Expecting Fast Results: What A Mistake!

We live in a fast society. A Boeing 787 can fly around the world in 42 hours and 27 minutes. With Google Fiber, Internet connection speeds reach up to one gigabit per second. FedEx allows you to have a package delivered the very next day to almost any location in the world. China’s new Fuxing bullet trains travel at 350 km/h (over 200 m/hr).

We have become so accustomed to fast, that we expect it. Except not everything delivers fast results.

This is true of promotion and marketing efforts. Rarely, do these activities deliver fast results. After all, research shows that it takes on average:

  1. Seven to twelve exposures of a product before a person decides to purchase it.
  2. Nine months of regular blogging to develop a strong, loyal readership base.
  3. Seven contacts to secure a media interview.

I recently received a call from a woman who heard about a book that Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) represented at the CBA Unite International Retail Show last summer (in July 2017). The woman had recently talked with a gentleman who attended the show and told him of her need. He informed her that he had seen a book that met her need in CSPA’s booth at the trade show last summer.

The woman looked up CSPA on the Internet and gave us a call. She did not know that name of the book, but was able to tell me her need and I immediately identified which book the gentleman was referring to. I gave this woman the information on the book and the contact information for the publisher.

It has been six months since the 2017 CBA Unite show. Six months after viewing a book, a show attendee told this woman about a book he saw at the show that met her need.

Here’s the deal. Marketing activities usually don’t reap fast results. However, they do reap results for those who are patient.

Even though word spreads fast in today’s digitally-connected world, personal word-of-mouth can still take time. At the right moment, when faced with a need, a product or book is remembered and passed along.

Remember, marketing is all about exposure. It’s about introducing people to your books so that they know they exist. Your job is to get the word out. God’s job is to bring the harvest.

I have always said that promoting a book is a marathon, not a sprint. So, keep marketing. Keep spreading the word that your book meets a need that someone has. It may take months, but the people who need your book will hear and respond.

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The Goal of Advertising

Most independently published authors shy away from paid advertising for their books. After all, paid advertising sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s usually expensive and the benefits (sales reaped) often don’t equal the money spent.

Interestingly, a new survey from Clutch, a B2B ratings and review firm, found that advertisements influence 90% of consumers in their purchasing decisions. That makes advertising a powerful tool.

The survey also looked at which advertising mediums consumers found the most trustworthy. People find traditional advertising mediums (TV, print, radio) more trustworthy than digital advertising (online, social media).

In addition, this survey revealed that Millennials are more likely to make a purchase after seeing or hearing advertisements than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. About 81% of millennials surveyed (those ages 18 to 34) made a purchase after seeing or hearing an advertisement in the last 30 days. The survey also found that Millennials trust advertising more than older generations.

This is good news for authors seeking to reach Millennials. If this younger generation is your target audience, you may experience more success with paid advertisements than those authors trying to reach older generations.


The truth is, for advertising to work the following must happen:

  1. You have to use the right vehicle to reach your target audience.
    Your target audience must match the target audience of the newspaper, magazine, website, or radio show where your advertisement is run.
  2. You have to convey the benefits of your book in your ad.
    After all, advertising is all about persuasion.
  3. You have to have repeat exposure for people to be convinced.
    People need to see or hear about a new product seven to twelve times before they decide to purchase. And it’s important to advertise through multiple mediums to engage consumers.

This quote by Mitch Leigh sums up what the purpose of advertising is:

“You can’t make money on advertising; you just have to seed the clouds. What you’re after is word of mouth.”

Whenever you decide to use paid advertisement, remember that your goal is to ultimately generate word of mouth for your book. You want the few people who purchase your book through an advertisement to love it so much that they tell all their friends and acquaintances about it. For that to happen, your book must be compelling.

Related Posts:
10 Book Advertising Ideas for the Physical World
How Visuals Affect Purchasing Decisions
Are Millennials Buying Your Books?

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Photo courtesy of Ben White.

Inspiration for 2018

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018. Another year, another new beginning, another chance to meet your goals and move into your dreams.

To start 2018, I want to encourage and inspire you with six pieces of wisdom from books I read in 2017. Takes these nuggets of truth and carry them with you as beacons to light your path this year.

On Writing and Marketing:
“The beauty of content is that it isn’t just for marketing. It also grows the content creator at the same time. Creating content forces you to grapple with ideas and grow and evolve your thinking.”
Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi


On Personal Development:
“When we feel powerful, we’re less self-conscious about expressing our feelings and beliefs, and that frees us to think and do great things.”
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy


On Perseverance:
“Sometimes the things we would never pick for our lives gives us opportunities to receive God’s provision, to see Him working in ways we otherwise might not experience.”
Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors


On Relationships:
“The best apologies are short, and don’t go on to include explanations that run the risk of undoing them. An apology isn’t the only chance you ever get to address the underlying issue. The apology is the chance you get to establish the ground for future communication. This is an important and often overlooked distinction.”
Why Won’t You Apologize? by Harriet Lerner


On Faith:
“If someone believes it is our faith that heals us and forgets that it is God who does it, we should ask that person how much faith Lazarus had. Remember, he was decomposing in a tomb when Jesus raised him from death. His faith obviously didn’t matter. It was all God. It is God and God’s grace that heals, not our prayers and not our “faith.” Though we are exhorted by God to pray to him, we cannot compel him to do what we wish.”
Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life by Eric Metaxas


On Hope:
“I was seized with the reality that God does do something about evil. This was a defining moment for me: I realized that, no matter what anyone else says, we can pierce through the darkness, and it is worth it to bring the light of God to those deeply hurt by the darkness of this world.”
God Is for Real by Todd Burpo


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Age-Old Marketing Wisdom for Authors

Wise King Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun. His advice is still relevant today, and so are these eight common English proverbs. Let each one give you wisdom for your book marketing journey.

1.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Anything that takes a long time to finish begins with one step. Marketing a book can be overwhelming. The number of tasks can be daunting. Instead of looking at the whole picture, look at one step at a time. Ask yourself: What is my next step? When that one is done, then ask again and repeat the process.

2.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

An image not only tells a story, it draws people in. This is especially true on the Internet with social media. Use images to convey your marketing messages. Studies show that people engage more with social media posts that contain images. In fact one study showed that social media posts with pictures are 40 times more likely to be shared than those posts that don’t feature a picture.

3.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What is “beautiful” is different for each person. That means that not everyone will like your book. Not everyone will find your story beautiful. Don’t take it personally. Know that your book is not meant for everyone and seek the people who will find the beauty in your book.

4.  Better late than never.

Promoting your book should start about a year before you publish it. If you failed to promote your book before you brought it to fruition, take heart. It is better to start marketing your book late than to never market it at all. If you have stopped marketing, it’s not too late to pick it back up again and remind people that your book exists and meets a need for them.

5.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

In marketing, it is a little of this and a little of that makes the most impact. No one marketing channel or task will ensure your book sells well. Don’t just use social media. Don’t just advertise online. You have numerous options for promoting your book. Use as many as you can.

6.  Fortune favors the bold.

Those who are willing to take risks tend to be more successful than those who play it safe. Take some risks with your marketing endeavors. Some will fail, but some will pay off.

7.  Honesty is the best policy.

It is always better to tell the truth than a lie. Make sure that your marketing messages are truthful and that you can fulfill your promise to your reader.

8.  There is no time like the present.

Don’t procrastinate. Don’t wait. Do it now. Yes, it may be uncomfortable. But, if you don’t try, you can’t succeed. Start doing whatever marketing tasks you have been putting off today. Write that press release. Email that influencer. Call that radio producer. Schedule that book signing.

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Marketing Wisdom from the Master
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Photo courtesy of Picography.co.

How Visuals Affect Purchasing Decisions

Advertising photographs are airbrushed. Oranges are dyed “orange” and farm-raised salmon are dyed pink to make them more appealing to shoppers.

Visual appeal affects what we buy. Check out these interesting statistics:


  • Colored visuals are proven to increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.
  • The average person views only 20% of a webpage, but will view every image.
  • 67% of product users say images are very important when making a purchasing decision.
  • 63% of consumers said good images are more important than product descriptions.

I have frequently said that your book’s cover is your number one marketing tool. This last statistic—63% of consumers said good images are more important than product descriptions—emphasizes my point. Almost two-thirds of the people who buy your book will be largely influenced by the cover design.

Authors love words. We want to convince buyers with our words. Words are good and must be used effectively in promoting your books, but keep in mind the image is what will draw people in to read your words.

I recently received an e-catalog from a small publisher. To my dismay, the book images in this catalog were minuscule. I do mean tiny. Each book hosted a lengthy description with many words, but the book cover images were so small that I could not even make out the title of the book on each image.

Sadly, this e-catalog will not be very effective. Had an inverse ratio been used—large book cover images and few words—this catalog would pack much more punch. It could convert more viewers to buyers. After all, one study showed that including a photo next to an item on a restaurant menu increased its orders by 30 percent.

Research is showing that the more inundated we have become with information; the more visual decision making is growing. Images are becoming the biggest motivating factor in what we do, where we go, and what we buy.

Consider this. The most popular website after Google is YouTube, a highly visual medium. The two most popular social media platforms for younger generations are Instagram and Snapchat, both photo driven sharing.

If you want to be more effective in promotion your book(s), keep the important of visual decision making and appeal in mind when you create your next social media post, blog post, advertisement, or marketing material. Put an engaging image in every piece of information you share on the internet. Make your images central as well as large and appealing in all your promotional marketing and advertising materials.

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Do Blogs Influence Purchasing Decisions?
Fresh Insight into Book Buying Behavior
Are Millennials Buying Your Books?

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Photos courtesy of Visual Hunt and Pixabay.