I recently had a conversation with a Christian author. This gentleman makes his living through writing. He does not have another job. He supports his family through the sales of his books.
This author is traditionally published. He waxed eloquently about the changes in the Christian book publishing industry and how they have affected him. He reported that his publisher, a large Christian publishing house, no longer bothers with hiring a sales rep to sell their books into bookstores. Almost all their efforts are focused on selling books directly to consumer—and they largely leave this up to the authors.
Gone are the days when an author could find a publisher to bear the weight of the publishing and publicity costs for a new book. Now, the vast majority of the marketing falls on the author’s shoulders even when the publishing company foots the bill to publish the book.
One of the authors that Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) recently represented at the NRB Convention was published by a traditional small publishing house that is a member of CIPA. This first-time author’s book had just been released, and she was excited to be at the show.
The author showed up without a clear understanding of how she was going to promote her books or where she needed to be when. She told me that she thought the publisher, who was also attending the show, would lead and she would follow. However, her publisher was busy networking and taking care of other business.
This new author said, “I should have taken the time to better prepare before I came instead of expecting my publisher to do it for me.”
It doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or self-published. The responsibility is yours.
If your book is not selling as well as you would like, look no farther than yourself. Ask yourself:
- What am I doing on a daily basis to market my book?
- What more could I do?
- Which marketing activities are bringing most of my sales?
- What new marketing strategy can I try?
John Kremer wrote a book called 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. If you need ideas, just consult the book. It has more ideas than you could ever implement. If you want ideas and specific resources for reaching more Christian consumers, my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, will provide you with plenty to keep you busy for a long time.
Yes, the responsibility for marketing and selling your book rests on your shoulders. But, remember, that you rest on Christ. Partner with him. Do what you can and trust that he will multiply the work of your hands for the glory of his Kingdom.
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Photo courtesy of Adi Goldstein.