Is Your Text Causing Cognitive Overload?

I have a confession. I know that podcasts are extremely popular. However, I have not been able to bring myself to jump on board.

I rarely listen to podcasts. I am a very busy person (as are many Americans). In my opinion, podcasts just take too long to serve the “meat.”

Is your text causing cognitive overload?

If I want information on a topic, I find reading easier. With reading, I can scan an article or web page and find the important information I am looking for. With a podcast, I am locked in to listening until the meat is finally dished out—which is usually most of the way through the podcast.

I am not alone in scanning or skimming when reading to find information. Research shows that 79% of people scan a web page, while only 16% read word-for-word. Interestingly, another study found that people scan email newsletters similar to web pages.

Too much information results in cognitive overload. Today, we have more information in front of us than ever before in the history of the world. As a result, we can easily become overloaded with information, causing our brain to not work as efficiently.

In an effort to reduce our cognitive load, we scan information. This results in more efficient processing of that information by the brain.

Is your text scannable?

Reading a book is different from reading web copy, marketing copy, or emails. When people choose to read a book, they are making the choice to read word-for-word. When people seek specific information, they scan to find what they are looking for.

To engage more people, it is important that all your marketing material can be scanned easily so that your important points stand out. Marketing material includes:

  • Blog posts
  • Website copy
  • Book descriptions
  • Book back cover copy
  • Author bios
  • Online and print advertisements
  • Author media sheets

Text becomes more scannable when it is broken up. In your marketing text, don’t use big blocks of text like you do in a book. Instead, focus on breaking up the text as follows:

  • Use headings and subheadings.
  • Pull out points and make them a bullet list.
  • Keep your paragraphs short.
  • Highlight keywords.
  • Put your most important point first.

A good rule of thumb is that your marketing materials should contain half the word count (or less) then when writing conventionally.

Armed with this information, I suggest that you revisit your marketing material to ensure that it is not causing cognitive overload.

Related Posts:
Two Strategies for Creating Effective Marketing Messages
Sales Text that Sells
Are You Selling or Connecting?

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Photo courtesy of Silviarita and Geralt.

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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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.

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

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Words that Sell

Consumers are bombarded by marketing messages. Just about every website or social media site you visit online showcases numerous ads and promotional material. Any marketing messages that you add to this storm can easily get lost in the deluge.

So, how can you help your marketing messages get noticed? Try using words that truly speak to your audience.

Persuasive words that evoke emotion work best to motivate readers to pull out their credit card and buy your book right now. People respond best to positive emotions that give them a sense of hope, belonging, or accomplishment.

To help you craft better marketing messages using words that sell, check out the infographic below.

Words that Sell

Related Posts:
Sales Text that Sells
Can This One Little Word Help You Sell More Books
Persuasion in an Age of Information Overload

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