Are You Making This Mistake?

I read a lot of books. As with most things, what I think of the books I read follows the typical bell curve. A few are awful, a few are great, but the majority is mediocre. That is not to say that these mediocre books don’t have a message for someone, most do.

magnifying-glass

I recently finished a book written by a gentleman who was a pastor for 25 years and was published by a small publisher. The book had a good cover, nice interior design, and was written in such a way that it really kept my attention. I would say it probably fell on the higher end of the mediocre section of the bell curve.

However, I will not recommend this book to others. Nor will I reveal the name of the book, the author, or the publisher on this blog. I do not wish to malign anyone. I merely want to use this book as an example.

As I said earlier, the author of this book was a pastor for 25 years. Yet, in the book, he uses a story from the Old Testament to illustrate a point. However, he does not get the story right. He mixes up two separate stories that happen at two separate times, years apart in Israel.

Here is my point: the author, a pastor, got the story wrong, but the editor did not catch the error either. When a Christian author does not rightly handle the word of God, I cannot in good conscience recommend that author to anyone.

If you are publishing a Christian book, take the time and due diligence to check all Biblical references and stories that are being used in the book. Integrity with the scriptures should be the highest priority for Christian authors and publishers. Don’t ruin the message of your book by printing Biblical errors that could have easily been corrected if you had taken the time to check the story or reference.

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Is This Part of Your Publishing Team?

I have been reading a number of articles recently that tell independently published authors that they cannot be an island. These articles assert that a team is needed to be successful in publishing a book. Recommended team members include: cover designer, editor, proofreader, and beta readers.

Teamwork

I strongly agree with this recommendation a team is needed to produce and sell a book. However, I would add to the lineup of team members recommended by most articles. Few include a professional association in their list of recommended team members. I think a professional association should be on the list.

Professional associations for publishers and authors offer additional help and support in the publishing journey. Here are three things adding a professional association can do for your publishing journey:

  1. Membership in a professional association provides you cutting edge information. Staying up-to-date with requirements and trends in producing and marketing books bringing you more success in your endeavors.
  2. Membership in a professional association can save you money. Most associations provide their members cost-saving benefits geared at helping their members be more successful.
  3. Membership in an association helps you to appear professional, allowing you to garner respect from others in the industry, especially reviewers, book sellers, etc.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) aids our member publishers and authors with these types of assistance. CSPA is constantly striving to add more benefits that help our members be successful, especially in marketing and selling their books.

CSPA has recently added three new benefits for our members:

  1. More eBlast choices for announcing books.
  2. Discounts with Lightning Source and IngramSpark.
  3. Access to an online foreign rights facilitation service for Christian books.

If you have not yet added a professional association to your publishing team, I urge you to do so. If you publish Christian books, CSPA is offering a membership special. Join now, and $115 will purchase your membership in CSPA through December 2015. You can apply online on CSPA’s website.

If you are uncertain about whether membership in a professional organization is worth the membership fee, I encourage you to read the testimonials from members of Christian Small Publishers Association. You can find these testimonials on our website.

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There is No Magic Pill

Surveys show that 80% of people believe they have a book inside of them. With the advent of print-on-demand technology and digital books, more and more aspiring authors are deciding to self-publish the book they want to give birth to.

magic pill

Recognizing an opportunity, a number of businesses have cropped up that are offering to publish these books. However, many of these businesses are preying on the naiveté of those individuals seeking to birth their books. Sensing an opportunity for easy profit, these businesses charge exorbitant fees to help authors publish and market a book.

One author I met at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) complained that the vanity press he used to publish his book charged $1,000 to exhibit the book at the show. Think how many books that author would have to sell to recoup that $1000 fee, let alone the thousands of dollars that he paid to the publishing company to manufacture the book in the first place.

One Christian self-publishing company is charging authors an outrageous price to help them market their books. This company is charging $400 to set up a custom Twitter page and $500 to set up a Facebook author page. Really? Ouch!

Setting up a Twitter or Facebook page isn’t that hard. Getting followers is the hard part. The company isn’t offering to collect the followers, just set up the page. How many books would an author have to sell to recoup the $900 it costs just to set up some social media sites? Plenty, and I can assure you that those sales won’t come from just having a Facebook and Twitter account.

One author I spoke with at the International Christian Retail Show asked me how Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) marketing services differed from all the other people who had approached her about buying their marketing services. Here is what I told her.

  1. CSPA is not a marketing service. It is the most affordable Christian publishing association that exists. CSPA did not start with the idea of making money from providing services to publishers and authors. Rather, CSPA started with a group of three independently published authors who banded together to create a way to market in the Christian marketplace that was affordable for themselves and for others. That vision still guides CSPA today.
  2. CSPA does offer our members affordable cooperative marketing opportunities.
  3. However, CSPA’s main emphasis is on education. CSPA strives to teach our members how to affordably market their books on their own so that they don’t end up spending thousands of dollars on a predatory service provider while selling only a handful of books.
  4. Our ICRS membership special (on our website) is just $115 for membership through December 2015. That is almost 18 months of membership!

However, what continues to amaze me is how many authors just want a magic pill. They just want someone to tell them they can sell their books. The sales pitch is great and so the author buys the costly service, only to be disappointed and burned.

Whether it’s weight loss or book publishing, there is no magic pill. Rarely will an author recoup the high price that most publishing and marketing services charge. Your best bet is to do your homework and learn a few publishing and marketing techniques. Then use the services you buy as an ancillary to your own publishing and marketing efforts, not as a replacement.

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