How’s That Working for You?

“How’s that working for you?” This little, yet powerful question was made popular by Phillip McGraw, of the Dr. Phil show.

Let me ask it of you, author. When it comes to social media, “How’s that working for you?”

How's That Working for You?

When I consult with authors, I frequently hear this phrase—or one similar:

“I’m on Facebook. I have a lot of followers. They like and comment on what I post, but people aren’t buying my book.”

In fact, studies show that, on average, 53% of people who follow brands (businesses) on social media don’t buy anything from them at all. They just want the content (the information) the brand shares.

Authors hear “build a platform” and jump into social media trying to gain an audience. Often, they gain followers, but get frustrated when they don’t see these followers convert to book sales.

One reason for this is that people are not in a buying frame of mind when they are browsing social media. It is much easier to sell someone a book or product when they are already “shopping”. Someone who is engaged in the shopping process is much easier to persuade to buy something than someone who is not thinking about buying a book or product.

This does not mean that you can’t or won’t ever sell a book to someone via social media, it just means that it is harder. This is why I tell authors to not just use one tool (social media) to market their books.

Social Media is not your only marketing tool.

Instead, social media should be used in conjunction with other marketing tools like:

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is about giving your audience useful information that has value for them. It is information that your target audience is thirsty for. It’s about creating blogs, articles, video, and audio that provides valuable information and insight for your audience. One study showed that 7 out of 10 consumers would rather learn about a product or company from interesting content than from an ad.

2. Email Marketing

Email is more effective at reaching consumers than social media. Emails prompt purchases at a rate of at least three times that of social media. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message. When people like the content you are creating, they will give you their email address in exchange for receiving more content directly. This gives you the opportunity to market your books directly to a group of interested people.

3. Media Interviews and Speaking Engagements

Speaking is one of the best ways to sell books because people buy books from authors they know and trust. Speaking to a group of people develops that trust and allows an audience to get to know you. Media interviews work similarly. After people hear you on the radio or a podcast, they feel they know you and are more likely to purchase your books.

Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

I will be teaching four continuing sessions on “You CAN Indie Publish & Market Your Book” at the upcoming Great Philly Christian Writers Conference in August. This seminar focuses both on how to publish your book as well as how to begin marketing your book—using more than social media. I invite you to attend the conference and get the information and knowledge you need to successfully publish and promote your books.

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You Can Make a Difference!

Studies show that 80% of people feel that they have a book inside of them.

Book inside

Surprisingly, the biggest motivating factor to write a book is not fame or money. Most authors are driven to write for one of the following reasons:

  1. To share expertise or pass on knowledge.
  2. To motivate or inspire others.
  3. To tell a story.
  4. To market a business.

My main objective in writing Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books was to pass on knowledge. As someone who has been immersed in the world of indie publishing and marketing for the past 15+ years, I want to give authors and new publishers the resources they need to be successful in promoting their Christian books. I also hope that the book motivates and inspires readers to do the hard work of marketing.

Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

It is always satisfying when one receives confirmation that the purpose of their book is being fulfilled. A few recent reviews of Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books inspires me to keep going. After all, most authors—myself included—want our books to make a difference.

Following are a few recent review quotes for Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books:

  • Your book is amazing! You saved me hours (maybe years) of research.” ~Crystal Bowman
  • This is a book that will become a dog-eared reference for authors to use during every phase of their book’s publication. I highly recommend this book as a practical and valuable reference!” ~Ava Pennington
  • The competition for readers has never been greater than it is today. Sarah Bolme shows you how to get your book the visibility it needs to sell.”  ~Jacquelyn Lynn
  • This exceptionally well organized and presented guide walks authors and publishers step-by-step through the various aspects of book promotion. It is an ideal and thoroughly ‘user friendly’ resource for authors and publishers.” ~James Cox, Midwest Book Review

What about you? Do you feel that your books are fulfilling the purpose for which you wrote them? Do you long to publish a book that is inside of you?

If you feel that your book has not reached its potential, or if you desire to publish the book that is inside you or in manuscript form, then you can get the information you need to do just that.

1. Attend one of my upcoming intensive workshops on “You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book”. I will be teaching this extended workshop at the following two upcoming Christian Writers Conferences:

2. Get a copy of my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books and read it. Learn the important steps in marketing your book so that it leaves your hands and goes into the world to fulfill the purpose for which it was published.

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Don’t Just Be Anyone
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Proof! Author Platform Building Works

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Don’t Just Be Anyone

The growth of independent publishing is truly astounding. Consider these figures from Bowker (the ISBN provider):

  • The number of print books independently published grew from 235,639 titles in 2012 to 879,587 in 2017. That is 273% growth in six years.
  • In 2017, 85% of all independently published print books were published through Amazon (CreateSpace) for a total of 751,924 titles.

Amazon has leveled the playing field for publishing a book. Almost anyone can publish a book through Amazon (using Kindle Direct Publishing—previously through CreateSpace). Of course, the ability for anyone to publish a book has both positive and negative consequences.

Positive Consequences

1. Anyone can now be an author.
Anyone means anyone. Amazon does not discriminate with respect to whom they allow to upload a book.

2. No gatekeepers.
No subject is taboo. No one has to approve of the content, style, or quality of the writing.

3. It’s free.
Yes, absolutely free to upload a book to Amazon. It does not cost a cent. All it requires is Internet access.

Negative Consequences

1. Anyone can now be an author.
Anyone can be an author whether or not they take the time to hone the craft of writing, understand proper book design, or learn anything about marketing a book.

2. No gatekeepers.
Anything goes. This means that there is no check on quality. There are no guarantees for buyers.

3. It’s free.
The easier and cheaper it is to publish a book, the more people will publish books. The more books published, the more competition all books have for readers’ eyes.

Here’s the deal: Don’t just be anyone.

In other words, be an informed author. If you are thinking about publishing a book, don’t do it just because you can. Take the time to hone your writing, learn about proper book design and layout, and understand what you need to do to market your book. Both you and your book will be better for it.

Colorado Christian Writers Conference

I am thankful that it is both easy to independently publish a book and it is easy to learn what you need to know to do this. Many sources exist to help independent authors who want to learn.

You have the opportunity to learn directly from me at the upcoming Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park May 15-18, 2019. I will be teaching a Continuing session on “You Can Indie Publish & Market Your Book.” This session will teach you what you need to know to publish an industry standard book and to begin the process of promoting your book.

If you can attend this conference, I encourage you to do so. You will learn valuable information, not just from me, but from the other presenters as well. Don’t take my word for it; here is what a couple people said about my “You Can Indie Publish & Market Your Book” sessions on Facebook:

Don’t just be anyone. Learn what you need to know and be an author that people want to read and share with others.

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Photo courtesy of NeONBRAND.

How to Become an Indie Author

One study shows that 80% of people feel they have a book inside of them. If you have a book inside of you that is waiting to come out, now is a great time to make your dream come true.

Independent publishing is growing. The cost to produce a book is within the average person’s reach, and with the Internet, marketing opportunities are right at your fingertips.

So, becoming an independent author is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Simply write your book, publish it, and then start selling. Wait—is it really that easy?

Sadly, some new indie authors fall into this belief system. These authors fail to learn what is required to produce a quality book that resembles books published by traditional publishing houses. Then they get frustrated when their book doesn’t sell.

If you are thinking about publishing a book as an indie author, I encourage you to gain the knowledge you need to produce a quality book that meets industry standards and glorifies God. Here are two ways you can get that information:

1. Attend my “Going Indie” seminar at the upcoming Write to Impact Lives Conference.

The Write to Impact Lives Conference will be held in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, on February 9 to 10, 2018. I will teach a four-hour session on Friday afternoon that will cover everything you need to know to publish an industry-standard book. The seminar will cover:

  • Three things to do before you publish your book.
  • Preparing your manuscript for publishing including editing, interior layout and design, and your book cover design.
  • Publishing your book affordably.

If you do not live near Philadelphia, you have another option to get this great information.

2. Become a Member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is open to individuals who have published or are considering publishing a book. You do not have to have already published a book to join the association.

Members of CSPA have access to on-demand seminars covering all the information you need to publish an industry standard book. CSPA Members also have access to a Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book. Additionally, as a Member of Christian Small Publishers Association, you have access to free title setup and revisions with IngramSpark, a print-on-demand service that also provides distribution for your book.

Membership in CSPA is just $90 for the 2018 calendar year. You can join today on CSPA’s website.

Make 2018 the year you indie publish that book you have been wanting to complete!

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Four Gift Ideas for Authors

Who doesn’t love to get a gift? A gift is an expression of love. It makes you feel that the giver cares about you.

Giving gifts also leaves you with a good feeling. After all, Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.

This Christmas, as you give and get gifts, I want to encourage you to give a special gift to the authors in your life. Now, most of you reading this are authors so you may be wondering why I am writing about gifts for authors.

four-great-gift-ideas

If you are an author, you most likely know other authors. Use one of these ideas or inspiration from these ideas to give your author friends a special gift this season. Feel free to also show these ideas to your loved ones as a hint of what they can do for you this Christmas.

1. Write a glowing review of the author’s book.

Post your glowing review on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, ChristianBook.com, and Goodreads. Then share your posted review with all your friends via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and any other social media platform you use. Then share the links with your author friend as your Christmas gift. After all, great reviews are like gold for authors.

2. Purchase and donate the author’s book to local organizations.

You can donate any number of copies that you choose to purchase of the author’s books to any local organizations with an audience that is right for the book. Donate a book to your church library, your local public library, a local school, a nursing home, a group home, or even a community center.

3. Purchase and gift copies of the author’s book to all your friends.

Gift copies of your author friend’s book to your other friends. After all, books make great gifts. Check out my infographic on Six Reasons Books Make Great Gifts if you need to be reminded why books are excellent gifts. Remember, each time you purchase an author’s book, you are giving them a gift—the gift of your money, the gift of your time, and the gift of your trust in them.

4. Give the gift of a writer’s conference.

For a pricier gift, you can purchase a writer’s conference registration for your author friend. You can find a list of Christian writer’s conferences around the United States here. Find one that is hosted in a location near where your author friend lives and give him or her the gift of a conference. Writer’s conferences not only help authors improve their craft, they provide encouragement and inspiration.

If you are an author reading this, I know that you would love to receive one of these as a gift this Christmas. I encourage you to find the blessing in giving and give one of these gifts to an author you know this season.

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Six Reasons Books Make Great Gifts
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