Write Up, Speak Up, and Change the World

Today is World Book Day in the UK and Ireland. World Book Day is a celebration of books and reading.

The slogan for World Book Day is: Reading is Power. Read up, Speak up, and Change the World.

Reading is power. Many, many lives have been changed through reading a good book. Some readers have received hope or inspiration to get them through a tough time. Others have received eternal hope through the Gospel message found in a book.

Reading is power, but writing is also power. Reading cannot be power without having life-changing words to read. Authors, take heart. Your writing is important and powerful.

The world needs Christian authors writing and publishing books that point people to God. As Romans 10 says:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I believe the same is true for the written word. Beautiful are the hands of those who write good news!

But all your writing and publishing will amount to nothing, if your books don’t get into the hands of people. People have to read your books to be impacted by your words.

Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you are struggling with promoting your Christian books, help is here. The Fourth Edition of my award-winning book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, is now available for purchase.

This book provides authors and publishers the advice and resources you need to effectively promote your Christian books. I recently received the following message from a reader:

“I’ve read your book. It’s fantastic!  I’m definitely going to use it as my guide for marketing!”

The hardest part is not writing or publishing a book. The toughest part is marketing the book—getting the word out to let people know how your book meets a need in  their life. Marketing involves speaking up in numerous ways.

The slogan for World Book Day in part says, Read up, Speak up, and Change the World. Authors, our slogan can be similar. Let’s make it:

Write up, Speak up, and Change the World

If you would like a copy of the Fourth Edition of Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, the price for the print book is just $24.99. You can order your copy today direct from the publisher or from Amazon.

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5 Affordable Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

It’s the season of giving. As an author or publisher, you know a lot of book lovers (at least I hope you do). To help you with Christmas gift ideas this year, I have collected five affordable, yet unique, ideas for gifts you can give the bibliophiles in your life.

1. Book Magic Book Clip and Stand

This book clip and stand is a great gift for those who love to read while they eat. It holds a book or magazine upright and open. It is also small, lightweight, and portable—it will easily fit into a purse.

2. Over Tub Caddy

If the book lover in your life prefers to read in the bathtub, then this bathtub caddy is the gift for her. The book holder in the caddy is adjustable and great for keeping books dry.

3. Mighty Bright Book Lamp

This is the perfect gift for those who enjoying reading in bed at night. This clip-on book lamp sports a rechargeable battery with a life of up to 60 hours. The lamp lets you read all night if you want!

4. Knock Knock Personal Library Kit

For a bibliophile, there is pleasure in sharing beloved books, but also pain in losing from for good. This personal library kit helps ensure that books that are loaned are returned.

5. Lit Chat: Conversation Starters about Books and Life

This 50-card conversation deck is perfect as an icebreaker or a conversation starter at any party. The cards give readers of all persuasions an excuse to talk about books, ideas, and life itself.

If you have another unique gift idea for book lovers, please share it in the comments section!

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It’s Not Too Early for Christmas

You are probably thinking, “Halloween has not yet arrived. It’s too early to be shopping for Christmas.

Except, it’s not. Many people are already beginning to think about Christmas and gift buying. On survey by eMarketers found that more than 10 percent of Internet shoppers said they start their holiday shopping before September. Another 40 percent start purchasing holiday gifts before November.

Did you catch that? Just about half of the people who buy gifts for Christmas start shopping before November. And that is not just one study. Research from the National Retail Federation shows that about 40 percent of people start holiday shopping before Halloween each year. That number has stayed consistent for more than 10 years.

It’s not too early to start promoting your book as a great Christmas gift. Start now. Promote and advertise your book as a Christmas gift. Offer a holiday special or bundle to entice early shoppers. This month is a great time to include your specials in your email campaigns, on your website, and through advertisements.

In today’s entertainment saturated world, you might want to remind shoppers why books make great gifts. Feel free to use the reasons listed on the infographic below in your marketing efforts.

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Awareness Is Not Enough

“I need distribution for my book right away. I am doing radio and TV shows and bookstores are wanting to order my book.”

This caller’s frantic plea for help is something that I have run into a number of times. It turns out that this author published her book via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). The only place it was for sale was on Amazon.com.

The author had hired a publicist—spending thousands of dollars. Fortunately, the publicist was doing a good job of lining up radio and television interviews. The problem: no distribution.

So, while this author was getting lots and lots of publicity for her book, her book was not positioned for that publicity.

I have seen this happen to a number of independent authors. It is not a publicist’s job to educate her client on book publishing and distribution. After all, the publicist’s specialty is publicity. As a result, many publicists fail to make sure that their clients’ books are in distribution and widely available for sale in numerous outlets before booking media interviews. Sadly, when this happens, much of the publicity achieved goes to waste.

Publicity alone does not sell books. Most book sales are determined by three factors.

1. Awareness

People have to know your book exists to be able to purchase it. This is where publicity is very helpful. The more exposure you have for your book, the more people you make aware of your book.

2. Decision

Decision comes after awareness. Only after readers know about a book can they decide to purchase the book.

3. Availability

Once a reader decides to buy a book, the book must be available in the format and place he or she wants to buy the book. If readers cannot find the book where they usually shop, the sale is easily lost. Not everyone shops on Amazon.

When it comes to selling books, awareness is not enough. Availability (think ease of purchase) is just as important a factor in the buying process. Having your books available for sale in multiple places enhances your ability to sell your book.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) offers our Members ease of access to distribution through IngramSpark and Lightning Source. Member publishers and authors of CSPA can use their CSPA membership benefit to upload titles for free with these print-on-demand services that also provide distribution through Ingram—ensuring that their books are widely available for sale.

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Photo courtesy of Pablo García Saldaña.

 

Promote Your Books as Christmas Gifts

Christmas gift shopping is big business. The average American spends around $700 on holiday gifts and goodies. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. holiday sales account for about 20% of all retail sales each year.

As a small publisher or independent author, you can cash in on this gift buying trend to sell more books. By promoting your books as a great Christmas gift idea, you can sell more books.

Many people start Christmas shopping early in the fall, so now is a great time to begin promoting your books as gifts. Here are six ways to capitalize on Christmas gift shopping to sell more books.

1. Position Your Book as a Great Gift

Let your fans know that your book makes a great gift. Feature it as a gift idea on your website, in your newsletter or email updates to your fans, and on your social media posts. Your readers may not automatically think of your book as a gift. You can plant and water this idea for your followers.

Let your readers and fans know that they can give your book as either a print book or a digital book as a gift. Amazon Kindle now allows anyone gift a Kindle book through their new “Buy for Others” feature.

When promoting your book as a gift on social media, be sure to use hashtags related to Christmas and gifts to make sure your posts have wide visibility. A few of these hashtags include:

#Christmas
#ChristmasGift
#ChristmasGiftIdeas
#StockingStuffer
#Gifts
#GiftIdeas
#GiftsForHer
#GiftsForHim

2. Offer a Special Christmas Discount

One way to make your book more appealing as a gift is to offer shoppers a special Christmas discount. You can offer a two-for-one deal, free shipping, or even just a special holiday price. Be sure to make your Christmas special or discount time limited to give shoppers a sense of urgency so that they will act on your prompting to purchase your book as a gift with your holiday discount.

3. Create a Bundle for Gift Giving

Many people don’t like to spend a lot of time Christmas shopping. For these individuals, the easier you make shopping for them, the more likely they will buy. One way to make shopping easy for people is to offer a gift bundle. Then instead of having to buy a book from you and then heading over to another store to purchase another gift, you can make it easy by offering a bundle that provides one-stop shopping for your customer.

You can pair your book with another product as a bundle. For example, if your book is about Godliness for young ladies, offer a bundle consisting of your book and a piece of Christian jewelry. If you have a devotional that focuses on men, offer a gift card to Home Depot along with your book. Your gift bundle can be as creative as you allow it to be.

4. Create a Gift Guide for Your Fans

Some people find gift buying tedious and overwhelming. They feel that they lack good ideas about what to buy their loved ones. You can help these individuals by offering a Gift Guide on your website or blog. Feature a number of products that make good gifts for your target audience. Of course, include your book in your guide. Remember, the goal is to provide information that your followers will find helpful.

5. Display Your Books at Local Christmas Craft Bazaars or Holiday Festivals

Every community has Christmas craft bazaars and holiday-themed festivals where local residents can rent a table or booth and showcase their goods a gifts. You can sign up and display your book at these events to promote your book as a gift and garner some sales.

6. Advertise in Holiday Shopping Guides

Numerous magazines, journals, websites, and blogs feature holiday shopping guides. Some require you to pay to advertise your book as a great gift. Others are put on by bloggers where the blog will feature your product as a gift in exchange for a free copy of your book to the blogger. You can pitch bloggers that feature gift guides to ask if they would be willing to include your book or bundle in their guide.

When promoting your book as a gift, remember that you are not just promoting your book, you are also informing people why your book makes a great gift. Remind people that books make great gifts. If you need some reasons, check out my infographic on Six Reasons Books Make Great Gifts.

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Photo courtesy of George Dolgikh.