One Million Free Books: A Great Publicity Stunt

In 2005, Joyce Schneider published a paperback book, Chili and Chocolate Cake, with Tate Publishing. The book is available for $15.95 on and has garnered 30 reviews on the site.

Now Joyce is giving away free copies of her book (in ebook format) from her website. This author wants to give away one million copies of her book.

Why one million? Because offering one million free books leads to publicity. Simply offering an ebook for free only grabs a little media attention while offering one million ebooks for free gets a lot of media attention.

Beyond publicity, what does giving away one million copies of the ebook version of her book do for Joyce?

I think it accomplishes three great things:

1. It introduces a large number of Christians to her speaking services.

Joyce is not just an author, she is an author with a speaking platform. Giving away her ebook allows Joyce to introduce her message and speaking services to a wide audience. Chances are she will be able to increase her speaking engagements as a result of this. Some of the people who download her ebook and read it will be influencers in their churches. When her message resonates with them, they will want to have Joyce come speak to women in their church.

2. It allows Joyce to aggregate a large mailing list of readers interested in Christian books.

In order to download the free ebook on Joyce’s website, readers must supply an email address. Through collecting all these email addresses, Joyce will have a large email list to use in promoting her next book and her speaking services.

3. It provides a healing ministry to many people.

Joyce is clear on her website that she had an abortion in 1985 and that the trauma of this event followed her for many years, keeping her from fully enjoying her life. It was only through God’s grace and forgiveness that she was able to move beyond the shadow of this event to fully embrace healing and the blessings God has bestowed upon her. Thousands of women (and men) need to hear her testimony and experience God’s forgiveness and grace in this area of their lives. In offering her ebook for free, Joyce is ministering to many hurting souls and offering her talent to God for his use.

This author is maximizing the use of her free ebook to promote herself, her book, and her speaking services. Christian authors should take note of her ploy and consider how you can launch your own book promotion to maximize your marketing and ministry efforts.

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Use Bargains to Lure Customers

Did you know that the average Christian Internet viewer is 31 percent more likely than the average Internet viewer to download coupons?

I think this statistic, courtesy of Advocace Media, says two important things about Christian Internet users:

  1. They are cost conscious.
  2. They are looking for bargains.

What implication does this have for you, a publisher or author, trying to sell books to Christian readers?

Offer a bargain.

Present your potential customers with a cost-saving way to purchase your books. Change your cost-saving technique regularly to keep people returning to your website. On a regular basis, present your customers with different promotions to purchase your book “on-sale.” Rotate your promotions to drive people to purchase your book.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Host a sale using a dollar figure or a percentage off the retail price of each book.
  • Hold a special with free shipping or a bundled free product.
  • Promote cost-savings on purchasing your books with a coupon.

Each of your promotions should have an expiration date. This way you can initially announce your sale and then remind people of your sale. When your sale is reaching its expiration date, you can let your potential customers know that they only have a few days left to lock into your special rate.

Rotating and staggering promotions can be helpful in enticing cost conscious shoppers and bargain hunters to purchase your books. However, holding a continuous sale or continual back-to-back promotions can backfire.

Continual sales or promotions that keep your books on sale all the time can send the wrong message to savvy customers. These customers end up thinking your books are only worth the sale price.

I suggest you pick three to six cost-saving promotions that you can run each year. Run these special sales from two weeks to one month at a time. Give ample time between your specials to list your books at regular price and then lure your potential customers back with a new sale.

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Selling Books in the Christian Market

I was recently interviewed on the Christian Authors Show, an internet radio show that showcases authors of Christian books.

In the interview I discuss marketing Christian books and how selling books in the Christian marketplace differs from selling books in the secular market.

Click the link below to listen to what I had to say.

Sarah Bolme on the Christian Authors Show

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What Google’s Super Bowl Ad Says about Marketing

Google is the top- ranked search engine on the Internet. Over 60 percent of all searches on the Internet are done using Google. I admit it. Google is my search engine of choice.

If Google is number one, why did they spend $3 million dollars for a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl?

I believe Google understands an important fundamental about marketing.

Marketing is a never-ending process for a successful business. The number one place Google maintains can easily slip to number two or three if they become complacent.

Consumers are fickle. In today’s world, consumers are bombarded by so many choices that sticking to one brand or one website is no longer a guarantee.

Consider Myspace. When social networking first became popular, Myspace was the top social networking website. All through 2007 and 2008, Myspace had more daily visitors than Facebook. In 2009, Facebook became the most popular social networking site and Myspace is now ranked a distant second behind Facebook.

Have you ever found yourself reminded of a product brand or website you used to use but somehow it just dropped off your radar? I have, and when I was reminded of the brand, the next time I wanted that product, I once again purchased the brand that had fallen off my radar.

Google understands this. They know they must stay vigilant and keep placing their name in front of consumers to maintain their number one place.

What can authors and publishers learn from Google?

It’s simple. Market, market, market, market and never stop marketing as long as you want to sell books. Keeping your book in front of buyers is essential for making sales.

If you have not seen Google’s Super Bowl ad, watch it now.

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Vote for the Book of the Year Award

All Christian book readers are invited to vote for the 2010 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.

Readers can vote online now at Voting on the Book of the Year Award is open through March 31, 2010.

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 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is offered for books in each of eight categories: Fiction, Biography, Christian Living, Relationships/Family, Bible Study/Theology, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, and Young Adult (12+ years). The winners of this award are determined solely by the votes of Christian retailers and book lovers alike.

Christian retailers are invited to also vote for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. In honor of Small Press Month, Christian retailers are encouraged to highlight the books they vote for in their stores during the month of March.

The winners of the 2010 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award will be announced on April 15, 2010.

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

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