Who’s Got Your Books?

Marketing is hard work. It takes sheer grit mixed with a little creativity. The relentless demands of marketing to sell books can wear you down—especially when you are wearing multiple hats such as author, publisher, and marketing manager.

The other day I came across this little quote:

When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God’s business. ~Flannery O’Conner

This little quote sure helps one refocus. When the demands of publishing and selling books start to weigh you down, remember, God is in control.

When promoting the Kingdom of God, getting your books into people’s hands is God’s business. All you can do is what you know to do. Do that and ask God to bless your feeble efforts. After all, if he can feed over 5,000 people with two small fish and five little loaves of bread, he can multiply your marketing efforts to reach thousands of people, if that is his desire.

Today, take rest in knowing that your books are in good hands. When the work is hard and the physical results are slow, remember, in God’s economy it’s the spiritual results that matter.

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Free Books for Bloggers

Do You Blog?

Do You Review Christian Books on Your Blog?

Then Sign Up for BookCrash!

BookCrash is a new review program for bloggers offering free copies of new books from Christian publishers.

Why the name BookCrash? Because we believe that, once in awhile, a good book crashes into your life and changes your world.

Are you ready for your world to be changed? Then sign up to be a book reviewer for BookCrash books.

Books offered on BookCrash come from the over 100 member publishers of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). These are all quality books with the potential to change lives!

Any blogger with a regular following of readers can sign up to be a review blogger for the books featured on BookCrash. In exchange for a free review copy of a book, bloggers are asked to write a fair review of the book and post it on their blog and one other consumer book.

Here is how it works:

  1. You sign up at BookCrash to become a reviewer.
  2.  We approve you as a review blogger.
  3. You browse the books available for review on BookCrash and request a copy of the book you are interested in reviewing.
  4. You receive the book for free.
  5. You read the book.
  6. You write a 200-word fair review of the book and post it on your blog and one other consumer book site (such as Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com).
  7. You send BookCrash links to your review.
  8. Repeat steps 3 through 7 as often as you like.

To learn more, to browse the books currently available for review, or to sign up to be a review blogger, visit http://www.BookCrash.com.

If you know of a blogger who would be interested in reviewing books, please help spread the word.

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My Rant

The other weekend, my 10-year-old daughter accompanied me to the grocery store. The girl loves to read. Often, she brings a book with her on errands.

As my daughter wheeled the cart around the store after me, she also read her book (she takes after her mother in the multi-tasking department). A father stopped me and said, “You should write a book about how to get your kids to read while they help you instead of just look at a digital screen.” (Of course, this gentleman had no idea I was an author). I thanked him for the compliment.

As we left the store, my daughter said, “Mom, are you going to write that book?” My response to her was that many parenting books have already been written and that getting children to read rather than play with digital devices is part of a parent’s job.

I truly don’t think a book would help the issue.

A recent study in the UK by the National Literacy Trust showed that three in 10 British children live in households that do not contain a single book. An additional one in 10 children live in homes with 10 or fewer books. On the other hand, 85% or 17 out of 20 children owned a game console and 81% (basically eight out of 10) have a mobile phone.

I am sure the statistics for the United States are similar.

The problem is many people don’t value books. I can count on one hand the number of times my children have received a book as a birthday present at one of their birthday parties. When I attend baby showers, rarely does anyone give the expectant mother books for her baby. I love to give books at baby showers. After all, my husband and I created Baby Bible Board Books to teach the youngest hearts about Jesus.

I don’t believe that digital books are helping children read more. Thus far the research indicates that people who already value and read books are the ones using e-readers to read; they are simply switching mediums.

The love of reading must be taught. Playing video games is easier on the brain than reading. We are creatures of comfort. We will choose the easy road over the hard one, given the choice. Children are no different. Parents must step up to the plate and create an atmosphere in their homes that values reading. If this does not happen, I fear for the future of our nation.


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Bookselling Magic

It seems that almost every week I am running into a new story about an author that has bypassed traditional publishing and is now making big money selling their books as ebooks.

First there was J.A. Konrath, a self-published author of mystery novels. He placed his books for sale on Amazon’s Kindle store and reportedly began making thousands of dollars a month from sales.

Then came Amanda Hocking. A writer of paranormal romance, Amanda could not find a publisher to take on her books. She decided to publish them herself via the Kindle store and ended up making over $1 million before being offered a lucrative contract from a large publishing house.

Next, Elisa Lorello showed up on the scene. Elisa is a teacher in North Carolina. After multiple rejections from publishers, she decided to publish her first novel as an ebook for the Kindle. Elisa sold over 52,000 copies of her novel on Kindle.

Then, Nyree Belleville started having success. Under the pen name Bella Andre, Nyree writes steamy romances. After her publisher dropped her, she began to self-publish her novels for the Kindle on Amazon. In a short time, she was making thousands of dollars a month selling her ebooks.

The list could go on. Authors who are self-publishing start seeing dollar signs when they read these stories. Writers begin thinking, “Why not take the same route with my books?”

Let me share some words of caution with you.

Smashwords, an ebook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers and readers, keeps statistics of their book sales. With 16,000 authors and 40,000 titles, Smashwords statistics have a story to tell.

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, says, “The overwhelming number of self-publishing digital authors end up in the same place as their print counterparts: oblivion.”

Harsh words, but the statistics prove them. Less than 50 authors on Smashwords are making more than $50,000 per year. The site has a lot of authors who don’t sell a single book.

eBook sales follow the typical power curve. A very few sell a whole lot and a whole lot sell only a few.

There is nothing magic about ebooks or Kindle. Book selling remains the same whether books are in print or digital form. It takes great writing, good marketing, and the right pricing to sell books.

My advice is to follow your heart, seek God, and allow Him to be your co-publisher.


The Importance of Tradeshows

Book Expo America (BEA) was held in New York City a few weeks ago. Book Business magazine was there and interviewed some vendors as to their take on the tradeshow. These publishers and authors talked about why they felt physical tradeshows were still important in the book industry.

Whether it is BEA or the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), tradeshows play a valuable role in selling books.  CBA Executive Director Curtis Riskey says, “While there is great concern, hysteria and hype about creating digital content and selling it through new technologies, there is also a real concern that without stores, the publishing industry will be squeezed and cash starved.”

Watch this video and see why publishers attending BEA feel that tradeshows are still important in selling books.

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