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May 2011

Two Marketing Tips

1. Make your own video trailer, no experience required: Some authors have told me they’re using One True Media to quickly make video book trailers with music using their own images or video clips. No video editing experience is required. And the site handles uploading the trailer to YouTube or Facebook for you. To get the bright green company logo off a video trailer, it requires subscription at just under $4 a month or an annual rate of under $40 a year. Authors who need photos for their trailers are finding royalty free images at a low cost or free on iStockPhoto.

2. Low-budget online presence: provides Author Central, where writers can promote their books for free. Some authors are using this instead of a regular website or in combination with a Facebook author page (also free). Useful features include statistics on how your books are doing on Amazon, including trends over time and sales by region.

Market News

There’s good news out there, especially for Christian writers.

Christian book sales still rising

The Association of American Publishers recently released statistics that claim February is the second month in a row where sales of religious books are up, despite slightly depressed sales in books overall. Sales were $48.5 million, showing an increase of 5.5 percent for the month. For the year to date, sales are $93.9 million, which is an overall gain of 6.1 percent.

Triple digit sales increases in ebooks
What’s getting attention are the triple digit gains in ebooks of more than 200 percent. The AAP attributed this to “loading,” meaning consumers stocked up on new titles for the ebook readers they got for Christmas. I predict these gains will continue as ebook readers and tablet computers make exponential sales jumps this year—in the range of 1,900 percent, according to analysts at Forrester Research. The second area of growth was a nearly 40 percent gain in downloadable audio books.

Ebooks spur backlist sales
The AAP also reported a growing connection between ebook purchases and sales of backlist titles, or books that have been in print for a year or more. “Many publishers report that ebook readers who enjoy a newly-released book will frequently buy an author’s full backlist.”

Signing ebooks?

One of the issues receiving attention in this new digital book age is the loss of the ability for authors to personally autograph digital books. Some enthusiastic fans are having authors autograph the outside of their ebook readers with an indelible marker. Readers with cameras on their tablet computers are taking a digital photograph of themselves with the author.

Autography is a new service smart enough to tie itself to the retail purchase both online and brick-and-mortar stores. It allows authors to digitally sign books in three ways.

  1. Use a digital pen to actually write on the ebook reader screen, so when the ebook is purchased either online or at the store, a new page is created and the autograph is preserved and inserted into the front of the electronic book.
  2. The reader asks for a personalized signature, the request is sent to the author, and then the page is delivered back and inserted into the book electronically.
  3. Authors give away autographed sample chapters. If the reader likes the book and buys the full copy, the autographed page from the sample can be moved by the store or online retailer to the front of the purchased ebook.

Michael Hyatt steps down

Michael HyattThe popular CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing, Michael Hyatt, who has been publishing his own blog and just released a new book, has resigned his post actively managing the publishing house. He plans to stay involved as chairman, but wants to pursue his own interests, which include writing and speaking.

His successor, Mark Schoenwald, formerly Chief Operating Officer, Mark Schoenwaldwho has taken the reins of the 214-year-old company, has extensive experience in upscale garden, gift, and home décor retail sales such as a background with Lenox brands.

In 2006, the publicly held firm was purchased by a venture capital company and is now privately held.

God bless you and the work of your hands.

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