Reading Habits By Generation

I came across this infographic that provides an enormous amount of useful information around the reading habits for each generation.

While the infographic focuses on the generations, some things hold true across all generations like:

  • 55% of every generation get book recommendations from friends and family.
  • Print books are still preferred across all generations. 

There is lots of good information to glean for use when marketing your book from this insightful infographic. Check it out.

Reading Across the Generations Infographic

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How to Gain More Readers for Your Books

All authors face the one same challenge: Finding readers for their books.

All sorts of gimmicks exist to lure customers to purchase products. Advertising experts even study which words and phrases work best for grabbing people’s attention. Tested Selling Institute and Word Laboratory Inc. looked at words and phrases salespeople could use to get customers to buy. They discovered a few magic words that tend to grab attention include:

  • New
  • Advice
  • At last
  • Truth
  • Love
  • Facts you should know

Advertising legend Robert Collier believed that writing advertising text was like a science. He used the studies done by Tested Selling Institute and Word Laboratory Inc. and applied their findings to printed advertising. Collier’s own research revealed that the word “how” in an advertising headline appeared to be the most useful word in improving the success of an advertising piece.

Each of these words reveals that people are searching for answers. People want practical solutions to their problems. They want to improve their lives.

I frequently say that marketing is simply letting people know that you have the answer to a need in their life. If you publish books, your book meets a need in someone’s life.

We all know that advertising is expensive and often does not have a very high return, especially for books. After all, people need to see and hear about a product multiple times before they decide to make a purchase (with the exception of impulse buys). So, what other marketing techniques can authors use to grab readers’ attention?

Enter content marketing. Content marketing is about sharing information that educates, inspires, and entertains readers. Content marketing allows an author to develop trust with an audience so that these people buy the author’s books.

If you are interested in learning more about content marketing and how you can use this powerful tool to grow the audience for your books, I encourage you to watch my new on-demand seminar Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing. This 40-minute seminar will walk you through six practical steps for sharing content on a regular basis to grow your audience.

As always, these on-demand seminars are free for Members of Christian Small Publishers Association. Other publishers and authors can access this seminar, Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing, for just $15 online at https://mcbuniversity.selz.com.

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Is Your Audience Growing?

The other day my teenage son was lamenting that he had lost seven subscribers. The boy runs a YouTube channel that boasts a few thousand subscribers. He watches how many people he has following him like a hawk and gets disheartened when followers unsubscribe.

I had a conversation with my son about how you can’t please everyone all the time. I talked with him about how losing subscribers is part of running a YouTube channel (or any business). Sometimes people outgrow your information, other times they change interests, and sometimes they just decide what you have to say is not worth their time.

I encouraged my son to look at the big picture. Was his audience growing or shrinking? He reported that his audience is growing, albeit not as fast as he would like.

The same principles I told my son apply to authors:

  • You can’t please everyone all the time.
  • Your fans can outgrow your information.
  • Your followers may lose interest in what you are sharing.
  • Your readers may re-prioritize their interests and no longer have time for your content.

When evaluating your own marketing efforts and reach, you should ask yourself:
Is my audience growing or shrinking?

If you find that your audience is growing, even though you lose some followers from time to time, then you know that you are on the right path. However, if you find that your audience is shrinking, then it is time to re-evaluate your marketing and book promotion activities. Ask yourself:

  1. Have I lost my passion?
  2. Have I strayed from my unique voice or message?
  3. Have I drifted off track and off topic?
  4. Am I consistently and diligently providing information that entertains, informs, or inspires my audience?

If your audience is shrinking and you answered yes to any of these questions, take some time to refocus and regain your footing. Take an inventory of your marketing activities. Create a new reinvigorated plan to follow.

Do you need some inspiration? Start by reading or re-reading my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace or watch one or more of the on-demand seminars on marketing that Marketing Christian Books University offers.

I asked my son to consider what percent of his audience he had lost in losing seven subscribers. He reported less than one-tenth of a percent. The next morning, he told me that he had gained 15 subscribers overnight—double what he had lost.

I encourage you to check your filter. Are you focusing on the negatives or the positives? When we focus on the negatives, we lose our passion and enthusiasm. This can have negative effects on our efforts. In addition, remember to keep the long view in sight. The short viewed is always skewed.

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Photo courtesy of Edwin Andrade.

Are You Showing Your Best Face?

Social media. Authors tend to love it or hate it.

Social media is a powerful way to connect with your readers. For many readers, getting to know the author of a book they love or relate to is natural. Once they have read the author’s book, they feel they already know that author on some level. Social media allows them to deepen that connection.

As an author, showing your personality on social media is important. This is easier for some authors than others. Authors who enjoy more privacy often find it difficult to let their personality shine in social media, while those that are more social find it easier.

A recent study by Sprout Social found that consumers want to see the following characteristics from the brands (and celebrities) that they follow on social media:

  • Honesty (86%)
  • Friendly (83%)
  • Helpful (78%)
  • Funny (72%)

What about you? Are you showing these four characteristics in your social media posts and interactions?

We live in a world where people crave authenticity. People want to know that you are “for real” and not a made-up persona. One of the best ways to demonstrate this to your readers is through showing your failures as well as your successes.

I know an aspiring author who has worked diligently to grow her platform on social media in hopes of getting a traditional publisher to sign a contract with her for her novel. This author understands how to show her personality.

One way she has recently connected with her audience is through chronicling her efforts to go from couch potato to running a 5K race. She has even encouraged her family members to join her in the challenge. This aspiring author regularly posts her ups and downs as she attempts to train herself to run three miles.

What about you? What can you share with your readers on social media to show them your authentic self?

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Photo courtesy of Gratisography.

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