Don’t Pull a Bait and Switch

Over lunch, my friend related a recent experience she had with a book. This friend told me that she had taken her daughter to a local bookstore to shop for new books to read.

While browsing, she picked up a nonfiction book whose title caught her attention. She read the back cover. Then she turned to the beginning of the book and read the first few pages.

Don't Pull a Bait and Switch

My friend shared that the story at the beginning of the book drew her in and had her intrigued. She was excited to read the rest of the book.

As her daughter continued to browse, my friend carried the book around the store with her. Just before checking out, she thought that maybe she should read something halfway through the book just to make sure she was spending her money wisely.

My friend reported that, to her horror, the rest of the book was not like the opening. The opening had been a lovely story that drew her in. She had thought that the book would contain more stories like this. Instead it turned out to be a long succession of dry writing about the historical event the book covered. Needless to say, my friend put the book back on the shelf.

My friend shared this story because she had been sorely disappointed with her experience. The opening pages of the book promised something that the rest of the book did not deliver. In essence, she experienced a bait and switch.

The first few pages of your book are extremely important. You must draw the reader in right from the start. But, be careful that you don’t create a bait and switch. In other words, your book’s opening needs to be engaging, but it also needs to reflect what can be found in the remainder of the book.

Draw the Reader in

By the way, the process my friend went through in selecting the book she thought she wanted to buy is the same process most people use when looking at books. When choosing a book, studies show that readers consider in order:

  1. The Title
  2. The Cover
  3. The Back Cover
  4. The Table of Contents
  5. The First Few Paragraphs of a Book’s Content
  6. The Price

Each phase of this process either encourages the reader on to the next step and closer to a purchase, or turns them off and sends them on to the next book.

Delivering on your book’s promise is essential. Readers that don’t receive what is promised in a book will not recommend it to their family and friends. Remember, word-of-mouth recommendation is the most powerful driving force in book sales.

Related Posts:
Does Your Book Have a Firm Foundation?
Fresh Insight Into Book Buying Behavior
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What is Your Purpose?

Do you want to avoid discouragement and burnout?

It takes more than doing something you are passionate about to avoid becoming weary. You must also keep your purpose forefront in your thoughts.

purpose

What is your reason for writing, publishing, and marketing your book?

This is a very important question—one that should not be ignored or taken lightly. Producing a book, publishing a book, and selling a book are hard work. It takes time, dedication, and lots of effort. We can easily become discouraged when the results we want to see don’t roll in.

That’s where purpose comes in. Purpose keeps us grounded. When we lose sight of our purpose, we can become lost and wander.

I heard a story about a world class tennis player. This woman reached the rank of #5 in the world in women’s tennis. When she reached that spot, she began to lose consistently. She started to hate tennis and viewed practicing as a chore. What happened to her? She lost sight of her purpose: the reason she played tennis. Once she regained her purpose—which had nothing to do with how many games she won or lost—she began to enjoy playing tennis again and started climbing the ranks.

The same thing can happen for authors and publishers. If you lose sight of your purpose, your work can become tedious, boring, and uninspiring. Your productivity suffers. You no longer look forward to the next book or even talking to people about your current book. It just seems like a chore.

Knowing your purpose is key to success. Why? Because purpose defines your success. How you define your purpose is just as important as having a purpose. If your purpose is to be a best-selling author, you will easily get discouraged when you fall short of it. Your purpose must be deeper. It should not be tied to performance. With a purpose such as helping your readers live a more productive or Godly life, you are less likely to become discouraged because your purpose does not depend on how many books you sell or how popular you become. Simply helping your readers will give you the satisfaction you crave.

Have you defined your purpose? Take some time to ponder these questions:

  • What is my purpose in writing this book?
  • What is my purpose in publishing this book?
  • What is my purpose in marketing and selling this book?

These don’t have to be three different purposes, they might be the same. Your purpose should inspire you. It should ring true in your gut and renew your passion for your work.

I would love to hear how you define your purpose. Share it with me in the comments section.

Related Posts:
The Value of Goals
Goals: Guideposts on Your Journey
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A New Work

Do you feel that God is calling you to do something new?

I recently had the privilege of being a guest on the God in The Midst radio show during the month of July. The host asked me to share with the audience a message that God had laid on my heart. You can listen to the entire message at this link: God In The Midst.

newproduct

I shared with God in The Midst’s audience that God has prepared good works for us to do long before we were born (Romans 8:10). When the time is right, God calls us to do these works. We will know that God is asking us to do one of the good works he has prepared for us because it will be outside of our comfort zone, and we will not feel equal to the task.

Looking at God’s call to Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey as recorded in Exodus 3 and 4, I shared the following points about when God calls us to do a work he has prepared for us to do.

  1. God does not command us, he invites us to do the work he has for us. God says to Moses, “Come, I will send you…”
  2. We will not feel equal to the task. Moses’ response to God was “Who am I” that I should go and do this thing.
  3. We will feel scared. When God calls us to do something new that is out of our comfort zone, it feels like more than we are capable of doing. We will be scared and we may even find an excuse not to do the task like Moses did. Moses told God that he was not eloquent but slow of speech and tongue.
  4. God promises us that we will not have to do the task in our own strength. Not only will God be with us, his power will also accompany us. He reassures us that he created us to do the thing he is asking us to do. Just as he told Moses that he would be his mouth and he would teach him to speak.
  5. God will send others to help us. God sent Moses’ brother Aaron to help him. He, too, will send people your way to help you do the task he is calling you to do. People to support you. People to encourage you. People to help you.

Is God calling you to a new work today? Maybe he is calling you to write or publish in a new genre. Maybe he is calling you to start a publishing company. Maybe he is calling you to start a new ministry.

Whatever God is calling you to do, be encouraged. God has prepared you for this task. You will not have to do it in your own strength alone. He will be with you and he will send others to help and support you in the work.

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Are You an Author or a Marketer?

Do you want to sell more books?

Then change your thinking.

Authors don’t sell books, marketers sell books. Instead of looking at yourself as an author, decide that you are a marketer.

“If you build it, they will come” does not apply to books. Writing a good book is not enough to get people to buy your book. You have to market the book before people will buy.

As humans, we love our comfort zone. If you enjoy writing, then that is what you will do. Even if you develop a good marketing plan for your book, it is easy for the items in this plan to fall off your to-do list if you prefer to write.

The only way to move from author to marketer is to force yourself out of your comfort zone. But don’t do it alone. Get some support. Otherwise, you will continue to fall back into author state.

Find a group of other marketers (former authors) who you can bounce ideas off of and who will help you in your new role. Here are a few to consider:

The book space is becoming more crowded. Waiting for readers to find your book won’t work. Whether you are an independently published author or a traditionally published author, you now have to become a marketer if you want people to buy your books.

An effective marketer sends the right message, delivered via the right medium, to the right target audience. Develop this, and then sweeten the deal with an offer your audience won’t be able to refuse.

Now go sell some books.

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Are You Afraid?

Since May is “Get Caught Reading Month,” I thought I would share with you one of the books I read this month and what struck me from the book.

Unbridged Grace: A True Story about the Power of Choice by Dr. Michael J. Norman was entered into this year’s Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. While the book did not win the award, the story fascinated me, so I decided to read it.

The book is a memoir about Dr. Norman’s experience of being inadvertently associated with the Russian Mafia and the United States Government’s Indictment against him as a result. The book tells this story as well as relates Dr. Norman’s corresponding spiritual journey during this time in his life.

I love to read interesting biographies and memoirs. In the book-selling world, biographies are a popular category, usually selling well. However, I have found that with Christian Small Publisher Association’s (CSPA) BookCrash blogger book review program that memoirs have not been as popular with the reviewers as children’s and fiction books. I believe this is because people like to read about famous people. Most memoirs published by small presses are stories about obscure people we do not know. Hence, they are not as popular as a memoir by a known personality. However, I find memoirs by obscure people the most fascinating.

Usually when I read a memoir by an ordinary Christian, my faith is strengthened. These books usually express ways in which these people have experienced God and his miracles in their lives. I am always encouraged.

Dr. Noman’s story is no different. God was very much alive and at work in this life during this very difficult time. I especially liked what Dr. Norman had to say about evil:

A third nature of evil comes in the form of the devil, or Satan himself. ..Because he cannot kill us, he wants us to kill ourselves by driving us to despair, using all possible means. Primarily through fear and deception, the devil preys upon our frail human nature as the lines become confusingly blurred between right and wrong, good and evil, and truth and falsehood…Without fear, he is left without his greatest weapon and exhibits his fundamental cowardice by backing down from a strong fight.

I appreciated Dr. Norman’s reminder that we are in a battle. The devil does not want the truth of God’s word to go forward.  If you write and publish books that point people to the Truth, you are in involved in this battle.

We can take heart from the words of Dr. Norman reminding us that without fear, Satan has lost his greatest weapon. Is fear holding you back from writing, publishing, or marketing a book? Remember, if God is on your side, who can defeat you?

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