What’s in it for me?

What's in it for me_

We would love to tell you that all readers are motivated by a pure interest in hearing your story and supporting you as an author. But honestly, those traits likely only apply to one person… your mother. The truth is that readers choose books based on the question “What’s in it for me?” In the same way that people purchase food to satisfy their hunger and hire plumbers to fix their drains, readers buy books that will do something for them: either entertain, inspire or educate.

While the idea of self-interest may seem greedy, it has been proven to be one of the greatest generators of capitalistic societies, such as the one we enjoy in the United States. In his acclaimed work The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Scottish philosopher Adam Smith notes that free markets are enabled by the self-interest of its laborers:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

With this information in hand, we must change our approach to marketing, In his book, Sell Your Book Like WildfireRob Eager states:

You will maximize the power of your marketing when you take the focus off yourself and place it on satisfying the self-interests of others. Let go of the idea that the public may be fascinated that you’re an author. Concentrate on answering their internal question: ‘What’s in it for me?’

So what does this look like practically?

1. Offer expert insight

When searching for a recipe, why do we often seek out successful chefs’ cookbooks? Because we want assurance that the recipe is tried and true and will turn out just as expected. In the same way, your reader has a problem they are trying to solve. They need an expert to help them. They don’t want advice from a novice.

I’m not expert, you may be thinking. But wait. Have you experienced something, learned from it and come through the other side with fresh insight and wisdom? Then you are an expert in that  subject.

  • Have you walked through a difficult divorce and found wholeness and healing? You’re an expert.
  • Have you started a business, launched a product or been promoted through your field? You’re an expert.
  • Have you walked through infertility, miscarriage, or extended singleness and still found God to be faithful? You’re an expert.

Leverage these experiences to offer hope, help and tips to those who are at the beginning of a similar journey.

2. Offer value

Tell the reader specifically what value your book offers.

Instead of saying:

This book chronicles my experience with cancer,

say

I will help you face cancer as an informed and empowered patient.

Which would you be more likely to purchase?

Rob Eager suggests using “value statements” in your marketing. These statements begin with the phrase “I will help you _________,” such as:

  • I will help you live with confidence instead of fear.
  • I will help your company build teams that finish tasks faster with less conflict.
  • I will help you regain the pain-free life you used to enjoy.

3. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes

Who is your reader? Why are they looking for a book on your subject? What problem are they trying to solve? One of the best ways to put yourself in your reader’s shoes is to think back to why you chose to write your book. Rob Eager asks:

What was the big reason that drove you to expend so much mental and emotional effort? consider the central reasons you were motivated to write you book. Had you recently overcome a challenge? Did you see injustice that needed to be addressed? Were you moved by the headlines that laid the foundation for a compelling story? If you experienced a personal result in your own life that led you to write your book, then that same result is probably true for many of you readers…

Thus, examine how the message of your book improved your own life. then use that knowledge to write powerful value statements for others.

At Certa Publishing, we see every day the value that our authors offer. We are passionate about helping you spread your message and attract as many readers as possible. Contact us today to see how we can partner with you.

 

 

Advertisements

Have You Overlooked This Free (but Amazing) Marketing Tool?

 

Have you overlooked this free (but amazing) marketing tool- (1)

 

The writing world is full of expensive marketing tools. But there is one completely free tool that many authors are either neglecting entirely or failing to use to it’s potential: the Amazon Author Page.

But I already have a website, a Facebook page, and a LinkedIn page… do I really need this too? YES. While your other platforms may be well-done and informational, they are often only found when a reader intentionally seeks you out. However, an Amazon Author Page “lives” where readers live: on Amazon. Once the reader has found one of your books, it only takes one click to send them to this in-depth resource. And did we mention that it is free?

Still not sure what we’re talking about? Head over to author Paul Wilbur’s Amazon Author Page. With the help of Certa, Paul was able to create a dynamic, informative page that is helping him sell books and engage with his readers.

So let’s get started:

  1. Head here and follow the instructions for setting up your page.
  2. Add a biography. That’s the blurb that shows up on the left of the page. Make it brief, yet amazing. (You’re a writer after all!) Don’t forget to mention any awards you’ve won and links to your other platforms (website, social media, etc). Be sure to include your Twitter handle, since Amazon will auto-update your page with your latest tweets (yet another reason to keep those tweets interesting and fresh.)
  3. Add events. Include upcoming speaking events, book tour dates or podcast releases. Be sure to keep this up-to-date and remove any old events. Few things will send readers to that BACK button like seeing a 2-year old event on your page.
  4. Add as many photos as it allows. First, include your headshot, but feel free to get creative with the others. Your photos should reflect your genre and personality. Are you a travel writer? Include photos of your destinations. Does your cat make frequent appearances in your work? Include Fluffy’s picture! Readers love getting to know you better.
  5. Be sure that all of your books are listed. Many readers visit Author Pages to find the writer’s other work.
  6. Customize your URL. Instead of an Amazon-issued URL like http://amazon.com/john-smith/e/F007KHIY6, you can have http://amazon.com/johnsmith. Definitely more attractive.
  7. Add the RSS feed to your blog and new posts will automatically show up on your page. This is another great way to offer your reader a deeper insight into who you are and create meaningful connections.
  8. Use the “Customer Reviews” tab to respond to reader reviews. Readers LOVE to receive a personal comment from an author. This type of one-on-one contact can quickly turn a passive reader into an adoring fan.

In her post, How to Optimize Your Amazon Author Central Page, tech expert Carla King sums it up this way:

Amazon loves to sell books and Author Central gives us the opportunity to make more money, which, of course, helps them make more money.  So take advantage of it. Make it a living page by keeping it current and embedding your RSS feeds so that it’s always fresh and new.  (And make sure you’re updating your blog!)  List your in-person and virtual events. List your custom URL on your website, business card, and your email signatures.  If you’re like most authors, you’ll sell more books via Amazon than any other retailer.  Optimize here, and boost that number even higher.

Perhaps you find this all a bit intimidating. We understand! That’s why at Certa Publishing we specialize in walking with our authors each step of the way. Need help setting up your Amazon Author Page? We’d love to be of service! Contact us today.

3 Easy Ways to Land Media Appearances

Three easy ways to land (1).png

You can author the most dynamic blog, produce highly-viewed YouTube videos and kill it on Facebook live, but nothing will give your book exposure like a TV or radio interview. And yet most authors are intimidated by media appearances. Perhaps you have assumed that these can only be obtained through expensive public relation firms or agents. We are here to dispel that myth and share with you three easy ways to land media appearances.

1. Be prepared to react to current events

TV and radio producers care about one thing: ratings. In order to keep up ratings, they need their shows to constantly remain relevant to current events.  When a major event occurs that relates to a theme in your book, be prepared to blast media producers. (For tips on contacting producers, head over here).

In his book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, Rob Eager recounts this example:

Actor Alec Baldwin caught the nation’s attention when the public got hold of an angry voice message he left for his daughter. Almost every news outlet and entertainment program covered the story. When this happened, one of my clients had just published a book called When Your Marriage Dies.  In her book, she had devoted an entire chapter to handling common problems that parents face with their children after going through a divorce. When my client heard the news about Baldwin, she quickly put together a press release and e-mailed it to several radio stations. Within four hours, she received a response  from the producer of a well-known radio program.

A great way to stay up to date on current events is to set up a Google alert. Input keywords that are relevant to your book and Google will alert you by email when these keywords are trending. You can choose to be alerted daily or less often.

2. Make the calendar work for you

In order to stay relevant, producers often plan their content around the calendar. For example, November and December shows will be full of guests discussing gift ideas, party planning and how to manage holiday stress. However, summer shows will be altogether different.

So, take out your calendar and go through the year in light of your book’s topics. Can you offer relevant topic for Mother’s Day? Easter? Back to school?

Rob Eager offers these lead times for the various media types:

  • Magazines – four to six months
  • TV and radio – 30 to 90 days
  • Newspapers and blogs – 7 to 30 days

3. Make the producer’s job easier

Imagine meeting with a baker about your wedding cake and yet he didn’t have an samples or photos to offer. Most of us would quickly move onto someone else and he would lose the sale.

The same is true for media interviews. The more “samples” of your work you can offer, the better. However, the producer isn’t interested in the content of your book. He or she is interested in the content of your interview. Will you be interesting? Relevant? Personable?

One creative way to showcase your interview content is to provide a sample, through one of these mediums:

  1. If you have done previous media interviews, send along the link to the video or audio.
  2. If not, create your own! Create a (high-quality) video or audio recording of yourself answering sample questions. It may feel silly, but it will be worth it!
  3. For a simpler approach, type up sample questions and answers for the producer, similar to what author Joel Friedlander did here.

Going the extra mile in this way will set you apart from your competition and likely garner you the media attention you’ve been looking for!

At Certa Publishing, we are experts in book marketing. Our authors have been featured in countless magazines, newspapers, radio and TV shows. Contact us today so we can put our experience to work for you!

 

 

“Are You Attackable?”

AYA1

When lightning strikes your peaceful and predictable life, how do you respond?
Do you grip the hem of Jesus’s garment in the face of betrayal, sickness, hardship, or debt, or do you allow the enemy to tear you away from your relationship with God? The Bible is full of stories of men and women who came under attack and emerged victorious, because they chose God.

Your time to prepare for battle is now. The Biblical principles in Are You Attackable? by David Judson will help strengthen your relationship with God, as you stand against the enemy’s schemes.

Available as a paperback for $15.99 and as an ebook for only $6.99.

“Making Sense Out of Life”

MSOOL1

When your life has been shaken, what practical steps can you take to turn things around? How long has it been since you really moved forward in your life? Imagine your life FINALLY changing in a positive manner. If you are ready for such a change, then these proven answers are for you!

This book by Patrick J. McGuffin is a fast and easy read filled with useful insights to help you start moving forward now.

Available as a paperback for $12.95 and as an ebook for only $5.99.

Update & Praise Report

We’ve had an exciting week here at Certa Publishing!

This morning our team has been reflecting on God’s goodness and favor on Certa Publishing and our authors. Here’s a quick praise report of some of the happenings this week.

Two new authors signed:
Darryl Goode: “Grandpa and the Rainbow Fish”
Dr. Victor Morgan: “Holiness: The Hidden Path,” “Heaven’s Great Hope,” “The Wonderful Name of Jesus,” and “Praise and Worship”

Three books sent to press:
Worship That Touches the Heart of God” (Reprint of the English Version) by Nina Gardner
“Worship That Touches the Heart of God” (Spanish Version) by Nina Gardner

General updates:
– Author Paul Wilbur is in India preaching, teaching, and leading worship this week.
– Author Patrick McGuffin is in India on a mission trip for two weeks. (Not connected to Paul Wilbur’s trip)
– Author Bruce Lengeman led a webinar on Deliverance from Unholy Memories with International College of Ministry.
– Finalized Author Steve Wittmann’s manuscript.
Author Royalties sent in the mail!

Please join us as we continue to pray for our authors and the books the Lord has given them.

We are specifically praying our Lord would continue to open the right doors for them and these books would help advance the Kingdom of God.

50 Marketing Strategies Under $50 – Part 2

An article by Author Marketing Experts.

Book marketing budgets are often a little tighter now. Whether you’re feeling the pinch, or if you’re just looking for some effective, inexpensive marketing strategies to do on your own, here’s the second installment of 50 marketing strategies for promoting your book.

Did you miss Part 1? Check out the first 25 tips.


 

26) Visuals are so important these days, so how about getting an account on Vine or Instagram and doing short videos and pictures about your book or topic? Visuals are a great way to sell a book!

27) Write a review for someone else’s book that’s similar to yours. Not sure how this relates to your promotion? Well it’s called networking and it’s just a great idea to always do outreach.

28) Start an Ask the Author on Goodreads. Here’s how: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/how-to-use-the-ask-the-author-feature/

29) Run a promotion on social media. Ask your followers to share your Facebook page, or to suggest you in a #followfriday – you can offer a prize to a random winner.

30) Subscribe to Talkwalker.com or Mention.com and make sure that you are getting alerts under your name as well as your book title(s), brand, and keywords.

31) Pitch yourself to your local television stations.

32) Pitch yourself to your local print media.

33) Create a Speaker One-sheet, you’ll need this when you start booking interviews with the media or speaking gigs. Check this out for more info on them:http://www.smallbusinesspr.com/pr-learning-center/small-biz-articles/first-time-speaker-4-tips-to-build-your-speaking-career.html

34) Is the topic of your book in the news? In a world that’s increasingly connected with 24/7 news outlets, there is a never-ending source of news materials. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to share your expertise (and promote your book!).  For keeping up-to- date on topics in your industry, scan Twitter hashtags for your topic, and check out these content curation tools: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/marketing-tools-favorite-content-curation-sites/

35) Stop by your local library. They love local authors. If you have a children’s book, see if you can come in during storytime, or for a special event during their summer reading program. For adults, reach out to their book club coordinators, or arrange a speaking event for their patrons. Try dropping off a copy to your main library; if they stock it chances are the other branches will too.

36) Go to Chase’s Calendar of Events (www.Chases.com.) and find out how to create your own holiday! The media loves a holiday tie-in so consider this as you pitching yourself. For example: got a fun tie-in to National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (yes, that’s real)?

37) Going on vacation? Use your away-from-home time to schedule a book event or two wherever you are traveling to.

38) If your book is appropriate, go to local schools to see if you can do a reading.

39) Got a book that could be sold in bulk? Start with your local companies first and see if they’re interested in buying some promotional copies to give away at company events.

40) Don’t forget to add reviews and blurbs to your own website.

41) Trying to meet the press? Google “Press Clubs” in your area.  They meet once a month and are a great place to meet the media.

42) Want a celebrity endorsement? Find celebs in your market with an interest in your topic and then go for it. Remember that the worst they can say is no. Check out the Actors Guild for a list of celeb representatives. Here are tips on how to pitch influencers and get a great blurb for your site: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/how-to-pitch-influencers-and-get-great-blurbs-for-your-book/

43) Ready to get some magazine exposure? Why not pitch some regional and national magazines with your topic or submit a freelance article for reprint consideration?

44) Work on your next book or work on writing mini-books. Sometimes the best way to sell your first book is by promoting your second.  Also, many authors are writing and promoting mini-books to keep readers engaged while they wait for their next book to come out. How long do mini-books need to be? 50-75 pages. That’s it!

45) There’s a great “Meet our Authors” forum on Amazon. You can view a variety of different discussions going on there including a place to promote your free eBook giveaway. You can find it here:  http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/

46) Grab more international sales. How? By optimizing your international Author Central pages. Not sure where to begin? Check out our blog on this topic http://www.amarketingexpert.com/amazon-hack-get-book-hands-international-audience-tip-40-52-ways-market-book/

47) Have you pitched your book to book awards yet? There are a lot of great ones to consider. We have a blog post on this very topic, check it out:  http://bit.ly/SelfPubBookAwards

48) Why not consider pitching yourself to Meetups? Head on over to Meetup.com to find some great groups that just might love to have you attend and speak to their members!

49) If the book club idea or event idea is something you want to do, but the cost of traveling (and the time off required) is a deterrent, then why not consider doing Skype sessions? You can go just about anywhere and do these. I’ve known some authors who live in Cleveland and do book group meetings in Auckland, Germany and other international destinations! And the Skype sessions don’t need to be all international; they can also be in the U.S.!

50) Submit to gift guides! We have a few on our blog, here http://www.amarketingexpert.com/the-ultimate-holiday-promotion-calendar-76-days-left/ but you can also find then by Googling “blogger gift guides” and see what pops up. Gift guides aren’t just big during the Christmas season but bloggers often have back-to-school gift guides, Easter/Spring gift guides, summer reading guides, etc.  If you get your book listed, it could be a great way to get in front of a lot of new readers!

Miss tips 1-25? Find them here!

“Andrew in Miss Plum’s Class”

KarenJones.JPG

Are you looking for a children’s book that teaches Christian values and contains adventure, mystery, and comedy? Look no further! Andrew in Miss Plum’s Class by Karen Jones is a great read for children ages 7-9 and adults of all ages. Join Andrew, a 3rd grader, as he learns how to treat others and find true happiness after his family is divided.

Available as a paperback for $11.99 and as an ebook for only $5.99.

Be sure to check out other titles by Karen Jones.

50 Marketing Strategies Under $50 – Part 1

An article by Author Marketing Experts.

These days it seems like everyone’s book marketing budget is a little tighter. If you’re feeling the pinch, or if you’re just looking for some great, inexpensive marketing strategies to do on your own, here are some tips that can help keep you on track!

1) Buy your domain name as soon as you have a title for your book. You can get domain names for as little as $12.95. Tip: When buying a domain, always try to get a .com and stay away from hyphens, i.e. penny-sansevieri.com – surfers rarely remember to insert hyphens. You should also consider using your keywords in your domain because it’ll help you rank better. Social media is great, but don’t use your Facebook or Twitter pages as your “website” – you should own your domain and have a site. Period. For more tips on how to create a great website: http://www.smallbusinesspr.com/pr-learning-center/small-biz-articles/create-an-awesome-website-in-10-easy-steps.html

2) Super Fans. In order to grow your Super Fans, you must first find ways to engage them. Why not start by including a letter to fans in the back of your book? This letter would invite them to post a review or contact you so you can build your mailing list.

3) Start a Facebook Fan page. Fan Pages are much better than a personal profile for marketing because they’re searchable in Google.

4) VIP Fans. If you’re ready to ramp up your fans (and Super Fans) then consider creating a VIP group with fan exclusives like bonus content, early access to books and prizes. You can create these groups on Facebook!

5) Set up an event at your neighborhood bookstore. If your bookstore isn’t open to doing an event, why not consider doing events in other places – like a local Starbucks, locally-owned restaurants, pubs, etc.?

6) It’s all about content these days, so why not create a calendar for content? Often if you aren’t sure what to write, or when, a content calendar will keep you on track. You can plan the calendar around your free time (though you should blog weekly), and around holidays or events that may tie into your book. Then, while you’re at it, brainstorm content ideas and start a content folder that you can always refer back to when you aren’t feeling “inspired” to write anything.

7) Get yourself on Goodreads and start gathering friends and building your profile there.

8) Check out other, similar authors online and see if you can do some networking. Not sure how to do this?  Check out this blog: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/six-ways-to-spy-on-your-competition/

9) Do some radio research and pitch yourself to at least five new stations this week. Here’s a great place to find radio stations: http://www.radio-locator.com/

10) Ready to get some business cards? Head on over to Vistaprint.com. The cards are free if you let them put their logo on the back, but if you don’t, they’re still really inexpensive. Leave your business card, bookmark, or book flyer wherever you go.

11) Put together your marketing plan. Seriously, do this. If you don’t know where you’re going, any destination will do. If you don’t feel like doing an entire “plan,” then pick ten things you want to do this month to promote your book.

12) Plan a Goodreads giveaway. Contests are a great way to promote your book. Make sure to share this content with your followers on your site and your social media accounts!  Not sure where to start?  Look here for some great tips:http://www.amarketingexpert.com/goodreads-giveaway-tips-for-mastering-this-promotional-tool/

13) Time to get yourself onto Wattpad. Never heard of Wattpad? It’s a place where you can share your content, share chapters from your published book, short stories…whatever you want.  It’s a fantastic way to build fans and get feedback on your work!

14) Send thank you notes to people who have been helpful to you. In an age of “everything email,” a handwritten thank you note speaks volumes.

15) Send your book out to at least ten book reviewers this week. Here are some tips to create a pitch that will get your book reviewed: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/5-steps-crafting-perfect-book-review-pitch-tip-35-52-ways-market-book/

16) Do a quick Internet search for local writers’ conferences or book festivals you can attend. Here are 9 things you can do to make your next writers’ conference awesome: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/9-tips-to-make-your-next-writers-conference-awesome/

17) To save time, check out different social media management sites. Hootsuite has a free option that will help manage your social media posting for you. If you need to elevate your social media presence, check out our quiz to see which sites are the best fit for you: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/social-media-quiz-site-right/

18) Ready to pitch bloggers? Excellent! Start by doing a search for the right ones on Google. You can also head over here and plug in your search term to find the top blogs in your market: http://www.invesp.com/blog-rank/

19) Enhance your Amazon Author Central Page by linking to your blog, Twitter feed, or adding a video if you have one. Here is a good place to look for an idea of how to begin: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/demystifying-amazon-categories-themes-and-keywords-part-2-of-2/

20) Plan your free eBook promotion. If you’re on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), drop your price to zero for one to three days. You’ll want to schedule this a week or so in advance, then head on over to sites where you can list your freebie. There are tons of them, but here are two to get you started: www.igniteyourbook.com and www.ebookswag.com and http://www.amarketingexpert.com/ebook-deal-guide/

21) Start your own email newsletter. It’s a great way to keep readers, friends and family updated and informed on your success.  Check out our blog post on why you need a newsletter and how it can help you get more sales: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/how-your-newsletter-can-get-you-more-readers-visibility-and-sales/

22) Develop a set of questions or discussion topics that book clubs or online book clubs can use for your book, and post them on your website for handy downloads. Make sure to get folks to sign up for your newsletter before giving away these discussion questions though!

23) See if you can get your friends to host a “book party” in their home. You come in and discuss your book and voilà, a captive audience! You can host it via Skype or on Google Hangouts and then promote it on your social media sites as well.

24) Find some catalogs you think your book would be perfect for and then submit your packet to them for consideration. If you’re unsure of what catalogs might work for you, head on over to http://www.catalogs.com/ and peruse their list.

25) Go around to your local retailers and see if they’ll carry your book; even if it’s on consignment, it might be worth it! Don’t just offer this at bookstores either.  See if your community dry cleaners, gift shops, or restaurants will take it. Often, neighborhood establishments are very supportive of their local authors!

Find the next 25 tips in Part 2!

“My House Shall Be Called the House of Prayer”

CherylWallace.jpeg

God speaks to His children. He wants us to know His love and His plans for us. His desire is to show us when the enemy is seeking to devour.

In her book, My House Shall Be Called the House of Prayer, author and prayer warrior, Cheryl A.W. Wallace provides the necessary tools for effective and victorious prayer. The book will help you discover the power and purpose of the house of prayer.

Available as a paperback for $10.99 and as an ebook for only $5.99