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
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Selling Books in an Overcrowded Market

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Photo courtesy of Vitaly

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
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Christian Book-Buying Behavior

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Photo courtesy of Tamarcus Brown

How to Make Your Social Media Interactions More Fruitful

My favorite soda is Dr. Pepper. Joining the almost 16,000,000 other Dr. Pepper fans on Facebook allows me to express my likes on social media and support something I derive pleasure from.

Most people follow businesses and brands on social media because doing so allows them to express what they like as well as stay in touch with the producers of the things they engage with on a regular basis. But, fans want more.

social-media-fruitfulStudies show that individuals who decide to follow businesses on social media do so for three main reasons.

  1. To find out more about the products or services these entities provide.
  2. To receive exclusive offers and coupons for these products and services.
  3. To give feedback through rating or reviewing the products and services they receive.

Readers follow authors on social media for similar reasons. Fans want ongoing information that enriches their lives. They want to know when you are releasing new books. They want exclusive offers for discounts on your books, and they want to give feedback on your books.

If you want your social media efforts to produce more results, keep these three reasons in mind when posting material on your social media accounts. Give your readers:

  1. Sneak peaks into upcoming projects.
  2. Additional information on your book’s topics to enrich your readers’ lives.
  3. Special offers—discounts on current books and on new releases.
  4. The chance to interact with you by answering questions or giving feedback on ideas.

Social media is a place for people to stay on top of news and express their opinions. Give your fans what they are looking for and they will remain loyal and recommend you to others as well.

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Photo courtesy of Gilles Lambert

Connecting with Readers

Every author wants to make a difference. You want your book to encourage, inspire, or delight your readers.

The only way to know if your book is making the difference you want is to actually hear from your readers.

I love hearing from readers how my books have made a difference in their lives. Recently, a parent sent my husband and I a picture of their child reading one of our books. It is clear in the photo that the little girl is enjoying the book.

bbbb-child-3My husband and I produced Baby Bible Board Books with the hope that they would do the following:

  1. Be just the right size for little hands to hold by themselves to inspire a love for books and reading.
  2. Introduce little ones to Jesus and help them develop a connection with him.

When we receive feedback from readers—like this photo—we know that all the effort, time, and money we poured into the project was worth it.

Are you hearing from your readers? I certainly hope so. If not, consider the following ideas to help your readers connect with you:

1. Ask your readers to contact you in your book.
You can put an invitation in your author bio for readers to connect with you and let you know their thoughts about your book.

2. Invite your readers to connect with you on your website.
Include an appeal to your readers right on your website encouraging them to let you know how they liked or benefited from your book.

3. Include a call to action for readers to give you feedback in your emails and social media posts.
If you are active on social media, or if you use a regular email newsletter to connect with your audience, use some of this space to invite your readers to connect with you on a personal level.

Reviews are great and help you sell books. Sometimes just hearing personally from readers about how your book touched them or changed their lives is just the motivation you need to continue your call to write and produce books for the Glory of God.

Related Posts:
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
Are Reviews Important?
Are You Selling or Connecting?

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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.

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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