Are You Trapped Over or Under?

I recently came across a principle called Amara’s Law (also known as Saffo’s Law and Clarke’s Law). This principle states, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”

Wow, this is so true. I recently read the biography of Richard LeMieux. Richard ran a very successful publishing company that published medical and university directories. He grossly underestimated the effect the rise of the Internet would have on his business in the long run. As a result, in the early part of the twenty-first century, he lost everything he owned and ended up homeless, living out of his van for 18 months.

Richard fell right into the trap of Amara’s Law. How about you? Are you falling into this trap with your publishing and marketing?

Ask yourself the following questions regarding current technologies:

  1. Where am I currently in regards to ebooks? Am I only publishing ebooks and missing out on all the print sales still to be had? Or, am I dragging my feet and still hanging onto printing physical books only, underestimating the effect this will have on my book sales in the long run?
  2. How about social media? Am I placing too much emphasis on Twitter and Facebook to acquire new customers today and thus failing to build the right social media strategy to take my publishing company successfully into the future? Or, am I ignoring social media certain that it is a fad that will fade with time?
  3. How about my other marketing efforts? Am I only selling and marketing my books through the Internet, relying on the Web as my sole source of revenue? Or, am I neglecting to tap the power of the Internet for selling books and concentrating all my marketing and sales efforts on in person and print venues?

Overestimating the effect of a technology in the short run often leads to unrealistic expectations. Thinking that if you start blogging your book sales will soar, or that your Facebook page will immediately attract hundreds of fans for you to promote your books to, both fall into this trap of overestimation of a technology. The result is, that when your expectations are not met, you end up seeing your efforts as wasted because you failed to understand the long-term ramifications.

On the other hand, underestimating the effect of a technology in the long run will lead to lost sales. Thinking that social networking is a fad or just for young adults, or that people will still prefer print books in five years, will result in your procrastinating to embrace and use new technologies to sell books. In the long run, this will stifle your ability to remain vital in our growing technological and virtual economy.

I urge you to find the balance. Embrace the old, know the new.


Are You on Facebook?

With 500,000 world-wide users, Facebook provides publishers and authors a wonderful free tool to promote your books.

Are you on-board with Facebook? Have you set up a Facebook page for your business yet?

Maybe you have set up a Facebook page, but are unsure how to get the best use out of it to promote your publishing company and books.

Here is a great video that features a 10 point checklist for any Facebook business page. This video provides step-by-step directions to help you create and manage a dynamic Facebook page.

If you have a Facebook page, please share the link with me in the comment section below. I would love to check it out.

If you want to become a fan of Christian Small Publishers Association on Facebook, just click here.


Call for Nominations

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award honors books produced by small publishers each year for outstanding contribution to Christian life. This year, nominations will be accepted in eight categories. Nominations must be received by November 15, 2010.

Any small publisher can nominate books for the award. Nominations are accepted in the following 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). Books must be published in 2009 or 2010 by a publisher with annual revenues of $400,000 or less. Nominated books must be Christian in nature and intended for the Christian marketplace. All nominated books must be printed in English and for sale in the United States.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is the sponsor of this book award. CSPA will invite Christian retailers and book readers to vote on the nominated titles in February and March 2011. The winners of the award will be the books that receive the most votes. Christian retailers are encouraged to highlight the books they vote for in their stores during Small Press Month of March.

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award was established in 2007 by CSPA to bring recognition to quality Christian books by small publishers. CSPA has over 90 member publishers producing materials for the Christian marketplace and is a supplier member of CBA.

For more information on the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award including guidelines, eligibility, and nomination form, click here.


Amazon’s New eBook Royalty Rate

Amazon is now paying a 70 percent royalty to authors who publish books through DTP on the Amazon Kindle and Kindle Applications for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, and Android phones.

Amazon will pay 70 percent of list price in royalty less the cost to deliver the book to the consumer. Currently, average delivery costs for $0.06 per unit sold.

If you have existing ebooks available for sale on Amazon’s Kindle, you must request to change your royalty rate on Amazon. To participate in Amazon’s 70 percent royalty program, log onto and select “70 percent royalty option for each of your eligible titles.”

If you are confused about what you need to do, watch this step-by-step video that shows you exactly how to make sure you are getting a 70% royalty rate for each of your ebook titles sold through Amazon’s Kindle.


What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

How long does it take for an elevator to go from the ground floor to the sixth floor of a building?

That’s how long you, as an author, have to tell someone about your book. If you talk longer than that, you lose the interested party.

An elevator pitch for a book needs to be between two and five sentences long. It should tell a potential reader what your book is about and how it would benefit them.

Christian Small Publishers Association featured 16 author appearances with book signings at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) last month. I sat and watched each of those authors sign their books for retailers.

Here is what I observed.

  1. The authors that had a practiced elevator pitch engaged more attendees’ interest in their books than the authors who did not have an elevator pitch.
  2. Those authors who gave the show attendees a snapshot view of what their book was about elicited interest and comments from the individuals stopping to check the book out. These comments often included, “I can’t wait to read this book,” “Wow, that sounds really interesting,” and “I know just the person who could benefit from reading this book.”
  3. Elevator pitches frequently opened up a conversation. Often the person receiving the book would share something from their own lives with the author, giving the author an opportunity to connect with and minister to the individual. Connections build memories. People like to read books written by individuals they feel connected to on some level.

One author, Tammy Real-McKeighan, had her elevator pitch down pat. Her book is titled Real Spiritual Spinach: Faith for the Journey. Tammy told everyone who came to her book signing that just as spinach made Popeye strong, for the Christian, God’s word is our spinach. It is the word of God that makes a Christian spiritually strong. Tammy went on to tell people that her book, a devotional, was designed to help Christian’s become stronger spiritually. Interested show attendees loved the connection that Tammy drew between physical spinach and spiritual spinach.

Publishers should also have an elevator pitch. As a publisher, you should be able to tell consumers what type of books you publish and how they fill a need in a couple of sentences.

If you have not yet developed an elevator pitch for your books, do it today. Then share with me your elevator pitch in the comment section below.