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Welcome to The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson and Christy Kirk. We are thrilled to be joined with our friend and Becky’s high school classmate, Barb Roose! In this episode, Barb shares her best book marketing secrets and ideas for promoting your book during the upcoming holiday season.
Becky: I’m so glad you could carve out some time to talk with me today. Welcome, Barb! Tell our listeners about you, your work, and your newest book in case they haven’t met you yet.
Barb: Thank you! One of my very favorite things in life is equipping people of all stages and ages, but particularly women, to overcome their fears so they can live beautifully strong and courageous. I believe that everyone has a great adventure of purpose for their lives and so I love creating, whether it’s writing or speaking, and giving people inspiration and tools to overcome fears so they can get to that great adventure.
I live in northwest Ohio. I am the proud mom of three adult daughters and for me, watching them live beautifully strong and courageous is super fun and exciting. I absolutely love writing and speaking at conferences around the country when I am not managing a book deadline.
Becky: So talk to us about how many books you have so far and tell us the title and information about your latest one.
Barb: I am grateful since 2015 I have published a total of 8 books and Bible studies. I have a great publishing company out of Nashville, and I think the interesting part of my story is in the last 12 months, I’ve had 3 book contracts as well as 3 book releases.
Becky: Wow! It has been quite a whirlwind for you, Barb, and I know I was very excited to see the latest book release. So talk a little bit about that and then we are going to talk in general about book marketing and some of your favorite tools and tricks. I am also excited to share with our listeners some ideas you have for holiday promotions.
Barb: I’m excited to get to those as well. My most recent book is a devotional and it’s titled, Surrendered: 40 Devotions to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus. I wrote this book during the quarantine season when we were all staying at home, and this project is all about letting go of the things we can’t control. It is a faith-based book with 40 brief devotions on topics we struggle with, such as letting go of worry, negative thinking, and toxic people. All of these topics I love writing about because they are the real thing in life. I also have books and Bible studies about anxiety, winning our worry battle, and self-image, as well as books about learning how to be patient in long seasons. I write from a Biblical perspective about a lot of the things in life that I’ve had to overcome.
Becky: Well, I have had the pleasure of participating in a few Bible studies based on your content, and I’ve always learned so much from you. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to bring you on. Before we dive into some of your favorite tricks and tools for marketing, talk to me for a moment about how marketing a Christain women’s book is different from other book marketing.
Barb: When we talk about book marketing, it’s based on the audience as well as the connections we’ve made. I do have a background in business. I actually still speak at leadership events and work with companies on individual management coaching. So I read a lot of business books and love business books.
When it comes to Christian marketing, when I look at that and how to reach women, most of my audience is on Facebook, and a growing number on Instagram. My approach has been to create connections with other Christian women speakers and authors. When it comes to actually marketing the books, there is a little bit of tension we have to manage, at least from my perspective, because when you are writing about God, people do not like you to put the hard sell on them. There was this old phase when I was a sales rep, called “sell the features and the benefits.” So a lot of my approach is very much selling the features and benefits about what it is I’m writing about, versus saying you must buy this.
Becky: You and I were talking a little bit about that before we began recording. I was telling you what I always tell my authors that when you don’t ask someone to buy the book, they’re not going to buy the book. So tell me some of the ways you get around that when you’re marketing to Christain women.
Barb: Let’s be clear, I need them to actually buy the book because there is not magic fairy dust that keeps these book contracts coming. It has to actually be sales. So we end up using language like “hey, check this out” and I still provide web links on my website to all my books and Bible studies. I find that I have to be careful about using the language of “you must buy this book” or “buy this book right now,” it’s more of a softer language of “I believe this could be a great next step” or “you can pick this book up at…” so it’s different ways of saying buy.
Becky: Got it, thank you so much for sharing that, Barb. It’s interesting to think about the approaches different genres might require. So tell us your best-kept secrets for book marketing.
Barb: Well, I’m hoping this first one isn’t a secret, and it’s a tool online called Canva. I know this is not the first time your listeners have heard about Canva. When you think about connecting with the people in our audience and the people we want to reach, visual media is the name of the game. Canva does not just give you the ability to create graphics on all digital platforms, but they also provide desktop publishing services for items like ebooks and powerpoints. You can schedule your social media posts and order handouts and t-shirts directly from Canva as well. You can even make videos now from Canva! So it is a complete marketing tool for those of us who have to do our own book marketing.
Becky: Thank you for sharing some of those newer features. I know you also have another tool you wanted to share with our audience today.
Barb: I do, and this is a fun one. Again, I have a traditional publisher, but for anyone who is self-published or traditionally published, we still carry the weight of creating connections with our audience. One way we can do that, especially as authors, is to actually let them hear our voice, even if you don’t have an audiobook. I’ve been using Wavve.co to create audiograms. An audiogram is essentially a graphic with an audio file embedded in it. When someone is scrolling through social media, they hear my voice, they see my book graphic, and it becomes a very personalized way for them to connect with my content.
Holiday Book Marketing Ideas
Becky: Barb, I love that you’ve been making those audiograms because it is such a fun way to connect with your audience. And speaking of fun, we’re focusing this month on the topic of book marketing ideas for the holidays. I know that you had a really exciting and creative approach with your first book. Could you tell us more about that?
Barb: I would love to! For anyone out there, I’ve given books as gifts for years. I still give books to my kids. I did borrow an idea from a fiction author and this idea was creating an experience box. This was with my first book, Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle With Beauty, and what the experience box entailed was a copy of the book, but then I went through the book and several of the themes. I then took those themes and I matched a gift with each of them.
This was a book about identity and inner/outer beauty, so there was a necklace, a framed photo of one of the quotes from the book (beautifully designed in Canva), chocolate, a magnetic bookmark, and a couple other items. These were all items I could order in bulk or I could produce them at a very low cost, and I wrapped each of them individually. I also included a letter with the book that outlined for the reader which pages to open up each gift.
I didn’t do thousands of these but I did a fair amount, and then I was able to sell them. I had some local events and women loved buying them as gifts for friends. It was a gift already done, it was already wrapped and they could give an experience and not just a book.
Becky: Wow, I just love that idea, Barb. Especially now that a lot of authors don’t have the opportunity to do events because of COVID and all the challenges that presents, in what way could you shift that idea of an experience gift to make it easier to ship?
Barb: This entire year is about learning to adapt. There is an abundance of ideas we just have to be willing to shift. So one of the things I’m thinking about is in my new devotional there is this concept called Kintsukuroi, and this is a beautiful type of Japanese art. You might be familiar with Kintsugi, or you can Google it. There are all kinds of Etsy jewelers who will make Kintsugi jewelry. Right now I’m considering creating a Kintsugi piece to go along with the Surrendered book, because both are small and easy to ship. This is a high-end item with low weight that I can actually pair with the book and somebody could give it as a meaningful gift.
Becky: Well, I love that idea. I also love we are recording this conversation at the end of September and you’re already thinking about Christmas gifts for the holidays. And just a side note if anyone is beginning to plan their holiday promotions, it’s not too soon to really think strategically about what you might create as a complement to your book, and a gift package you might be able to offer.
So Barb, one of the things we always do is we always leave folks with a couple of action steps that they can take to implement this week, and supercharge their book marketing efforts. I know you have a couple of ideas for our listeners.
Barb: I do! Thank you again for having me as a guest and thank you, everyone, for hanging out with us today. Here are a couple of action steps for people to think about:
- Get familiar with Canva. If you are not familiar with Canva, go to Canva.com and learn from their tutorials. Canva can radically change how you connect with your audience.
- Pay attention to other authors’ book marketing ideas. When I see book marketing ideas, I take a screenshot and if I see a campaign or marketing concept that I think is cool, I contact the author and ask for more information.
- To learn more about Barb Roose, you can visit her website here.
- Browse her books and bible studies here.
- To sign up for a free Canva account, click here.
- Click here to learn more about audiograms on Wavve.co website.
We hope you take advantage of the resources above and let us know if you take any action steps today. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, please email Becky Robinson here and Christy Kirk here.