesting Letter

I recently received a snail mail letter from a gentleman who had self-published a book via a large self-publishing press. In the letter, he requested my help with marketing his book.

The letter stated:


I understand that you help self-published authors market their books…I do not have email, so I have to correspond by postal mail. I have limited funds which is another drawback.

This author reported in his letter that he had done some advertising in Christian magazines with limited results.

Since this author does not have email, I can conclude that he also does not have a blog, nor is he present on any social media sites online. In other words, he is not an Internet user. Therefore, his book promotion efforts are severely limited. He can do the following two things:

  1. Advertising—which can be very expensive and usually has limited results.
  2. In-person marketing efforts such as speaking and book readings—although many of these are scheduled via email (again, the Internet).

In essence, this author is missing out on connecting with potential readers through numerous marketing opportunities that can be done for low- or no-cost using the Internet including:

  • Internet presence through a website
  • Internet presence through blogging and joining blog conversations
  • Connecting with readers via social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
  • Email marketing
  • Internet radio and podcast interviews
  • Video or live broadcasting
  • Connecting with media through press releases and scheduling interviews, since this is now done largely through email.

Self-publishing houses or subsidy presses—like Xulon, Xlibris, and Westbow—receive all their money upfront when publishing a book. The author pays the company to produce the book. Therefore, these publishing houses have no vested interest in helping their authors promote and market their books to produce sales.

The bottom-line is that authors must meet readers where they hang out to promote their books. Since most readers hang-out online, if you are not marketing online, you are missing most of your audience.

Related Posts:
A Message to Self-Published Authors
How to Avoid Becoming an Average Self-Published Title
Do You Look Professional?

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Sell More Books by Bundling

A bundle is a group of things tied together as into a parcel. In marketing, bundling refers to offering several products for sale as one combined product.


Bundling is a common strategy in the business world. Consider cable companies that offer bundled packages of cable TV, Internet, and phone, or fast food companies like McDonalds that let customers pick any two of a number of products for cheaper than the two items can be purchased separately.

Bundling is a marketing strategy that works to increase sales. Grouping two or more things that go together, and offering customers the two items together cheaper than they can be purchased separately, is viewed as a bargain by shoppers. Shoppers love bargains. Therefore, offering a bundle can drive more sales.

You can increase your book sales by bundling your print and ebook together. One survey found that 49% of digital readers said they had purchased both print and ebooks in the past 6 months. More and more readers are switching back and forth between print and digital reading. Bundling your print and ebook together provides readers an incentive to purchase both. In fact, studies show that reader purchase more books when shopping when the ebook is included with the print book for free.

You can offer a print and ebook bundle easily with the following two services:

• Selfie

The Shelfie app makes it easy for anyone owning a print book to get the digital version of the book—if the book is in Shelfie’s catalog. All book owners need to do is download the Shelfie app for free. Owners then use the app to take a ‘shelfie’ photo of a book they own and a photo of the copyright page of the book with their name written on the page to indicate that they own the book. Owners can then download or purchase the ebook version of the book from Shelfie.

If you have an ebook distributed via IngramSpark or Lightning Source, you can use Shelfie to offer a print and ebook bundle. Simply list your ebook with Shelfie. Then let purchasers know that if they purchase the print book, they can get the ebook free (or for a nominal fee) on Shelfie.

• Kindle Matchbook

Kindle MatchBook allows customers who buy a print book from the option to purchase the Kindle version of the same title for $2.99 or less (including free). If you have both the print and digital version your title for sale on, you can enroll the Kindle version in Kindle MatchBook . Then customers who buy your print version can also get the ebook version for free or cheap.

You can sell more books by bundling. Consumers view bundle as bargains. Bargains drive sales. Use these services to bundle your print and ebook versions together and encourage more readers to buy your book. Just be sure to heavily promote your bundle to your target audience.

Related Posts:
Create Book Bundles for Gifting
Sell More Books with Coupons
Market Your Book as a Gift

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Are You Using Coupons?

If you are not using coupons in your marketing efforts, you may be missing out on some sales. Over 50% of the general population seek out special offers. Did you know that businesses offering a coupon in an email have a 34% higher click through rate for their email campaigns?

Check out this infographic on coupons and then consider how you can start incorporating coupons into your marketing efforts and snag more sales.

Coupons are King

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A Marketing Snafu

A large number of books by small publishers and independently published authors cross my desk each year. On the positive side, overall the quality of the books published by this group has improved over the decade I have been rubbing shoulders with them. On the negative side, many do still contain slip ups.


These blunders come in the form of things like poor cover design, the spine printed upside down, or the lack of a BISAC subject on the back cover of the book. Once in a while, I come across a misstep that I have to comment on. This error was in the form of a marketing snafu. However, this foul-up was an epic marketing mishap.

The book I am talking about was produced by a small publisher. It is a devotional written by two unknown names. There are no endorsements listed on the book’s cover. Imagine my surprise when I opened the book and discovered that it contained a Foreword by Lee Strobel. In case you are not familiar with that name, Lee Strobel is a prominent, best-selling Christian author of books like The Case for Christ and The Case for a Creator.
Did you catch that? The book had an endorsement by a well-known Christian author.

Nowhere, I repeat, nowhere on the book’s cover did it mention that the book was endorsed by a prominent author. The authors of the devotional I am discussing missed a huge—no, a gigantic marketing opportunity.

A book’s cover is its number one marketing tool. The cover of this book should have contained, in large letters, the wording “Foreword by Lee Strobel.” I can guarantee that wording alone would have caused people to buy the book.

Just to be certain that I did not have an older version of the book, I checked on Amazon to see if the cover of the copy I had matched the cover being sold. It did. While checking, I discovered that the publisher also failed to list in the book description that the Foreword was by Lee Strobel. Again, nowhere in the Amazon listing did it mention Lee Strobel or even quote him as telling people to read the book. Furthermore, I discovered that the book does not contain one single review on Amazon—which is another marketing snafu I won’t discuss today.

I urge you, don’t make this marketing mistake. If you take the trouble to get a well-known personality to endorse your book, use that person’s endorsement to sell your book. Otherwise, you will have just wasted your time.

With my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, I had Sally E. Stuart, the founder of The Christian Writer’s Market Guide, write a Foreword. On more than one occasion, I have had people drawn to purchase the book because her name was listed on the cover.

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Are You Using This Book Selling Technique?

As far a social media sites go, Pinterest is one that you should not be ignoring in your book marketing campaign. Did you know that Pinterest is currently the social media site that drives the most retail purchases?


Here are a few statistics to help you better understand the usefulness of Pinterest both in gaining attention and sales for your books:

  • Pinterest buyers spend more money, more often, on more items than any of the other top five social media sites.
  • 47% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest.
  • 80% of Pinterest pins are repined.

A presence on Pinterest can help you sell more books. Using images to draw attention to your books is one way you can use Pinterest in your book promotion campaigns.

A new term has developed to encapsulate a type of image many authors are using to promote books on Pinterest. Most of you are familiar with the term Infographic, referring to a visual image used to represent information or data. A new term, Bookographic (a.k.a. book-o-graphic or tipographic), is now being used to describe a visual image representing information on a book.

Bookographics are a great way to represent your book visually on Pinterest. Generally, a Bookographic contains a few tips from your book as well as a picture of the book’s cover and a link to where someone can buy the book.

These visual images are easy to generate. They do not need to be fancy. They can be made in almost any office software program like Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, etc. I used Microsoft Word to make mine (pictured here). In fact, I used just a sidebar text box to create my Bookographic for Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace.

If you are not yet engaged with Pinterest as part of your book marketing plan, I encourage you to begin using this powerful social media site to connect with consumers. If you are on Pinterest, then begin creating a few colorful and informative Bookographics to connect Pinterest users to your book.

If you have already created a Bookographic for your book, leave a link in the comments section below to your Bookographic. I would love to see it.

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