Great Reads for Christians

Did you know that May is “Get Caught Reading” month? What will you get caught reading this month?

Each year, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) puts together a cooperative catalog featuring products from our member publishers. This year’s catalog features 78 titles from 26 of our member publishers.

I invite you to click on the catalog cover pictured below to check out the great titles CSPA member publishers produce! You might find a new book to read this month.

Due the the number of beautiful book covers featured in the catalog, it may take a few minutes to load. Please be patient.

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United in Prayer

Today in honor of National Day of Prayer, I invite you to join with me in prayer for our country and for authors and publishers.

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Heavenly Father:

You are the creator of heaven and earth. You hold all things together. I praise you for your creative design and the creativity with which you have made us and placed within each of us.

I thank you for the United States of America and the freedoms that I have to freely speak and worship you. I ask that you would place it in the hearts of our leaders to protect these freedoms for our nation. May our nation continue to be a light of democracy and religious freedom for the world to follow.

For both our local and national leaders, I ask that they would be filled with integrity and that the decisions they make would be for the good of all. I ask that the judges in our court systems would make fair decisions. For the churches, I ask that you would give them renewed zeal and purpose to the mission of the Gospel.

Your word tells us that if we lack wisdom, to ask for it. Today, I ask you for wisdom. I especially ask for wisdom for Christian publishers and authors: Wisdom to know what to publish, and wisdom to create and execute a marketing plan that would reach the people who need to hear the published word. For Christian authors in particular, I ask that you would fill them with creative ideas that bring kingdom principles and life-giving messages to readers. Most importantly, I ask for wisdom to discern your voice and then the courage to engage in the tasks that you ask us to.

I specifically ask that you, who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will also supply and increase our store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of our righteousness. Bless us abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that we need, we will abound in every good work.

Father, you alone are able to do abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine according to your power that is at work within us. To you be glory and power both now and forevermore.

Amen

Don’t Miss This Opportunity

Over 200 books by small publishers and independently published authors pass my desk each year. That is a lot of books that I get to look at and learn from.

A Bead and a Prayer

Some of these books have great elements that fascinate me and I think are wonderful marketing techniques and ideas. Others, while good books, sometimes miss important opportunities.

A Bead and A Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads by Kristen E. Vincent was one of the books nominated for the 2014 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. The book caught my eye mostly because of its unique subject matter, but also because it has a nicely designed cover.

The book is a short read. I read it quickly. At the end, I noticed that the author gave instructions on how to make prayer beads and included websites where readers could purchase supplies to make their own prayer beads. For those who were not interested in making their own prayer beads, four websites were mentioned where pre-made Protestant prayer beads could be purchased. I think all these resources were great.

However, one of the buzz phrases in publishing today for authors is, “Don’t look at a book as an end product.” In other words, consider the ways your book can direct readers to make more purchases—whether that is for a service or a product.

This author did miss an opportunity. She missed the opportunity to sell Protestant prayer beads directly to her readers either through her own website or through partnering with someone who made these beads via an affiliate relationship. Doing either of these would have brought the author increased revenue, as well as allowed her to collect customer information for future marketing efforts.

I encourage you to take this message to heart and don’t miss an opportunity with your next book.

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2Way Template

Having just gone through the process of publishing a book both in print and ebook format, I have a fresh understanding of the work it takes to create two book entities. I wish it were as simple as taking a file for a print book and pressing a button to convert it to an EPUB. But, alas, it is not.

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Those of you who have been through this process know that it takes more work than simply choosing a file type to convert a print book file into an ebook-ready file. You know that ebooks, due to their continuous flow, require adjustment of the print book file. Images are also tricky to manage in ebook layout. Then there is the text font. If your original print book did not use a common/standard font, the font type has to be changed for the ebook version.

This all adds up to a lot of frustration for many authors and publishers because they usually end up formatting a book twice: once for print and once for ebooks.

Fortunately, one company has come to the rescue. BookDesignTemplates.com sells pre-designed book templates for Microsoft Word. They have just recently come up with a template that can be used for both print and ebook formatting.

This new “2Way” Template is specifically designed to provide the fastest way to format a great looking print book that can be directly converted to any of the major e-reader platforms from the same file—without making changes or adjustments.

BookDesignTemplates.com is selling its 2Way Template in three designs on their website at www.bookdesigntemplates.com/template-gallery. Check them out.

I think that the 2Way Template is a wonderfully innovative idea to help small publishers and independently published authors streamline their workflow. What do you think?

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Wearable Books?

Technology keeps marching forward. Some ideas take hold and blossom, while others seem to never grab the public.

A new project out of MIT called Sensory Fiction is attempting to relay characters’ emotions in a book through networked sensors and actuators worn by the reader. It appears to be a little like a 4D movie for books (not just visual, but including sensory elements).

Watch this video to learn more about this interesting idea.

Then, tell me what you think. Do you think this is something that will catch on? Will there be “wearable books” in the future?

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