About marketingchristianbooks

Sarah Bolme is the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), the owner of CREST Publications, and the author of 7 books including Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace and numerous articles. She is also the editor of the CSPA Circular, the monthly newsletter of Christian Small Publishers Association. A clinical social worker by education and experience, Sarah stumbled into the world of publishing after her two self-help books were published by a small publisher. Sarah and her husband, a fiction author, then collaborated on a set of board books for infants and toddlers after the birth of their children. After much thought and research, they decided to publish the project themselves. This decision led to the creation of CREST Publications and Sarah’s journey into marketing. Navigating the Christian marketplace began as a rather solitary learning experience for Sarah as no guide books or associations were available for marketing in this unique marketplace. After meeting and dialoging with other small and self-publishers marketing books in the Christian marketplace, it became clear that an organization was needed to provide assistance and information to new and emerging publishers. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) was founded in January 2004 with Sarah Bolme as Director. Sarah’s passion is educating others to help them improve their situation whether that is helping them get unstuck in their lives through counseling or marketing their books into the Christian marketplace.


Connection—it’s what every human seeks. Humans are social beings. We are born into a social unit called a family, and we have the desire for relationships built into our DNA.
All humans look for connections. We look for connections with other people, with ideas, with nature, and with purpose. The things we connect with, we pursue.


This concept of connectivity can be used in promoting books. The goal is to get people to connect with your message, your book’s cover image, or the book’s story. Once someone has connected with one of these things, they are more likely to purchase your book.

One way that many authors and publishers are pursuing connectivity in their promotional efforts is through creating engaging book videos. Book videos are much like movie trailers; they show what a book is about with pictures, words, and music.

Engaging, short videos work the best for connecting people to a book. While book videos appear to be the most effective for fiction works, they can also help connect people to a nonfiction book as well.

While there are many studios that are willing to create a book video for authors and publishers, most charge a substantial fee. Fortunately, there are a few do-it-yourself services online that offer you the ability to create a slick-looking book video either free or for a small fee. These include:

You can also check out two book videos created using Animoto on YouTube by clicking here and here.

Each of these video-making sites allows you to upload your video around the Internet to YouTube and other social media sites. If you create a book video for your book, place the video on your website, your blog, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, and all your social media sites.

Remember the purpose of create a book video is to increase the possibility that readers will connect with your message or story. Our world is bombarded by media noise. The messages trying to grab our attention are unending. To compete, you must jump in and try to grab some of the attention. Book videos are one way to compete and, hopefully, tip the scales in your favor.

Bookmark and Share


“I just discovered a new recipe for pumpkin flan.”


“I just got hooked on the Game of Thrones show.”

“Have you checked out the new Fresh Market down the street?”

People love to share things they have discovered with others. Discovering things we like gives us a feeling of pleasure, so sharing it with others is natural.

Discoverability is one of the new buzz-words in promoting books. People need to discover your book and the pleasure it brings. As an author, you want people to discover you. Once they do, if they like one of your books, they most likely will read the rest of your books.
This is why so many authors and publishers run specials offering one of their ebooks for free or $.99. The hope is that the reader will download the book, read it, enjoy it, and then go purchase another book by the author to read. This is discoverability at its finest for an author.

Offering a free or heavily discounted special on an ebook really works best for authors with multiple books because the hope is that the reader will enjoy the author and purchase other books by that author to read. Some first-time authors also use the technique of offering their ebook free or heavily discounted for a short-period of time to entice people to download it and read it. These authors are hoping that the readers will enjoy the book and tell their friends about it.

Either way, offering an ebook for free or at a highly-discounted rate of $.99 can be an effective way to boast your discoverability. However, just offering the special is not enough. You need to advertise your special—that is, let as many people as you can know about the special.

In addition to placing announcements on your social media sites and in an eblast to your current customer database, you can post your ebook special on sites dedicated to letting readers know about free or heavily discounted ebooks.

Multiple sites exist that allow authors to list a free or heavily discounted ebook to let readers know about the special. Some of these sites offer free listing, others charge a small fee. These sites include:

If you are wanting more readers to discover your books, try a free or discounted ebook promotion!

Bookmark and Share


We are comfortable with things that are familiar. We shop at our usual grocery stores each week, drive the same route to work every day, and repeat the same routines regularly.


Change is hard. We resist it. We prefer the familiar that we know.

Research shows that because familiarity is so important to us, people must hear about a new product seven to twelve times before they purchase it. In other words, the product must become a little familiar (at least recognizable) to individuals before they decide to buy it.

That means, on average, potential readers of your book must be exposed to your book multiple times before they make the leap to purchase it. This is why promotion is an on-going effort. You have to place your name (book or author) in front of people over and over again until they feel familiar enough to buy.

So, familiarity ties in with visibility. You must make your book as visible as possible so that people see or hear about it multiple times.

One avenue for gaining visibility leading to familiarity is the press release. For additional exposure on the Internet you can submit your press release to free press release sites. While these sites don’t send your press release to media personnel, they do provide coverage of your book on the Internet via search engines looking for your key words.

In addition to gaining you more exposure, submitting to free press release services builds back-links to your website, which in turn, improves your website’s page rank for search engines, meaning that your website appears more frequently and higher in search engine results.

The best free press release services to submit your press releases to are those that have high daily traffic, a good page rank with search engines, and distribute your press release via RSS feeds and social media tools. Six free press release services that meet these criteria are:

If you are looking to build your presence online and enhance familiarity with readers, I encourage you to add submitting your media releases to free press release sites to your marketing plan.

Bookmark and Share


Without contacts or glasses, my visibility is really poor. I can’t read things on my computer screen from a normal distance without these visual aids. Without visual aids, what I see on my computer screen in still visible, just fuzzy and unreadable.
Many books suffer from a fate far worse than poor visibility. Many are invisible.


Readers have to be able to see your book to buy it. They have to be able to see your book to be drawn in and enticed to read more. Sadly, many books are not visible on the web. Many times I have plugged in the name of an independently published book into a search engine to have only one or two results returned. Any book title that yields only a few results via a search engine is basically invisible.

Visibility of a book is increased with each place the book is listed on the Internet. So, having your book listed in multiple online stores, on various blogs, on different social media sites, and on many book sites is a good way to increase visibility.

Try this exercise:

  1. Open a new tab on your web browser.
  2. Head on over to a search engine site like Google.com or Bing.com.
  3. Type the title of your latest book into the search box.
  4. Hit the search button.
  5. Look at the results.

If your book’s title does not yield multiple pages of results, then I suggest you work on increasing the visibility of your book. Start by listing you book on websites that allow you to list your book for free. Here are six to get you started:

List your books. It’s free. All it costs you is a little time. The result will be more visibility for your book.

Bookmark and Share

Gifts for You

The giving of gifts at Christmas is not a universally accepted idea. Even Christians are divided on the issue. Those who choose not to give gifts often cite that they feel that gift giving takes the focus off of Jesus Christ and places it on commercialism. Those who choose to give gifts often do so because of the example set by the Magi.

Gift givers believe that we give gifts to each other to celebrate and demonstrate to others the gift Jesus Christ gave to us in becoming incarnate and providing a way for us to have peace with God. I fall into the latter category. I love to give gifts at Christmas as a symbol of my love for others. After all, Jesus gave me the ultimate gift due to his love for me.

This year for Christmas, I have decided to give you, my readers, gifts. Since reading this blog is free, it is an on-going gift to you from me. However, this month, for Christmas, I will be giving you specific resources in each post that can aid you in your publishing and marketing endeavors.

I am sure you have had the experience of receiving a gift of something that you already had in your possession. This month may not be different. For some of you, the resources I am giving may not be new. If that is so, let the gift be a reminder for you, and pass along the information to someone else who may receive it as a gift of an item they do not already have.

My first gift to you will start with the basics. If you are an author or a publisher who is publishing a book that you plan to sell, then you are running a business. As such, you should be approaching the publishing and marketing of your book as a business endeavor.

A new book, Every Book is a Startup, by Todd Sattersten is set to be released in December 2015. This book will strive to provide a roadmap for publishing professionals interested in bringing a fresh, entrepreneurial approach to the business of book publishing, based on techniques proven effective in the world of tech startups.

You can learn what Todd Sattersten has to say about this concept in this free 60-minute presentation.

Bookmark and Share