Effective Marketing Techniques

If you engage in email marketing, you will find the results of a new study by BuzzStream and Fractl very informative. These two companies teamed up and interviewed 1,001 people to find out which online marketing strategies work best.

A survey of one thousand people is really a small sample size. However, these researchers believe that this sample represents the larger population.

If you are an author with a website that employs a marketing technique—like a pop-up prompting your website visitors to subscribe to your newsletter—then you should pay attention to the results of this survey.

BuzzStream’s goal was to find out which marketing tactics Americans are happy to participate in—and which ones they avoid.

When it comes to giving out an email address and reading newsletters, here is what this survey found:

The Email Inbox

If you hold contests on your website, you will be interested in these findings from the survey:

Marketing Tactics American Participate In

The results from this survey have some good news for authors. I found the following two statistics very encouraging:

  • 85.5% of people will give their email in exchange for a freebie.
  • 57.1% of people will share something on social media in exchange for entry into a contest.

Which results did you find helpful or encouraging?

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Don’t Lose Focus

The events in our world and our country in 2020 cannot be ignored. They are affecting all of us.  Yet, I would encourage you to not allow these events to sidetrack you from the message that God has given you.

Don't Lose Focus

I recently read a post by an influencer in the indie publishing world. This individual was advocating that indie authors take a break from marketing their books to spend some time dealing with the pressing issues in our country.

While this advice might be beneficial for secular authors, I don’t think it is good advice for Christian authors.

2 Timothy 2:4 says “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” In season and out of season means when it is favorable to do so and when it is not favorable to do so – or when it is convenient to do so and when it is not convenient to do so.

We are in an out of season time. There is pressure all around us to jump on the hot topic of the moment. Don’t get sidetracked.

It is easy to get dragged down by worldly concerns involving conflicts and fears. When this happens, we get distracted from the hope we have in Christ.

Do not lose your focus. As a Christian author, your gaze should remain fixed on spiritual things that offer the hope, security, and peace people need in this trying time.

Whatever your message was before the events happening this year, it is still needed. People’s spiritual needs have not diminished with current events—in fact, these needs are growing since churches have not been open and people have been isolated.

People are still struggling with relationships, parenting, finances, health problems and other issues related to Christian living and spiritual growth. They need the hope you offer in your books. Hope both for this life and the life to come.

So, I encourage you to not veer from the message God has given you. Your message is timely. Your message is needed. God’s word never goes out of season.

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Photo courtesy of Elena Taranenko.

The Pandemic’s Lasting Effect on Book Marketing

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our world. Some of these changes will be long-term while others will cease once the pandemic is past. It is difficult to determine which changes will last and which won’t.

Many experts predict that many changes will be long-term. These long-term changes will transform the book marketing and selling landscape.

Pandemic Effect

Following are some of the changes that experts predict will be long-term. Since we are not God—who sees the beginning to the end—we are left to guess. I, for one, am hoping that not all these predictions will be true long-term.

1.  Working from home will continue.

 As many companies see the cost-saving without a loss of productivity from their workers, many will move to a new model of work from home.

2.  Print book sales to schools and universities will become obsolete.

As more institutions move to online learning models, fewer will host print books in their classrooms and libraries. Learning will become increasingly digital, including both textbooks and supplemental reading material.

3.  Large conventions and conferences will become a thing of the past.

With fears of spreading viruses, large conventions and conferences will become virtual events. Smaller venues may still be held in-person. This will leave fewer avenues—think book fairs, writers’ conferences, trade shows—for authors to promote their books in person.

Many experts predict that moving forward, events will be hybrid—meaning they will feature both in-person and online participation options. Hybrid events will broaden conferences’ ability to widen their reach by integrating virtual attendees with physical attendees.

For authors who specialize in speaking engagements to earn money and sell books, this will signal a big change. With virtual events, speaking engagements will be virtual, which means fewer impulse book buyers at the end of your talk.

4.  Physical bookstores will continue to decline in number.

Over 50% of books were purchased online before the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit, the majority of book sales moved online. Bookstores will have difficulty recovering and the new online book buying habit may stick, meaning fewer bookstores will survive in the new economy.

Fewer bookstores signal fewer venues for authors to host events such as book signings, book readings, and book launches.

In a nutshell, experts predict that the nature of our interactions will become increasingly more virtual. I think that it is harder to connect with people in a virtual setting. There is something to rubbing shoulders and physical connection that is lost in the virtual world.

Moving forward, those authors who embrace virtual interactions and conferences will be the most successful at marketing and selling their books.

I would love to hear from you. Which changes do you think will last?

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Photo courtesy of Anna Schvets.

Free Tools Any Author Can Use

No one is good at everything. We all need help, whether that is with our grammar, our time management, or just concentrating so we can be productive.

Following are five free tools. Check them out. You might find one or more of them helpful in your quest to be the best author that you can be.

Free Tools Any Author Can Use

1.  Make Sure Your Titles Are Capitalized Correctly.

Are you confused about which words to capitalize in a headline? Do you guess when capitalizing a title or headline?  Check out Capitalize My Title. This program applies the correct capitalization based on the style you want to use: Chicago, APA, MLA or AP.

2.  Reduce the Number of Clichés in Your Writing.

Too many clichés can make your writing uninteresting. Don’t be trite. Ditch the clichés. Cliché Finder is a free program that finds and highlights clichés in your writing so you can remove them.

3.  Get Organized.

An organized writer is a more productive writer. There are many tools that can help you become more organized. Milanote is an easy-to-use creative writing app to organize your research, ideas, characters and outline in one place.

4.  Be More Productive with Time Management Help.

Many people struggle with time management. Marinara Timer is a free time management timer promotes productivity. The timer allows you to choose to work for 25 minutes with a 5-minute break at the end, or you can choose your own time limits.

5.  Block Out Background Noise so You Can Focus Better.

Do background noises interrupt your concentration when writing? Noisli can help. This program provides free background sounds that help to mask annoying noises in order to keep you sane, improve your focus, and boost your productivity.

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Amazon Is NOT Your Publisher

I am surprised by the number of indie and self-published authors who tell me that the publisher of their book is Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing, or IngramSpark.

Amazon is NOT your publisher.

It is clear to me that these authors do not understand the difference between an author, a publisher, and a publishing platform.

Authors and publishers have distinct jobs. These jobs are as follows:

Author’s job:

  • Write a manuscript
  • Engage in marketing to assist sales

Publisher’s job:

  • Edit the manuscript
  • Create a cover
  • Lay out the book
  • Secure a printer
  • Assign an ISBN
  • Access distribution for sales to retail and other channels
  • Engage in marketing to ensure sales

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is neither an author or a publisher. It does not write, edit, lay out, or create a cover design for your book. What KDP offers are services.

They offer a cover design template, an ebook conversion program, printing, distribution for sales, and even advertising options. They also offer the option for you to have Amazon assign an ISBN number to your book. This still does not make them the publisher of your book. The option to secure an ISBN is just another service they provide.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a publishing platform. Other publishing platforms include:

  • Kobo Writing Life
  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Draft2Digital
  • Smashwords
  • IngramSpark

A publishing platform is a service provider. These platforms allow an independent author—acting as a publisher—to secure printing and access distribution for a book.

If you are an author who is also producing your book—directing the editing, layout, cover design, and securing printing and distribution—then you are also the publisher of your book.

Amazon is a publisher. But it is not the publisher of your books. Amazon owns 16 publishing imprints. You can find the complete list of these imprints at https://amazonpublishing.amazon.com/our-imprints.html. Be assured, Kindle Direct Publishing is not one of Amazon’s publishing imprints.

Don’t be confused about the difference between a publisher and a publishing platform. If you are the one responsible for bringing your book to fruition, then you are the publisher.

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Photo courtesy of mohamed_hassan.