Can’t Never Did

I often tell my children, “Can’t never did.” The “can’t” mindset keeps many people from achieving their dreams. After I tell my kids “Can’t never did,” I add, “It never hurts to try.”

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The same is true for book awards. You can’t win an award unless you try. The way to try is to nominate your book for awards.

Book awards bring exposure to books. Exposure generates sales. Sales mean more money in your pocket. So, try for some book awards.

One award you can try for is the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. This award is designed to highlight excellent books by small publishers and independently published authors. The goal is to show the Christian community that small publishers and independently published authors have a valuable message to share.

The nomination period for the 2014 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is coming to a close. Publishers and authors have until November 15, 2013 (just two weeks) to nominate books. For this year’s award:

  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.

The useful thing about Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year Award is that this award is designed to benefit even those books that don’t win an award. Every book entered into the award gets exposure with Christian readers and retailers. The exposure the nominated books receive during the award’s voting period is valuable in and of itself.

If you have not yet nominated your qualified book for the 2014 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award, remember, “Can’t never did.” Head on over to www.christianbookaward.com and nominate your book today.

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Are Your QR Codes Clear?

A realtor once told me that holding open houses to try to sell a house is a waste of time. She stated that usually only curious neighbors come to open houses.

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I must admit, there is something to her thoughts. I am one of those curious neighbors. I like to check out the houses in my neighborhood that are hosting a sales open house just to see what they look like inside. Fortunately, with the Internet, I no longer have to go physically into a house that is for sale to satisfy my curiosity. Now I can usually take a virtual tour online.

The other day, I came across a beautiful house for sale. On the flyer, it had a QR code. Wanting to take the virtual tour, I utilized the QR code and ended up very disappointed. First, the QR code did not link to a virtual tour of the house; it simply linked to the realtor’s website home page. Second, after I had searched the realtor’s website for the house I was looking for; it did not have a virtual tour, just the three pictures that were on the flyer.

There is a lesson to be learned from my disappointment: Make sure your QR codes do not disappoint.

In other words, be clear with your readers what your QR code is for and where it will take them, and then deliver on that promise.

Don’t point your QR codes to a generic site such as the publisher’s home page or the author’s home page. Be sure to point your QR codes to a specific place that has to do with your book and tell the reader where the QR code will take them.

If your QR code is to your Facebook page to engage more fans, then let your reader know that. If it is to a trailer of your book, let your reader know that. If it is to a site where your reader can immediately purchase the book, then let them know that also.

The clearer you are about your QR codes, the better return you will have for using them.

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Getting People to Share

Every good marketer knows that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of advertising. Getting people to talk about your product leads to more sales.

Knowing this fact is not enough. Rather, it raises the questions:

  • What is the best way to get people to talk about your product?
  • Why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others?
  • Why are some stories and rumors more infectious?

Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at Wharton, set out to research and answer these questions. He came up with six basic principles that drive things to become contagious. He put these principles in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On.

Watch this interesting video of Jonah Berger talking about a few of the principles in his book, and learn some techniques you can use in your own marketing endeavors.

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Don’t Be Unprofessional

One extremely important thing any small publisher or independently published author wants to do is to attract business (i.e., book buyers). To do this, one must be able to secure media interviews, glowing book reviews, awards, and positive coverage on the Internet. To In order to accomplish this, one must look and act professional.

Unprofessional

Looking and acting professional means sending an image that says that you know what you are doing. In other words, your books, website, and communications with people (media, personnel in the book industry, and customers) are in line with what is standard for the industry.

Here are a few things that you can do to make yourself or your publishing company look unprofessional:

  • No physical contact information (phone and address) on your website.
  • Sending out a review copy that is signed by the author to a name other than the person receiving the book.
  • Sending an uncorrected proof of a book as part of your submission for a book award.
  • Poor cover design and/or interior layout of your book.
  • Having a business card with a printing company’s name or advertisement on the back.
  • Basic typographical errors in books and press releases.

A few of you are going to say to yourself as you read this, “You have got to be kidding. People actually do this?”

Yes, they do. As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I have personally encountered each of these from publishers and independently published authors.

No one wants to do business with individuals who are not professional. Please do both yourself and other small publishers and authors a favor.So, don’t do these things. Not only do you make yourself look bad, your actions also reflect poorly on all the other small publishers and independently published authors who are trying to be professional and make a place for their books in the marketplace.

If you publish Christian books, one more piece to take into consideration is that being unprofessional can reflect negatively on the name of Christ. Remember, not everyone you do business with will be a Christian.

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Do You Have a Catchy Slogan?

Can you name which companies these slogans belong to?

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  • Just do it!
  • I’m lovin’ it!
  • Like a rock.
  • Have it your way.
  • Save money. Live better.

Each of these mottos is catchy. It draws you in and once you hear it enough, you associate it with a company.

Do you have a slogan (or motto) for your publishing company? If not, you need one.
For years, companies have used slogans in their advertisements. These catchy phrases tell the world what makes your brand special or different. They allow you to provide a consistent message about who you are that differentiates you from your competitors. Good slogans connect people to your mission and make it easier for them to remember your company.

The best slogans are short, concise statements that describe what your company (or brand) is about. Notice that most of the slogans listed above are just about three words long. Human memory is limited, so it is best to keep your motto short for optimal recall.

When my husband and I started our publishing company back in 2003, we decided to name the company CREST Publications. We did not choose the name based on the toothpaste. The name was actually a compilation of first initials of our family members. But, once we hit upon it, we had a great slogan. Playing off of toothpaste’s claim that it prevents tooth decay, we decided to use the slogan “Preventing Truth Decay” for our publishing company, as we are in the business of giving people truth (Jesus’ kind of Truth).

I recently noticed that a member publisher of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has a catchy slogan, which they include in their email signature. Grace Acres Press uses the phrase “Growing Your Faith One Page at a Time” to set their publishing company apart from others.

Slogans can be added to your email signature and placed on all your marketing materials. The more people read or hear your slogan, the more likely it is to stick.

How about you? Do you have a catchy slogan for your publishing house or brand?

[Answers—in order as listed above—Nike, McDonald, Chevrolet, Burger King, & Walmart]

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