About marketingchristianbooks

Sarah Bolme is the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), the owner of CREST Publications, and the author of 7 books including Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace and numerous articles. She is also the editor of the CSPA Circular, the monthly newsletter of Christian Small Publishers Association. A clinical social worker by education and experience, Sarah stumbled into the world of publishing after her two self-help books were published by a small publisher. Sarah and her husband, a fiction author, then collaborated on a set of board books for infants and toddlers after the birth of their children. After much thought and research, they decided to publish the project themselves. This decision led to the creation of CREST Publications and Sarah’s journey into marketing. Navigating the Christian marketplace began as a rather solitary learning experience for Sarah as no guide books or associations were available for marketing in this unique marketplace. After meeting and dialoging with other small and self-publishers marketing books in the Christian marketplace, it became clear that an organization was needed to provide assistance and information to new and emerging publishers. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) was founded in January 2004 with Sarah Bolme as Director. Sarah’s passion is educating others to help them improve their situation whether that is helping them get unstuck in their lives through counseling or marketing their books into the Christian marketplace.

The 2017 Book of the Year Award Winners

The votes are in and counted. The winners of the 2017 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award have been determined!

Christian book lovers and retailers voted on 120 nominated titles in 13 categories. The winners in each of the 13 categories are:

Fiction
Always With You, Elaine Stock, Elk Lake Publishing

Historical Fiction
Dawn of Liberty: Short Story Collection, Amber Schamel, Vision Writer Publications

Romance
Forgiveness, Marianne Evans, Pelican Book Group

Christian Living
Frankly Speaking, Janet Dash-Harris, CLM Publishing

Bible Study / Theology
Stuff Jesus Never Said, Paul Ellis, KingsPress

Devotional
Getting To Know Jesus: An Invitation to Walk With The Lord Day By Day, Eric Kampmann, Beaufort Books

Biography / Memoir
The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So, V.Lynn Whitfield, Professional Woman Publishing

Relationships / Family
Handing Out Life: The Simple Way to Rewarding Relationships in All of Life, Rev. Dr. Todd A. Biermann, Halo Publishing

Children’s (age 4 to 8)
Fireflies, Ginger Sanders (author), Tracy Applewhite Broom (illustrator)

Children’s (age 8 to 12)
Paul the Apostle: A Graphic Novel, Ben Avery (author), Mark Harmon (illustrator), Beartruth Collective, LLC

Young Adult (age 12+)
Healing Rain, Katy Newton Naas, Clean Reads

Gift Book
Jesus Loves You, Christine Topjian, Lighthouse Publishing

Christian Education
Examine Your Faith! Finding Truth in a World of Lies, Pamela Christian, Protocol, Ltd

Congratulations to the winners! Thank you to everyone who voted!

The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Looking for a great book to read next? Try one of the winners of the CSP Book of the Year Award listed here.

Related Posts:
The 2016 Book of the Year Award Winners
The 2015 Book of the Year Award Winners
The 2014 Book of the Year Award Winners

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Global eBook Sales are Within Your Reach

Imagine that someone in China or South Africa is reading your book. The good news is that it is possible. With ebooks, selling books internationally is easy.

Did you know that with a click of a button, you can sell your ebook in multiple countries?

  • Amazon will sell your ebook in 12 countries.
  • Kobo ebook stores sell your ebook in 36 countries.
  • Apple eBook store sells to over 40 countries.

Author Earnings recently completed a report on ebook sales in the top five English-language countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Below is a chart that shows the annual ebook sales broken down by country.

Author Earnings study revealed some interesting points. Here are three of the salient ones:

  • Amazon is the majority retailer in just about every market.
  • Taken all together, Amazon accounts for more than 80% of English-language ebook purchases, Apple another 10%, Kobo 2% and Nook 3%.
  • Self-published indie authors are verifiably capturing at least 24% to 34% of all ebook sales in each of the five English-language markets.

Once again, the news is that Amazon dominants book sales in English-speaking countries. However, it is important to remember that Amazon is not the only ebook store.

Many independently published authors publish exclusively with Amazon. If you publish exclusively with Amazon, you might be missing out on sales both in the United States and worldwide. Following are three reasons NOT to have your ebook exclusive to Amazon:

  1. You are missing out on offering your book for sale in at least 28 countries.
  2. You are missing a potential 20% more sales for your book.
  3. You reduce the impact of external marketing and sales for your book as everyone does not purchase books via Amazon.

Don’t shortchange yourself. While it is easy to publish a book on Amazon, remember Amazon is not the only player in the ebook sales industry. If you want to sell more books, you need broader distribution. Make sure your ebooks are listed in Kobo and in the Apple store as well as in all the ebook retailers. You can do this by making your ebook available for distribution through one of the following ebook distributors:

If you have already published your ebook on Amazon, that’s okay. You can still use Smashwords or IngramSpark for broader distribution. Both services will respect your existing relationship with Amazon.

Don’t miss out on worldwide sales for your ebooks. Indie published ebook sales continue to grow. Your book sales will benefit from the exposure wider distribution brings.

Related Posts:
Promoting Your Books to English-Speaking Countries
Notable Data on Book Sales
Selling eBooks Worldwide

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Photo courtesy of Slava Bowman

What Authors Can Learn from Shopping Behaviors

I love to shop. For the most part, I prefer shopping in physical stores where I can not only see what I am purchasing, but I can touch and feel it also. I know many people prefer to shop online. While not everyone shops the same way, there are a few similarities overall among people’s shopping preferences.

A new study by Catalyst, a marketing agency specializing in retail, explored consumer-shopping behaviors across multiple channels. Their research found that most customers prefer convenience over other factors when shopping. Here are a few of the findings from Catalyst’s study:

  • Convenience Is Paramount
    Amazon wins when it comes to convenience. Most customers prefer researching and buying products online.
  • Efficiency Matters
    Customers look for what saves them time. If it is not readily available to order or purchase, or if shipping is not fast, customers will walk away from a purchase.
  • Price Matters—but Quality Matters More
    Customers want the best quality for the lowest price. They are willing to pay more for a product when convenience and customer service are perceived to be superior.

There are a few nuggets of wisdom for authors in this study and its findings. Here are two lessons from this study that can help you sell more books.

1. Your books must be available in multiple channels for buyers to purchase.

Believe it or not, not everyone shops on Amazon. Your book needs to be available for purchase (and quick delivery) at the places where your readers shop. Having your book available for purchase on Amazon and your website is not enough. Make sure your books are in wider distribution so that they are conveniently available to more people.

2. Your book’s price affects sales.

One of the best rules to follow when independently publishing a book is simply this: Follow the industry standard. When pricing your book, this means that your book is priced in the same range as other books in its genre that are published by the large industry publishing houses.

Since print-on-demand is more expensive per book than offset printing (printing large numbers of books at once of 1,000 or more copies), independently published authors often price their books higher than industry standard. Pricing high allows the author to make a decent return on each book sold. However, pricing your book higher than other books in your genre can result in a loss of sales. Remember, people are looking for the best quality at the lowest price. If a reader is considering purchasing your book or another book on the same topic, if the books appear equal in quality, the reader will opt for the lower-priced book.

Book buyers are shoppers and they, like most consumers, prefer convenience, efficiency, and good deals.

Related Posts:
Do You Know What it Takes to Sell a Book?
How to Get a Book into a Christian Bookstore
The Most Important Equations

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Photo courtesy of Freestocks.org

Are You Convincing Enough People?

As an author, your most important online presence is your website. Yes, your website—not social media, not Amazon, not Goodreads.

In fact, the purpose of social media is to get people to your website. The purpose of your website is to turn visitors into customers (people who buy your books).

According to research, 48% of people who enter a physical store buy something. However, on average, only 2 to 3 percent of people who visit a website purchase something. In fact, 96% of people who visit your website are not ready to buy. You have to convince them to purchase your books.

This is the purpose of your author website—to convince people to buy your books.

Experts report that when a visitor comes to your website, you have, on average, less than one minute to convince them to stay on your website. The longer visitors stay on your website, the greater chance you have of convincing them to either buy your book or sign up to receive your emails so you can continue to work on convincing them to buy your book.

The best way to keep people on your website is:

1.  Make sure your website loads quickly.
For every second delay in loading, you lose 7% of your potential visitors. Google analytics allows you to view your site load speed time.

2.  Have a compelling headline.
Your headline needs to be clear and draw your audience in.

3.  Give your visitors something to do.
Tell them what you want them to do. Make it clear. Large buttons that state things like:

  • Buy the Book
  • Download 10 Tips for…
  • Read the First Chapter

4.  Include a video.
Research shows that websites with a video of the product they are selling can increase their purchase rate by 144%. If you need an easy free video for your website, check out Bitable or Powtoon for creating a short video about your book.

Your website is your strongest tool for convincing readers to buy your book. Don’t overlook this important marketing mechanism. Use it wisely to convince your visitors that your book is worth their time and money!

Related Posts:
Bigger is Not Necessarily Better
The Power of Word-of-Mouth
Selling Books in an Overcrowded Market

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Photo courtesy of Vitaly

You Get What You Pay For

You get what you pay for”—so the saying goes.

While there are a few exceptions, this statement is generally true, especially for what you get for free.

What is offered for free is never top-of-the-line. Free products are usually samples. They are a taste of what the full model offers. When a full model product is offered for free, it is usually an older model—the one that has already been replaced by a newer, better version.

The same principle holds true for free information. Free information posted on the Internet is not the premium stuff. Don’t get me wrong, this free information can be useful, but the providers usually save the best information for their books or services.

I provide a lot of free information on this blog. It is good valuable information, if a little basic, but it’s only a drop in the bucket. I provide the most valuable information in my book (Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace), my on-demand webinars (MCB University), CSPA’s monthly newsletter (the CSPA Circular) for Members of the organization, and my workshops at writers’ conferences (see the upcoming seminars at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference).

Independent authors who think that everything they need to be successful is available online are operating under a false assumption. Free will only take you so far. The truth is that with online research:

  1. You won’t find all the valuable information in any reference or resource book on publishing or marketing.
  2. You won’t find the information all in one place. You will have to spend a lot of time researching.
  3. Some of the advice on the internet is bad advice. Listening to bad advice can cost you money.

Spending some money to purchase a book, membership, or conference attendance where you will hear from experts will save you time and money in the long run. Additionally, you can be confident that the information comes from reputable experts.

I run into a lot of newly published independent authors who are operating under many false assumptions and information, which causes them to flounder. Take the time to find and purchase the valuable information you need. It’s worth the investment.

If you are planning on publishing a book or have already published a book and need information on how the Christian marketplace works and how to effectively promote your book, I suggest you invest in one or more of the resources listed in this post.

Related Posts:
Getting What You Paid For?
Are You Asking?
Pay with a Tweet

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Photo courtesy of Timothy Muza