Are You Marketing Effectively?

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!”

This old saying still holds truth. It warns you not to put all your prospects or resources in one thing or place—lest you lose everything.

Is all your book promotion done digitally online? If so, you are guilty of placing all your marketing efforts in one basket.

Traditional media—radio, television, and print—is not dead! Do you still watch TV? Do you listen to the radio? Do you read print magazines and catalogs?


If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you can rest assured that your target audience is also utilizing these forms of traditional media. In fact, studies show:

  • Over two-thirds of Americans still read print magazines.
  • 23% of Americans still read a paper copy of a daily newspaper.
  • 48% of Americans listen to local radio.
  • 56% of Americans say receiving snail mail is a pleasure.

Yes, digital media is significant and you should be using content marketing and digital advertising to promote your books. However, don’t neglect print. Utilizing both mediums is a more effective strategy in reaching readers—and you’re not putting all your efforts in one basket.

Following are five easy suggestions for including traditional media in your book promotion activities.

1. Mail postcards to your customers announcing new books or specials you are hosting.

Snail mail is more expensive than an email blast, however, it has a higher open rate. The average open rate for opt-in email newsletters or updates is about 22%. However, the open rate for snail mail is closer to 70%. Surveys show that 79% of snail mail receivers act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45% for email.

2. Advertise in a print catalog or magazine.

Interestingly, VistaPrint, which is a large online printing service recently began sending out print catalog of their products to customers. In the past, they have sent promotional mailings, but recently, they have added a print catalog. Catalogs are still powerful. All the major companies and book publishers still invest in print catalog. That is why Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) provides our members the opportunity to participate in a cooperative print catalog to showcase their books each year.

3. Send a select number of media pitches with your media kits via snail mail to local radio shows and print publications.

Of course, you don’t want to send all your press materials and pitches via regular mail—that would be too costly. However, send a few to local sources and track your responses. After all, 70% of people open most of their mail. If you hand address your envelopes, you will increase your chances of your pitch being read.

4. Participate in in-person events to promote your books.

There are many in-person events that you can attend to promote your books. From local festivals to book fairs to national book trade conventions. This is one reason that Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) provides our members with Trade Show Representation. We make it affordable for our members to attend in-person book events. Coming up in early 2017, members of CSPA will be able to attend the upcoming National Religious Broadcasters Convention with us to showcase their books and connect with media personnel and ministry leaders.

5. Print business cards and hand them out.

Business cards are still widely used. Every time I go to an event and meet people, business cards are still exchanged. A business card helps me remember the people I meet and provides an easy follow up reminder. When printing your business cards, I suggest that you include a coupon or a code for a dollar amount off the purchase of your book. Make the code specific for your business card, then you can track how effective your business cards are.

Overreliance on any one book promotional vehicle reduces your chances for success. Studies show that people need to hear about a new product multiple times in different ways before they are ready to act and purchase the product. The same is true for your book and your target audience. Use multiple vehicles for promotion, including both digital and traditional media, to increase your chances of success.

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The Influential Power of Books

Books have power. Books have the power to influence people. They have the power to change lives.

Indeed, the influence of a book is magnified when the book influences someone who influences others.

Grammy Award winner and hip-hop artist, Lecrae, talks about the influence of books in his own life in his autobiographical song “Non-Fiction”. In this song, Lecrae says:

Shortly after I got a hold of Tim Keller’s books
Man I promise you it’s like my whole life changed
Andy Crouch wrote a book about culture-makin’
And after that I had to make a slight change.

Timothy J. Keller is an American pastor, theologian and Christian apologist who has authored a number of books. Andy Crouch is the Executive Editor of Christianity Today and the author of a number of books.

If you are an author, then you are an influencer. The words you pen have the power to influence others’ lives. When the influence is Gospel influence, God is magnified.

While you might not be an influencer on the level of Tony Evans or Kay Arthur, when you author a book, you still become an influencer. You influence those individuals who read your book—whether that is 50 people or 50,000 people. When the people who read your book are themselves influencers, your influence trickles down to their audiences. The effect is that your influential reach is multiplied.

I encourage you to take this responsibility seriously. Use your words to build others up and point them in directions that lead to Eternal peace. Then the blessing of God will be upon your books.

Take heart. Your message has an impact on those who read your books. Such is the power of the written word.

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How to Get a Book into a Christian Bookstore

Hello. I published a series of books through Createspace. I just returned from a Christian retail trade show and discovered that if I want my books in Christian stores, publishing through Createspace is not the way to go. I have your book and I wanted you to know this information. I think you should include it in your next edition.

This message was recently left on my voicemail. The gentleman on the message did not leave a return phone number or an email, so I could not get back in touch with him. So, instead, I will respond to this statement in a blog post and educate everyone.



Of course, my immediate reaction to this voicemail message was, “Did you read my book?”

In Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, I devote a whole chapter to “Secure Distribution” where I talk about how Christian bookstores order products from distributors. Rarely do bookstores order books directly from authors or small publishers. In the chapter, I list the distributors from whom Christian bookstores order products.

Maybe, I did not make the message clear enough in the book. So, I will attempt to clarify. Here are three important things to know about getting your books into Christian bookstores.

1. It is extremely difficult to get Christian bookstores to stock titles from independently published authors and small publishers.

Note that I said “extremely difficult”, not “impossible”. In fact, a number of authors and publishers who are members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have had success in getting Christian bookstores to carry their titles, especially independent Christian bookstores.

In fact, in my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, in the chapter titled “Reach Christian Retailers” I talk about how difficult it is to get a book in a bookstore. I state, “For every available bookstore shelf space, there are 1,000 or more titles competing for that shelf space. In essence, any given book has less than a 1% chance of being placed on a bookstore shelf”.” The competition is stiff.

2. How the book is published is irrelevant; who is listed as the publisher is important.

With limited shelf space, Christian bookstores have to be careful about which books they choose to showcase. First, they must be assured that the book is the right theological bent for their customer base. Second, they must have some confidence that the book will sell.

Christian bookstores by and large purchase books published by the large well-known Christian publishing houses and written by established Christian authors. These are entities that Christian booksellers trust. Most Christian retail stores won’t touch a book that is obviously self-published—in other words, one that lists Createspace as the publisher. Even Barnes and Noble will not stock a book produced by Createspace in their physical bookstores. The company views Amazon as its competitor.

If an independent author is serious about getting his books into Christian bookstores, then, that author should use a business entity (publishing house or ministry) as the publisher name on his books.

You can produce a book through CreateSpace and do this. Instead of having CreateSpace assign an ISBN number to your book, you must purchase your own ISBN number through Bowker. This number is assigned to your business name. When your book is published, it will show up as published by your business name, not Createspace, both on Amazon and in distribution.

3. Having your book in the right distribution channels is required for a Christian bookstore to stock it.

There are always exceptions, but, by-and-large, most Christian bookstores won’t order books directly from an independent publisher or a small publisher. These stores simply don’t want to mess with multiple accounts. Instead, they order in batches from a distributor, making their accounting and return process much easier.

Additionally, Christian bookstores, for the most part, don’t order books from Ingram or Baker & Taylor (and definitely not from Amazon, which is a retailer). These distributors cater to the general market. Instead, Christian bookstores order from Christian distributors of which there are two main ones: Spring Arbor and Anchor Distribution.

Even if your book is selling like hotcakes, Christian bookstores won’t stock it unless they can order it from a Christian distributor. Createspace’s expanded distribution will place your book in Ingram, but not in Spring Arbor (unless you work hard to get them to do so).

I believe the gentleman on my voicemail was a little put out because he had spent a large amount of money to attend the Christian retail show and had little success. This is one reason that Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) offers our members trade show representation. Member authors and publishers of CSPA can present books to Christian retailers at a fraction of the cost of hosting their own booth at a show, reducing both costs and risk.

Publishing through Createspace is not the issue. The issue is knowing how to present your book to Christian bookstores so that the bookstores are confident your book is unique, what their consumers want, and will sell. Then, having the book available through Christian distribution will clinch the deal.

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Do You Have This Habit?

“Motivation gets you started. Habit keeps you going.” ~Jim Rohn

One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t the due to decision making, but were habits.

The beauty of habits is that we don’t have to think about whether we are going to do the activity or not. It is simply part of our daily routine. We shower, brush our teeth, eat lunch, walk the dog, and check our email without pondering whether we should do the activity or not. These are all habits that are part of our daily routine.


Successful, productive people have work-related habits that drive their daily behavior. These work habits keep them from being distracted and getting off track. As a result, productive people can accomplish more tasks then someone who is constantly getting distracted or making a decision about whether he should do a work-related activity or not.

As a writer, you should have a writing habit that is part of your day. Maybe you set aside an hour every morning before you go to work or your family members rise to write. Maybe you write on your lunch hour. If you want to produce more books, having writing be part of your daily habit is a good way to ensure that you do.

One member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) says that writing a book was always on his bucket list. However, it did not become a reality until he decided to set aside one hour a day for writing. He has now written more than four books. You can bet that his writing hour is now a habit.

If you are an independently published author, then performing marketing activities each day should be included in your daily routine. That way, you don’t need to think about whether you are going to approach a blogger, submit a guest post to a blog, or create an advertisement each day. You simply know you are going to do a marketing activity, so you just have to choose which one.

Have you made it a daily habit to:

  1. Spend a few minutes on social media connecting with and informing others?
  2. Create material to use in your ongoing content marketing efforts?
  3. Perform at least one (hopefully more) marketing activity for your book(s)?
  4. Follow trending news stories that relate to your book’s topic so you can jump on media opportunities?

The good news is that it is never too late to start a new habit. If writing or marketing are not part of your daily routine, make them a part of it. Make these activities a habit that becomes automatic and you will begin to experience more success.

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Book Review Scare

Reviews drive sales of books. According to one analysis of online recommendation systems: “Review systems have casual and positive effects on sales; to nobody’s surprise, books with more and better reviews are shown to sell better.”

Readers do look for reviews written by other reader to help determine whether a book is worth buying. Therefore, good reviews drive more book sales.


Recently, Amazon put out an update on Customers Reviews on their website. In the update, Amazon stated, “Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program.”

Incentivized reviews refer to products given for free in exchange for a review.

Of course, this update scared a number of authors. Does this mean that authors can no longer give out free books in exchange for a review on Amazon?

Fortunately, at the end of their announcement, Amazon wrote, “The above changes will apply to product categories other than books. We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books.”

So, take a deep breath. Book reviews resulting from a complimentary copy of your book on Amazon are still safe.

As an author, you need multiple reviews to drive book sales. The more reviews your book has on Amazon, the bigger and better it looks to consumers. If you are struggling to secure reviews for your book or just want to learn some tips for getting more reviews, check out my new on-demand seminar Book Reviews: Tips for Getting More Reviews.

This one hour on-demand seminar covers the importance of book reviews, how to ask readers for reviews, how to find bloggers to review your books, how to secure more online book reviews, and how to respond to reviews. You can view this on-demand seminar for just $25 at

As always, members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have free access to this on-demand seminar on CSPA’s website at

Learn how to get more reviews for your books. More reviews can help you sell more books.

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