Talking Book Covers

Believe it or not, talking book covers are here. Technology has made them possible.

Using QR codes and smartphones, creative heads have developed the talking book cover. Watch this video featuring the talking cover of the comic book X-O Manowar. Then consider how you might use this same technology to make a talking cover for one of your upcoming books.

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Another Self-Publishing Success Story

Whenever I see an article about a self-publishing success story, I have to read it. I love to hear about people who were inspired to write something, and then go on to self-publish their work because they have no other path for getting their message out. I love it even more when I hear about a self-published book that has experienced incredible success.

Clare De Graaf wanted to have his manuscript published. After being rejected by several publishers, he decided to publish the book himself in 2011. His book, The 10 Second Rule, has sold more than 17,000 copies. As a result, Howard Books has now acquired the rights to publish and internationally distribute the book.

Even if Howard Books did not pick up the rights to this book, this is a self-publishing success story. Selling 17,000 copies of a self-published book is no small feat.

What made this book so successful? I believe a couple of things. First and foremost, Clare De Graff secured editorial and marketing services to make sure that his book and message were presented in an appealing, professional manner. Second, the book has a powerful message. Watch this video to hear what The 10 Second Rule is about.

If you are considering self-publishing, take a lesson from Clare De Graaf. Make sure your book is well-written and well-edited, has a professional appearance, contains a powerful message, and is promoted well. Then let God do the rest.

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The Value of Attending a Book Tradeshow

Have you wondered whether attending a book tradeshow such as BookExpo America (BEA) or the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) would be worth your time and money?

Every year, a number of CSPA’s publishers and authors attend ICRS with us. This year, Lynn Hurtado, publisher and author of Skunk Tales, a family devotional book, attended her first book tradeshow. In this video she talks about her experience.

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Do Your Research

While attending the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) this summer, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of authors. Some of these authors were ones that had chosen to use a subsidy publishing house to self-publish their books.

A subsidy publishing house is one that charges the author to publish a book. This type of publishing house makes their money off of publishing books (paid by the author), not selling books.

Here are a few things these authors shared with me:

“I would not go with that publishing firm again. Next time I think I will do the publishing myself.”

“The publishing house I used did not offer me distribution for my book.”

“The publishing house I used gave me a great distribution package price and they don’t charge restocking fees for returned books.”

When I heard the last statement, I hated to be the one to break the news to this author. But I did. I told this author that not charging a restocking fee for returned books was not a novel thing.

Any company can do what this publishing house did— make what they offer sound good to someone who does not know better. At Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) we could advertise that if you join the association, you get our monthly newsletter for free!

Sounds good doesn’t it? Sure it does. However, it is standard practice for associations to offer their newsletter free to their members.

Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writer’s Digest, recently said, “Unfortunately, many people seeking help are not well-informed, don’t have the patience to research their options, and end up writing a big check to someone to make the headache go away.”

Do your research before you spend your money. Whether you are looking to buy printing, distribution, design or marketing services, talk to a couple of companies and other publishers or authors to find out what is usual and customary.

Learn what is standard and what is not. That way you won’t think you are getting a stellar deal when you are not.

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The Power of Stories

“Stories change hearts. Changed hearts change people. Changed people change culture.”

This statement was made by one of the founders of PureFlix, a Christian film company. PureFlix aims to change our culture for Christ through movies that portray stories that change hearts.

I was struck by this statement. Stories do change lives. That is why I believe books, especially Christian books, are so important.

Christian books contain stories meant to change hearts leading to changed lives. This is why I write. It is why most Christian authors write.

So whether you write or publish Christian material, next time discouragement threatens to overtake you, be encouraged. We have an enemy the Devil who does not want your stories to go forth to change hearts. Yet, your stories – both fiction and nonfiction – have the power to do just that.