Attitude: Is Yours Helping or Hurting?

Thirty-five miles of dirt and gravel. The Virginia Creeper Trail runs along an old train rail from Whitetop to Abingdon, Virginia. The plan was to ride the complete 35 miles on bicycle in one day.

As often happens, the plan got derailed. One teenage boy wiped out when he hit a tree root in the trail. One trip to urgent care and three stitches later he was patched up and on the mend.

This one event could have ruined our family vacation had we let it. We choose not to. The teenager struggled at first, but decided to master his attitude and make the most of the rest of our time.

Attitude is important. After all, God’s Word talks about our attitude:

  • “Make your attitude that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:4-6)
  • “Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:7)
  • “You were taught…to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” (Ephesians 4:22-23)

Studies show that a positive attitude produces more favorable results. According to a Stanford Research Institute study, the path to success is comprised of 88 percent attitude and only 12 percent education. This is not saying that education is not important, rather, the study points to the importance of attitude.

What about your attitude?

  • Do you believe deep down that you have an important message for your readers?
  • Are you excited to share your passion with your readers and potential readers?
  • Do you have a positive attitude toward promoting your books?

Or are you struggling?

  • Has the competition for readers’ attention made you discouraged?
  • Are slow book sales causing you to doubt your calling?
  • Has the overwhelming and difficult task of marketing caused you to become disheartened?

Take a moment and check your attitude. It is one thing that you can control. Life is difficult. After all, the way to life is narrow and difficult and only a few find it. Your calling is to help people enter this narrow gate and encourage them on this difficult path. You will have more success in fulfilling your calling if you keep a positive attitude.

Do you need an infusion of encouragement or inspiration to renew your attitude toward marketing and promoting your book and carrying out your calling? If your answer is yes, I encourage you to watch one of my Marketing Christian Book University on-demand seminars. Not only will watching one provide you new ideas, it will also fill you with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for your task.

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It’s Never Too Late
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What Successful Authors Do

If you are an author, one really important question is:

What do successful authors do differently?

This burning question prompted a survey of independent authors by BookBaby, a self-publishing platform for both print and ebooks. BookBaby received 7,789 responses to their recent survey, however, only 4,472 of the respondents were published authors.

Of these 4,472 published respondents, BookBaby found that 38 percent reported that they had made less than $100 on their most recent published book. Another 26 percent reported that they had made between $100 and $500 on their most recent published book. Only 862 (19%) of the respondents reported that they made over $1,000 on their most recent published book.

Based on the answers to the survey, BookBaby dug deep to find out what these 800+ authors are doing differently. The survey found that successful authors generally:

  • Had published five or more titles.
  • Published their titles in both print and ebook format (many also did audiobook format).
  • Paid for professional editing and cover designs for their books.

The survey also looked at what promotional activities these successful authors engaged in. The data showed that, by-and-large, these authors did the following activities to promote their books:

  • Offered the book for pre-sale.
  • Solicited reviews.
  • Held a book launch party.
  • Sent out a press release.
  • Held a Goodreads giveaway.
  • Offered a Kindle giveaway.
  • Took a blog tour.
  • Conducted book signing tours.
  • Created a book trailer for their book.

Interestingly, only 24 percent of these successful authors used a publicist. This means that you don’t have to spend big bucks on hiring a publicist to sell books and make money. This is good news for every independent author and small publisher operating on a shoe-string budget.

Do you want to sell more books? I think that we can learn from other successful authors. If you are not selling as many books as you want, ask yourself: Am I doing all these promotional activities that successful authors are engaging in? If not, then start. These are all actions that any author can take.

It is never too late to start promoting your book. Make a game plan and start working it. The more exposure you get for your book, the more people know about your book, the more sales you will make.

It’s not easy, but the effort is worth it. Promoting a book takes dedication, time, and effort. Decide what you are willing to do and start. You won’t regret it.

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Three Lessons from a Successful Entrepreneur
Helping You Be Successful
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Which Country Reads the Most?

Did you know that English is one of the world’s most wide-spread languages? There are 1.5 billion people in the world who speak English. It is estimated that 375 million speak English as their first language, while over one billion speak English as a second language.

Out of the total 195 countries in the world, 67 nations have English as the primary language of ‘official status’. Plus there are also 27 countries where English is spoken as a secondary ‘official’ language.

Your English-language book can have worldwide readership, not just in countries where English is the majority language, but also in countries with large expatriate American communities like Ecuador. Both Christians and seekers can benefit from your message in these countries. Knowing where to concentrate your marketing efforts based on reading rates in various countries can help you sell more books.

The infographic below by Global English Editing is a great resource for learning about reading habits around the world. .

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Five Tips for Staying Focused

If you are a small publisher or an independently published author, you wear many hats. Some of these hats include: writer, editor, proof reader, copywriter, blogger, marketer, publicist, and social media strategist.

With so many hat and tasks, sometimes it is hard to focus on just one. However, studies have shown that people are the most productive when they don’t multitask. Instead, your productivity is maximized when you are able to concentrate on just one task and get in the flow.

If you are having a hard time focusing on one task and find that you are not accomplishing as much as you would like to, consider these five strategies for focusing.

1. Schedule your tasks.
Studies show that chunking tasks in time intervals throughout the day is conducive to focusing on that task and accomplishing more. Schedule chunks of time for various tasks. If you want to write, schedule an hour in your day for writing. If you want to spend time on marketing tasks, schedule that into your day.

2. Turn off distractions.
To focus and get into the flow, turn off distractions. Turn off your cell phone. Turn off the notifications on your computer that pop up when you have a new email. Turn off anything that draws your attention and makes you lose focus. You might even need to put a bark collar on the dog or wear noise-cancelling earphone.

3. Allow yourself breaks.
Don’t overdo. Studies show that are maximum for concentration is an hour. After that, we lose the flow and productivity. So, after 45 minutes to an hour, give yourself a 15-minute break. Check your emails and your messages. Get something to drink. Stretch and walk around. Then come back and work on the next task in your schedule.

4. Use an accountability partner.
Using the buddy system can work wonders for focusing. Simply knowing that you have told someone what you aim to accomplish and knowing that they will ask you if you have done it provides great incentive to focus and accomplish a task. Find another small publisher or writer and get some accountability.

5. Reward yourself.
Set goals for yourself and give yourself a reward when you reach them. For example, if you are writing, set a word count for yourself. If you reach it, then give yourself a reward. Consider a Starbucks’ coffee, a pick me up smoothie, or a nice cup of tea. Giving yourself small rewards that acknowledge your accomplishments provides you additional incentive to focus and accomplish goals.

When you start to feel overwhelmed, start with one thing. Do that one thing using the techniques described here to stay focused. Remember, focused activity leads to more productivity.

Do you have any techniques for staying focused that weren’t mentioned here? Please share them with me and others who read this in the comments.

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Is Multitasking Harming Your Productivity?
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Photo courtesy of SplitShire

First Impressions Matter

The door opens and out walk two men. One is wearing a disheveled t-shirt, jeans, and well-worn sneakers. The other is dressed in nice slacks, a dress shirt, and loafers. Both are lawyers. Which one would you choose to represent you?

Most of us would pick the attorney with the professional appearance. Because, regardless of how much people like to say the opposite, appearance is important. Appearance signals care and attention, which sends the message to our brain that the person is competent.

Don’t underestimate a first impression. According to a 2011 study by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, people assess a person’s competence and trustworthiness in a quarter of a second (250 milliseconds) based solely on how the person looks.

The same is true for your book. People judge your book based on its appearance. Often, they will decide, on appearance alone, whether your book is trustworthy and worth their time and money.

I recently received a handful of books from a well-known Christian vanity press (which shall remain unnamed). I was shocked to see that the books varied in quality and appearance with some having a distinctly unprofessional look based on industry standards. None of the books sported a back cover that met industry standards. These books did not carry a printed retail price or a BISAC code. The interior of one of the books looked like it was designed in the 1970s. Another’s interior sported poor margins with words running into the gutter.

I was saddened to see that a supposedly Christian self-publishing house was charging authors good money for books that were sub par in terms of meeting industry standards for interior layout and cover design. Producing shoddy books in the name of Christ sheds a poor light on Christianity.

Your book’s appearance is your foremost marketing tool. People who read books know what a book is supposed to look like based on all the industry-standard books they have consumed. If your book does not fit this standard, it will be judged and found lacking. In addition, as a Christian book, you want your book to reflect the glory of God. Having a professional-quality design is important in this pursuit.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) feels that this issue is so important that we have developed an on-demand seminar, How to Create a Professional-Looking Book, as well as a Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book to help our members publish books that meet industry standards and create a good first impression. With CSPA’s summer membership special of $120 for membership through December 2018, you can join now and get access to this great information to help you make sure your books send the message that they are competent and trustworthy.

People will make a quick judgment about your book based on its appearance. Make sure that your book’s appearance reflects favorably on its content. If you want to sell more books, readers must view your book as competent and trustworthy.

Related Posts:
Does Your Book Have an Expiration Date?
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Photo courtesy of Alice Achterhof