Another Sign of a Changing Industry

The publishing industry is changing. The increase of digital book sales coupled with the decreasing marketing dollars many publishers have to spend on promoting books is changing how books get promoted. With these changes, the industry is seeing a decline in in-person author book tours.

BookTour, Inc. was founded in 2006 to provide a directory of author events. The service provides information on authors including biography, books, and upcoming engagements. The company offers online publicity tools that aggregate events, interviews, and signings and make it available to readers. BookTour also provides tools for book promotion that allow authors to locate receptive live audiences.

Earlier this month, BookTour announced that they will be shutting down on Thursday, September 1, 2011. They gave the following reason for their closing:

Fewer author tours and changes in book marketing budgets have made our company financially unviable. And while we would like to continue providing the valuable service that is BookTour, everyone here has families to feed and bills to pay. As such, the founders are working on new and exciting ventures in publishing and software development.

So, as of Thursday, all BookTour services will end and the data on their website will be unavailable. Yet another sign along the road showing that the book industry is undergoing a shift, making some services obsolete and creating room for new services that fit the new paradigm.

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Learning from Experts

This year at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) hosted some great speakers who are experts in their field. These experts shared with attendees at Publishers’ Insitute: Expanding Your Reach some valuable information.

I am going to share with you a small sampling of nuggets from these speakers.

Publishers’ Institute’s first speaker was Bill Nienhaus from Logos Bible Software. He talked about Logos Bible Software’s Digital Publishing Platform and he shared the following with attendees:

Technology is changing so rapidly that today, we, at Logos, are implementing new programs that we were not even thinking about six months ago. It’s not so much about which digital format to use, as it is about using the right digital format for the customer base you want to reach.

The second speaker, Jessica Quinn, a publicist spoke on “What a Publicist Can Do for Your Book.” She shared:

It’s all about relationships. Media personnel book interviews with people that will bring a guest who will interview well. Often it is the existing relationship between the publicist and the producer that gets your author in the door for an interview.

The last speaker at the seminar was me, Sarah Bolme, Director of Christian Small Publishers  Association (CSPA). I shared:

eBook sales were 9% of all book sales in 2010. They have grown to 19% of all book sales thus far this year for 2011. Predictions that ebook sales will reach 25% of all book sales in 2012 appear to be on target. The digital world is driving many new trends in marketing and publishing.

The complete audio version of Publishers’ Institute: Expanding Your Reach is now available as an audio download for those publishers and authors who were not able to attend the seminar but would like access to the useful information that was shared.  You can purchase the audio version for $16 on Christian Small Publishers Association’s website and listen to the complete seminar.

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Unintended Results

I recently read an interesting story about an author. Following is the condensed version. If you wish to read the full version titled “Why I Write Books Even Though I’ve Lost Money on Every Book I’ve Written,” you can read it on the author’s blog here.

James Altucher’s book was not selling as well as he wanted it to. As an author desperate to have people buy his book, he began resorting to tactics some authors consider but few actually carry out. James’ book were published by a large publishing house, so at least one copy of his book was stocked in most bookstores in New York City where he lived.

Determined to show that his book was worth buying, James went around to every bookstore in New York. He would find his book in the store and write notes on the inside of each copy of his book and then put them back on the bookshelf. His notes included things like, “You are the smartest person in the world for buying this book.” Inside one book he wrote, “I Love You.”

Fast forward a few months. James Altucher had a new girlfriend. She agreed to meet him at the Penn Station book store. From there they would take a train to her house so she could cook dinner. While waiting for James to come, the girlfriend saw his book in the store and picked it up. Opening it, she read his “I Love You” inscription. She thought it was planted there and that James was watching her. In fact, James was running late, and she was reading the unsold book he had inscribed a few months earlier. A little over a year later the two got married.

Besides being a great story, I think this tale has a moral for every author.

Your marketing efforts frequently will not yield the intended (or hoped for) results. However, we serve a loving and compassionate God who “works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28). So, while your promotional efforts may not yield more sales, they will reap good for someone somewhere. Sometimes the recipient of that good will be you. Other times it will be someone you do not know—and won’t know until you get to heaven.


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Attention Please!

In a world of millions of new books published each year, getting attention for your book(s) can be difficult.

It seems that publishers and authors are going to more and more strange and unique attention-grabbing stunts to gain some attention for their books.

A German publisher, Eichborn, seeking some attention at the Frankfurt Book Fair, decided to try a strange stunt. This publishing house attached banner ads to actual flies. You read that right. Small red banner ads were attached to house flies and let loose at the Frankfurt Book Fair. That stunt must have definitely brought some attention to their booth.

Watch this video to see what it looked like.

I don’t think I will try this stunt at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) next year, but maybe you can help me think of another unique stunt Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) can try.


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Call for Nominations

Nominations for the 2012 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award are now open. This award honors books produced by small publishers each year for outstanding contribution to Christian life. This year, nominations are being accepted in 12 categories.

Any small publisher can nominate books for the award. Nominations are accepted in the following categories: General Fiction, Romance, Bible Study/Theology, Biography, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive.

Books must be published in 2010 or 2011 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. Nominations must be received by November 15, 2011.

Christian retailers and book readers will be invited to vote on the nominated titles in February and March 2012. 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.

Complete guidelines, eligibility, and the nomination form can be found on the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award’s website at

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award was established in 2007 by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) to bring recognition to quality Christian books by small publishers. Publishers do not need to be a member of CSPA to nominate a title for the award.


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