How Long Does It Take to Read Your Book?

So many books… so little time.

Wise King Solomon said, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

How long does it take someone to read your book?

We are all strapped for time. Numerous outlets clamor for our attention. As a result,  some people find it hard to commit to reading articles and books. These individuals feel like reading the article or book will take too much of their time.

To combat this issue, some website have begun to post the “read time” for articles on their site. Amazon’s Kindle provides readers a “time left in book” feature that tells each reader how long it will take him to finish reading the book.

Some publishers are also beginning to include the a “read time” on their print books. Morgan James Publishing is one publisher that is listing the read time on the back cover of their books.

Read Time on Book Cover

I think this is a great strategy. Putting a read time on a book lets a reader know approximately how much time it will take them to read your book. This small piece of information might be the deciding factor in purchasing your book for some readers.

How to Determine Reading Time

Reading time is based on the average reading speed. This is measured in words-per-minute. The average reading speed is between 265 and 300 words-per-minute. It appears that 275 words-per-minute is a commonly used number.

To determine how long it will take the average reader to read your book, simply take the number of words in your book and divide this by 275 words-per-minute. This will give you the  number of minutes it takes to read your book. You can leave the read time in minutes, or you can convert it to hours and minutes.

Adding your book’s read time to the back cover of your book is a brilliant idea. Consider using this little tip, especially if your book is a quick read.

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Photo courtesy of suju.

This Book Buying Behavior Can Affect Your Book Sales

Convenience stores have been around for decades. These small shops, usually attached to a gasoline station, offer everyday items that customers can purchase without having to make a specific trip to a grocery store. Clearly Americans like convenience because the number of these shops has steadily grown over the years.

Buyers Like Convenience

In a recent survey, BookNet Canada found that the single most important reason Canadian book buyers choose a particular store or website for their purchases is convenience. In the study, convenience ranked higher than other factors like good service and cheap delivery.

Amazon, the retail giant, understands this desire for convenience. To be more convenient, the company stores your credit card information and provides you with a “one-click” buying option. Amazon’s Prime one-day shipping is also convenient, unless you live in a remote location. Prime members in Alaska and Hawaii have to wait up to seven days and pay expedited shipping fees.

Clearly, what is convenient for one person is not necessarily convenient for another person. This is why it is important for your book to be available for consumers to buy where they shop. After all, not everyone shops on Amazon.

Just about half of all online paperback book purchases are made on Amazon. That’s 50%. The other half of paperback books are being purchased in other places. Since three-quarters (about 75%) of books purchased are print books, this is important.

If your book is only for sale on Amazon, then you are losing out on sales. Your book could potentially be selling twice as many copies if it were available in multiple online stores—think Books A Million, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and ChristianBook—to name a few.

I am continually surprised at how many authors publish their book through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and that is all they do. These authors act as if Amazon is the only store in town. I have news for them: It’s not!

One of the twenty marketing fundamentals listed in my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books is:

The more channels through which consumers can purchase your books, the more books you will sell.

If you want to sell more books, then your book has to be available for sale in multiple places. How many places online can people buy your book? If you are unsure, do a Google search for your book’s title or ISBN and see what comes up in the search results.

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Are You Sharing Your Story?

We like to think that we are logical creatures. The truth is, humans are highly emotional.

In fact, science shows that we are driven more by our emotions than our logic. Research shows that feelings are more important than we think.

Emotion is a required ingredient in decision making.

In studying people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated, neuroscientist Antonio Damsio made an important discovery. These people seemed normal, but they were not able to feel emotions. They all had one thing in common—they could not make decisions. Simple decisions, such as what to eat, were difficult for these people.

Damsio believes that emotions are not barriers to decisions, rather, they are a crucial component of decision-making. In other words, emotion is required for our brain to make a decision. I think he is right.

Someone I follow on Facebook recently made this post:

Did you notice his first few words? He said, “I felt for this mom.” In other words, this man had an emotional reaction to this mom’s story. That reaction led him to buy her book.

This author was highlighted on WCNC, a local news channel in Charlotte. She wrote a children’s book on bullying, and the station was highlighting her story and how the book came about. You can read it here.

Authors, you can learn two lessons from this mom author.

1. This author secured local media coverage.

Are you pursuing local media coverage? It is much easier to be featured as a local author in the news than to gain national media coverage as an author. Start local and grow from there.

2. This author shared a compelling story.

Experts report that between 2,000 and 4,000 books are published every day. With that many books published; a new book is not “news”. What makes a book newsworthy is a story. To grab journalists’ attention, share a compelling story that either led you to write your book or ties into the theme of your book.

It took courage for this mom to share her embarrassing story. Yet, it allowed her to gain media coverage and created the emotional reaction that led my Facebook friend to buy her book.

If you want to sell more books, you have to create an emotional connection with people. Studies show that 90% of Millennials say that authenticity is important in their purchasing decisions. Create an emotional connection by being transparent and real.

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We All Need a Little Encouragement

I was having one of those days. You know the type of day I am talking about. A day when you feel discouraged and entertain the idea of throwing in the towel.

Everyone has these days. Days when we feel ineffectual, like what we do does not matter. We feel that no one cares about our writing or efforts; that we are not making a difference.

You are doing an outstanding job.

I was having one of those days, well, maybe a week of those days, when I received the following note:

“By the way, of all of the publishing and writing organizations I belong to, CIPA consistently has the most usable information of any of them. You are doing an outstanding job!”

Wow! That little note made my day. It gave me the boost I needed to keep going.

God knew what I needed. He knows what you need also. If you are discouraged, I want you to know that your writing and publishing does make a difference. The written word has the power to shape our lives by touching our emotions and expanding our knowledge.

The message God has given you to write and publish is needed by someone. People are hungry for truth.

According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in their recent StatShot report:

  1. Sales of religious books have grown year over year for the past five years. Religious presses’ revenue grew 14.7 percent in 2018 with 75.7 percent of that revenue coming from print formats.
  2. Non-fiction books experienced the largest percentage revenue growth for publishers over the past five years. Adult non-fiction unit sales grew 20.9% from 2014 through 2018. Unit sales for Children’s and Young Adult non-fiction grew 17.8% over the same five-year period.

It can get easy to get discouraged as an author. Marketing a book is hard work. It is increasingly difficult to make any book stand out. Each book is competing with millions of other books available for sale, while other media is claiming more and more of people’s time.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) exists to help indie authors and small publishers have access to the information and tools you need for publishing and marketing the Christian books God has called you to produce. Take advantage of our Summer Membership special—$120 dues for membership through December 2020—and join today to receive encouragement, information, and money-saving benefits.

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How to Sell More Books

Super Mario Maker 2, a Nintendo video game, released this summer. The game allows players to create game levels and post them online for other players to play. The game allows for creativity as well as game play.

How to Sell More Books

My son is a huge fan of this game. He played the first version and downloaded the second version as soon as it became available. He loves to create levels and post them for other gamers to play. The other day, my son was over-the-Moon happy. Of the thousands of levels that players create, Nintendo featured one of the levels my son created in a video showcasing exceptional player-created levels.

In talking with my son, he told me that he had studied the formulas the makers of the video game used to create levels within the game. He then used those same formulas to create his levels. It was successful.

Yet, it was not just following a formula that got my son’s game level noticed. Rather, it was a combination of strategies that came together. My son followed a formula to create better game levels, but he also showcased these levels on his YouTube Channel that is dedicated to Nintendo games. So, it was a combination of skill, marketing, and plan old luck (or providence).

Authors also love formulas. Just give us the formula for writing a best-selling book, and we will write it. Just give us the formula for marketing to sell thousands of books, and we will do it.

Every time I turn around, someone is peddling a course with a formula for authors on how to sell thousands of books or create a bestseller. Some of the courses I have seen are:

  • How to Sell a Thousand Books in Three Months
  • Launch a Bestseller
  • 3 Steps to a Bestselling Author Platform
  • Nonfiction Writers: Create Six Figure Classes (how to build an online class business)

Authors jump on these classes and pay anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars to learn how they can sell thousands of copies of their book.

I wish it were that simple: Get the formula, follow it, and sell thousands of books. Sadly, it’s not that easy.

There is no proven formula for creating a best-selling book

There is no proven formula for creating a best-selling book.

If there were:

  1. Every book published would become a bestseller.
  2. Someone would patent the formula and use it to create best-selling books, making themselves a lot of money.

Often the people selling these online courses on how to sell thousands of books are authors who have written and published a book that sold well. They then think that they know the “formula” to do this and decide to teach others how to do the same thing.

JA Konrath, a best-selling author, raises a good question about these authors. He asks, “If you know how to write a bestseller, why aren’t you writing bestseller after bestseller? Why are you writing How-To books (or courses)?”

The bottom line is that there is no formula. What works for one type of book may not work for another type of book. Additionally, selling a general-market book is vastly different from selling a Christian book to a niche market. Selling a self-help book is vastly different from selling a Bible study book or a memoir.

So, how do you sell more books?

First, you have to write a compelling book. Second, you have to publish it with a professional-looking cover and interior layout design.

Then, you have to market the book. This is the tricky part. No single marketing technique is a surefire way to sell your book. Instead, you must use a variety of techniques that can include:

  • A launch team
  • Book reviews
  • Media exposure
  • Developing an audience
  • Connecting with influencers
  • Advertising

Just like my son’s game level, any book that sells well is due to a combination of factors including sometimes just being in the right place at the right time.

Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you need marketing ideas for your Christian book, I encourage you to read my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books. As one reader said:

“Wow, this book provides so many marketing ideas that it would take years to implement them all. As I am reading, I am making a list of all the tasks I need to perform to improve my book sales.” —Susan

Remember, there is no marketing formula that guarantees success. You have to use a variety of marketing strategies to sell more books.

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