Your Book: A Needle in a Haystack

The number of self-published titles continues to grow. Bowker, the company that assigns ISBN numbers recently announced that 786,935 ISBN numbers were assigned to self-published titles in 2016. This is an increase of 59,810 titles, an 8.2% increase over 2015.

According to the 2016 Bowker report, ISBNs assigned for print books rose 11.3% to 638,624 titles, while ISBNs assigned to ebooks fell 3.2% to 148,311. Since Bowker measures the number of self-published books by ISBN, its count does not include ebooks released by authors through Amazon’s KDP program, as Amazon Kindle uses ASIN identifiers rather than ISBNs.

Small publishers—defined as those authors and publishers who purchase their own ISBN numbers (rather than using an ISBN number provided by a publishing platform like CreateSpace) and produce 10 or fewer titles—grew by 7.67%, up 3,863 titles to 54,206 from 2015.

These figures indicate that the self-publishing industry is beginning to stabilize as it is growing to maturity. According to Bowker’s report, self-published titles grew 30% from 2013 to 2014 and 21% from 2014 to 2015. Then this past year, from 2015 to 2016, the growth rate of self-published titles slowed to about 8%.

If you released a book in 2016 or 2017, your book is simply one book in a sea of three-quarters of a million other books released the same year. That is a lot of competition. It is much like being a needle in a haystack.

Marketing a book among millions can seem a daunting task. How can you make your book stand out and get noticed? Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help your book get noticed. Here are three.

1. Build a platform.
Building a platform is all about developing an audience of people who trust and listen to what you have to say. You can develop your audience online with a blog, podcast, or video series, or you can develop an audience through speaking engagements. Readers buy books from authors they trust. For more information on building a platform and developing an audience, watch my on-demand seminar Developing an Audience for Your Books.

2. Go Niche.
Niche means a distinct segment of a market. It’s all about narrowing your audience to focus on those most likely to read your book. For example, if you have a book on parenting, instead of targeting all parents, you would refine your target audience. You might refine it to Christian parents and then refine it further to Christian parents of disabled children and then refine it even further to Christian parents of disabled children who need special care. Refining helps you find the best niche audience for your book.

3. Partner with Influencers.
Seek out those who already have influence with your niche audience and partner with them. Influencers can be other authors already writing to your audience. They can be bloggers speaking to these people. They can also be civic leaders, church leaders, educational leaders, or famous personalities. Work with influencers to receive endorsements, reviews, recommendations, and support for your book. Partnering with influencers helps you expand your audience and gives you and your book credibility.

Your book does not need to get lost in the haystack. A little effort on your part can make your book stand out and receive the attention it deserves.

Related Posts:
Are You Developing an Audience?
The Importance of Finding Your Niche
Enlarge Your Audience with Micro-Influencers

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Publishing is Big Business

Every year Bowker reports the number of books publishing in the United States. As long as I have been watching these figures (over a decade), the number of books published each year has grown. Book publishing is big business.

Think about this: In 2014, Amazon’s book sales were about $5.6 billion, which is about 11.6% of Amazon’s retail sales. This amount of book sales represents the equivalent of 3,600 book stores. That’s a whole lot of books.

In fact, book publishing is the largest sector of content creation. According to a report by Code Mantra, in 2012 the book publishing industry made $151 billion in sales. This was more than the movies and entertainment industry made ($133 billion), more than magazines made ($107 billion), more than the video game industry made ($63 billion), and more than the music industry made ($50 billion).

Publishing is Big BusinessI know that a large reason the book publishing industry sells so much is due to the educational book market. However, the truth is, books are outselling movies, video games, music, and magazines.

If you are an author or a publisher, these statistics should lift your spirits. The book industry is a strong industry. Book sales are strong. People are buying books and will continue to buy books for years to come.

If you are struggling with book sales, the reason is not the economy nor is it the media competing for people’s reading time. The reason you are struggling for book sales is either due to the quality of your book or your marketing strategies (or lack thereof).

Books are selling. If you want to sell more books, I encourage you to take the time to educate yourself on strategies and techniques you can use to engage readers. You can:

  1. Read books on how to market and promote your book and follow their advice. If you write and publish Christian books, my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace is a good place to start.
  2. Join an author or publisher association like Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) to receive ongoing information and services to help you effectively promote your books.
  3. Take part in online webinars and classes that teach you how to effectively promote your books.

The book industry is big business. That includes your books. Knowledge is power. Get the knowledge you need to sell more books.

Related Posts:
Reading on the Decline in America
The State of Fiction Reading
A Half-Million Self-Published Books

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Being Heard Above the Noise

Bowker recently released estimates of print book production for 2013. The company reports that the number of print titles produced in 2013 dipped slightly from 2012 according to Bowker’s annual report on U.S. print book publishing. The year 2013 saw 304,912 print titles published, while the year 2013 saw 309,957 print titles produced.

Noise

Bowker’s figures do not take into consideration ebooks published during the year. So, in just considering how many new books were published in 2013, the figure is higher than 304,912, because a number of books are now being published in digital format only. One statistic shows that 31% of ebooks purchased on Amazon each day are self-published books.

It’s hard to get noticed in a noisy world. Bowker’s statistics show that publishing in the United States is noisy. There are multiple books on almost every subject vying for a consumer’s attention.

Competing in a noisy market is not necessarily about making the most noise. Having a “noisier” marketing campaign than other authors does not guarantee more sales. Sometimes noise is just annoying. Rather, utilizing unique angles and hooking your readers with the “What’s in it for me” angle that they can’t resist seems to bring the best results. Creativity is what gets attention.

Cook up some creative ideas to get your book notice. Here are five to consider:

  1. Host a contest. Make it unusual and unique with an enticing prize. (See “Use a Twitter Contest to Sell More Books” for one idea).
  2. Donate some of your books to local businesses that have reading material in their lobbies and cater to your target audience.
  3. Showcase your book at a local festival (see “What’s Your Marketing Shtick?”).
  4. Put a magnetic sign about your book on your car. (see “One Creative Book Promotion Idea”).
  5. Make your book cover into a cover for your smart phone or tablet for a walking book advertisement (see “A Walking Advertisement” and “Walking Advertisements”).

The book market in the United States is crowded and most likely going to stay that way. Creativity is needed to get noticed above all the noise.

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