Based on a few articles over the years, it has become clear that authors who have a book in their local library tend to see an increase in book sales, based on the quality of their work. Recently, we did a survey with Texas Libraries to see how much money was being spent toward book purchases of Texas Authors. It was very low, as we sadly expected.
Of the libraries that responded, the average annual allowance to purchase new books was $15,000 (this did not include the large cities with populations over 500,000). Of those funds, 10% of it went to purchasing Texas Authors books. With an estimated 8,400 published authors, that’s tough competition.
Many authors donate a copy of their book to libraries, and most are grateful for that copy. However, there are a lot of libraries that refuse them, not because of quality, but because of the cost of turning it into a hard copy so it will last longer. That process averages about $15 per book and higher, an expense that librarians prefer not to spend on unknown authors.
The alternative for the author is to use a service that gets their Ebook into the library at no cost to them, and very low cost to the library. One such program is the Self-E program by the nationally respected Library Journal. This is a free service for self-published or hybrid authors. TxAuthors charges $10 per title to cover our time and to keep it super easy for the author.
Through our efforts, over 330 books are in the Texas system, with an estimated 50 books receiving reviews and moving up to the national database. Texas is the second largest database in the country and we are proud to help increase the opportunity for authors to find more readers. The Library Journal will be honoring us, by creating a special web page in their system just for Texas Authors. No other state is scheduled to have this done. While this may not seem like a big deal, the fact that they want to work with us and promote Texas Authors is a huge compliment for what we are doing.
In addition, because of this success, the Library Journal has been working with the San Antonio mass transit system VIA to allow for passengers to have access to those books. It is a free service to riders, who can read the books on their smartphone, iPad, etc., while on the bus. On our bookstore website, we have over 1,500 titles. At least half of those should be in the Library Journal program. Therefore, we encourage you to sign up and take advantage of this opportunity now, so when they begin adding Dallas, Houston and other Texas cities to the list, your book will be available to those readers as well.
The fact that this bus program results in no royalties for authors is a drawback. It does, however, allow for authors to find new readers and that can be more valuable than being paid a few cents in royalties. As always, there is never a guarantee of the readership of one’s book, but increasing your chances to find new readers is the goal. For those authors who have multiple books, don’t put them all out on the system, but at least put one or two in the system, so people can discover you and will want to buy your other books.
If you had signed up for the Library Journal program and do not want your book available for free to readers, please email me so we can have your book removed from the system. If you would like to get your book added into the system, you can either do it yourself or pay us the $10 processing fee to get it up quick and easy.
Over the past year we have seen a positive growth in bookstores opening (up 23%), increased paper book sales (up 20%) and decrease in eBook sales (19%). At the same time, we see many companies moving towards creating new digital ways for readers to get their information, wither it is books, news or social media. But what does any of this have to do with you?
While companies are increasing the way people get to their information, no matter if it is digital or physical, that gives you an opportunity to promote and sell your book(s). However, no matter how many opportunities you have, if you do not take advantage of them, you will not see an increase in sales.
For a first time author, they have to work 2-3 times harder than someone who has 3 or more books. The new author has to build a following, which means getting out there in every possible way to let people know you exist. In 2015 the estimate for published books was 1.2 million. For 2016, the estimate is 1.4 million books published. That means you are small drop of water in the ocean. The author must combine molecules together so that they can rise above the sea of confusion and become a torrential storm.
Thus, when you are paying for a service or goods, would you not use it? Do you go to a doctor to learn what’s wrong or how to live better only to ignore them? Do you go to a grocery store and buy food only to walk to a trash can and throw it away? Of course not! So why would you pay for a service and not take advantage of it?
It does not matter if you are a self-published author, a small press author or even with a big 3 publishing firm. You still have to let the world know that you and your book(s) exist!
TxAuthors is designed to help you with that process. To be clear, we are here to HELP YOU not to do it for you! We have a lot of information on our web site about social media, new programs, new partnerships, everything that can help you get the word out about your book. But that means squat if you don’t take advantage of it!
I work hard to find the latest trends, the newest way to promote an author or book, and even to take old ways and make them fresh and new. But, if you don’t take advantage of this, you are wasting your time and money.
Those who DO take advantage of the programs are seeing success and increased sales. They are finding the joy in writing because the success motivates them to write more. They find that by their third and fourth book, they don’t have to work as hard to make sales. The snowball effect is taking hold and they are growing, becoming stronger and better at their endeavors. They are becoming a storm that readers welcome with open arms, as if a draught has lingered for years.
Success comes from stepping out of your comfort zone and taking chances. The old saying, it takes money to make money is true. I get that authors in general, cannot afford to do a lot. That’s why we offer payment plans. I have spent over $6,000 of my own money to help Texas Authors succeed. That’s how much I want YOU to succeed!
Our Pop Up bookstore has helped spread the word about Texas Authors by giving them an opportunity to have their book(s) be in cities that they cannot get to. We have given members the opportunity to be seen by hundreds if not thousands of people through the year. This is just one of the many programs we create to help you. But it is just part of the package.
All of my time and effort means squat if you don’t take advantage of the programs, events and advertising opportunities that we offer you. Too many authors expect us to sell their books for them and are disappointed when we don’t meet their illusions. That’s not what we are here for. We are here to HELP YOU market and sell your books! Take advantage of our hard work so you can succeed, we dare you!
Here is a recap of what is available to you:
American Booksellers Association – we report our book sales to the ABA which is the Indy Booksellers. This helps get them to know you exist, but only when book sales are done through us. No other book seller you are listed with does this at a rate that actually makes more money for you.
Authors Marketing Event – A weekend of marketing seminars designed for Authors. Learn a variety of tools that will help you succeed. There is no other organization that offers these type of seminars designed for Authors. Cost is currently at $90 and will increase to $150 for the seminars and dinner.
Texas Short Story Contest & the Annual Book Contest – opportunities to show the world your writing skills that help increase readership and knowledge of you and your books. Through the sale of the Shor Story book, we have increased our market share through the advertising and promotion of the book.
DEAR Texas – We are working with book stores around the state to get authors into them, this includes Barnes & Noble and Indies, along with getting you into schools and libraries. With our book fund campaign, we are able to purchase Texas Authors books and distribute them into people’s hands who will become your fans. This is a free program to authors.
Texas Authors Institute – You can write the history of your own book to live on forever. For TxAuthor members, their books are available for sale through this organization. No other author has that privilege. This is a free program to authors.
American Library Association and the Texas Library Association. – Two organizations that can be of great value when finding new readers. We work closely with them to help get you and your book into libraries.
Partnerships – We are building partnerships with organizations around the state to make us stronger and more viable for when we do go outside the state to promote Texas Authors.
Book Festival Network – A new way of doing and promoting Book Festivals that improve the marketing and exposure for the authors attending the events. Currently, the listing has all the book festivals that DEAR Texas produces, but will add other events as time progresses.
TxAuthors is constantly looking for ways to market and sell you and your book(s) for the best possible price we can.
I fully understand that you can’t afford to do much, but if you’re not selling books, you will never afford to do anything. Being involved in programs is critical to your success, even when it seems that nothing came from it. But you are missing the point. Advertising is the key to marketing and if you don’t advertise your book, no one will ever know it exists.
With more people relying on the internet to discover a wide variety of subjects, products and resources, one rarely has a need to see a person or product face-to-face anymore. At least, that’s what the internet gurus continue to preach to the masses.
The reality is that people do need human contact and interaction on many levels. Book Festivals are one such interaction for die-hard readers. Yet, it appears that many of these events are not drawing as many people or vendors as they once did. Why is that?
After spending years participating as a vendor, author and as a creator of such events, it has become clear to me that people simply get bored of the same old routine. This applies to the big book festivals as well as the smaller ones. As with any event, people want something new and exciting, a reason for them to leave their homes, spend their money and get something they can’t get anywhere else.
Traditional Book festivals are created with authors who sit behind a table and try to get someone to buy their book, and in most cases, they halfheartedly try. Most book festivals are filled with local authors, who if they have done their job as a marketing person, have saturated their market to the point that there is nothing new or exciting about them. None of this gives people a reason or motivation to stop by and check out the book festival.
Even the book festivals that bring in the big names, are seeing a decrease in attendance and vendor participation. This is due to the high cost of producing such an event. Big named authors expect to be paid for their time, and their cost has to be trickled down to the vendor’s booth fees. These fees then become too hard for people to justify the expense. Small press and indie authors cannot sell enough books to warrant the high cost of participation. But these are the people who must participate at these events if they plan to make a name for themselves. Just doing Social Media or internet based campaigns is not enough.
How can you draw the crowds to an event and justify to the vendors the need to spend the money on a booth fee? This is a multi-point issue that all book festivals have to address in order to stay reverent to the consumers and vendors.
First, book festivals should look for new partners to team up with. For example, art festivals are a perfect combination to work with. Both draw on an audience that generally has money to spend, and is highly educated. They do not compete against each other for the dollar as one is usually priced much more than the other. However, they complement each other, which allows for each to promote and draw from their base, while giving the audience something new to enjoy.
Second, while indie authors and small press will not sell as many books as they would like to at any festival, they have little or no choice but to be present. It comes down to the basic core of marketing: letting people know you have a product, and then getting them to want to buy your product. If authors are not attending book festivals, then new readers will never know they exist. At the same time, they must work on their presentation at the table and not look like a bump on a log, bored to tears who doesn’t want to be there. That’s another article in its own right. They key factor is that an author will never know who they may meet at one of these events, which could then help propel them onto a new level of growth. Each consumer that walks up to their table should be considered as the ONE person, even if they are not.
Finding new avenues to engage people to attend book festivals is a key factor for attendance and participation of both readers and vendors. Working with other organizations can help save money, and draw new attendees to the event, which in effect benefits both organizations. The concept of ‘elitism’ needs to stop on both ends in order to keep their event alive and of value for the consumer. The consumer is already pulled in a hundred different directions, therefore, combining energy and resources gives them less directions to be pulled, and more value for their money, and especially their time. A win-win for everyone.
Third; sponsorships. While companies that make millions from authors continue to charge high fees, or rake in large amounts from the author’s work do not support book festivals to the full extent that they could or should. Amazon is a perfect example of this. They don’t have to, as the authors have given up their power to Amazon and they will continue to take money from authors. CreateSpace, Ingram and, Barnes & Noble participate only in large scale festivals, but do not participate in the more local bread and butter programs. Again, a lack of need to woo the author or the consumer keeps them away.
Book festivals need to find a way to get sponsors to cover the cost of the event so that indie authors pay little to nothing for their space, thus increasing their income potential, and ultimately making them happier to be at the events. Combining forces with other festivals helps rejuvenate each organization, which then creates better results for all parties involved. Teamwork on multiple levels that improve the quality of life for the consumer and vendors should be a key priority!
Huffington Post.com Bernard Marr posted on 04/22/2015
I've written several times in the past about the qualities and elements that successful people share, but I think perhaps the most important is their ability to get past excuses.
So many people in life get hung up on excuses -- feeling they can't go out for the better job, start their own business, or take whatever risk because of... whatever it might be.
Excuses are like noses, we all have one. But when you can train yourself to see these flimsy ideas for what they are, and stop treating them as a brick wall in your path, you can move past them towards your own success.
Here are just a few of the excuses I hear most often -- whether from individuals about their own dreams or executives about their company's direction.
1. I don't have the money.
I've heard this at every level, from the bloke who has an idea to start his own business all the way up to the mega-corporations I've consulted with. The point is, you can make this excuse whether you've got one dollar or one million.
The people who get past it, however, are the ones who succeed. They find a way around it. They barter or trade for the services they need. They start a side hustle and save up. They cut their expenses. They find an investor, take out a loan, apply for a grant.
Successful people don't let the lack of any resource (money being just a resource, after all) keep them stuck for long.
2. I don't have the time.
All the most successful people in the world -- Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Oprah -- have the same 24 hours in a day that you do.
Examine closely how you spend your time, and you'll see where your priorities truly lie. There are very few commitments in this life that are truly non-negotiable. Allowing yourself to fall into the trap of the idea that you don't have time to do what you want just shows that you don't want it badly enough.
3. I've never done this before.
There are loads of things you've succeeded at that you'd never done before you tried. You'd never walked before you did, never driven a car before you first got behind the wheel, never had a job before your first one.
Every journey starts with the first step, but you have to take it.
4. I don't have the skills.
I have one word of advice for you: Google.
You can find instructions, how-tos and even books and courses on how to do practically anything on the Internet -- for free. If you still can't find what you need, buy a book. Still struggling? Hire a coach.
You can get a college-level education just from reading the books found in your local library, so throw away the idea that a fancy degree is standing between you and what you want, because it's almost never true.
5. The conditions aren't right.
Waiting for things to be perfect is maybe the worst possible excuse, because things will never be perfect. No one is going to come along with a stopwatch and say, "If you start... NOW! You'll succeed!"
Loads of things were launched at the "wrong" time or before the world was ready. Some of them failed, and some succeeded beyond anybody's wildest dreams. Waiting for the "right conditions" is like the fisherman sitting on the banks, waiting for the fish, but never putting his hook in the water -- that is to say, kind of pointless.
6. _________ says I can't/shouldn't/am not good enough to do this.
Here's the thing: nothing amazing, innovative, revolutionary ever came out of a group consensus. In fact, many of the most truly revolutionary ideas were met with a great deal of hostility and skepticism. That TV thing is just a fad. The Internet will never catch on. Who wants to be on Facebook all day long?
The truth is, people are going to disagree with you. They won't get your vision. They won't believe in you.
Doesn't matter. Only one person needs to believe in what you're doing when you start, and that's you.
7. I don't have anything new.
Some of the most successful businesses out there didn't invent something totally new. Which came first, LivingSocial or Groupon? MySpace came before Facebook. The point is, you don't have to do something completely new to be successful. Take something that already exists and improve on it, change it, tweak it, turn it around and give it your own spin.
There are millions of books out there, but each one is different. There are thousands of stand-up comics, each with his or her own show. Loads of accountants, software developers, designers, manufacturers.
It's not about how you will be totally new, but how you will be different. These are just a few of the top excuses I have heard, but they're certainly not the only ones. I'd love to hear from you: What excuses have you heard?