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.

How to Sell More Books

I have never met an author who did not want to sell more books.

I recently presented at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference where I spoke with many authors. One author I spoke with told me that she had been published by a traditional publisher, but then, she decided to self-publish a book.

sell-more

This author told me that the first book she published did not sell well because she did nothing to promote it. When she published her second book, she decided to get serious about promoting and marketing the book. Much to her surprise, as she promoted her second book, she not only sold copies of that book, but sales for her first book began to pick up.

Zig Ziglar said, “If people trust you, they will do business with you.” That is what you develop with a book: Trust with your audience. If you get your readers to trust you with one book, they will read your other books as well. Repeat customers are your best business. Get a reader hooked, and they will buy all your books.

For this technique to work best, you must publish your books under a brand. Publishing multiple books on widely disparate topics won’t help you sell more books.

The author whose second book helped sell more of her first book wrote books geared toward women. The first book was about healing from brokenness and the second book was about forgiveness. Both these books have the same audience—women—and they build on each other. A broken woman needs to forgive those that contributed to her brokenness.

You, too, can use this technique to sell more books. Simply publish more books. If you have written a book for children, write another one. If you published a young adult novel, write another one. If you wrote a book on parenting, write another one on another aspect of parenting. If you published a devotional, publish another one.

Build trust with your audience. One book can easily build trust, but if you don’t have another book for your audience to purchase, you lose out. After all, 80% of most business will come from your repeat customers—people who have come to know and trust you and what you offer.

You can sell more books. One usually surefire technique is to publish more books and promote them!

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Do You Struggle with This?

He sneaks up on you and whispers in your ear:

  • You don’t have anything worthwhile to say.
  • You aren’t good enough.
  • Others are more qualified than you.
  • You can’t make a difference.
  • Nobody will buy your book.

Doubt

His name is Doubt. His agenda is to keep you from doing what God has called you to do.

The antidote: Faith.

When God calls you to act on his behalf, he will equip you to carry out the mission. When God calls you to act on his behalf, he does not call you to do something that is comfortable. He calls you out of your comfort zone so that you have to rely on Him and his strength, and your faith grows.

If God is calling you or has called you to write and publish a book, then:

  • You do have something worthwhile to say.
  • You are good enough.
  • You are the one most qualified to say what God wants said.
  • You can make a difference.
  • If you do the work, God will bring those who need to hear your message to your book.

Have faith. Trust that God is guiding you to proclaim His message as only you can do. Proverbs 3 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.”

Your path is unique. It is yours alone and no one else has the same path as you. Not everyone responds to the same message in the same way. That is why we need many voices proclaiming truth to draw as many people as possible into a closer relationship with God.

Psalm 37 tell us that “The steps of a good man are order by the Lord, and he delights in his way.” Your job is to follow God and bring glory to his name. You do that by writing, publishing, and promoting your book with quality. Trust God and banish doubt.

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A Call to Action with Consequences

The other week, the small group Bible Study I belong to was studying the parable of the Wise and Foolish Men found in Matthew 7. In the parable, the wise man built his house on a rock foundation and it withstood the storm. The foolish man built his house on the sand and so his house fell when the storm came.

house-on-rock

One of the questions that the study guide asked was “Why do you think Jesus told this parable at the end of the Sermon on the Mount?”

The Sermon on the Mount is full of great teaching by Jesus. In it Jesus gives his audience many pointers like don’t be anxious about your life, don’t hide your light under a bushel, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Then he ends his sermon with the parable of the wise and foolish men’s houses.

Jesus starts the parable with “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like…” It struck me that Jesus ended his sermon with a call to action. He told his listeners the benefit of doing the things he has told them to do—and the consequences if they didn’t do these things.

As an author or publisher promoting and marketing a book, you can take a lesson from Jesus. Good book promotion includes telling your audience what your book will do for them. It tells them what need it will meet in their lives. You can follow Jesus’ example by following this up with a call to action.

Your call to action can be like Jesus’:

Purchase this book to get (insert your book’s promise here).

You can even take it one step further and like Jesus tell people the negative consequences of NOT buying the book:

Purchase this book to get (insert your book’s promise here), or continue to (insert the negative aspect of not doing what your book says).

For example, a book on how to become debt free might include the call to action with the consequence of not following it of:

Purchase this book to receive freedom from the slavery of debt, or don’t and continue to allow debt to squeeze the joy out of your life.

Either way, once you are done with your sales pitch, be sure to include a call to action for your audience. They need to know what you want them to do with the information you have given them. Reminding them of the consequences of both acting and not acting helps to push your listener into action.

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What’s Your Promise?

Integrity. It’s about keeping your promises—doing the right thing in a reliable way.

Branding Thumbnail for Web

Are you reliable? Can people trust you?

If you are an author, readers need to trust you to buy your book. Readers need to trust that you will keep your promise.

What is your promise? Your promise is what you tell readers they will get from your book. This promise is extremely important. It is what draws the reader into purchasing the book.

Yes, your book meets a need, but if all you tell your potential reader about is the need, you are not hooking them. You need to not only identify the need your book fills, but also to let the reader know how your book will fulfill that need. This is your promise.

I recently met with co-authors of a book that was just released. They wanted me to look over their sell sheet and tell me how they could improve it. The authors had done a great job of leading with a need and making it bold and big on their sell sheet—“Do you need comfort in the midst of trouble?

However, their promise was buried in the text. It was not bold and attention grabbing. I encouraged these authors to make sure that they made their promise as big and bold and arresting as identifying the need their book met—“Find comfort and hope in these stories from those who have suffered.

What does your book promise? If you are struggling with this concept, or just want to learn more about creating a brand—also known as a promise—for your book, I encourage you to watch my new online, on-demand seminar Branding Your Book.

This 30-minute seminar covers how your book is like a business, what a brand is, how to craft a brand for your book, and how to create a book title that reflects a brand. You can access Branding Your Book by clicking here. The cost is just $20 to watch the video. Members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have free access to this on-demand seminar on CSPA’s website.

Learn how to make a promise to your reader. When your book keeps your promise, your readers trust you and keep coming back for more.

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Are You Asking?

Why don’t we ask? Is it pride? Fear of rejection? Not wanting to inconvenience others? Feeling unworthy?

James, the brother of Jesus, said, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” It’s not just God that we don’t ask. We don’t ask people either.

Are you lacking? Maybe you need to ask.

Asking

Recently I was talking with a member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) about the importance of endorsements. This gentleman publishes a number of authors. He told me that one of the authors that his press recently published was a personal friend of best-selling author Max Lucado.

This publisher had told the author to have Max Lucado write an endorsement for the book. After all, an endorsement by such a well-known Christian personality would ensure book sales.

The author declined stating that “he did not want to take advantage of a friendship.”
Is asking for an endorsement taking advantage of a friendship? Aren’t friends supposed to help each other? True friendships are two-lane streets. Sometimes one person gives and the other takes, and then the roles get reversed.

This small publisher went on to tell me that the book had sold very few copies. If only the author had asked, he might have received an endorsement and the book would have more sales.

Don’t be hesitant to ask. Everyone starts out at the same place—as a non-author and an unknown person. Every person who is now a best-selling author or person of influence started where you are at. They had people who helped them get off the ground. These authors and personalities are now willing to do the same for others, because they remember being there themselves and the help they received along the way.

Don’t be afraid to ask. After all, the worst that can happen is the person you ask will say “no”. Then, you are in the same place you where before you asked and not any worse off for asking. If, however, the answer is “yes”, then you are in a better place and the effort of asking paid off.

Does your book have endorsements? If not, start asking. If you are unsure about how to go about asking for endorsements, watch my on-demand online seminar Endorsements Help You Sell More Books. You can access the seminar by clicking here. Members of CSPA have free access to this seminar on CSPA’s website.

Jesus also encouraged us to ask. He said, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” So, ask God, but also ask others.

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