We Want Your Vote!

If you read or sell Christian books, you are invited to VOTE for the 2015 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.

pencil voteYou can vote online right now at www.BookoftheYear.net. Voting on the Book of the Year Award is open through March 31, 2016.

Although small publishers are often less well known than larger publishing houses, they produce fresh and innovative books to inspire readers or fill niche needs. The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award honors books produced by small publishers for outstanding contribution to Christian life.

The 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award features 123 books in 14 categories.

The winners of this award are determined solely by the votes of Christian book lovers and retailers alike. The winners of the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award will be announced by May 1, 2016.

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

What are you waiting for? Go Vote! And, invite your friends to vote also!

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Publishing Industry Trends for 2016

At the beginning of January, I blogged about some marketing and publishing predictions for 2016 that I thought you should be aware of. These were great predictions, but not all were directly related to publishing and promoting a book. Today, I am going to talk about some tactics book publishers plan to engage in this year.

Trends

Book Business, a magazine for book production and manufacturing, recently conducted its annual Trendspotting Survey that asks leaders in the book industry to share what technology they plan to invest in and which products and platforms they anticipate will drive revenue growth for their publishing organizations for the coming year. A few of the insights Book Business gleaned from this year’s survey include:

1. Digital printing will grow in 2016.
More publishers indicated that they plan to spend dollars on print-on-demand for this year than previously. Since many answering this survey were larger publishers, this means that these publishers are transitioning more from traditional printing to print-on-demand.

2. Interest in email marketing is growing.
Last year email marketing was near the bottom of publisher’s technology priorities. This year over one-fourth of publishers reported that they plan to invest in email marketing.

3. eBooks and print books are expected to drive the most revenue growth in 2016.
Even though audiobooks make up one of the fastest growing segments of the book industry, most publishers believe ebooks and print books will lead revenue growth this year.

4. Social media will play a significant role in book marketing in 2016.
Book Business asked survey respondents what marketing platforms they think offer the greatest opportunity to grow profits. Two-thirds of respondents reported that social media offered the most opportunity for the coming year.

What do these trends mean for you, the small publisher or independently published author? I think there are two important things to note from these trends.

First, publishers are planning to invest more in email marketing this coming year. While social media is growing as a way to connect with consumers, email still remains one of the strongest marketing tools. Expert marketers consistently rank email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention with customers. Some statistics say that the average return is $44.25 for every $1 spent on email marketing. If you are not using email as part of your book promotion strategy, I encourage you to begin to do so this year.

Second, social media is here to stay. It is growing in as a tool for people to not only stay connected with others, but also as a news source. Studies show that 72% of all Internet users are now active on social media. Taking your message to where your audience hangs out is an important strategy in promoting a book. As such, social media is increasingly becoming an integral part of marketing campaigns as more people are hanging out on that medium.

So, as you plan your book promotion strategies moving forward, I encourage you to invest in both email marketing as well as social media to get the word out about your book.

Related Posts:
Predictions for 2016 That You Should Know
How to Effectively Use Social Media for Your Book
Email Marketing is Still Important

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How to Effectively Use Social Media for Your Book

You know you need to do more on social media to promote your books. However, the whole idea overwhelms you. Maybe you are afraid of getting sucked into a black hole that you can’t escape. Maybe you just aren’t sure how to go about using social media to promote your books.

This social media infographic by Pardot.com showcases how in just 30 minutes a day, you can make the most of social media. The infographic includes six major social networks: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram. If you don’t want to use all six, that is fine. Learn how to rock social media in less than 30 minutes a day and more effectively promote your book.

Related Posts:
A Successful Social Media Strategy
Social Media Success
Discovering Books Via Social Media

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Spending Precious Marketing Dollars

Budget. Many people cringe at that word. It conjures up images of over-spending, not being allowed to purchase something they want, or just plain control. Money is always a loaded topic.

money

Most independently published authors and small publishers have precious few dollars to spend on marketing. A budget is a must for them to follow. Because of limited funds these authors and publishers don’t want to take risks on spending their money. They want to know upfront what the expected rate of return on their investment will be—a smart question indeed.

However, I would caution you to be wise in evaluating the answer as well. No one platform works for all books. The answer you may be given might be the return on the book that did the best. Or, it might be an average return rate. You still have no assurance that your book will fare as well.

Just because one author’s book sold like gangbusters from a Facebook ad, does not mean your will do equally well. Just because one author received 20 media interviews from a press release blast does not mean you will.

There are too many variables to determine how well your book will do on in any one venue. Your best course of action to plan how you will spend your precious marketing dollars is as follows:

1. Ask other authors in your specific genre with the same target audience what has worked for them.
Knowing what has worked for other authors writing to the same target audience is a good place to start. These authors are reaching the same group of people, so they can show you where the most success is likely.

2. Test and retest.
Don’t just try a venue once and give up. Test the platform and evaluate your results. Then make adjustments to your advertising campaign and test it again. If nothing changes, test a different venue. Testing is necessary to develop a successful marketing strategy.

Marketing is tricky. No true formula exists. Trial and error and making smart choices are your best bets. Don’t fall for services that charge high dollar amounts and predict huge results. Rarely do these pan out.

Your marketing dollars are precious, so be wise. Learn from those who have gone before, keeping in mind that each book is unique. Make informed decisions on spending your marketing dollars, evaluate each venue, and make adjustments as results come in. Of course, prayer helps too. The Spirit can lead you into all wisdom.

Related Posts:
A Good Marketing Guideline
Marketing that Glorifies God
What Google’s Super Bowl Ad Says about Marketing

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Amazon is Not a Distributor

Last week I had the death flu. As I lay in my bed for four days in a cough-raked body in a fever-induced state of mind, I began to ponder the important questions. Questions like “When will ISIS be stopped?” and “How far will the Chinese economy fall and what impact will that have on economies around the World?” Then came the question, “Why do so many self-published authors think that Amazon is a distributor?” With that my brain said, “There’s a blog post,” and I knew I was on the road to recovery.

hand-out-books-t14745

Does Walmart buy books from Target to sell in their stores? Does Lifeway buy books from Family Christian to sell in their stores? Of course not. If one retailer bought product from another retailer, they would not make any money and would go under.

If you asked bookstore owners and managers who their biggest competitor is, many would say Amazon. That’s right. Amazon is a bookstore. It happens to be the largest bookstore in terms of sales in the United States. It is not a distributor.

Yet, so many independently-published authors seem to think that Amazon is a distributor. When I ask authors to list their distributor, many say Amazon. Why would a bookstore buy books from their largest competitor? That would simply help Amazon grow bigger and put the bookstore out of business.

Bookstores buy books from distributors, not their competition. Distributors sell books to bookstores at a discount, usually at 40 to 45 percent off the retail price. The bookstore then sells the book for the full retail price, keeping this 40 to 45 percent of retail price as their profit.

The larger distributors (and wholesalers) that bookstores buy books from are:

  • Ingram
  • Baker & Taylor
  • IPG
  • BookMasters
  • Spring Arbor (Christian bookstores)
  • STL (Christian bookstores)
  • Anchor Distributors (Christian bookstores)

There are also a myriad of smaller distributors around the country. Getting a bookstore to stock an independently published title is an uphill battle to start with. Unless your book is listed with a major distributor, you often don’t have a prayer of having bookstores stock your title.

Bookstores do not buy books from Amazon. Although, they will purchase the book directly from the publisher or author if a customer has asked the store to special order a book that is not listed in the bookstore’s distributor’s database.

So, if you are an independently published author and someone asks you who distributes your book, don’t say Amazon. That is where consumers buy books, not retailers.

Related Posts:
Helping You Be Successful
Dear Author
Amazon is Still King

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