Tag Archives: marketing

Another Lucrative Niche Market


Earlier this month, I discussed the idea of writing for niche markets. I gave examples of markets that one might not think of if one weren’t told the markets exist. Today, I am sharing news about another niche market that has readers with strong book-buying habits. How about 3.8 books per month on average!

If you are knowledgable in the areas of interest discussed below, you may want to consider publishing for this market.

from bama.org:

A recent Barna survey found there are 315,000 Protestant houses of worship in the United States—that’s compared to approximately 13,000 McDonalds and 4,000 Walmarts. Or, to put it another way: more than 300,000 people who purchase, on average, 3.8 books per month. That’s not counting the number of books purchased by people influenced by pastors, such as other ministry staff and congregants, likely driving the total number of books even higher.

According to new research by Barna Group into the buying and reading habits of pastors, younger pastors buy more books per year than do older pastors. This is a strong indication that the market for book-related content will remain strong among the youngest generation of faith leaders.

So what are the books these pastors are buying? Well, for the most part, they’re related to a specific topic a pastor needs to know about or is interested in. When a pastor selects a ministry-related book, the single most important factor is the topic. This was followed by the author and a recommendation from someone. Price, title and convenience were reportedly rare selection criteria.

So what topics are they looking for? When asked to identify the types of books they have read recently, pastors identified spirituality, theology and leadership most frequently. Other popular subjects include prayer, history, cultural trends and church practice. About half of pastors are reading biographies and one-third are consuming business books. Fiction is a slightly less prevalent category among pastors, compared to the general population.

Where They Buy It’s clear pastors are buying books, but where are they purchasing them? After all, usually the “death of books” headline is accompanied by a “death of bookstores” subhead. We saw the rise of Amazon and the death of Borders. Is that the trend among pastors too?

Yes and no. In the Pastors + Books report, pastors reveal that Christian retail and online were the two primary channels through which they acquire books. General retail was a distant third, followed by book distributors. Small slices of pastors purchase direct from the publisher or from their denomination.

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Coming Soon–A Novel and a Short Story


Over the next two weeks, I am going to PUSH to get the editing finished on the novel, so that I can put it into the hands of an editor. Also, I have a 8,000 word short story that I also want to release about the same time as the novel as a $.99 special on Amazon.com.

The short story is titled “Strange.” I am thinking of a marketing teaser that goes something like this:

Everything in this story is strange, from the name of the town to the personality of the male character to the abnormal fear of the female character to the strangely fatal  miscommunication between them.

If you were a reader, how would that strike you? Does it make you curious about the content? Are you tempted to read the story? Let me hear from you. Your feedback is helpful to me. Thanks.

My goal for getting the short story onto Amazon.com is the end of June. There is much to do between now and then. I’ll share my learning curve–and mistakes–with you. Better you learn from my mistakes than have to make your own.

There will be cover art to commission, editing and formatting to accomplish, and finally uploading the manuscript. Then comes the marketing. If I come across as a little overwhelmed in the next few weeks, the impression will be accurate.

One of My Blog Posts Got Quoted!


In Virginia, the Price William Regional Library has an on-line newspaper that features lots of articles and announcements of interest to writers. Someone picked up one of my recent blog posts and featured it in the newspaper. How exciting!

Go to the link below and scroll down to the “Stories” section. You’ll recognize my mug in the left hand column.

http://paper.li/Profwriting/1348828804?edition_id=74426110-b219-11e2-a7cc-002590721286

Anthology Sales Update


Without any serious marketing as such,  Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe (Hmmmm. Is that singular or plural?) has sold 35 copies of the anthology to date.

And there are two reviews written and posted on Amazon.com. Reading the reviews was exciting. It gave insight and feedback to us on our work.

The sales break down like this:

Amazon.com 34 copies sold

Barnes & Noble 1 copy sold

Several copies have been purchased by the dining patrons of the Desert Rose Cafe. Owner Rose Harris reported there is a lively interest in the book and how the group came to publish it.

Perhaps, in the near future, there will be a “Meet the Writers” event, which may garner a bit of newspaper coverage. That event, or a complimentary newspaper article, may yield a couple of more sales.

What can be done now to sell books?

I have to buckle down and prepare press releases. All of the writers group members need to promote the book on their own social media, blog or web site. This year, I postponed sending out my Christmas letter. I want to write a New Year’s letter and include a promotional blurb in it about the book. Next, I need to put on my thinking cap to figure out other ways to exploit the “local writer” designation.

In sales, they teach you to sell first to family, then to friends or acquaintances, then to neighbors or the local market, then beyond. Until a writer has established himself, the likeliest buyer is someone who knows him or knows of him.

Finally, I need to utilize the “store” component here on WordPress. Obviously, visitors to this site should be able to buy the book.

The lesson in all of this?

Sales don’t magically happen for an author. To sell books, an author has to promote his or her books. That means getting creative so that whatever selling the writer does is effective and affordable.

Writers hate marketing. However, it is a necessary evil, especially for the new author.

Don’t overlook the sales that can be generated by friends or family. Word of mouth is always the best sales tool. A person who reads and likes your book is the most credible advertiser. Ask for help to promote your book.

I would love to hear from other independent authors about the success you’ve had selling your books. Please share the lessons you’ve learned, the mistakes you’ve made or the tactics that have succeeded. In what venue did you sell the majority of your books? Where did things fizzle? What was hard? What worked well?

Talk to me.  I am all ears.

Mark Your Calendar — Sell An Article


For my science fans, here’s a nugget about a celestial show you may want to watch.

Comet PANSTARRS: March 10 to 24, 2013

Comet PANSTARRS discovered in June 2011 using the Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope at Haleakala, Hawaii, is expected to put on its best show during this two-week period. During this time, the comet will also be near its closest approaches to the sun (28 million miles, or 45 million kilometers), and Earth (102 million miles, or 164 million km).
 While Comet PANSTARRS was a very dim and distant object at the time of its discovery, it has brightened steadily since then. It still appears on target to reach at least first magnitude and should be visible low in the west-northwest sky shortly after sunset. On the evening of March 12, 2013, the comet will be situated 4 degrees to the right of an exceedingly crescent moon.

Why mention this now instead of in March?

Because, for those of you who write for social media like Yahoo news or e-How, now you have a time critical subject to research, write about, and sell! If you are unfamiliar with this market, as easy place to start is ezinearticles.com. Click here for the editorial guidelines: http://ezinearticles.com/editorial-guidelines/

Ezinearticles doesn’t pay for articles, but it does offer affiliate marketing. Advertisers link to your articles and you get paid for click throughs. It’s not big or easy money, but it is a place to start to learn the ropes.

Check out Associated Content. It pays for articles outright.

If you are a blogger, get paid to post at Blogger’s Pay Per Post. There are strings attached, but you can earn from $.50 to $10. per assignment piece.

Bukisa is a traffic driven buyer. So you have to write on popular topics to draw a paycheck.  However, Bukisa allows you to re-post material that has been published elsewhere. So using Bukisa can double earnings on non-exclusive material.

This gives you plenty to start your at-home writing career. So start researching that comet heading our way, write an article or two, and sell, sell, sell.

As a Writer, What If I Am Just Average?


On WordPress, I continue to be amazed by the collection of talent. Sometimes an author’s writing floors me with its power, cleverness, raw emotion or beautiful use of language.

I am none of those things. I am a nerd who can correctly string together a series of words. As a writer–as a word artist–I am average.

How then do I expect to compete in the commercial marketplace? The same way an average employee competes in the workplace. By showing up. By giving my best effort. And like a tidal wave, by sheer volume. A dose of self-promotion is important, too. If I don’t market, I won’t sell. (Please don’t stop reading here. The best of this post is yet to come.)

I’ve said this before and I will say it again: throw enough at a wall and something will stick.

Part of succeeding as an average writer is finding my audience. I do that by writing in all the ways that appeal to me–short stories, haiku, flash fiction and novels. (In 2013, I hope to add internet content to the list.) Then I analyze. Of those things I like to write, what are people reading?

I need to look at my statistics. What do statistics tell me about what readers like in my work? Is it my true confessions? Is it self-improvement or how-to articles? Pop culture? Or factual pieces? Humorous stories? The off-the-wall?

Success is finding the match of my abilities with a need in the marketplace.

Ask the reader.

So I am asking you right now. What do you like best about this blog? Why do you stop by? Is there something which you’d like to see more often? Any answer is a helpful one. Silence hurts. So tell me something, anything, that will make this blog a better experience for you. Even if it is what you don’t like. Say, “Fay, dump this. Keep that.” Bring it on. Help me get better.

For me, that’s what it is all about. The best part is serving, helping, pleasing you, the reader.

The next best part is getting good enough to earn a paycheck! But that’s another post for another day.  🙂

Evolution of a Cover: A Study in Design


Behind-the-Scenes: Early Cover Designs.

A special thanks to the author of aftermathasagabegins.wordpress.com who shares the evolution of the cover of his book from his first concept sketch through influences of other artists to his final design. It’s interesting to follow how the reality evolves from the first idea in the writer’s mind to the final interpretation.

As writers, we create beyond the words on the pages. Finding the right artist to help us translate our story into an encapsulating image is a labor unto itself. I appreciate this little look behind the scenes to prep me for what lies ahead.

Are you on the verge of e-publishing or self-publishing your book? You may want to read the article by using the link above. The more input you get, the better your output will be.