Book Marketing Amidst Thorns and Thistles

Over Labor Day weekend, I decided to tackle a long-neglected area of my yard. I pulled out weeds and cleared brush.

The weather was hot, so I wore a short sleeve shirt. Only later did I realize that I must have tangled with some Poison Oak when large red welts began to appear on my arms. The damage was not pretty.

As soon as I noticed the allergic reaction, I began to treat the affected areas. I also prayed—asking Jesus to heal me. In my prayer, I reminded God that I was only doing what he wanted me to do—to subdue the Earth and rule over it (Genesis 1:28).

While praying, I was reminded that God told Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; …It will produce thorns and thistles for you” (Genesis 3:17-18).

I had certainly run into some nasty thorns and thistles. As I pondered this, I got to thinking that we don’t just run into thorns and thistles while doing yardwork. We also run into thorns and thistles in other areas when we assert dominion.

As a Christian author or publisher, you run into thorns and thistles in the writing, publishing, and marketing of your books. After all, your writing is part of ruling with God on the Earth (Go into all the world and make disciples).

As a Christian author or publisher, you run into all sorts of thorns and thistles like:

  • Computer crashes where work is lost
  • Cancelled events
  • Lost packages when shipping books
  • Money spent on advertising that does not bring results
  • Book launches that flop

It’s good to remember that while we have to deal with thorns and thistles, that is not all that our work produces.

In the same sentence that God tells Adam “It will produce thorns and thistles for you”, God also says:

“…and you will eat the plants of the field.”

We may run into thorns and thistles, but our work will also bring about fruit. So, while you are struggling with the thorns and the thistles, take heart, good crop is also growing. Your efforts—taken for the glory of God—are not made in vain.

Trust God. Ask him to bless your work. He is faithful and tends the seeds that you plant with your books. Good fruit will come—even though you have to fight the thorns and the thistles in the process.

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Photo courtesy of Dimitri.

How to Turn Book Browsers into Buyers

Lookie-loos are everywhere. These viewers often look with no intention of buying. The Internet is full of these individuals.

How to turn book browsers into buyers.

According to a study by Marist College and National Public Radio (NPR):

  • 76% of U.S. consumers shop online.
  • 44% of online shoppers start at Amazon, while 33% start with a Google search.

So, whether you are attempting to convince people to buy your book on your own website or on Amazon or another online bookstore, your job is to convince the lookie-loos to buy your book. To effectively do this, the following three book elements are of primary importance. Make these count.

1. Cover

Your book cover is part of a reader’s first impression of your book. Therefore, it is your number one marketing tool. Your book cover will either draw a reader in to learn more about your book or send them on their way, looking for something else to read.

In fact, in one study, 63% of consumers said good images are more important than product descriptions. So, don’t’ skimp on your book cover. Make sure that you use a professional design.

The two best places to spend money on your book is on the cover and on editing. The cover will draw readers in. The editing will make your book compelling causing readers to become fans and promote your book.

2. Title

Your title, like your book cover, has the ability to draw a reader to want to learn more or send them packing. To grab attention the attention of a lookie-loo and encourage them to take the next step, be sure that your book’s title does one of the following:

  • Makes a promise to the reader about what they will get from your book.
  • Creates intrigue to draw the reader into wanting to know more.
  • States a need that the reader has in her life and your book addresses.
  • Clearly communicates that contents of the book.

3. Description

People want to know what they will get out of buying your book. This means that you must answer the “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me) question. Start your book description with a hook. A compelling statement or question that hooks the person reading it into wanting to know more.

Don’t make your book description too wordy. Remember, people scan text. To make your book description scannable:

  • Pull out points and make them a bullet list.
  • Keep your paragraphs short.
  • Highlight keywords.
  • Put your most important point first.

End your book description with a strong call to action. Tell the lookie-loo what you want him or her to do next. Use this call to action to tell them to purchase your book so that they don’t miss out on what your book will give them.

Related Posts:
Is Your Book Cover Too Cluttered?
Sell More Books with Better Descriptions
Is Your Text Causing Cognitive Overload?

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Photo courtesy of t-watanabe

Another Self-Publishing Success Story

Whenever I see an article about a self-publishing success story, I have to read it. I love to hear about people who were inspired to write something, and then go on to self-publish their work because they have no other path for getting their message out. I love it even more when I hear about a self-published book that has experienced incredible success.

Clare De Graaf wanted to have his manuscript published. After being rejected by several publishers, he decided to publish the book himself in 2011. His book, The 10 Second Rule, has sold more than 17,000 copies. As a result, Howard Books has now acquired the rights to publish and internationally distribute the book.

Even if Howard Books did not pick up the rights to this book, this is a self-publishing success story. Selling 17,000 copies of a self-published book is no small feat.

What made this book so successful? I believe a couple of things. First and foremost, Clare De Graff secured editorial and marketing services to make sure that his book and message were presented in an appealing, professional manner. Second, the book has a powerful message. Watch this video to hear what The 10 Second Rule is about.

If you are considering self-publishing, take a lesson from Clare De Graaf. Make sure your book is well-written and well-edited, has a professional appearance, contains a powerful message, and is promoted well. Then let God do the rest.

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Publishing Success

What is considered success when publishing a book?

For some people, selling 5,000 copies is success. For others who self-publish, getting a royalty publishing house to pick up the title and publish it is success. Still other authors consider success simply having people send them notes stating that the book touched or changed their lives.

I have spoken to a number self-published authors who self-published in an attempt to get a royalty publisher to pick up their book. Some ask me for the chances or statistics of this happening. While I do not have hard figures or data, I do know that it does happen.

While the vast majority of self-published titles do not get picked up by larger publishing houses, some do. Tom Cowley’s book is one example.

Tom started Eagles Nest Press (and became a member of Christian Small Publishers Association) and self-published his book A Biography of Jesus. This book was an outgrowth of Tom’s studies in earning his Doctorate of Ministry. Tom published A Biography of Jesus in 2005 and put quite a bit of energy into promoting the book through speaking in churches around the country.

Just this year, Tom’s book was published by Paraclete Press. It was given a new subtitle and a new cover. In addition, it has been given a whole new marketing push by the new publisher. Tom’s book was not published by Paraclete because it was a best seller. It was published because the publisher saw a need and a market for this book.

If you are a self-publisher who desires to have your book picked up by a large publishing house, take heart. You know not God’s plans. Your book may follow the path Tom’s book took. If not, it will still accomplish God’s purpose for it.

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