3 Ways to Amplify Your Readers’ Praise

They say 90% of the promotion of a book comes through word of mouth. But you’ve somehow got to get your book into the hands of those mouths first!”  —Claudia Osmond, author

This quote sums up the struggle all authors and publishers face. The first step is getting your books into the hands of people who would love to talk about them. The next step is amplifying those word-of-mouth messages.

Amplify Your Readers' Praise

The more people talking about your books, the more noise they make. When noise is generated, other readers take notice. Sadly, if you have not yet developed a large following of readers, the noise your reader’s word-of-mouth makes may be more like a whisper.

Your challenge is to take that whisper and amplify it so that it becomes louder so more people can hear it. This is where the strategy of engaging your readers to help you market your book comes into play. As an author, you can engage your readers in your marketing efforts in the following three ways.

1.  Feature testimonials.

Readers that enjoy or benefit from your book will sometimes write a review, share a thought with you, or even give you a testimonial on how your book has helped them. Post these reviews, thoughts, and testimonials on your website, share them across your social media platforms, and use them in your marketing materials. They are gold.

2.  Elicit feedback.

One great way to engage your readers is to ask them for feedback. You can use opinion polls to ask your readers and fans which one of two characters in your book they liked better, which of two pieces of advice helped them the most, etc.

Post these polls on your blog and social media sites to encourage readers to interact with you. You can use a service like FyreBox, Interact, or SurveyMonkey to create free quizzes.

Once you have responses to your quiz, then use the responses to magnify your readers’ word-of-mouth further. Post the quiz results on your blog and social media sites. Spread the news about what readers are saying about your book based on your quiz.

3.  Leverage social proof.

“Social proof” is a term that refers to the phenomenon that people assume that others possess more knowledge about a situation or product than they do. Thus, individuals look at what other people are doing or saying to help them decide how they will act.

You can leverage social proof by using reach marketing. Reach marketing is where your followers spread your message to their followers on social media and thus exponentially expand the reach or your message. You can use a service like Pay with a Tweet to offer content or a discount to readers in exchange for a social media post about the content or discount.

Related Posts:

What Influences Book Purchasing Decisions?
Are You Doing This with Your Website?
What Your Readers Want

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.

7 Traits for Indie Author Success

Every book is a startup business. A book needs a mission statement, a marketing plan, and a budget. As an indie author, these are all your responsibility—making you an entrepreneur. Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?

7 Traits for Indie Author Success

Indie authors are entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs have a number of things in common. These individuals have a way of thinking and acting that is different from other people. The good news is that anyone can learn to think and act like an entrepreneur and reap the benefits. Following are seven distinct traits of entrepreneurs.

1.  Have Passion

Entrepreneurs tend to be highly passionate about their work. In truth, this passion is what often propels them to success. After all, passion is contagious. As an author, no one else is going to be as passionate about your book as you are. Don’t expect others to sell your book for you. As the author, you are the one with the belief in your message. Let your energy shine through when you talk with others.

2.  Try New Things

An open mind is required to try new things. Don’t stay set in your ways. Successful marketing requires that you adopt new strategies. Instead of just hearing or thinking about new great marketing ideas, try some out. Watch what other successful authors are doing and use what makes sense for your books.

3.  Willing to Take Risks

Little is gained without risk. Entrepreneurs have to be willing to take risks to move their business forward. As an author, both publishing and marketing your book involve risks. Sometimes you have to risk money for advertising and promotion with no guarantee that you will have a return on your money. Be willing to take risks, but be wise about the risks you take. Do your homework to minimize your losses.

4.  Network with Others

Business is all about relationships. Solid relationships are the pathway to success. After all, the number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. The more you work on building relationships with readers, the wider your audience will be for your book. Building relationships with other authors can also help pave the way for more success. Collaboration is a powerful tool.

5.  Think Outside the Box

Entrepreneurs are creative problem solvers. They are able to apply unconventional approaches to overcome challenges. As an author, your challenge is to get your book noticed. This takes creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Being able to brainstorm creative techniques for your book promotion strategies is important.

6.  Ready for Roadblocks

Entrepreneurs understand that they will face problems and challenges. Being mentally prepared to deal with these setbacks is crucial for success. Life and business are not easy. As an author, you will run into roadblocks and become frustrated when your efforts don’t produce fruit. A mindset that is ready to overcome challenges will serve you well.

7.  Determination

Determination is all about the firmness of your purpose. Determined individuals don’t easily give up. They stick it out for the long haul. Entrepreneurs know they must do hard work to succeed. Determination will get you where brains and brawn cannot. So, be determined, be resolved to do what it takes to get your book and message to the people who need it.

I encourage you to incorporate these seven traits into your life and act like the entrepreneur you already are as an indie author. When you do, you will experience more success.

Related Posts:

Overcoming Roadblocks to Marketing
What Successful Authors Do
Three Lessons from a Successful Entrepreneur

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Tumisu.

5 Ways to Promote Your Book for Free

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic distress for many people. As an independent author, you may be struggling financially.

As an author, you have at least one book to sell to generate a little income. Maybe you are struggling with sales. You don’t want to spend money on advertising and promoting your book because money is tight.

Free Book Promotion Ideas

You have to spend money to make money.” This common phrase may have you in a double-bind. You just don’t have the funds to play with.

Fortunately, there are many ways to promote your book without spending a lot of money. My book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books is dedicated to helping authors market their books on a small budget.

Following are five no-cost marketing strategies that you can employ right now to help sell more copies of your book.

1. Create a Website

If you do not have an author website, you need one. Readers like to learn more about authors. One method readers use to find out more about an author is through an author’s website. Having an author website sends the message that you are serious about being an author, which raises your esteem in readers’ eyes.

If you do not have a website, you can create one for free. BookLaunch provides any author a free landing page. This landing page is easy to create and provides you with a custom URL.

BookLaunch.io

If, for some reason, you are not able to create a website, then I recommend that—at the very least—you complete your Author Page on Amazon. You can then use this page as your website.

If you are unsure what a complete Author Page on Amazon looks like, check out my (Sarah Bolme) author page on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/sarahbolme.

2. Run a Price Special on Your Book

It doesn’t cost you a dime out of your pocket to reduce the price of your book. Consumers love bargains. Offer a summer sale on your book to get people to buy it now.

Scarcity drives people to buy. Think about the recent toilet paper shortage. Stores were short of toilet paper, causing people to buy more than they needed so they would not run out.

Special Offer

You can use this same idea with book sales. Make your special book price or discount time limited or limited to a select number of copies. This helps people choose to buy it now rather than wait until later because they don’t want to miss out on the special price.

3. Get More Book Reviews

Book reviews are marketing gold. As humans we operate with FOMO. FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out. When people rave about your book, then other readers will be more inclined to buy your book because they don’t want to miss out on the great information or story you provide.

One option for getting more book reviews is to give away a limited number of your books for free in exchange for a review. The saying “You have to give to get” applies here.

Sweeten your request for reviews by offering a select number of free books in exchange for a review. You can ask your friends and followers on social media, as well as the members of the forums and groups you belong to.

4. Write Articles and Guest Blog Posts

Writing articles costs nothing but your time. As an author, you are an expert on the subject matter of your book. This means that you can write and speak with authority on the subject and people will take notice.Christian Writers Market Guide

You can leverage your author authority through writing articles and guest blog posts. Then you can submit these articles and posts to magazines and blogs for publication. When people read your article or post, they are exposed to you and your book, increasing the chances of more sales for your book.

You can find a list of Christian magazines that accept article submissions in the Christian Writers Market Guide. If you want to guest post, you can find a list of over 200 websites and blogs that accept guest posts at https://www.websitehostingrating.com/list-of-200-websites-that-accept-guest-posts.

5. Be Interviewed on Podcasts and Radio Shows

Exposure is key for selling books. After all, people cannot buy something they don’t know exists.

You can leverage your author authority to gain more exposure through radio and podcast interviews.Christian Indie Publishing Association

You can search for podcasts that speak to your subject using a podcast search engine like Listen Notes. Or you can sign up for Membership in Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) for just $75 and have access to a list of over 100 podcast and radio outlets interviewing Christian authors. The list alone is worth more than the $75 Membership fee.

The famous saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” applies to your book marketing. You must venture something—whether that is time, money, or effort—to gain book sales.

Related Posts:
Author: Are You Doing These Marketing Activities?
Marketing is a Mindset
Don’t Hobble Your Marketing Efforts

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Chronomarchie.

 

 

Does Your Book Need Refreshing?

Is your book selling as well as you would like? If your book sales have slowed down or are lacking, maybe your book needs refreshing.

Does Your Book Need Refreshing?

Ponder the following four points to determine if you need to engage in updating or refreshing your book to improve sales.

1.  Book Reviews

I am amazed at the number of books that have no reviews on Amazon. Some of these are indie authors that are paying for advertising for their books, yet their books have no reviews on the largest book selling website. Reviews are essential for selling books.

My advice is that before you launch a marketing campaign for your book, get reviews. Give readers a free copy of your book in exchange for a review. You need reviews.

If the average rating of reviews for your book on Amazon or any other bookseller site is less than four stars, this means either your book needs some work or you are not targeting the right audience for your message.

The competition is stiff. Readers have exponentially more choices of books to read than they have time to read. An average rating of less than four stars means your book is just that—average. Your book needs to be more than average to sell well. It needs to be compelling.

2.  Provide a Sample

Buyers like to have some assurance that what they are buying is worth their money. This is why when browsing for books in a physical bookstore or library, readers will not only read the book’s cover, they will open the book and read a section of the interior to decide if they want to invest in the book.

Buyers need this same access to the interior of your book when browsing online. Give your potential buyers the ability to sample your work so they can make an informed decision that leads to a purchase. You can offer the following samples for potential readers:

  • Enable the Amazon Look Inside feature for your book.
  • Offer a link to read the first chapter of your book.
  • Offer a digital prequel, short story, or tip sheet for free to potential readers.

3.  Update Your Cover

First and foremost, your book should be sporting a professional cover image. Your cover should look as good as or better than the top 10 sellers in your category or genre. Your cover needs to be eye-catching to rise above your competition.

Sometimes book sales lag because your book’s cover—your number one marketing tool—does not accurately reflect the contents of your book. Make sure the image on your cover conveys the emotion off your message to the reader. If you are selling a romance story, your cover should speak romance. If you are selling a thriller, your cover should feel suspenseful.

Do a quick review of your book’s cover. Sometimes updating or changing the image can spur sales.

4.  Listen to feedback

In response to feedback around editing, I have had authors say, “This is the message God gave me.” Good editing does not change the message. Instead, it makes your message more relatable and compelling.

Once I told an author who requested my help that her book was too long for her target age group. I suggested that she either condense it or break it into a series of books. Her response was that children needed the whole message so she was going to leave it the way she had it.

Clearly, she was not open to my suggestion. I would rather my children eat part of their meal than none of it. At least by eating part they are getting some nutrition. The same can be true for a message. Pieces eventually add up to the whole.

Listen to the feedback you receive from your readers. Take the strengths from the positive reviews and improve the weaknesses pointed out in the negative reviews. Your book (and you) will be better for it.

Related Posts:
What Influences Book Purchasing Decisions?
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
Is Your Book Cover Too Cluttered?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Malte Luk.

Don’t Lose Focus

The events in our world and our country in 2020 cannot be ignored. They are affecting all of us.  Yet, I would encourage you to not allow these events to sidetrack you from the message that God has given you.

Don't Lose Focus

I recently read a post by an influencer in the indie publishing world. This individual was advocating that indie authors take a break from marketing their books to spend some time dealing with the pressing issues in our country.

While this advice might be beneficial for secular authors, I don’t think it is good advice for Christian authors.

2 Timothy 2:4 says “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” In season and out of season means when it is favorable to do so and when it is not favorable to do so – or when it is convenient to do so and when it is not convenient to do so.

We are in an out of season time. There is pressure all around us to jump on the hot topic of the moment. Don’t get sidetracked.

It is easy to get dragged down by worldly concerns involving conflicts and fears. When this happens, we get distracted from the hope we have in Christ.

Do not lose your focus. As a Christian author, your gaze should remain fixed on spiritual things that offer the hope, security, and peace people need in this trying time.

Whatever your message was before the events happening this year, it is still needed. People’s spiritual needs have not diminished with current events—in fact, these needs are growing since churches have not been open and people have been isolated.

People are still struggling with relationships, parenting, finances, health problems and other issues related to Christian living and spiritual growth. They need the hope you offer in your books. Hope both for this life and the life to come.

So, I encourage you to not veer from the message God has given you. Your message is timely. Your message is needed. God’s word never goes out of season.

Related Posts:
Five Tips for Staying Focused
The Responsibility Rests on You!
Sticking to the Basics

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Elena Taranenko.