Have You Given Your Book Feet?

The newspaper article headlines read:

Fire chaplain drives 300 miles to leave crosses for Jacksonville victims

He’s left crosses at Ground Zero in New York City, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Dallas after a gunman ambushed police officers, and most recently, after the school shooting in Parkland.

Have you given your book feet?

Another headline reads:

Chaplain, Impressed By Pittsburghers’ Strength, Offers Comfort At Synagogue Memorial

With a simple greeting and wearing a navy-blue coat that reads “Chaplain” across the back, Bob Ossler is a constant these days.

Triumph Over TerrorChaplain Bob is the author of Triumph Over Terror, an eyewitness account from a first responder at Group Zero on 9-11 that recounts the questions, fears, struggles, and sacrifices of the families and workers overwhelmed by despair. Bob knows how to give his book feet. Bob is a chaplain with a heart for victims of terror. He lives out what he believes and his book goes with him on his journeys.

Books are inanimate objects. They cannot move or talk on their own. You, the author, must give your book feet.

You may not have the mission or ability to travel as far and wide as Bob does, but you can still give your book feet. You may not be as extroverted and easily able to talk and pray with people as Bob is, but you can still give your book feet.

You can follow Chaplain Bob’s example to give your book feet. Like Bob, you can take your book with you wherever you go, broadening your book’s audience and reach.

  1. Know what need your book meets and who struggles the most with this need. This is your target audience and the people you should focus on as you take your book with you. Bob knows that his target audience are people impacted by terrorist activity.
  2. Always have a copy of your book near. Carry them in your car. Carry your author business card or bookmark featuring your book in your purse or wallet.
  3. Look for opportunities to connect with others around the subject matter of your book. Bob travels to places that have experienced terrorist activity. He brings hope to victims through prayer and kind actions. In this way, he is connecting with others around the subject matter of his book.
  4. Don’t be shy about your actions. If you, like Bob, are doing something good for the community, let the local news know about it. People need to be encouraged and having good-will stories reported encourages people. It can also bring attention to your book.
  5. Share your actions and your book’s journey on social media. Chaplain Bob readily shares on social media about the people his book has touched, about responders and victims he admires, and about his care for those who are impacted by terrorist actions.

Here’s a recent Facebook post from Bob sharing about his book.

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Photo courtesy of Ian Baldwin.

Write Up, Speak Up, and Change the World

Today is World Book Day in the UK and Ireland. World Book Day is a celebration of books and reading.

The slogan for World Book Day is: Reading is Power. Read up, Speak up, and Change the World.

Reading is power. Many, many lives have been changed through reading a good book. Some readers have received hope or inspiration to get them through a tough time. Others have received eternal hope through the Gospel message found in a book.

Reading is power, but writing is also power. Reading cannot be power without having life-changing words to read. Authors, take heart. Your writing is important and powerful.

The world needs Christian authors writing and publishing books that point people to God. As Romans 10 says:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I believe the same is true for the written word. Beautiful are the hands of those who write good news!

But all your writing and publishing will amount to nothing, if your books don’t get into the hands of people. People have to read your books to be impacted by your words.

Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you are struggling with promoting your Christian books, help is here. The Fourth Edition of my award-winning book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, is now available for purchase.

This book provides authors and publishers the advice and resources you need to effectively promote your Christian books. I recently received the following message from a reader:

“I’ve read your book. It’s fantastic!  I’m definitely going to use it as my guide for marketing!”

The hardest part is not writing or publishing a book. The toughest part is marketing the book—getting the word out to let people know how your book meets a need in  their life. Marketing involves speaking up in numerous ways.

The slogan for World Book Day in part says, Read up, Speak up, and Change the World. Authors, our slogan can be similar. Let’s make it:

Write up, Speak up, and Change the World

If you would like a copy of the Fourth Edition of Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, the price for the print book is just $24.99. You can order your copy today direct from the publisher or from Amazon.

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Why You Should Use Micro-Influencers

Last Sunday, the pastor at church mentioned a book in his sermon. He even went a step further and said that if the congregants had not read the book, that he recommended we do. I thought the book sounded interesting, so I acquired a copy.

That, my friends, is micro-influencing at work.

micro-influencers

Micro-Influencers

Marketing with micro-influencers has recently become a hot topic. Social media has given rise to a new brand of micro-influencers, but smart marketers have always worked with micro-influencers.

A micro-influencer is anyone with a smaller audience (it’s a relative number). These include:

  • Bloggers
  • Podcasters
  • YouTubers
  • Church leaders
  • Ministry leaders
  • Community leaders
  • Librarians
  • Retailers
  • Professors and Teachers

Why Micro-Influencing Works

Micro-influencers are more effective than any other category of influencer marketing. Why? Because people trust recommendations over advertising.

A study conducted by Nielsen in 2015 found that 80% of respondents said that they trust opinions or recommendations of family and friends. Often the audience of a micro-influencer considers these people as part of their trusted circle.

This is why another study found that nearly one in three Christians have purchased a Christian product after hearing about it in a sermon in a church, while only one in six having made a purchase after hearing about a product on the radio. This study demonstrates the difference between micro-influencers (pastor) and macro-influencers (radio).

The key with micro-influencers is not the size of the audience, but how much trust these individuals have with their audience. The micro-influencer may only have an audience of 200, but if that audience is highly engaged with him, then his recommendations carry clout.

audience size for influence marketing

Micro-Influencer Marketing

Targeting micro-influencers is a marketing strategy that authors can adopt. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Give review copies to micro-influencers to increase the likelihood that these individuals will read and recommend your book to their audience.
  2. Authors with an audience (think social media following or newsletter subscribers) can partner or collaborate with other author micro-influencers for cross-promotional purposes. For example, authors with books in the same genre can pool together to create a multi-book giveaway with each author promoting the giveaway to his or her own audience.
  3. Ask a micro-influencer to write a guest post for your blog. The influencer will then let her audience know that she is making a guest appearance on your website and her followers will visit, exposing you and your books to a new audience.
  4. Partner with a ministry that focuses on people who would benefit from your book’s message. Be a sponsor for one of the ministry’s fundraisers or events in exchange for some promotion for your book.

Remember, micro-influencers are not just online. They are also present in the physical world. Partnering with micro-influencers both online and in your community can bring increased awareness and sales for your books.

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Photo Courtesy of Ben Konfrst.

13 Pricing Hacks to Increase Sales

For independent authors and small publishers selling books, there is a lot to learn—especially if you do not have a business or marketing background. Fortunately, there is a lot of information available for those who want to learn.

Smart retailers use pricing tricks, based on brain science, to appeal to shopper’s perception of quality, value, and cost to drive sales. You can employ one or two of the techniques that smart retailers use to improve your book sales. Check out these 13 psychological pricing strategies compiled by Wikibuy.

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Marketing Is a Mindset

Do you want to know what the secret to selling books is? The answer can be summed up in one word: Marketing.

Jack Canfield, best-selling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series should know. He encourages authors to “Spend 90% of your time marketing, selling, and promoting your book.

Then Neil Bradman says, “”90% of marketing doesn’t work because it doesn’t get done.

Marketing is a Mindsest

I know that I don’t do enough marketing. I believe most authors and publishers are in the same boat. We know that there is more that we can do, but we don’t—often because of constraints like time, money, ideas, and even bandwidth.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

We can distill these activities into one sentence: Marketing is about persuading someone to take an action (click on a link, download a free ebook, buy your book, etc.). To persuade someone to take the action you want them to take, you have to know who is most likely going to want to take the action. In other words, marketing is also about knowing who your target audience is.

Many authors want to write something. So, they go about writing, and then they try to figure out who the book is for. Editors of large publishing houses know this. That is why they are gatekeepers. Their job is to find the books that speak to their customers and their needs.

But here is the catch. If you write the book first and then try to figure out who your target audience is, you have a lot more work and less chance of speaking in a meaningful way to that audience (resulting in fewer sales) then if you know who you are writing to before you pen your book.

Good marketing includes an understanding of how your book will fit people’s needs, wants, values, and lives.  Marketing is not a set of activities that you engage in once you have a book. It’s a mindset. It becomes 90% of what you do when you keep your target audience in mind with every step you take in the book publishing process, starting with the conceptualization.  Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you need help with either developing a marketing mindset or ideas for marketing your books, I am pleased to announce that the Fourth Edition of my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books will be released at the end of February!

The book is available for preorder at a special rate of $22.00 that includes free shipping in the US (retail price is $24.99). Order your copy TODAY by Clicking Here.

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Photo courtesy of Geralt.