Dear Publisher

Dear CREST Publications:

I had your Baby Bible Board Books when I was a baby. Then I read them to my little brother. Now I read them to my ten-month-old brother…

Talon

So began a recent letter that my publishing company, CREST Publications, received from an 8-year-old girl.

That is what I call success—a family that has read, and re-read, and re-read our set of four board books to each family member.

Too often, we define success in numbers. A book that sells 5,000 or more copies is considered a best-seller. Yet, studies show that the average nonfiction book (counting self-published and royalty published titles) sells about 250 books.

So then, how are we to define success?

I think anytime we follow God’s prompting and publish a book that draws people toward a deeper relationship with their Creator, we can consider that a victory. For, we have triumphed over the evil one and his desire to thwart our purposes to lead people into a relationship with their Creator.

If your books are not selling as well as you would like, reconsider. Then, go to God in prayer and ask that he would put your books into the hands of those who need your message the most. That His word, which you have published, will not return void, but will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it out (Isaiah 55:11).

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Everyday Thanksgiving

As Christ followers, we should be overflowing with thankfulness. After all, the Word exhorts us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thess. 5:18).

thank-you1

Yet, you may be like me. Often the demands of life crowd in and you forget to overflow with thankfulness. It’s not that you’re not thankful. It’s just that you forget to be thankful in the moment.

I think I could do a better job of thanking the people I come into contact with each day. I definitely could thank them more for helping me, for doing their job, for their patience, for bearing with my failings.

Thankfulness builds good relations. For publishers and independent authors, I think it is especially important to be thankful when someone provides a service for you—whether paid or unpaid. If a reviewer provides a review of your book, be sure to thank them. If a publication or blog runs your press release, thank them. If a magazine runs an article about or by you, thank them. If a consumer buys your book, say thank you. If someone shares one of your posts on Facebook or Twitter, send them a quick thank you.

Being more thankful can help us build better relations, and it will help us spread joy. Here are five creative ways you can say thank you.

  1. Create a memorable thank-you stuffer to include in the package with a book you are shipping to a customer.
  2. Tag a reviewer or a blogger in a thank-you post on your Facebook page or Twitter feed, or even in a blog post.
  3. Write an on-line review for your printer, book cover designer, or editor, and include a thank you in your review.
  4. Email a small gift certificate to a few of your customers (or the first five people to buy a new book from your website) as a way of thanking them for their business.
  5. Include a thank you note in your inscription when signing books for customers.

Let’s declare everyday a “Thank You Day.” I encourage you to be more thoughtfully thankful daily…and, Thank You for reading my blog.

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Publicity Stunts

No author aims for obscurity. After all, an author or book that is hidden from the public view won’t sell.

swim

On the other hand, some authors are really good at grabbing attention and the public eye. Take, for example, Jaimal Yogis, author of The Fear Project.

Jaimal recently swam 2.4 miles in the chilly San Francisco Bay, the entire length of the Bay Bridge between Yerba Buena Island and the Embarcadero, to his book signing. Yep, you heard that right. After swimming, Jaimal climbed out of the water and signed books at the Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Building.

I don’t know how many people showed up to his book signing, but I am sure more people came then would have if he had not pulled this publicity stunt. After all, the stunt caught the attention of the media, which is what every author wants.

Consider what you can do for publicity next time you are arranging a book signing. Don’t just show up and sign. Think of something that ties into your book to attract attention. Swimming 2.4 miles in the ocean may not be your thing, but maybe you could ride in on a motorcycle, or host a demonstration, or bring costumed characters with you.

Your publicity stunt may not be as big as Jaimal Yogis’, but don’t let that stop you. Get creative and come up with some type of attention grabber for your next book signing event!

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Technology & Selling Books

Technology just keeps advancing. The number of different devices that can now access the Internet is astounding. At first, it was just desktop computers. Then it was desktop computers and laptop computers. Now it is computers, smart phones, ipods, e-readers, and numerous tablets, and more that I may not even be aware of.

logoWith the advance of technology, one issue that comes up is how a website or an email displays on different devices. It is becoming hard to have one website design accommodate the requirements for all the various devices that can read the site.

One self-published author felt that he was losing sales of his book, because his “Buy Now” button was not straight forward enough to display prominently on all devices. Since different customers read ebooks on different devices (some on computers, some on Nooks, some on Kobo, some on Kindles, etc.), this author wanted to direct his customers to the online retail store of their choice and the ebook format of their choice. However, to do so, multiple “Buy Now” buttons for each retail store and format where the ebook was available for purchase were needed. As a result, the author found he was losing customers because how to buy his book was not clear and prominent on his site.

Out of frustration, the author, Jay Siva, developed a revolutionary “Buy Now” button widget. His EZBuyButton eliminates the frustration of losing customers at the point of sale because this one button allows customers to select their device and preferred retail store, all without needless searching.

This widget allows users to choose from among five different button styles and simply copy and paste a segment of code into their blog or website. Visitors will then see a “Buy Now” button attached to each book title. Clicking the button activates two drop-down menus—one for device selection, the other for store selection —allowing users to buy the books they want easily in their desired format and from their preferred store. The widget even geo-locates so customers are automatically routed to the retail store specific to their country.

Jay Siva is sharing his creation with other authors. You can get the EZBuyButton completely free.  Simply head on over to www.ezbuybutton.com and sign up for an account.

I love it when self-published authors come up with creative ways to make sure that they sell more books! It’s even better when they decide to share what they have discovered with others for free!

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Creating a QR Code Campaign

An ebook store recently used QR codes to run a unique campaign to get mobile device owners to learn about the books they offer for sale. The ebook store, Four Directions, based in Hong Kong, printed QR codes on cookies.

QR Cookies

The QR code took the mobile device owner to a free trial copy of an ebook. To increase consumers’ awareness, Four Directions distributed the cookies throughout popular cafes for one week and encouraged the businesses to hand out the cookies for free.

This campaign was titled “Eat What You Read.” After all, consumers could get the free ebook by scanning the QR code before eating the cookie.

The company reported that they felt the campaign was successful. After handing out 8,000 cookies for a total cost of about $5,000, the Four Directions reported that their website traffic increased by 45% and their sales rose by 12% during the week of the “Eat What You Read” campaign.

While you may not be willing to shell out $5,000 for a large QR code campaign, what “Eat What You Read” demonstrated was that QR codes can generate some measurable success when used in unique and creative ways.

It is worth considering how you might be able to run a creative QR code campaign to promote your next book on a smaller scale. The possibilities are really endless.

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