Announcing: Christian Indie Awards

Independent publishing is growing. I have quoted this statistic before, but it bears repeating. The number of self-published (or independently published) titles has grown from 133,036 published in 2010 to 727,125 published in 2015. That is a 446.5% increase in the number of self-published titles in five years.

Additionally, self-published titles accounted for 17% of total book sales in 2016 (229,000,000 units sold). That means that almost one out of every five books sold was an independently published book.

For the past ten years, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has sponsored the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. This award recognizes books published by small publishers and independent authors.

To better reflect the increasing numbers of independently published books and authors, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has changed the name of our book award.

CSPA is pleased to introduce the:

Christian Indie Awards

It’s the same great award, just a new name!

The Christian Indie Awards are now open for nominations for the 2018 Award. To be eligible to nominate a title, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Books must be Christian in nature, promote the Christian faith, and intended for the Christian marketplace. The Christian marketplace is defined as the marketplace that is served by CBA member retail stores (mainly individuals who maintain Catholic or Protestant beliefs and doctrines).
  • Books must be published with a 2016 or 2017 copyright and released for sale in 2016 or 2017. New editions of previously published books are eligible. Reissued editions are not.
  • Books submitted in previous years for the award may not be submitted again, unless they are a new edition with a new ISBN number.
  • Books must be printed in English and available for sale in the United States.
  • The nomination of a title must be made by the publisher or author of the book.
  • Eligible publishers must be small presses or independently published authors with revenues of $450,000 or less per year.

The award is offered in 14 categories. To nominate your title or to learn more about the Christian Indie Awards visit the award’s website at www.christianaward.com.

Related Posts:
Four Publishing Trends for 2017
Independent Publishing Continues to Grow
Christianity and Book Sales in America

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A Powerful Way to Reach Readers

Have you ever noticed that a target has multiple rings? When playing darts, the thrower receives the most points for hitting the center circle. Each concentric ring from the center outward to the edge of the target awards the dart thrower fewer points.

The goal is to get your dart in the center of the target. Authors should have the same goal when it comes to their target audience. The closer you can get your marketing darts to reach your core audience, the more success you will have with promoting your books.

For example, a national Christian TV show is not going to reach your core audience as strategically as a blog devoted to that audience will.

Let’s say you wrote a book on Christian parenting for single moms. A national radio show on parenting is not going to reach single moms that same way that a blog written by a Christian single mom for other single moms will. The radio show will reach a wide cross section of both fathers and mothers (a circle further out on your target), while a blog written for single moms will attract only your core audience (the center circle on your target).

I believe that blogs (and podcasts) are a great way to reach your core audience and hit the center of your target with your book promotion efforts. In other words, a review of your book or a guest post on a blog or podcast designed for your target audience will reap a better harvest than arrows slung at the outer edges of your target.

Consider these statistics. Only 50% of Christians read Christian books. However, 87% of blog readers are book buyers.

Do you see the logic? With a national television or radio interview, you reach less than 50% of the audience, while exposure on a blog that speaks to your core audience allows you to reach over 80% of the audience.

If you are not reaching out to bloggers to promote your book, I suggest that you add this strategy to your marketing plan. Start by finding bloggers speaking to your core audience (one good directory can be found at Faithful Bloggers). Then offer your book to the blogger in exchange for a review or offer a guest post (if the blog hosts guest posts) providing useful information for the blog’s audience.

With a little research and effort, you can hone your marketing darts to hit the center of your audience target, effectively reach your core audience, and score bigger rewards.

Related Posts:
Get to Know Your Target Audience
Micro-Target to Get Results
Are You Hitting the Target?

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What Will You Be Caught Reading?

May is “Get Caught Reading” month! What will you get caught reading this month?

Each year, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) puts together a cooperative catalog featuring products from our member publishers. This year’s catalog features 55 titles from 26 of our member publishers.

I invite you to click on the catalog cover pictured below to check out the great titles CSPA member publishers produce! I am sure you will find within the pages of the catalog a new book to read this month.

Due to the number of beautiful book covers featured in the catalog, it may take a few minutes for the catalog to load. Please be patient.

Related Posts:
Five Benefits of Reading
Why Reading the Bible Matters
Reading Rates Remain Consistent

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Start with Why, Not What

A professional artist recently shared the following statement on Facebook:

“People who are good at selling stuff tell me I need a story. That people buy the story, not the art. Well, here’s my story: I’m a guy who likes to paint. The end.”

He’s right. Marketing experts are pushing “the story” when it comes to selling things. While this artist isn’t ready to give his story, he does have one. He even has a separate story for each painting. His story can be as simple as what inspired him to paint a certain picture.

You, too, as an author have a story. It is why you wrote your book. This story should be part of your marketing pitch.

Most people selling a product—including authors selling books—start with the What. They tell people what they are selling. Marketing experts think that instead of starting with the What, you should start with the Why. Why did you create what you are selling?

Simon Sinek in his Ted Talk “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe” shares that Dell and Microsoft market their products starting with What. “We make computers. Our computers have Intel processors. Buy one.” On the other hand, Apple markets its products starting with the Why. “Everything we do challenges the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. Our products are beautifully designed and user-friendly.”

Simon goes on to say that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
This statement is true for authors as well. You will hook more people into buying and reading your book if you start with your story—why you wrote the book.

Telling potential readers that they should read your book on forgiveness because it will help them be able to finally forgive and let go of the bitterness they have been holding is a good message. But, it is not as powerful as telling them that you held onto unforgiveness toward a parent for years until you suffered a heart attack. This was the wake up call you needed to learn to forgive. You are now sharing the six steps to forgiveness that you learned with others.

Notice that the Why does not exclude the What. In other words, in telling the Why, you will incorporate the What. People will know what you are offering, but now they will also understand why, which tugs at their emotions.

I wrote Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace because I wanted other new small publishers and authors to have the information I wished was available to me when I started out on my independent publishing journey. That’s my Why. What’s yours?

Related Posts:
It’s the Story
The Importance of Finding Your Niche
Is Your Message Distilled?

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Photo courtesy of Suhyeon Choi