Are You Convincing Enough People?

As an author, your most important online presence is your website. Yes, your website—not social media, not Amazon, not Goodreads.

In fact, the purpose of social media is to get people to your website. The purpose of your website is to turn visitors into customers (people who buy your books).

According to research, 48% of people who enter a physical store buy something. However, on average, only 2 to 3 percent of people who visit a website purchase something. In fact, 96% of people who visit your website are not ready to buy. You have to convince them to purchase your books.

This is the purpose of your author website—to convince people to buy your books.

Experts report that when a visitor comes to your website, you have, on average, less than one minute to convince them to stay on your website. The longer visitors stay on your website, the greater chance you have of convincing them to either buy your book or sign up to receive your emails so you can continue to work on convincing them to buy your book.

The best way to keep people on your website is:

1.  Make sure your website loads quickly.
For every second delay in loading, you lose 7% of your potential visitors. Google analytics allows you to view your site load speed time.

2.  Have a compelling headline.
Your headline needs to be clear and draw your audience in.

3.  Give your visitors something to do.
Tell them what you want them to do. Make it clear. Large buttons that state things like:

  • Buy the Book
  • Download 10 Tips for…
  • Read the First Chapter

4.  Include a video.
Research shows that websites with a video of the product they are selling can increase their purchase rate by 144%. If you need an easy free video for your website, check out Bitable or Powtoon for creating a short video about your book.

Your website is your strongest tool for convincing readers to buy your book. Don’t overlook this important marketing mechanism. Use it wisely to convince your visitors that your book is worth their time and money!

Related Posts:
Bigger is Not Necessarily Better
The Power of Word-of-Mouth
Selling Books in an Overcrowded Market

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Photo courtesy of Vitaly

You Get What You Pay For

You get what you pay for”—so the saying goes.

While there are a few exceptions, this statement is generally true, especially for what you get for free.

What is offered for free is never top-of-the-line. Free products are usually samples. They are a taste of what the full model offers. When a full model product is offered for free, it is usually an older model—the one that has already been replaced by a newer, better version.

The same principle holds true for free information. Free information posted on the Internet is not the premium stuff. Don’t get me wrong, this free information can be useful, but the providers usually save the best information for their books or services.

I provide a lot of free information on this blog. It is good valuable information, if a little basic, but it’s only a drop in the bucket. I provide the most valuable information in my book (Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace), my on-demand webinars (MCB University), CSPA’s monthly newsletter (the CSPA Circular) for Members of the organization, and my workshops at writers’ conferences (see the upcoming seminars at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference).

Independent authors who think that everything they need to be successful is available online are operating under a false assumption. Free will only take you so far. The truth is that with online research:

  1. You won’t find all the valuable information in any reference or resource book on publishing or marketing.
  2. You won’t find the information all in one place. You will have to spend a lot of time researching.
  3. Some of the advice on the internet is bad advice. Listening to bad advice can cost you money.

Spending some money to purchase a book, membership, or conference attendance where you will hear from experts will save you time and money in the long run. Additionally, you can be confident that the information comes from reputable experts.

I run into a lot of newly published independent authors who are operating under many false assumptions and information, which causes them to flounder. Take the time to find and purchase the valuable information you need. It’s worth the investment.

If you are planning on publishing a book or have already published a book and need information on how the Christian marketplace works and how to effectively promote your book, I suggest you invest in one or more of the resources listed in this post.

Related Posts:
Getting What You Paid For?
Are You Asking?
Pay with a Tweet

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Photo courtesy of Timothy Muza

Fresh Insight into Book Buying Behavior

I have a confession to make. I have never purchased an ebook. I read ebooks on a Kindle app, but every ebook on my Kindle app I acquired for free. I do buy books. However, if I am going to spend money on a book, I buy a print book.

My behavior is not outside the bounds of normalcy for book buying. The Codex-Group, which conducts book audience strategy research, has found that most book buyers read far more books each month than they buy. According to the research that Codex shared at Digital Book World 2017, most book buyers only purchase one out of every four books they read.

book-buying

This means that three out of every four books book buyers read the reader obtains for free. Where do readers get these books? Most people receive free books from four main sources:

  • Borrow from a library
  • On loan from a friend
  • Free download offer
  • Book received as a gift

Additional data from Codex’s research shows consumer’s favorite ways to get books:

  • 18% prefer to read for free
  • 25% claim they never pay full price—buy used or join a subscription service
  • 16% prefer to purchase ebooks only
  • 22% state they are impulse buyers—purchasing a book as soon as they see it

While at first glance this data may seem discouraging, I believe it contains some valuable nuggets for publishers:

1. Not every reader who reads your book will have paid for your book.

This is okay. Expect to give some books away for free; it helps with publicity. Readers who read your book for free can help you secure more sales. If these readers like your book and recommend it to others, you have scored a win.

2. Focus on the impulse buyers.

Codex’s data shows that 22% of book buyers are impulse buyers. In addition, Codex reports that these impulse buyers are more likely to purchase nonfiction titles than other genres. If you are a nonfiction author, these impulse buyers can boost your sales.

The truth is that selling books is hard work. The number of people reading books is holding steady while the number of books published is increasing exponentially. There is a glut of free books available online.

If God has called you to write and publish a book, his plan is for your book to impact lives for his Kingdom. Keep in mind that impacting lives provides an eternal payoff that is greater than the money you make selling your books.

Related Posts:
Christianity and Book Sales in America
Reading Rates Remain Consistent
Christian Book-Buying Behavior

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Photo courtesy of Tamarcus Brown

Does Your Book Stand Out?

As an author or small publisher, you think you want your book to stand out. You believe that a book that stands out from the crowd will catch people’s attention. Maybe, maybe not.

While a book that stands out from the crowd does catch people’s attention. The question you should ask yourself is: What type of attention are you catching?

stand-out

Does your book make people say, “That looks intriguing!” or “That looks odd or out of place!”?

While you want your book to stand out, if you have independently published, it is more important that your book looks like everyone else’s book. In other words, you want your book to look professional and conform to the expectations readers have for the genre you are writing in.

For example, if you write romance novels, using photographs of real people or places in your book’s cover design will make you look like the other books in your genre. If, instead, you use a pencil and ink drawing on your book’s cover, your book will stand out, but it may send a bewildering message to regular romance readers. These readers will wonder if your book is really a romance novel.

Valerie Andrews, a book award judge, says, “The design sets that tone for the book and either calls out to the reader or sends the reader on to the next book.”

The KISS principle (Keep it Simple Sweetheart) is important in book design. It is better to err on the side of having your book design be too simple than too complicated and cluttered.

All the elements of a book’s design—cover design, interior layout, fonts, trim size, binding, and even paper stock—should conform to industry standards. Remember that keeping your book design (both cover and interior) simple will be more effective in grabbing readers’ attention.

Instead of focusing on a cover design to make your book stand out, focus on a title that grabs attention and sales text that draws a reader in. Obtaining strategic endorsements can also help your book stand out. Strive for your book to stand out with superior writing and compelling story.

If you are a new or unestablished author, it is more important that your book looks and feels like other professionally published books than that it stands out from the crowd. Strive to distinguish yourself through your words and message, not the design of your book.

Related Posts:
Book Cover Design Tools to Know
Do You Know What it Takes to Sell a Book?
Is Your Book a Work of Beauty?

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Photo courtesy of Anastasia Zhenina

Are You Outdated?

Have you heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”?

Dressing for the job you want over the one you have is about impression. It is giving the appearance that you are capable of handling that job. Your clothing makes a statement about who you are and where you want to go.

Authors don’t necessarily need to dress for the job they want. Instead, they need to stay up-to-date on industry standards to give the impression that their writing is exemplary. Just as clothes are important in making an impression at a job, conforming to industry standards is necessary for authors’ success.

outdated

Staying up-to-date on industry standards is essential for independently published authors to be successful. For example:

  • If you are an aspiring author and you send a complete manuscript via snail mail to a publishing house that only accepts book proposals and chapter excerpts via email, you will not make a favorable impression with the editors. As a result, you will not secure a publishing contract.
  • If you are a published author and you send a press release that does not conform to industry standards, you will not make a favorable impression with the media. As a result, you will lose out on media coverage.
  • If you are an independently published author and you don’t provide the appropriate metadata for your online book listings, you will not make a favorable impression with readers. As a result, you will lose out on sales.

I am surprised at the number of authors nominating a book for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award who provide a 10-digit ISBN number instead of a 13-digit ISBN number with their nomination. The 13-digit ISBN number has been industry standard since January 1, 2007. All books published on or after January 1, 2007, must carry the 13-digit ISBN number on the book.

Yes, Amazon.com lists both the 10-digit ISBN and the 13-digit ISBN number. Amazon does this because they list books published prior to January 1, 2007, that carry the old 10-digit ISBN number. However, when someone asks for the ISBN number of a book published since January 1, 2007, the author should give the 13-digit ISBN number. This is industry standard.

Staying abreast of industry standards can be time-consuming, especially when an author wants to focus on writing, publishing, and promoting books. The good news is that you don’t have to take on that task alone—this is what author and publisher associations help with.

One of the benefits of belonging to a publishing association like Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is that the association provides you the information you need to stay abreast of industry standards so that you can be more successful.

If you want help on making sure that you are up-to-date in publishing and marketing your books, you can join Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) for the 2017 calendar year today! Simply fill out the application on our website at www.christianpublishers.net.

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Are You Up-to-Date?
Is that Information Necessary?
10 Reasons to Enter a Book Award

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