A challenge is something that requires special effort. It takes special effort on your part to sell your books. Therefore, selling books is challenging. With more than two million books published every year, the book selling climate is fiercely competitive. Every author must meet and overcome three challenges to sell books: attention, time, and declining readership. Let's talk about how.
In today's economy, attention is a valuable commodity. People have numerous entertainment options all clamoring for their attention: social media, movies, television, podcasts, sports, hobbies... and the list goes on. Reading faces stiff competition for attention from other entertainment activities.
Twenty-first century life is busy. Between work, family, church, and other activities, people have less time to devote to leisure activities like reading.
In fact, a recent study found that people spent 9% less time reading in 2019 than they did in 2018. Time is a precious asset. More and more, people are spending bite-sized minutes on content. For example, Facebook users spend an average of 2.5 seconds on any given piece of content.
3. Declining Readership
The number of people who do not read a single book in a given year is growing. In 1978, that figure was 8%. In other words, only 8 out of every 100 people did not read a book during the year. Now that number is closer to 25%. This means that one out of every four people in the United States did not read a book last year.
Overcoming these Challenges
The good news is that these challenges are not insurmountable. Following are three suggestions to help you overcome each of these challenges.
1. Increase your Familiarity Factor
The number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. The best way to grab attention is by being known. Become known by writing and publishing multiple books. Those people who read one of your books and like it will go on and read your other books, helping you sell more books.
2. Shorter is Better
Time is tight for most people. As a result, we are consuming content in bite-sized chunks. Write to accommodate this new way of reading. Use shorter chapters that can be finished in a few minutes. Also keep your paragraphs short so that readers don't become overwhelmed when viewing a page. Remember, most people are going to read your book in spurts using short chunks of time.
3. Become Irresistible
Write and publish a compelling book. Your book should not just be good. It should be “too good to not read.” When people feel they are missing out on something good, they will make time for it. Make your book so good that people won't want to miss out.