Indie Authors Get Their Day in the Spotlight

Up to 42% of the ebooks sold on are independently published books, according to Author Earnings. As independent publishing grows, so do the programs that help indie authors gain more attention.

Indie Author Day

This year will feature an inaugural Indie Author Day! SELF-e, a joint venture between BiblioLabs and Library Journal that brings independently published ebook titles to libraries across America, is the sponsor of the event.

This first annual Indie Author Day will be held on October 8, 2016. Public Libraries across North America will host their own local author events on this day. The sponsor of the event hopes that 400 libraries will participate. Currently, they have over 100 libraries already signed up to participate in Indie Author Day.

As a Christian independent author, is there room for you to participate? I think so. Here are some things that you can do to participate in Indie Author Day.

  1. Host your own event at your church library for Indie Author Day (or even the day after on Sunday).
  2. Find out if your local library is participating. You can check the listing here. If your local library is not participating talk with them about doing so. Bring the event to their attention. Let them know that you are an indie author who is willing to participate by reading your children’s book, holding a seminar on a topic related to reading or writing, or even hosting a craft related to your book. Maybe even volunteer to help coordinate the events for the day.
  3. If your library is already participating, contact them and inquire how you, a local independent author, can participate.
  4. Help spread the word about Indie Author Day. Just helping promote Indie Author Day gives you another opportunity to get your name and book in front of readers.

Through Indie Author Day libraries are encouraged to support their local writers. It’s a chance for Indie Authors to have the spotlight. As a local writer, you can participate in this event to raise more awareness not just for your books, but also for the growing independent publishing movement.

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Sell More Books by Bundling

A bundle is a group of things tied together as into a parcel. In marketing, bundling refers to offering several products for sale as one combined product.


Bundling is a common strategy in the business world. Consider cable companies that offer bundled packages of cable TV, Internet, and phone, or fast food companies like McDonalds that let customers pick any two of a number of products for cheaper than the two items can be purchased separately.

Bundling is a marketing strategy that works to increase sales. Grouping two or more things that go together, and offering customers the two items together cheaper than they can be purchased separately, is viewed as a bargain by shoppers. Shoppers love bargains. Therefore, offering a bundle can drive more sales.

You can increase your book sales by bundling your print and ebook together. One survey found that 49% of digital readers said they had purchased both print and ebooks in the past 6 months. More and more readers are switching back and forth between print and digital reading. Bundling your print and ebook together provides readers an incentive to purchase both. In fact, studies show that reader purchase more books when shopping when the ebook is included with the print book for free.

You can offer a print and ebook bundle easily with the following two services:

• Selfie

The Shelfie app makes it easy for anyone owning a print book to get the digital version of the book—if the book is in Shelfie’s catalog. All book owners need to do is download the Shelfie app for free. Owners then use the app to take a ‘shelfie’ photo of a book they own and a photo of the copyright page of the book with their name written on the page to indicate that they own the book. Owners can then download or purchase the ebook version of the book from Shelfie.

If you have an ebook distributed via IngramSpark or Lightning Source, you can use Shelfie to offer a print and ebook bundle. Simply list your ebook with Shelfie. Then let purchasers know that if they purchase the print book, they can get the ebook free (or for a nominal fee) on Shelfie.

• Kindle Matchbook

Kindle MatchBook allows customers who buy a print book from the option to purchase the Kindle version of the same title for $2.99 or less (including free). If you have both the print and digital version your title for sale on, you can enroll the Kindle version in Kindle MatchBook . Then customers who buy your print version can also get the ebook version for free or cheap.

You can sell more books by bundling. Consumers view bundle as bargains. Bargains drive sales. Use these services to bundle your print and ebook versions together and encourage more readers to buy your book. Just be sure to heavily promote your bundle to your target audience.

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A Tool to Help You Reach More Millennials

The Bible is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book. It is also the most translated book in the world, having been translated into 531 languages with 2,883 languages having at least some portion of the Bible.

Now a group of devout Christians has developed a new translation of the Bible. In an effort to reach more millennials with God’s word. This group has translated the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible into emoticons and emojis. Yes, you read that right. The Bible is now available in Emojis.

Bible EmojiThe complete emoji Bible is available on iTunes for $2.99. However, the creators of this Bible translation have made their Bible Emjoi Translator available for free to everyone on the Internet. The website,, allows users to put in a Bible verse and receive that verse translated to “emoji awesomeness” instantly.

Of course, all the words in the Bible cannot be translated into Emoji’s since there is a limited number of Emojis (see Can Emojis Help You Reach More People?). The authors of this new translation say that about 10 to 15 percent of the translation is in Emojis while the rest is in regular, old alphabet characters.

While some people may think that this new Bible translation is over–the-top or even sacrilegious, I think it is a tool that authors and publishers can use to reach more Millennials in their marketing efforts.

If you have a Christian book, especially a nonfiction book that uses God’s word, you can use an Emoji-translated Bible verse in your marketing materials and online posts to grab this younger generation’s attention and direct them to your books.

Go ahead, try the Emoji Bible Translator out at, and have some fun!

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How Many Languages Does Your Book Speak?

It happened again. Leafing through my mail recently, I found another royalty check for the Indonesian foreign rights sales for Baby Bible Board Books: Stories of Jesus.


My husband and I published Baby Bible Board Books back in 2004 through our publishing company, CREST Publications. We sold the foreign rights to translate and sell the books to an Indonesian publisher in 2008. Here we are in 2016, still receiving royalty checks on the continued sale of those books in Indonesia.

That, my friends, is why foreign rights are worth pursuing. Foreign rights contracts provide you revenue from your books for little to no effort on your part—and they broaden the audience for your books.

Foreign Rights is a big market. Riggins International Rights Services, a company that helps publishers and authors find foreign rights deals for books, conducted a survey of their core Inspirational (Christian) licensees around the world last year. Their survey indicated that 49% of these foreign publishers plan to acquire one to 10 titles for translation each year with 29% acquiring more than 10 titles. This means that foreign publishers are looking for quality books to acquire to translate and sell in their countries of residence.

The Asian market for books continues to grow. In China, translated titles and imports account for 22% of the market, with American and U.K. authors accounting for 57% of these sales in China. Germany also acquires numerous English-language books where about 40% of their books come from translations.

Riggins International Rights Services reports that the top six foreign languages they license books to are:

  1. Korean
  2. Chinese
  3. Portuguese
  4. Spanish
  5. German
  6. Indonesian

If pursuing foreign rights for your books is not in your marketing plan, I encourage you to include it. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) provides our members a number of avenues for foreign rights opportunities because we believe this is an important piece of marketing a book.

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Notable Data on Book Sales

The Nielson company studies consumers in more than 100 countries to provide the most complete view of buying trends and habits worldwide. Through their BookScan program, Nielson tracks book sales for the book industry. This program captures the data from around 80 percent of all book sales in the United States.

Each year Nielson releases reports about the data they collect. These reports give authors and publishers valuable information on what is happening in the book industry, especially in terms of book sales. Nielson’s 2015 report has some interesting information.

Nielson’s 2015 data shows that the self-publishing movement continues to grow. It is taking market share away from big publishers, especially in the ebook arena. Over the past four years, the big publishers market share for sales of ebooks fell from 46% to 34%, while self-published and small press ebook sales market share grew from 19% to 42% (see chart below).

Nielsen-1-market-shareWhat I found the most fascinating in this report is how people discovered books in 2015. There is a big difference in how consumers discover print books versus ebooks.

Nielson found that in-store browsing was still the number one way that people discover new print books to read. The second was through in-person recommendations from friends and relatives. However, this did not hold true for ebooks. The top way consumers discover ebooks to read is through browsing online sites. Family and friends recommendation still held high sway for ebooks, but not as high as for print books. Most notable was that the third and fourth most common ways for readers to discover ebooks was through reading a free sample online and through online recommendations based on what they have previously purchased or read (see chart below).

Nielsen-3-discovery-US-a-710x569I believe this data gives you some good information for marketing your books. eBooks are digital, therefore, people discover them in the digital realm (the Internet). So, concentrating your marketing efforts in the digital realm makes sense for ebooks. Print books, on the other hand, are physical. Readers predominately discover these books in the physical realm. Therefore, if you are selling print books, you can’t just concentrate your marketing in the digital realm. You must also market in the physical realm with print materials and physical displays of your book to attract buyers.

I am grateful that Nielson shares its data so that we, as authors and publishers, can stay abreast of how best to promote our books.

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