The 2015 Book of the Year Award Winners!

The votes are in and counted. The winners of the 2015 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award have been determined!

About 6,000 Christian book lovers and retailers voted on 126 nominated titles in 13 categories. This year the voting was again very competitive. For the second year in a row, two categories had ties for first place!

2015 Award 1The winners in each of the 13 categories are:

Fiction: The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, Carole Brown, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Historical Fiction (tie): Rebekah’s Treasure, Sylvia Bambola, Heritage Publishing House, & Chasing the Butterfly, Jayme H. Mansfield, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Romance: Shenandoah Dreams, Lisa Belcastro, OakTara

Christian Living: The Gospel in Twenty Questions, Paul Ellis, KingsPress

Bible Study / Theology (tie): The Praying Church Handbook – Volume II: Personal and Family Prayer, P. Douglas Small, Editor, Alive Publications, & Paul’s Letters to the Early Church, Trina Bresser Matous, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Devotional: My Resurrected Heart: A Codependent’s Journey to Healing, Diane M. Jellen

Biography: Bury Me with My Pearls, Jane Jenkins Herlong, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Relationships / Family: My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses, Hal and Melanie Young, Great Waters Press

Children’s (age 4 to 8): Nutshell Prayers for Kids, Sue Riger, Brush and Quill Productions

Children’s (age 8 to 12): Corrie ten Boom, Kaylena Radcliff, Christian History Institute

Young Adult (age 12+): Four Years, Two Roads: Finding Eternal Significance in High School, Derek Kim, Concerning Life Publishing

Gift Book: The Prayer Shawl: Wrapped in God’s Love, Susan Fitzsimonds–author, Mary Gregg Byrne– illustrator, Nelson Publishing and Marketing

Christian Education: Their Name is Today, Johann Christoph Arnold, Plough Publishing House

Congratulations to the winners!

2015 Award 2The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Looking for a great book to read next? Try one of the winners of the CSP Book of the Year Award listed here.

Bookmark and Share

Three Book Truths

The other week, I did a short interview for Author School. One of the things I talked about in my interview was three book truths.

Torn Truth

I believe these three book truths are extremely important for independently published authors to know. After sharing these truths during the interview, I thought you, the readers of my blog, might also like to learn about these three truths.

Book Truth #1: Producing a book is the easy part. Finding a way to tell potential book buyers about your book is the difficult part.

So many new authors think the difficult part is writing and publishing the book. Yes, this part is hard work. But, the brunt of the work comes in promoting it. Activities to promote your book are endless, but they must be done consistently and continually to let your potential buyers know about your book.

Book Truth #2: Unless a book is easily accessible, publicity for it is a waste of time and money. If people can’t buy your book easily, they are unlikely to do so.

We live in an instant gratification society. People want what they want now. There are so many distractions that if someone can’t get what they are looking for right away, they will move on to something else. If you want to sell your book, make sure your it is available for sale in multiple places where people purchase books.

Book Truth #3: Not everyone will love your book.

So many independently published authors get upset when they get a negative review. The truth is, not everyone is going to like your book. That is okay. Negative reviews should not overly concern you unless you are receiving more negative reviews than positive ones. When negative reviews outweigh the positive, this usually signals that changes need to be made in a book.

While there are many more book truths than the three listed here. I believe these three are essential for every author to grasp. Holding onto these three book truths can help any author be more successful in selling his or her book.

Bookmark and Share

Develop a Global Strategy

To develop a global strategy is a vital move for indies if they want a profitable future. With the media so globalized, and readers all over the world able to find and buy books online, independent publishers can be ‘much more confident and active’ in global markets.” ~Sandy Grant, CEO of Hardie Grant Publishing

Sandy Grant is right. To maximize sales and profits, publishers and independent authors should move to the global market.

A new Pew study backs up this strategy. The study found that Internet use in emerging and developing countries is highest among younger, more affluent, better educated users who read English. The study also found that people who read or speak English are more likely to access the Internet overall (irregardless of other factors). This is significant for English-language book publishers. English-speaking people around the world are the most likely to use the Internet. This means that these people are also more likely to purchase ebooks.

eBook subscription services are aware of the profit potential in global access. Oyster is already beginning to expand internationally and Bookmate (a Russian-based digital subscription reading service) has launched its service in Singapore.

PG_15.03.11_Internet-Access_640px_WebThe Pew study found that Chile, Venezuela, Russia, and China have Internet access rates higher than 60%, with the United States having an Internet access rate of 87%. Many developing countries rates are still under 50%.

The study noted that once online, Internet users in emerging and developing nations have embraced socializing as their most preferred type of digital activity—with most saying they stay in touch with friends and family online. Many also use cyberspace for getting information about politics, health care and government services. Less common are commercial and career activities, such as searching or applying for a job, making or receiving payments, buying products and taking online classes.

So, while Internet access and activity is increasing around the world, buying products (including books) online is still lagging. However, as Internet activity continues to increase, buying of ebooks will also increase. Making your books available worldwide may not reap immediate profits, but the global strategy is one that will need to be embraced as we move into the future.

Bookmark and Share

Amazon’s New Review Options

Book reviews are important. Consumers read reviews before buying a product. In fact, studies show that six out of ten consumers refer to online reviews before they decide what to buy. Books are not exempt. Reviews sway readers to either buy or not buy a book.

amazon rating

Amazon knows that reviews are important. That is why they allow reviews on their site and why they purchased Goodreads. Goodreads is all about reviewing and recommending books to other readers. Amazon knows that this drives book sales.

Additionally, Amazon has made it extremely easy to post reviews on their e-commerce site. All one has to do is 1) have purchased a product, 2) write a sentence, or two, or three about a product, and 3) select a star rating (1 to 5 stars) for the product.

It appears that Amazon is testing a new way to write reviews on books. They are beta testing a series of drop-down menu items that reviewers can complete in addition to rating the book (1-5 stars) and writing their thoughts. These drop-down menu selections include four questions from a variety that Amazon is using including:

  • How is the author’s writing? Responses: poor, okay, good, great
  • Is there violence? Responses: no, some, graphic
  • Is there sexual content? Responses: no, some, explicit
  • How would you describe the pace? Responses: slow, steady, fast
  • How would you describe the characters? Responses: one-dimensional, well-developed, complex
  • How is the story narrated? Responses: first, second, third, alternating, I don’t know
  • How would you describe the plot of this book? Responses: predictable, some twists, full of surprises
  • Which of these words best describes the mood? Responses: hopeful, dark, nostalgic, light-hearted, suspenseful, thoughtful

As of yet, it appears that Amazon is not including these ratings from the drop-down menu items in the posted review. It will be interesting to track to see if they begin aggregating this information for each book and posting it in one area in the review section or if each individual reviewer’s ratings will be shown.

What do you think about this new rating system Amazon is testing for reviews of books?

Bookmark and Share

Do You Have a Bookmark?

With more print books still being consumed than digital books, bookmarks are still important. Print book readers need to mark where they are when they put a book down for a while. Most people don’t like to dog ear the pages of their books.

Since readers still need bookmarks, bookmarks remain a good marketing tool for authors. If you are promoting a book, make some bookmarks to give away. Bookmarks are inexpensive to create and they can help promote your books.

Carry your bookmarks with you and hand them out wherever you go. At the doctor’s office, if you see someone reading offer the person one of your bookmarks. In the airport, offer readers your bookmark to use in their book. Give some of your bookmarks to your local church library to offer to their patrons. Give them to your friends and acquaintances. The places you can hand out bookmarks are endless.

Check out this humorous look at what people do when they don’t have a bookmark.

Bookmark and Share