Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Boost Your Book Marketing Opportunities

Many book authors don't want to face this question: Are you happy with your book sales during the past year? Take an honest look at your sales numbers—which is much better than ignoring them. Are there things you can do differently in the days ahead to sell books?

If you've written a Christian book, then you need to get a copy of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace by Sarah Bolme.  This book is packed with a wide range of information and resources. Whether you are launching a new book, selling a book which has been in the market for a while or targeting special markets like homeschool, Spanish or African American, every author will find many insights in these pages.

As someone who has been in the Christian market for many years as an author and editor, I appreciated the honest and forthright information in this book. For example, in the introduction, Sarah Bolme writes, “Today, almost half of all books are self-published. According to Bowker, 40% of all books published in 2012 are self-published…However, the average self-published title still only sells between 40 and 200 copies. Often this is due to the author’s inexperience or lack of knowledge about how to market a book effectively.” (Page 3). A few paragraphs later, Bolme writes, “When promoting the Kingdom of God, getting books into people’s hands is God’s business. All you can do is what you know to do. Do that and ask God to bless your feeble efforts. After all, if he can feed over 5,000 people with two small fish and five little loaves of bread, He can multiply your marketing efforts to reach thousands of people, if that is His desire. Marketing and selling books is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Too many authors give up too quickly when they do not see immediate results.” (Page 4)

I love the websites and resources packed into these pages. Whether you have your first book or have written many books, you can easily find value and profit from studying these pages and applying it to your books.  I appreciated the research and careful thought that went into these resources.

As Bolme writes, “Research shows that an unbeliever must have seven to twelve significant contacts with the Gospel message before they will become a Christian. This same principle holds true in marketing. Consumers generally need to be exposed to a new product seven to twelve times before they will purchase it. Familiarity is important. The more consumers see and hear about a product, the more likely they will eventually purchase the product. This theory holds true in marketing books to the Christian marketplace. Repeated exposure is essential. The more consumers see and hear about your books, the more likely they are to place orders for your titles.” (Page 132)

Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace is not a book that you read once. Keep your yellow highlighter and post-its handy has you work through these pages. Every Christian author needs this book to open up new possibilities for their book, then take action to apply this information to their own book and marketing efforts. It is the application of this book which will make a difference for your book sales. 

To get the best value from this book, I recommend you read it cover to cover. You will gain a realistic perspective about he Christian marketplace and the various opportunities. After a single reading, I recommend you return to the book and apply the information to your own marketing efforts. For example, if you need distribution, then explore the various websites in this chapter. If you need to engage more Christian media, then make detailed use of the websites in that chapter.

Also Sarah Bolme writes and informative blog called Marketing Christian Books (use the link to read it). Or better yet, use this link to subscribe to receive the updates through your email. I've been reading Sarah's work for some time and appreciate the value and insights in her articles.

If your book sales are not what you want (and this is true for almost every author), then take action. It is never too late (even if your book has been published for a while) to tell more people and increase your book sales. Instead of depending on happenstance or your publisher or someone else, take your own responsibility (the first principle of Jack Canfield's The Success Principles) and move ahead with confidence.


Selling enough copies of your Christian book? If not, use these ideas and resources. (ClickToTweet)
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Prepare Now to Avoid Missed Opportunities

This week a couple of my Morgan James authors appeared on The Dr. Oz Show. This particular segment was filmed in October but aired this week. I was excited for these authors and set my DVR to record the show (since I rarely watch it).  I found their segment and watched it. Their story was highlighted and interesting—yet something was missing. There was nothing in the story to indicate their full story appears in their book. The book or the book title was not mentioned. The result was another missed opportunity to tell a national audience about their story.

I've never appeared on this type of national television show. It must be full of tension and excitement for the author to make sure you answer the questions and make a great appearance on the show. The challenge for the author is to make sure no matter what message the television show wants to give—that you meet your own agenda (sell books).

This recent story is not the only time I've seen missed opportunities. Years ago I wrote a book called Running on Ice for Olympian Vonetta Flowers. She was the first African American to win a gold medal in the winter Olympics. In fact, Vonetta was on the 2006 U.S. team for the next Olympics in Turin, Italy. Katie Couric interviewed Vonetta on The Today Show. It was a great interview yet nothing in the interview mentioned that a book told Vonetta's story. While I'm pleased to have written this book, I wanted it to succeed in the marketplace (sell) yet the opportunity was missed.

No matter where you are in the writing and publishing world, now is the time to prepare yourself for these opportunities so you do not miss them.  In the publishing world, we call it media training—and it's something every author needs to learn.

Here's three valuable yet inexpensive resources to prepare yourself for the media:

1. The Media Training Bible by Brad Phillips. I reviewed this book several years ago (follow the link). The seasoned advice and tips in this book are invaluable. Phillips is a well-known and excellent media trainer. Every writer will profit from a careful reading of The Media Training Bible.

2. Be the Media compiled by David Mathison. This older book is excellent to help you know how to create your own message and different ways to get it out into the marketplace.

3. Gayle Murphy has been a journalist for many years. I interviewed Gayl in this free teleseminar and you can get her seasoned advice for every author about how to tell it to sell it.

For the last couple of years, I've been doing radio interviews to promote my Billy Graham biography. In the next two weeks.I'm scheduled to be on two LIVE radio shows telling stories from the book. It's fun and I'm grateful for these opportunities. Each time before the interview, I remind myself why I'm on these programs: first to be energetic and tell interesting stories about Billy Graham.

Yet integral to this agenda is my second key point: to make sure I tell people where they can get the book. I've created a website with multiple options to purchase the book. During several of these interviews, even if I am not asked about it, I take the initiative to weave into the conversation the specific name of my website and where people can get the book.

When you receive these types of opportunities for your writing, seize them—yet use wisdom to make sure you cover your own interests.


Every author needs to prepare now for future opportunities with the media. Get resources here. (ClickToTweet)
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Change is Hard. You Go First.

We are creatures of habit and like to keep doing the same things over and over. It's how I operate and assume you do as well. Yet the world around us continues to change and if we want to succeed as writers, we need to change with it. The weather changes all the time and is outside of our control yet we change what we wear and other details to keep up with these changes.

My iPhone will often have apps that need to be updated. Other times the entire operating system will be updated and many of the standard programs suddenly look different and have different features. Change is all around us and involves taking some calculated risks and experimentation and always learning new things. It's not easy for any of us but it's a part of our world and culture. As I've mentioned in these entries in the past, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. If you want a different result, you need to make some changes.

As writers and publishing professionals, we spend a lot of time sitting in front of our computer. Over the last few years, I had not been exercising and eating the wrong things. My weight ballooned and my waist size grew.  About a year ago, I decided to change my eating habits—in particular carbs and sugar. Yes I was exercising several times a week but it was not the exercise which made a difference in my weight. It was my change in eating habits. I went from a size 46 waist to 38 and people could see a difference in my appearance. It was not easy to change my eating habits and is a constant struggle but the results have been amazing. This week I went to the doctor for a physical. I'm supposed to do this every year but had not done it for several years and hasn't even been to see my doctor since August 2014. They pulled my medical chart and noticed a substantial difference in my weight—in fact, I was down 38 pounds from my previous visit.

As we approach the end of 2016 and look toward 2017, it's a good time to take a few minutes and reflect on your publishing life. Are you selling enough books or magazine articles? Are you pitching the editors on a regular basis and looking for new opportunities? If you aren't satisfied with the current results, what changes can you make to have different results in the days ahead?

Is there a new training program that you need to go through like my Write A Book Proposal course or even creating your own course and selling it? I encourage you to get my Simple Membership System (which is a complete self-contained training package) and create your own training program. Or can you plan to attend a writer's conference in 2017 to meet some new editors and publishing professionals?

You do not have to remain in a rut or in the same place next year as you are today. You can change and move forward. As I said in the title of this piece, change is hard. You go first. If I can help you, reach out to me and ask. My work contact information including my phone number is on the bottom of the second page. In the comments below,let me know about the changes you are planning for the days ahead. We are surrounded with all types of opportunities. Which one will you seize and move ahead?


For everyone, change is hard. You go first. Here's some fresh ideas. (ClickToTweet)
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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Twitter Tips: Who to Follow & Who to Block

I've been active on Twitter since 2008. When I meet people, they are often surprised at my large twitter following (currently over 192,000 and growing at about 100 new followers a day). If you want this type of audience, it does not happen organically (doing nothing). I've been transparent about my five every day actions that I take on Twitter. Years after creating it, I'm still taking these actions every day and encourage you to do so as well. Several of my authors from Morgan James are following these actions and growing their followers on Twitter. It doesn't consume lots of of my time but it takes consistent effort.

Years ago, I made a decision to follow everyone who follow me—which is a basic of twitter. Some of my friends are amazed that I follow thousands of people—and they can direct message me. Also I include my personal email address in my twitter profile.  It makes me easy to reach and I answer my email. Why? I want to be accessible to people and I want to help as many people as I can with the volumes of information that I have online.

I use the tool Refollow to follow other people's followers—yet I'm not just following anyone. I'm following people who are in my target market (publishing, writing, etc.). This tool only takes a few minutes to use. Yet sometimes I find I'm following people who I don't want to be following. In this article, I'm going to give the details of how I check my followers and then who I block.

Usually about once a day, I click the “home” button on my twitter page and scroll through my twitter feed. As I take a few seconds to scroll through this feed (with hundreds of posts and images), I'm looking for several things. First I'm looking for people who are not tweeting in English. If they are using a different script or language, then I right click, open a new tab for this person. Next I block this person from my twitter feed.

Also I'm looking for porn and foul language (either in text or in images). When I find this type of material, again I right click the name of the person that I'm following (even if it is something they have retweeted), open a new tab for the person, then block them.

If you are not taking these actions, then you are sending a subtle message to others (who you don't want as followers) that they should follow you. I'm looking to continue to grow my followers but I want those followers to be the right type.

My system for social media isn't perfect but I have created a system or a regular pattern of behavior.  I'm always open to learning something different and making modifications.  If you have some idea for me, feel free to comment below or reach out to me and let me know. It is important for everyone to develop your own system and process for handling these details of social media.

I don't waste a lot of time on social media because I don't have that time. The bulk of my day is being an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. Notice the link on Morgan James which takes you to a two-page information brochure—and notice my work contact information including my phone number is on the second page. Many authors are struggling to find their way in the publishing world and if I can help you, don't hesitate to reach out to me.


For Twitter, how do you know who to follow and who to block? Insights here from @terrywhalin. (Click to Tweet)

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