Are You Attending ICRS?

The International Christian Retail Show is just two weeks away!

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) will be hosting their second annual seminar for publishers (including self-publishers), or anyone interested in becoming a publisher, at ICRS in Denver this summer.

If you are planning on attending ICRS, make sure to include Publishers’ Institute in your schedule.

Publishers’ Institute: Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs will be held on Monday, July 13, 2009, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm in Mineral Hall B&C, 3rd Floor of the Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center.

Attendees will learn tips for success in publishing from experienced professionals in Christian publishing. Topics presented include:

  • Juggleing the Publishing Plates: Time Management for Entrpreneurial Publishers
    Presenter: Anne Fenske, Grace Acres Press
  • Digital Printing, eBooks, and the Changing Landscape of Publishing
    Presenter: Don Leeper, BookMobile
  • Internet Publicity for the New Millennium
    Presenter: Sarah Bolme, Christian Small Publishers Association

Individuals interested in attending the seminar can read more about each presenter and register for the Publishers’ Institute at www.christianpublishers.net. The cost to attend the seminar is $20.00. Registration will also be taken at the event.

If you are attending ICRS, please stop by and introduce yourself to me. I would love to meet you. You can find me at Publishers’ Institute on Monday night or in the CSPA Booth #1948 on the exhibit floor during the week.


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A Little Yeast and Self-Publishing

A number of self-published books cross my path. I look at all of them and read many of them. I am in the middle of reading one right now. The author and the book shall remain nameless.

For years self-published books have had a bad rap. As more authors have self-published and this arena has grown, the way the industry (and subsequently society) views self-published books is beginning to change (Thank you Lord!). For instance, recently, the American Society for Journalists and Authors (ASJA) accepted a self-published author into its membership for the first time in the history of the organization.

The bad rap that has nagged self-published books for years is not entirely undeserved. Take the book that I am currently reading. In the first chapter the author has made a number of errors in referring to Biblical stories. The author stated that Sarah was Abraham’s stepsister. For those that know their Bible, Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister; the daughter of his father, but not of his mother (Genesis 20:12). This author also states that 11 of Jacob’s sons were born in the land of Canaan. Again, for those that know their scriptures, 11 of Jacob’s sons were born in Haran (in Northwest Mesopotamia, now a part of modern Turkey) outside of Canaan (Genesis 27). In addition to this author’s gaffes in reference to scripture, the first chapter contains three typos and one grammar error. Of course, I only found one. My husband, the Grammar Gestapo, might find more.

It is these types of issues coupled with amateur cover designs and poorly typeset interiors that have helped lead to the poor reputation self-published books have historically held. While the book I am reading is on a subject that I have not seen any other Christian books address for quite some time, I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to others. The errors alone are enough for me to throw away the book.1041233_hand_making_of_bread_1

I am by no means denigrating self-published books. There are many superior examples of fine self-published books that you would not be able to tell apart from any book published by a large publishing house, except by looking at the name of the publisher. Paul, in I Corinthians 5:6, says “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?” A few bad books can wreak havoc with the reputation of all self-published books.

I have published some of my own books and I would recommend doing so to others. If God has given you a message and called you to publish it, then by all means do so. However, please make sure that you do the following two things before your book sees print.

  1. Hire someone to edit and proofread your work. Make sure that the person who is editing knows their Bible and theology so that they can help keep the integral message intact while catching errors you have made. One publisher recently complained to me that the editor he hired changed some wording in a way that completely changed the Biblical message he was attempting to give.
  2. Wrap your words in a pretty package. Presentation is important. If you are working for the Lord, rather than man (Colossians 3:23), should you not make sure that your book reflects this? Would someone give a king a present in a garbage bag? The same is true for your book. It should reflect the character of God. Therefore, make sure that you have a cover design that is professional and an interior layout that is pleasing to the eye.

Many authors tell me that they can’t afford these extra services. If this is the case for you, I suggest that you hold off publishing and seek God to provide the financing for these services as an assurance from him that you are to move ahead with self-publishing.

The author of the book I am reading has a great point to make. However, I doubt that this author will sell many copies of his book because of his lack of attention to the details and the packaging. May it not be so for you.


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The Green Machine?

Everywhere you turn, you hear about “Green” technology and initiatives. Green technology is all about conserving our natural environment and resources through reducing waste and creating new renewable, less-harmful resources.

Since publishers print paper books, they are not immune to this trend toward “greener” ways to produce products. Books are paper which comes from trees. Many people are concerned about deforestation to feed our paper needs (although toilet paper is a huge culprit and I like the two-ply soft, plushy kind best). Publishers have been encouraged to consider recycled paper as well as alternative forms of producing books (i.e. digital books).

The new Espresso Book Machine is like a vending machine for books. Could this machine be one of the answers for reducing remainders and pulping of leftover books?

Check it out!


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Your Book on a T-Shirt!

Ever thought of putting your book on a t-shirt? It’s cheap (under $10) and offers a great way to advertise your book to everyone you come in contact with.

Better yet, purchase 20 t-shirts with your book cover image. Put your website information on the back and give them to all your friends (for free of course). Each time your friends wear the shirts, you will get publicity for your book.

To get the most of your t-shirt, pick a snazzy color and make sure your images are attractive to draw attention.

Think this is an odd idea?  Think again.

Jason Sadler is a creative entrepreneur. He is wearing t-shirts for money.t-shirts

Jason decided to wear a different shirt for 365 days straight this year. Companies are paying Jason to wear their shirt for one day. Jason takes pictures of himself in each shirt and blogs about the shirt and the company on his blog.

Each day Jason wears a shirt this year is being sold at “face value.” In other words, January 1 cost the company a $1.00 to have Jason wear their shirt. December 31 will cost a company $365 to have Jason wear their shirt. Jason has currently sold all but about 30 days of 2009.

So, to have Jason wear your t-shirt and blog about the shirt and your book for one day in 2009 would cost you over $300. To have your friends wear your t-shirt multiple times over the next year or more would cost you under $200.

Do the math, then go Google t-shirt printing companies.

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