Never Too Smart to Learn

I love getting together with other publishers and authors. There is always so much that I can learn from others in this business.

Earlier this month, at Publishers’ Institute: Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs at ICRS, I learned a number of things from the other two speakers who presented. I am going to share with you one of the things I learned.

Anne Fenske photoAnne Fenske, Publisher, Grace Acres Press, did a presentation on Juggling the Publishing Plates: Time Management for Entrepreneurial Publishers. One of the things Anne shared concerned the importance of contracts. As a publisher, I know contracts are important. I would never think of publishing someone’s work without first having a signed contract.

Anne reminded those of us who publish our own works that we need a contract with ourselves. When you own the publishing company and you are publishing one of your own books it is easy to forget that you still need to have a contract signed between yourself as the publisher and yourself as the author for rights and royalties.

Thank you, Anne, for this good advice! I need to do this and I will.

Publishers’ Institute: Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs was packed with more great information for publishers and authors.

I am excited to announce that Publishers’ Institute is now available in audio format!

For just $16.00 you can download and listen to this great two hour seminar for publishers (authors will benefit also). The download includes the audio of the seminar as well as an outline from each speaker in PDF format.

To download Publishers’ Institute: Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs presented at ICRS 2009 click here.

You will find listening to Publishers’ Institute is well worth the money you spend and the time you invest. Most other organizations charge over $50 for you to get this same information.

May you never grow too dull to learn.

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Is Nanoblogging Next?

Microblogging (think is all the rage. Emotions over the effectiveness of this Internet tool run high.

Some creative people have come up with a new idea: nanoblogging. Watch this mockumentary about a fictional company called Flutter that wants to take microblogging to the next level.

Whether you enjoy microblogging or abhor it, I think you will enjoy this video.

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A Case for ICRS

Every year for the past five years, the number of attendees and exhibitors at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) has declined. This year the numbers were down over 20 percent. As numbers drop, speculation runs high as to whether there is any value in continuing to host or attend a trade show, and whether it is still even a needed component in today’s highly virtual world.ICRS 2009

This year CBA reported that 1,903 professionals (i.e. retailers and media) attended the ICRS with 534 of these international attendees from 56 different countries. Even with declining attendance, I believe there are some compelling reasons why continuing such a show is important.

1. It’s the best forum to encourage and enhance collaboration.

The Christian retail industry is made up of many different suppliers all holding slightly different agendas. A once-a-year meeting of the industry allows the different components to see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ with a common mission: spreading the Gospel of Christ. The outcome of this is increased collaboration and encouragement to keep working together to meet this common objective.

2. It’s cost effective.

Yes, attending ICRS for publishers is costly. However, it is a lot less expensive then traveling around the world to meet with the 1,903 professional attendees who came to the show. Meeting many people in one place always saves time and expense.

3. It provides excellent exposure for new and smaller presses.

A gathering of the industry allows new and smaller publishers more exposure to Christian retailers then each would receive through just utilizing a sales rep. ICRS allows authors and publishers to talk with retailers about their books and the needs each meets. Retailers can receive copies of books to preview to assist them in their purchasing decisions.

While ICRS provides a wonderful opportunity for publishers to “catch new bookstores” to sell their books, it also opens doors for media exposure. One author at the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) booth had approached a Christian television show about featuring him and his book. The show turned him down. Someone from that very television show came to his book signing at ICRS and told him that his book should be featured on their show. With this new contact and the exposure he received at ICRS, he now has the opportunity for his book to be featured on the show.

4. There is no substitute for personal interactions.

We are relational creatures. While our world is moving toward increased digital interactions, these cannot and will not ever replace the power of personal human contact. It is common to overhear the phrase, “It’s so nice to finally meet you in person,” at ICRS. Personal connections sell books. ICRS provides opportunities for these connections and for building new relationships that will last for eternity.

I do not think CBA has any intention of abandoning a Christian Retail Show. I do know that they are looking at changes to keep it effective. Some of the changes they are considering involve further collaboration with other parts of the industry (rumor has it that there is talk of possibly combining ICRS and the Gospel Music Week).

Hebrews 10:25 says “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The Day is approaching. The industry still needs to meet and encourage one another. Whether through combining events or simply moving to a smaller, more cost-effective venue, a Christian retail show still provides a valuable service and meeting place for the industry. It should not be given up.

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Where is Your Hook Cast?

The Roman Poet, Ovid, wrote “Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.”

Where is your hook cast?fishing hook

Casting your hook in multiple pools increases your chances of snaring a fish. Put in marketing terms, this says, increasing the places you are generating exposure for your book increases the likelihood that you will find new readers and make more sales for your book.

Solomon offered similar advice in Ecclesiastes 11:1. He said, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.”

How many pools is your hook cast in?

Are all your hooks in the Internet? Then you are not casting in enough pools. Print has not yet passed away. In person appearances are still feasible as long as we have bodies. Not everyone uses the Internet to determine their purchases and find reading material.

Where you least expect it …

Isn’t this so true? Often people find our books in the places we least expect them to be exposed. Don’t overlook any opportunity. You never know where you will find a new reader.

Where have you caught an unexpected fish?

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