Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Client Success Story: Kathi Lipp

Kathi Lipp was a first-time author launching her new book, The Husband Project. WildFire Marketing coached Kathi for four months leading up to her book’s publication date. All results listed below occurred during the Author Mentor Program and within 60 days after the book’s release:

1. Kathi sold over 1,000 books by herself within the first 2 months!
2. Broke the Amazon 10,000 sales ranking in just 51 days (9,020).
3. Scheduled 30 new author speaking events for 2009.
4. Landed 7 radio and 2 TV interviews with her own press release.
5. Secured monthly columnist feature on the CBN.com (700 Club).
6. Built new relationships with over 650 MOPS leaders across U.S.
7. Garnered book reviews on over 30 targeted blogs.
8. Sent her first e-newsletter to over 2,000 subscribers.
9. Doubled author’s monthly newsletter subscriber rate.
10. Raised author speaking fees by over 30%.
11. Revamped author website and tripled monthly visitor traffic.

Before-and-after Pictures of Author Website:

“Before meeting Rob Eagar, I had an unproductive website, ineffective newsletters, small database of leaders, and felt unprepared to sell my new book. But, working with Rob paid off big time! I sold over 1,000 copies of my new book in the first 60 days, landed more speaking engagements at much higher fees, doubled my newsletter signup rate, and learned how to turn media interviews into book sales. The transformation is amazing!”
Kathi Lipp
Author of The Husband Project

For more client success stories, click here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How NOT to Market a Book

I couldn't help but pass along this absurd, but true, example of how NOT to market a book. One of my clients sent me the following email she received from a first-time author trying to promote a new book. Read the text, and ask yourself, "How does this make me feel?": (The author's name has been removed to protect them from feeling like an idiot.)

"Hello friends, you can probably guess that I'm grinning from ear-to-ear over the release of my new book. The publisher has their marketing team doing its part in getting the book out to the public, but now I'm also asking for your help to create the buzz necessary to make this book move and get it into the hands of the audience. Let's work together to move the first printing of the book out of the warehouse within this month! Here are simple ways you can help:
  1. Purchase a copy of the book for yourself and for at least one friend.
  2. After reading the book, write a review and post it on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. (A review is simply your opinion about the book. It can be just a couple of sentences, and you can post the same message on all sites, so this won't take a lot of time.
  3. Ask your church to order 20 - 50 copies of the book. Keep one in your church library and give the rest as a resource to families. (If just 60 churches purchase 50 books each, we'll empty the warehouse and send the book into its second printing!)
  4. Consider inviting me to conduct and/or speak at a seminar at your church or community organization. Books would be made available to all participants. I have put together a 5-session seminar through which I share valuable information about Christianity in our post-modern generation. Contact me for further information and to schedule a date.
  5. Forward the link to my press release to your entire e-mail mailing list. Send it with your endorsement and a personal note explaining your connection to me.
  6. Print out as many copies of the press release as you'd like and post it on bulletin boards at schools, churches, libraries, etc.
I really appreciate all the help you can give in promoting my book. Please dedicate within the next week to doing something (if not everything) from the suggestions given above. I appreciate you. Thank you in advance."

If you're like me, doesn't this author seem to be a bit presumptuous? Expecting other people to do your book marketing is the sign of a novice...it's also ridiculously selfish.

The right way to market your book is to give away free value that makes your audience want more. Secondly, you empower fans with free tools to spread word-of-mouth, rather than sending out emails begging for their assistance.

Examine the way you market your books, and ask yourself: Am I selfish in my expectations, or am I selfless with my value?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

10 Reasons Why Authors can Help Publishers Sell More Book in Tough Times

In our tough economy, publishers are facing financial pressure on all sides. Book sales are declining. Bookstores are closing. Marketing budgets are dwindling. Staff is being laid-off. What’s a publisher to do in such dark times? Fortunately, there’s still a light shining in the tunnel. This glimmer of hope is authors. Here are 10 reasons why training your authors to sell more books can open brighter possibilities for your publishing house:

1. Training authors to drive readers into bookstores is less expensive and less risky than paying bookstores costly co-op dollars to get shelf placement.

2. Teaching authors to get media interviews on their own is less expensive than using high-priced PR firms or in-house publicists. It also frees limited staff for other duties, which saves even more money.

3. When authors learn better marketing skills, the benefit can last a lifetime and enhance the sales of many future books. But, the benefit of co-op dollars and media tours only lasts for a few months.

4. Publishers can lay-off internal personnel, but you can’t lay-off authors. Why not put them to good use within the company?

5. Authors who act as salespeople for the publisher work on a “commission-only” basis with low risk. They only get paid (a small royalty) when they produce revenue (sell more books).

6. Authors are more likely to stay loyal to the publisher who invests to help him or her succeed. One of my A-level clients recently left his long-time publisher, because they ignored his desire for a deeper marketing partnership. He chose another publisher that offered to help grow his platform.

7. Training authors to market their books better offers the publisher a 6:1 return on investment. Why? For every extra book sold (paperback), the author makes a $1 royalty. Yet, the publisher makes over $6 in sales revenue – what a deal! Where else can you find a similar financial opportunity?

8. Every Fortune 500 company spends time and money to properly train their salespeople. If publishers agree that authors make the best salespeople for their books, shouldn’t proper training be provided?

9. Apathetic, old-school authors who expect publishers to do all the marketing are quickly disappearing. Besides, why keep employees who aren’t willing to pull their own weight? Times have changed, and a modern breed of authors who want to help promote their books is the new standard.

10. Authors at every level can produce substantial book sales for their publisher. For instance, here are some recent results from my clients:
A-Level Best-seller: Sold over $13,000 of books at one speaking engagement.
B-Level Mid-list: Helped promote her new book into 6 printings in less than a year.
C-Level First-timer: Sold over 500 books in the first 30 days and lined up 60 speaking events.

When authors receive professional training to market their books, the publisher makes more money. Even modest improvements can produce significant results. Do the math, and you’ll find that if authors help just 50 titles sell an extra 3,000 copies each, the publisher makes over $1,000,000 in new sales. And, there’s no additional cost other than the small investment to provide instruction. When publishers implement this low-risk, low-cost solution, they gain an important asset to overcome these trying times.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"The Shack" is now a Mansion

As most people know, William Paul Young recently self-published a book for his kids called, "The Shack." But, no one expected that this book would set records as the most successful self-published book in history. As of today, "The Shack" has sold over 6,100,000 copies! If you haven't read it yet, get your head out of the sand and buy a copy - it's worth it. For details, click here to watch the author's interview on Good Morning America earlier today:

This book is fascinating to me, not only for incredible spiritual content offered, but how this book turned the publishing world upside down. I'm amazed by how many publishers turned down the manuscript and continue to poo-poo the book today. It's obvious that the "industry" isn't in-sync with the desires of many book readers.

In addition, I think "The Shack" represents a look at the future of publishing in America. For example, new authors who write great books can succeed without a traditional publisher (this idea used to be considered heresy). Sure, it's a rare occurrence, but not as crazy as once believed.

Plus, "The Shack" represents a book that can be purchased without walking into a bookstore and buying a book. Case in point: You can now purchase the book as an "app" and read it on your I-Phone (see picture below):

We live in an incredible time of change for America and the publishing industry. Ideas that were considered impossible are now a reality. Keep in mind, however, that writing books and using technology means nothing if you don't provide value to the reader. Without value, you've just got a bunch of fluff. And, fluff is the last thing people need to navigate this rapidly changing world.

Monday, February 9, 2009

February Comparison of ECPA Publishers

Check out the February Amazon rankings for the Top 15 ECPA Publishers. This research lets you see both the overall CBA industry rankings, plus each publisher's individual top 20 bestselling book list.

Why is this information helpful to you? This is one of the few ways that authors, agents, and publishers can simultaneously see how a publisher's best books stack up against their peers. For example, Neilsen BookScan doesn't let other publishers see the competition's sales numbers (only bestseller lists). But, WildFire's free research gives publishers a way to see which titles are selling well on Amazon at 14 other houses. This data is also helpful to see which authors, topics, and genres are dominating Amazon sales trends.

Items of Interest this Month:

a. Top-Selling Overall Titles on Amazon:
- "The Love Dare" (#12) from B&H Publishing.
- Rankings exclude the self-published title, "The Shack" (# 5).

b. Biggest Publisher Moves:
- Crossway debuts on the list at # 7.
- IVP drops from #6 last month to #11 this month.
- David C. Cook and Howard dropped out of the Top 15 this month.

c. Amazon's 2008 Book Sales Grow 16% as U.S. Bookstores Shrink
- Publishers Weekly reported last week that Amazon's North American media segment grew by 16% in 2008 to $5.35 billion. This is an amazing statistic considering the decline of book sales in other retail areas. As Amazon grows, this free monthly research becomes more beneficial. If you have any comments or suggestions, call 1-800-267-2045.

Note: Amazon rankings do not reflect accurate sales figures and only account for a small percentage of a book's total sales. However, they can help determine how specific publishers or book titles perform over time versue their peers.

Click here for an Excel spreadsheet of the January 2, 2009 rankings.

For all previous month rankings, click here.