Join the Movement

Good marketing takes stepping outside of the usual and doing something unusual. I recently read an article in my local newspaper about how Little Free Library boxes are becoming quite a trend across the United States. The article got my creative juices flowing and I began to think about how these little boxes can represent a wonderful marketing opportunity for authors.

Little Free Library

The Little Free Library trend started back in 2009 when a former school teacher in Wisconsin built a model of a one room schoolhouse. He filled this model with books, put it on a post in his front yard, and put a sign on it that said free books. His neighbors and friends loved it. He then built several more and gave them away.

The idea was simple. Visitors could take the books placed in the box to read. If they wanted to replenish the supply with their own they could, or they could return the book when they were done reading it if they wanted to. Five years later, there are over 20,000 Little Free Libraries worldwide registered with the Little Free Library group. Some people think this number is a low estimate for Little Libraries because it only represents those officially registered with the Little Free Library network.

Here is how you, an author, can make use of this neat idea to promote your books:

  1. Start a Little Free Library in your neighborhood. You can download free plans to build your own little library or you can order a kit starting at around $200. Once you have built your Little Free Library, you can stock it with books, including your own published books.
  2. Visit local Little Free Libraries in your city and leave a copy or two of your book in each one. You can find a map listing all the registered Little Free Libraries on the network website.

By joining the Little Free Library movement, you will not only be spreading the word about your books, you will also become part of a wonderful tool that shares the love of reading and can also help spread the Gospel.

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Are You Making a List?

Humans love lists. For years David Letterman employed his “Top 10” list nightly on his show. Lists are important because people love to categorize things, as well as know which things are more important than others.

top-10-list

One technique marketing professionals employ over and over again are lists. Lists are always popular. Lists like:

  • Top ten gifts to give for Christmas.
  • Five reasons to ditch your diet.
  • Seven reasons to start saving now.

You can use lists in marketing your books. Creating a list of reasons why someone should invest their time and money in your newest book is a great marketing technique.

I recently saw some findings from an online study conducted by Harris Poll on reading. This survey found the following:

  • 77% of U.S. adult respondents agree with the statement: “Reading has always been an important part of my life.”
  • 67% say reading puts them in a better mood.
  • 76% said their reading habits have increased over the past three years, and 44% attribute access to an e-reader, tablet or smartphone as the reason.

I think the second finding is a reason any author can incorporate into a list of reasons to read his/her book: 67% of people say reading puts them in a better mood.

So, when making out your list of reasons for people to read your latest book, include this one along with your other great reasons.

To get your creative juices flowing, let me share with you five reasons you should continue to read this blog:

  1.  It gives you great tips for marketing your books.
  2.  You stay informed about important new resources and trends in the publishing industry.
  3.  It is ranked among the Top 30 Websites for Indie Authors.
  4.  Each blog post is penned by an award-winning author.
  5.  67% of people say reading puts them in a better mood, so reading this blog should improve your mood.

Now, take some time and make a list for your newest book.

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One Recipe for Success

The ingredients: An author, a new book, and a desire to promote the book.

Book Signing for Blog

The venue: A local book store.

The event: A book signing.

The outcome: Success!

So reports Lewis Ben Smith, the author of a new novel called The Testimonium. Lewis’ book was published by a small royalty press. However, as with any type of book publishing, much of the marketing is left to the author. Lewis ordered an initial 100 books from his publisher. Then he set out to sell these.

Wanting to hold a book signing, Lewis approached local book stores. Family Christian was not very accommodating; they told him he had to go through their corporate offices to set up a signing at one of their stores. Sadly, this is not an unusual response from a Christian book store (see “Embracing Change”). When he visited his local Hastings store, he discovered they have a corporate policy to encourage and work with local authors. The store was happy to arrange a book signing for Lewis.

Knowing that having a book signing was not sufficient in and of itself to draw in customers, Lewis set about promoting his event. He sent an email blast to all his contacts, he heavily promoted it on his Facebook page and on all the Internet forums and chat rooms he belongs to. In addition, he got the local newspaper to run and blurb. Then he printed up fliers and passed these out.

His efforts paid off. Lewis reports that he sold almost 50 copies of his book at his book signing. The store also asked him to leave them a dozen or so copies to sell later.

The Lesson:  Book signings are not dead. They just take effort and a willingness to promote, promote, promote.

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Is This Part of Your Publishing Team?

I have been reading a number of articles recently that tell independently published authors that they cannot be an island. These articles assert that a team is needed to be successful in publishing a book. Recommended team members include: cover designer, editor, proofreader, and beta readers.

Teamwork

I strongly agree with this recommendation a team is needed to produce and sell a book. However, I would add to the lineup of team members recommended by most articles. Few include a professional association in their list of recommended team members. I think a professional association should be on the list.

Professional associations for publishers and authors offer additional help and support in the publishing journey. Here are three things adding a professional association can do for your publishing journey:

  1. Membership in a professional association provides you cutting edge information. Staying up-to-date with requirements and trends in producing and marketing books bringing you more success in your endeavors.
  2. Membership in a professional association can save you money. Most associations provide their members cost-saving benefits geared at helping their members be more successful.
  3. Membership in an association helps you to appear professional, allowing you to garner respect from others in the industry, especially reviewers, book sellers, etc.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) aids our member publishers and authors with these types of assistance. CSPA is constantly striving to add more benefits that help our members be successful, especially in marketing and selling their books.

CSPA has recently added three new benefits for our members:

  1. More eBlast choices for announcing books.
  2. Discounts with Lightning Source and IngramSpark.
  3. Access to an online foreign rights facilitation service for Christian books.

If you have not yet added a professional association to your publishing team, I urge you to do so. If you publish Christian books, CSPA is offering a membership special. Join now, and $115 will purchase your membership in CSPA through December 2015. You can apply online on CSPA’s website.

If you are uncertain about whether membership in a professional organization is worth the membership fee, I encourage you to read the testimonials from members of Christian Small Publishers Association. You can find these testimonials on our website.

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