Dear Miss Guided:

Congratulations on your new book! I know that you put a lot of time and effort into both writing and publishing your book. You should be proud of what you have accomplished.
I am writing to beseech you to not throw away all the effort you have expended on bringing your book to fruition by neglecting to educate yourself on how to effectively promote and market your book.


Knowing how to promote your book effectively will bring in the sales that you seek. On the flip side, marketing your book poorly will not encourage people to buy your book.
No one likes a pushy salesman. Similarly, no one likes a pushy author. The truth is that few people apart from your close friends and family members even care that you wrote a book. So, don’t brag about it or push it on others.

I know that I may sound harsh, but please believe that I am not trying to hurt your feelings. Sometimes the truth is just painful. After all, Proverbs says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend”. As an independently published author myself, I am trying to help you.
I urge you, do not walk around at social gatherings such as dinner parties, cocktail parties, Superbowl parties and tell people about your book and where to buy it. Effective authors have conversations with people. If someone brings up an issue that your book speaks to, you can then naturally mention your book and how it addresses the issue in the normal course of the conversation.

Similarly, do not post “buy my book” message on social media. This includes blog comments, Facebook users’ walls, and Tweets. Posting “buy my book” messages is a waste of your time. People consider these types of messages SPAM and delete them. Instead of garnering interest in your book, you are annoying people and closing a channel of communication. Effective authors offer something useful to the conversation. Your time is more wisely spent engaging in the conversation at hand. Then, if it is appropriate, you can mention your book.

I hope that you will take the time to read this letter that I have written to you. I am trying to help you, not harm you. I fear, however, that you are too busy shouting about your new book to take the time to read my words.

If you do happen to read this and want to learn how to effectively market your book, there are many resources available to you. If your book is Christian in nature, you can get many helpful tips and ideas in my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. If you have a general market book, you might want to check out Sell Your Book Like Wildfire or Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.

I truly wish you the best with your new book. May it bless many people.

Best Wishes,
Sarah Bolme
Director, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA)
Author, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace

Related Posts:
A Successful Social Media Strategy
Social Media Success
Using Social Media Effectively

Bookmark and Share

Grab More Attention With Your Titles

We are drowning in a sea of information. Experts estimate that the average American citizen sees anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000 marketing messages a day. Whether that figure is the lower end number or the higher end number, the truth is, standing out is difficult. You have to do something creative or different to grab people’s attention.


Whether you are writing the title of your next book, the title of a blog post or article, or the headlines on your website, writing catchy phrases is important. It can help grab reader’s attention in a sea of information and make them stop for a moment to read your information or learn more.

One popular website that posts articles daily makes their writers craft 25 titles for every article. You read that right: 25 headlines. One of the reasons that this website is so popular is that they are using headlines that are creative and attract attention. When an author is forced to write multiple headlines or titles, the creative juices start flowing. Then, a creative, catchy title can be picked from the list.

To be honest, I don’t write 25 titles for each of my blog posts. I probably should, but I don’t. I usually write about five. Here are the five I came up with for this post:

  • Grab More Attention with Your Titles
  • Headlines: Your Chance to Engage Consumers
  • Is It Catchy?
  • Stand Out From the Crowd with Your Titles
  • Write Effective Headlines and Titles

I wish that I had written more working titles for my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. Now that this book has been around almost 10 years (there are three editions), I think the title is too long. I could have developed a better title if I had forced myself to write 25 working titles to choose from. I confess. I didn’t. I only wrote about six.

Whether you are crafting a headline for a blog post, a website, an article, or a title for your next book, I encourage you to brainstorm multiple headlines. Headlines and titles are your first and most important chance to engage readers. Make yours stand out from the crowd.

You can also try out this handy little tool that rates headlines and titles for their effectiveness. This analyzer not only gives you a rating, it gives ideas for improving your title. The Headline Analyzer can be found at CoSchedule.

I ran the title for this blog post through the Headline Analyzer. In doing so, I learned that headlines that contain about six words tend to earn the highest number of click-throughs.

I am curious. Did the title of this blog post draw you in?

Related Posts:
Becoming a Published Author
Call to Action

Bookmark and Share

Did This Prediction Miss the Mark?

Scribd, Enrich, Oyster, Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Over the past few years the number of ebook subscription services has grown. Many in the industry have claimed that ebook subscription services would eventually be the biggest player in the sales and consumption of ebooks.


Predictions abound in the publishing industry. Industry professionals are constantly looking at new trends to stay abreast of where the industry is headed so they don’t get left behind. Sometimes the predictions are correct. Sometimes they are not.

Early predictions on ebooks stated that by 2016, ebook sales would surpass print book sales. Two-thirds of the way through 2015, it is clear that this prediction will not be fulfilled. eBook sales growth stalled in 2013 and has remained constant at about 30% of book sales since. So, the prediction that ebook sales will overtake print book sales has now been shifted to the year 2018.

eBook predictions are not the only one the industry has gotten wrong. Now it appears that the early predictions for ebook subscription services may also be off. This summer Entitle, an ebook subscription service, shuttered its doors. This was just shortly after the company launched a special Christian book subscription choice for Christian book readers. Then just week or so ago, Oyster, a big contender in the ebook subscription service circle, announced that, after two years of operation, it too is shutting down operations.

Google has purchased Oyster. However, the company has not yet announced what it will do with it. This Internet giant is known for buying startup ventures and turning them into Google businesses. However, it is yet unknown whether Google will turn Oyster into a Google ebook subscription service.

With the closing of Enrich and Oyster, only two ebook subscription services are left: Scribd and Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Both have drawbacks for independent authors and small publishers. To have books listed with Scribd, an ebook must be distributed through Smashwords, BookBaby, or Draft2Digital. To have books available in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription service, the ebook must be exclusively offered via Amazon.

Maybe subscription book services may not become as large a part of book sales as originally predicted. Or, maybe the industry is shaking out. Much like Netflix and Amazon are the two biggest providers of streaming of movies, maybe Scribd and Amazon will be the two big providers of ebook subscription services.

Either way, subscription book services still have a place in the book publishing and selling world. Subscription services provide a good way for authors to become “discovered”. Research shows that readers are more likely to read a free or cheap book by an author they are unfamiliar with. However, if after reading the book, they like the story or content, they will often purchase and read other books by that author.

Have you had success with being “discovered” via an ebook subscription service? If so, share your experience with me.

Related Post:
Amazon is Still King
Develop a Global Strategy
Keeping Readers Engaged

Bookmark and Share


Hashtags. They are all over the Internet. You can find hashtags on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Periscope, to name a few social media sites touting these # signs.

book cover

Hashtags are linguistic shortcuts used on social network and microblogging services which make it easier for users to find conversations and information based on a specific theme or content. They also allow users to create a conversation thread around a specific theme or topic.

Adding hashtags to social media posts is one way to broaden your audience. Avid social media users follow hashtags on topics that they are interested in to see more posts on that subject and be part of the conversation. Hence, users will stumble across your content via the hashtags you use.

A few authors are using the hashtag trend to gain even more exposure for their books. These authors are assigning their books a hashtag title.

The first book I saw containing a hashtag title was at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) this summer. The book was titled #struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World. It was written by Craig Groeschel and published by Zondervan. It is officially releasing next month.

Shortly after the convention, #CompletelySingle: Learning How to Become the Right One Before Meeting the Right One by Damien K.H. Nash crossed my desk. This book was published by a member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

I think using a hashtag for a book title is an interesting idea. It is one way to increase exposure for a book, especially if the author chooses a hashtag that is fairly popular and widely used. It will be interesting to watch to see if this #hashtag title becomes a trend.

In the meantime, make sure that you are using effective hashtags with your social media posts. If you are not sure which hashtags you should use, you can find popular and trending hashtags on Hastagify and

Related Posts:
Do You Use Hashtags?
The Importance of Following Trends
Trends in Book Discovery

Bookmark and Share