Are You Familiar with TikTok?

Do you write books for Middle Graders or Young Adults?

 

If you answered yes to this question, then its time to familiarize yourself with TikTok.

 

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms: The app’s monthly installs

surpassed those of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat last year. Experts predict that TikTok’s popularity will continue to grow.

 

TikTok allows users to create and share micro-videos—up to 15 seconds long—and enhance those videos with songs as sound effects. Video content is extremely popular with Generation Z—the generation of digital natives.

 

Check out this infographic to familiarize yourself with this important platform for reaching your target audience.

 

 TikTok Infographic

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Three Challenges in Selling Books

Selling books is challenging. A challenge is something that requires special effort. Special effort is required to sell your books.

Challenges in Selling Books

The book selling climate is fiercely competitive. Every author must meet and overcome the following three challenges to sell books.

1. Attention

In today’s economy, attention is a valuable commodity. People have numerous entertainment options all clamoring for their attention: social media, movies, television, podcasts, sports, hobbies… and the list goes on. Reading faces stiff competition for attention from other entertainment activities.

Every author faces the challenge of hooking an audience into noticing their books. Catching people’s attention is becoming more and more challenging. With over 4,200 books published every day in the United States, even avid readers have a vast array of books they can pay attention to.

2. Time

Twenty-first century life is busy. Between work, family, church, and other activities, people have less time to devote to leisure activities like reading.

In fact, a recent study found that people spent 9% less time reading in 2019 than they did in 2018. Time is a precious asset. More and more, people are spending bite-sized minutes on content. For example, Facebook users spend an average of 2.5 seconds on any given piece of content.

3. Declining Readership

The number of people who do not read a single book in a given year is growing. In 1978, that figure was 8%. In other words, only 8 out of every 100 people did not read a book during the year. Now that number is closer to 25%. This means that one out of every four people in the United States did not read a book last year.

Woman reading

In addition, readership for Christian books is declining. Only 49% of the largest consumer group in America—the Millennials—identify as “Christian.” In the past decade, the percentage of all Americans who identify as “Christian” has dropped from 77% to 65%. The upshot is that the number of people in the target audience for any given Christian book is shrinking.

Overcoming these Challenges

The good news is that these challenges are not insurmountable. In fact, religious books have been selling well over the past five years. Following are three suggestions to help you overcome each of these challenges.

1. Increase your Familiarity Factor

The number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. The best way to grab attention is by being known. Become known by writing and publishing multiple books. Those people who read one of your books and like it will go on and read your other books, helping you sell more books.

2. Shorter is Better

Time is tight for most people. As a result, we are consuming content in bite-sized chunks. Write to accommodate this new way of reading. Use shorter chapters that can be finished in a few minutes. Also keep your paragraphs short so that readers don’t become overwhelmed when viewing a page. Remember, most people are going to read your book in spurts using short chunks of time.

3. Become Irresistible

Write and publish a compelling book. Your book should not just be good. It should be “too good to not read.” When people feel they are missing out on something good, they will make time for it. Make your book so good that people won’t want to miss out.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

May your year be filled with peace,
prosperity and love. May God’s
blessings shower upon you and bestow
upon each of you a bright, healthy and peaceful new year.

Flash Sale!

I am offering a 5-day Flash sale on my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books!

Between today and January 6, 2020, you can order the print book for just $20.99 with free shipping. That is a $4.00 savings. Just click on the link below.

Sales Techniques to Help You Sell More Books

Check out my guest article on The Book Designer website today and learn four sales techniques that can help you sell more books.

You can read the article at:

https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2020/01/sales-techniques-to-help-you-sell-more-books/

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Book Publishing Trends You Need to Know for 2020

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Sticking to the Basics

The new CEO of Barnes & Noble has a plan to rejuvenate the ailing bookstore chain. His plan is fairly simple. It involves getting back to basics and sticking to them.

In a recent interview with Publishers Weekly, James Daunt, the new CEO, said, “Basic book selling is what grew this company, and that is what we want to get back to.” To this end, Daunt has begun to implement changes with the overall goal of putting more emphasis on books in the Barnes & Noble stores.

Barnes & Noble

It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of your calling and goal.

I believe many Indie authors struggle with getting sidetracked. It’s easy to in today’s fierce book market.

Most Christian Indie authors want to write and sell a book that God has laid on their heart. Then, when they hit the marketing path, they can get sidetracked and lose sight of the basics.

Basic marketing is simple. It’s about providing something that people need and drawing people’s attention to this need and the solution your book provides.

Yet, marketing is a world of its own that one can wander in forever. Advice abounds in this world. Everyone has an idea and an opinion of which path you should take:

  • Grow Your Social Media Presence
  • Hire a Publicist
  • Start a Podcast
  • Speak to Groups
  • Pay for Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest Ads
  • Build an Email List and Offer Lead Magnets
  • Host a Contest
  • And…

All these are great ideas, yet each one takes time and energy because each involves a learning curve and requires attention and feeding. Hence it is easy to get sidetracked and lose focus of your original calling.

Don't lose focus

It’s good to stop and take stock, especially as we move into a New Year. Ask yourself:

  • Have I become sidetracked?
  • Do I, like Barnes & Noble, need to “get back to the basics”?
  • Do I need to simplify and streamline my marketing activities so that I have time to focus on what I feel called to do?

One Indie author who is a Member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) recent sent us the following note:

I am less than 200 book sales away from 10,000!Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour?

This Indie author, Karen Finn, has just one book that she published in 2012. She has spent the past seven years diligently marketing her book—and it has paid off.

Karen has stuck to basic marketing. She did not get sidetracked into marketing that sucked her time and focus away from her goal of getting the word out about her book and how it can help people.

Instead, Karen focused on her audience. She considered all the audiences who could use her material and implemented a marketing plan that included social media, radio interviews, press releases and announcement letters to friends and family. She reports that word-of-mouth referral is not overrated—it provided her with a strong support base right away and created a platform that she could build upon.

Karen says, “Membership with the Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has been a worthwhile investment; I am able to keep abreast of the ongoing trends in the publishing business and obtain additional support and information specifically relating to my marketing efforts.

As we head into 2020, I encourage you to join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) to get the tools, information, and support you need to experience success in your publishing and marketing endeavors. Membership dues are just $90 for the year. Join today at www.christianpublishers.net.

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Author: Are You Doing These Marketing Activities?

I sometimes run into aspiring authors who tell me that they will only consider a traditional book contract for their manuscript. I have no problem with this mindset. I understand that desire to have a book accepted after being vetted by an editor.

Are you doing these marketing activities?

However, some of these authors are holding onto the ideal of a traditional book contract because they believe that the publisher will market the book for them. They like the idea of just writing.

The truth is that authors—whether traditionally published or indie published—are largely responsible for the marketing of their books. In fact, one royalty-paying, Christian publisher states right on their website their expectations of authors. Here is what this publisher says:

Author must:

  • Have created a fully developed marketing plan.
  • Keep a web presence.
  • Be technology savvy.
  • Know how to copy and paste URLs.
  • Can search the web for answers and solutions.
  • Check email daily.
  • Participate in book promotions.
  • Reach out to fan base.
  • Never, ever give up the book!

These expectations are not unreasonable. If you are an indie published author, at the least, you should already be doing these things for your book—especially the last one.

Sadly, I often see indie published authors give up on their books too soon. Book marketing is long-haul trucking. You have to be in it for the long haul to see success.

In addition to the author expectations, this traditional, royalty-paying publisher listed what they would do to market each author’s book. Here is what this publisher says they will do:

Publisher will:

  • Advertise the book with Amazon ads and Goodreads ads.
  • Provide digital Advance Review Copies through BookFunnel.
  • Offer Rafflecopter giveaways of print and digital copies.
  • Submit your book for review to Publishers Weekly.
  • Offer the Kindle version of the book for FREE or 99 cents with Kindle Select promotions.

Trade Show Floor

To be honest, I don’t think this is much marketing support. I don’t see anything about providing the following marketing activities:

  • Press Release
  • Author Media Kit
  • List of Radio and Podcast Show Interviewing Authors
  • Trade Show Representation
  • Foreign Rights Representation

If you are a self-published author, then you wear both the author and the publisher hat. This means that these additional publisher duties for marketing fall under your jurisdiction. Ask yourself: Am I doing all these marketing activities for my book?

If you are an Indie author and you need support in marketing your book, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is here to help you. We provide support and information for marketing your book including reference guides for creating press releases and media kits, a list of radio and podcast shows that interview authors, and numerous cooperative marketing opportunities. Join today at www.christianpublishers.net.

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Photo courtesy of Kaboompics.com.