Nominations Open for Book of the Year Award

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors books produced by small publishers each year for outstanding contribution to Christian life.

Award_SealNominations are accepted in 12 categories: General Fiction, Romance, Biography, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Bible Study/Theology, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive. Nominations must be received by November 15, 2013.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Books must be published by a small publisher with annual revenues of $400,000 or less.
  2. Nominated books must be Christian in nature and intended for the Christian marketplace.
  3. All nominated books must be printed in English and for sale in the United States.
  4. Any small publisher or independently published author can nominate titles for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.
  5. Each book can only be nominated for one category.
  6. Nominated books must be published in 2012 or 2013.
  7. Nomination fee is $40.00 per title.

To view the complete eligibility guidelines and to nominate your books, visit

Christian retailers and book readers will be invited to vote on the nominated titles in February and March 2014. The winners of the award will be the books that receive the most votes.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is the sponsor of this book award.

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The Power of Sharing

Goodreads is the largest social networking site for book lovers. It provides a powerful marketing tool for authors and publishers who choose to use the site to promote new books. If you are not harnessing the power of Goodreads, I encourage you to begin doing so.

Check out this slideshow from a presentation that was made at The Bookseller’s Marketing & Publicity Conference in July 2013 in London. It details how best to use Goodreads to drive discovery of new books.

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Getting What You Paid For?

I recently received the following email:

“I was told about CSPA by another publisher and haven’t really been able to market my book, just what benefits do you provide for helping a self-publisher market a book?”

I believe that there are two kinds of self-published authors. One is the person who wants someone else to market their book for them and is willing to pay large sums of money to have this done. The other is the self-published author who is willing to learn what they need to do and go and do it.


Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is not for the first type of author. We do not provide marketing for our members. Rather, what we do is provide information and services to help authors and publishers market their books.

I recently came across a self-publishing company that also provided marketing services for their authors. Here is what they charged:

  1. A review in Kirkus Reviews for $849.
  2. An interview on The Author Show for $349.
  3. Five media contacts for $600.
  4. A marketing package that includes a one-page website, press release, and 200 bookmarks for $549.

In contrast, here is what one-year membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) for only $90 will buy:

  1. The truth that Kirkus Reviews, if you submit the request yourself, only costs $425.
  2. The truth that a basic interview on The Author Show is free.
  3. Media contacts listed in every issue of the CSPA Circular, our monthly newsletter. This year so far, our members have received over 12 media contacts.
  4. The truth that you can create your own website for free using a site such as or, directions on how to find a press release template so you can write your own for free, and the information that VistaPrint will print 250 bookmarks for $60.00.

If you are not a member of CSPA, consider this, I just gave you over $1,600 worth of free information (donations are cheerfully accepted).

The bottom line is that there are plenty of companies out there willing to take your money. Go ahead; give them your money if you want to. However, if you are on a tighter budget and are willing to read and learn, then joining an organization like Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) will be a better fit for you.

After all, our members tell us:

  • “I just wanted to write and personally thank you for the invaluable information contained within the CSPA monthly newsletter. It never ceases to amaze me how many tips and general info bits I can glean from this wonderful resource.” —Deb
  • “The newsletter for the Christian Small Publishers Association is worth the price of membership all by itself—we get gems from every issue. Thanks for what you are doing for the industry!” —Melanie
  • “I received $75 worth of information in the first CSPA Circular!” —Sam

So, if you want some additional support in marketing your Christian books, I encourage you to check out the useful benefits Christian Small Publishers Association can provide you in marketing your books, or you can just pay someone else to do it for you.

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How’s Your Grammar?

The other day my middle-school-aged daughter remarked to me, “Mom, why do so many people have such poor editing skills?” Confused, I asked her what she meant.


It turns out that my daughter’s friend, who owns a Kindle, had been showing my daughter the books she has been reading. My daughter had read small sections of a few of these fiction ebooks and had been appalled at the poor grammar in them.

Upon a little investigation, I discovered that the ebooks her friend had been downloading were cheap—costing a dollar or less. It appears that the vast majority of these books were independently published digital-only books.

Needless to say, I gave my daughter a lesson in publishing. She learned all about traditional publishing houses with editors who serve as gatekeepers and provide some measure of quality and control versus self-published authors. I explained to her that today it is easy for anyone to publish a digital book without any outside measure of control over the grammar, sentence structure, or even the elements of the story itself in the book.
I recently saw a blog post heading that read “The Overwhelming Majority of Self-Published eBooks Are Terrible.” Sadly, I believe this statement is too often true.

The zero-cost entry and easy access to digital publishing (think Smashwords and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing) has enticed many aspiring authors—and remember 81% of people surveyed feel they have a book inside of them—to turn their manuscripts into digital books creating a glut of low-cost, low-quality ebooks for readers to choose from. Bowker  Market Research recently reported that self-published ebooks now account for 12% of the entire digital publishing market. In some cases, the number actually rises to 20%, but is fairly genre specific to crime, science fiction and fantasy, romance and humor.

If you are considering independently publishing a book, the best thing you can do for your book is hire an editor and a proofreader. Grammatical errors, typos, and punctuation mistakes are often a turn-off for readers. You don’t want to have a reviewer (as one BookCrash blogger recently graciously wrote) write the following about your book:

My only complaint about this book is that it needs more careful editing for errors, but the content of the book makes the typos easy to overlook.

A well-written book will sell better than a poorly written one, even if you are just trying to sell fiction stories to teenagers.

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Prediction for eBooks

The other day I was talking with a gentleman who told me that after he got a tablet, he quit reading print books altogether. He asked me if I read digital books. I told him that I still had a strong preference for print books and that is mostly what I read. He then told me that his wife reads about half print and half digital.

This gentleman shared that one of the things he liked the most about digital reading was the ease of purchase. If someone told him about a book, he could pull out his tablet and immediately buy the book.

Interestingly, the three of us (this gentleman, his wife, and myself) made up the profile of book readers. Print is still by and large the most popular way people read. However, the number of hybrid readers (those reading both print and digital) and digital-only readers is growing.

The big question that keeps being asked is: “When will ebooks surpass print books?”

Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) recently published its annual “Entertainment & Media Outlook.” In this report, PwC predicted that the U.S. ebook market will surpass the printed book market in 2017.

ebook prediction

PwC also predicts that overall revenue from book sales will stay below the 2008 sales level. This stagnation of revenue is not because people are reading less, but mostly because the average selling price for ebooks is lower than for printed books.

What do you think? Do you agree with this prediction?

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