Is Anyone Buying Books? Anyone? Anyone...?

I read about this survey in Dan Poynter's newsletter this week. What's great about it is it casts aside the notion that no one is buying books anymore. Most of us are buying less these days so to see a decline would be natural, but the chicken little approach to publishing (no one's buying, no one's buying) is likely an overboard reaction.

This kind of information is vital whether you're publishing independently or pitching traditional houses. As you read it, think about the audience you're trying to reach. The survey breaks things down nicely by gender and age. Consider their spending habits and how you think you can reach them best. And just as a reminder, your audience is not everyone. No such book (other than the Bible). If you haven't narrowed down your audience yet, the survey will be a useful tool. Start with a broad category and dissect from there. As a quick example, maybe you'll start with women ages 35-50 and from there go to Christian women of that age with children who also work outside the home.

Who are you trying to reach? Let us know, let's see how our results match with who's buying.

*Note you may have to scroll through the slides yourself with the numbers under the screen, not sure why it's not running in presentation mode.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Outside the Zone

For many things in life we have comfort zones. We have tasks we're comfortable doing, or a group of dinner time recipes that get repeated, or a certain group of people we tend to talk to at work gatherings. I'm sure you can think of others. And though you might not be aware of it at first, most of us have comfort zones when it comes to marketing too if we've been at it for a little while.

Sometimes that zone is created by what we like to do. Maybe speaking is our thing or social networking or school visits or selling via a particular kind of store. Whatever "it" is we do a lot of it because it becomes familiar and we feel like we're "in the zone" when we are engaged in it.

While this strategy is often logical and practical, there are times when life simply forces us out of "the zone". Sometimes things run their course as there are only so many schools or rotary clubs to speak to within a reasonable travel distance. Stores close or change buying habits. Sometimes our familiar pattern gets upset by illness or a move we weren't planning on.

Then what? As nerve-wracking, semi-scary as it might be, it's time to find or build new comfort zones. After all, your old ones started somewhere and they likely weren't instantly comfortable either, right?

How do you do that? Here are just a few ideas:

1. Consider the kind of marketing you've been doing all along. Can it be adapted with just a few minor adjustments to your new situation rather than a complete overhaul?

2. If you've been marketing based on one particular angle, take a fresh look at all topics or themes within your book and brainstorm who might be interested. You could open up an entirely new audience.

3. Inform your current contacts as to your new situation and see what ideas they might have to enable you to continue your relationship whether you now need to communicate less frequently or long distance.

4. Stay connected. Who knows who you'll find through your new circumstances that you would not have met otherwise.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


I'd Like to Know

Around the time I launched this blog just about two years ago (my how time flies), I had a survey up asking about what kind of writing people were working on/what their goals were. Tonight I realized, though I know what a few of are up to, I'd love an update from as many of you as possible. Sharing even a few answers will benefit everyone because being a part of a larger community is one of the fun parts of being a writer (at least for many of us) and secondly, because it will help me select topics for future posts.

If you'd take a quick moment to leave a short note in the comments with your answers, I really would appreciate it.

Here's what I'd like to know:

1. Do you mainly write fiction, non-fiction or a little of both?

2. Are you working on a book?

3. If yes to #2, do you plan to publish traditionally, independently, or POD/pay-to-publish?

4. If you're planning to publish a book in one way or another, do you want to make a serious income from it, is it more for friends/family, a ministry tool or something else?

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend & Happy Valentine's Day!

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Extras, Leftovers and Stuff Just Sitting There

I saw this in Dan Poynter's (Mr Self-Publishing) Newsletter recently and thought it was a good reminder that extra books don't need to sit around your house collecting dust.

Maybe part of your New Year's resolution list included being more organized, or maybe you're planning on doing some serious spring cleaning soon. Maybe you have to stop marketing your books for one reason or another and you've got a box or two sitting around.

The good news is that there quite a few entities that will accept new and gently used books to be sent to those who often desperately need them. Below is just a partial list. You might also consider prison ministries (especially for Bibles and related material), libraries (if your books are relatively new) and even your local school, especially if you live near a low-income school area.

Have you donated to a place not on the list or have other ideas for us? Please share in the comments and keep the list going. Also, I hope you'll tweet, post on FB or otherwise share with your author friends.

* Got Books.com
Pick up service in Maine and southern New Hampshire, accepts used books, CDs, DVDs and sends them to a variety of outlets

* Pages for Children
New and used books mostly for kids and teens who have hospital stays

New and used books in saleable condition as they use book sales to fund literacy programs

*Soldiers' Angels.com
Prefer new books in the action, drama, mystery categories for deployed military

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


What's in A Name?

If you're considering writing a book, whether it's your first or next, in today's world one of the first things you need to do really has little to do with the actual writing. If you plan to sell what you write, one thing at the top of your to do list has to be finding and buying an appropriate domain name. Even if you don't plan to have a separate site for the book, it's imperative that you own the domain that includes your title or as close as you can get.

Why? If you hear about a book, or just about anything else for that matter, and you want to find out more, what do you do? You Google it most likely. You don't check the newspaper, or encyclopedia or hardly the phone book probably. If something else comes up when someone searches for your intended title, try again. Change the title if you have too, it really is that important.

Have you had to change a title in order to get a domain name? Did you get luck and find what you wanted was available the first time you searched? Love to hear your stories (an easy way to plug your title BTW :-)

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett