Attitude: Is Yours Helping or Hurting?

Thirty-five miles of dirt and gravel. The Virginia Creeper Trail runs along an old train rail from Whitetop to Abingdon, Virginia. The plan was to ride the complete 35 miles on bicycle in one day.

As often happens, the plan got derailed. One teenage boy wiped out when he hit a tree root in the trail. One trip to urgent care and three stitches later he was patched up and on the mend.

This one event could have ruined our family vacation had we let it. We choose not to. The teenager struggled at first, but decided to master his attitude and make the most of the rest of our time.

Attitude is important. After all, God’s Word talks about our attitude:

  • “Make your attitude that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:4-6)
  • “Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:7)
  • “You were taught…to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” (Ephesians 4:22-23)

Studies show that a positive attitude produces more favorable results. According to a Stanford Research Institute study, the path to success is comprised of 88 percent attitude and only 12 percent education. This is not saying that education is not important, rather, the study points to the importance of attitude.

What about your attitude?

  • Do you believe deep down that you have an important message for your readers?
  • Are you excited to share your passion with your readers and potential readers?
  • Do you have a positive attitude toward promoting your books?

Or are you struggling?

  • Has the competition for readers’ attention made you discouraged?
  • Are slow book sales causing you to doubt your calling?
  • Has the overwhelming and difficult task of marketing caused you to become disheartened?

Take a moment and check your attitude. It is one thing that you can control. Life is difficult. After all, the way to life is narrow and difficult and only a few find it. Your calling is to help people enter this narrow gate and encourage them on this difficult path. You will have more success in fulfilling your calling if you keep a positive attitude.

Do you need an infusion of encouragement or inspiration to renew your attitude toward marketing and promoting your book and carrying out your calling? If your answer is yes, I encourage you to watch one of my Marketing Christian Book University on-demand seminars. Not only will watching one provide you new ideas, it will also fill you with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for your task.

Related Posts:
Do You Have a “Can Do” Attitude?
It’s Never Too Late
Which Mindset Do You Have?

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Which Country Reads the Most?

Did you know that English is one of the world’s most wide-spread languages? There are 1.5 billion people in the world who speak English. It is estimated that 375 million speak English as their first language, while over one billion speak English as a second language.

Out of the total 195 countries in the world, 67 nations have English as the primary language of ‘official status’. Plus there are also 27 countries where English is spoken as a secondary ‘official’ language.

Your English-language book can have worldwide readership, not just in countries where English is the majority language, but also in countries with large expatriate American communities like Ecuador. Both Christians and seekers can benefit from your message in these countries. Knowing where to concentrate your marketing efforts based on reading rates in various countries can help you sell more books.

The infographic below by Global English Editing is a great resource for learning about reading habits around the world. .

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Global eBook Sales are Within Your Reach
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Five Tips for Staying Focused

If you are a small publisher or an independently published author, you wear many hats. Some of these hats include: writer, editor, proof reader, copywriter, blogger, marketer, publicist, and social media strategist.

With so many hat and tasks, sometimes it is hard to focus on just one. However, studies have shown that people are the most productive when they don’t multitask. Instead, your productivity is maximized when you are able to concentrate on just one task and get in the flow.

If you are having a hard time focusing on one task and find that you are not accomplishing as much as you would like to, consider these five strategies for focusing.

1. Schedule your tasks.
Studies show that chunking tasks in time intervals throughout the day is conducive to focusing on that task and accomplishing more. Schedule chunks of time for various tasks. If you want to write, schedule an hour in your day for writing. If you want to spend time on marketing tasks, schedule that into your day.

2. Turn off distractions.
To focus and get into the flow, turn off distractions. Turn off your cell phone. Turn off the notifications on your computer that pop up when you have a new email. Turn off anything that draws your attention and makes you lose focus. You might even need to put a bark collar on the dog or wear noise-cancelling earphone.

3. Allow yourself breaks.
Don’t overdo. Studies show that are maximum for concentration is an hour. After that, we lose the flow and productivity. So, after 45 minutes to an hour, give yourself a 15-minute break. Check your emails and your messages. Get something to drink. Stretch and walk around. Then come back and work on the next task in your schedule.

4. Use an accountability partner.
Using the buddy system can work wonders for focusing. Simply knowing that you have told someone what you aim to accomplish and knowing that they will ask you if you have done it provides great incentive to focus and accomplish a task. Find another small publisher or writer and get some accountability.

5. Reward yourself.
Set goals for yourself and give yourself a reward when you reach them. For example, if you are writing, set a word count for yourself. If you reach it, then give yourself a reward. Consider a Starbucks’ coffee, a pick me up smoothie, or a nice cup of tea. Giving yourself small rewards that acknowledge your accomplishments provides you additional incentive to focus and accomplish goals.

When you start to feel overwhelmed, start with one thing. Do that one thing using the techniques described here to stay focused. Remember, focused activity leads to more productivity.

Do you have any techniques for staying focused that weren’t mentioned here? Please share them with me and others who read this in the comments.

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Is Multitasking Harming Your Productivity?
Do You Have This Habit?
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Photo courtesy of SplitShire

Do You Have the Wrong Expectation?

“If you self-publish, expect to sell less than 100 copies of your book.”

These words were spoken by a Christian author on a marketing panel at the recent CBA Unite International Show. This particular author was both a traditionally-published author and an independently-published author. She had published books using both routes.

The authors on this panel were sharing the lessons they had learned in marketing their books. After making this statement, the author neglected to talk about what authors could do to help ensure that they sold more than 100 copies of an independently-published book.

I am happy to say that I strongly disagree with this author’s statement. I don’t believe that any self-published author needs to “expect” to sell less than 100 copies of a book.

Expect means “to regard as likely to happen.” Truthfully, up to 99% of self-published books do sell less than 100 copies. However, this statistic does not reflect what an author should “expect.”

Most self-published books sell less than 100 copies because the author does not market the book effectively. Too many self-published authors have the idea “if I publish my book, people will buy and read it.” This mindset sets an author up for failure.

With over 1,300 books are published every day in America. The competition for readers’ money and attention is stiff. How many copies you sell of your book is largely dependent on the quality of your book and on your marketing efforts.

Having sold thousands of copies of an independently-published book, I can attest to the fact that you do not need to “expect” to sell less than 100 copies. What you do need is:

  1. A basic understanding of the book publishing and selling industry.
  2. A strong selling point or promise to your reader.
  3. To know and understand how to reach your target audience.
  4. To invest time and money in marketing your book to your target audience.

If you need to gain knowledge and information in any of these four areas, resources exist to help you. Some of these resources include:

Don’t expect failure. Instead, plan and act for success. You can expect to sell more than 100 copies of a self-published book with some knowledge and effort.

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Photo courtesy of Vincent van Zalinge

Christian Retail is Struggling

This past year has been a tough year for Christian bookstores. Family Christian Stores closed all 240 of its stores earlier this year. Only about 20 of those stores have been purchased by other entities and will continue to operate under new names.

According to CBA’s recent State of the Industry report, 45 independent Christian bookstores closed in 2016, while only 20 new stores opened. This represents a net loss of 25 independent retail stores (not including the 220 store closures from Family Christian Stores). Within the same period, there has been a 6 percent decline in sales of Christian retail, according to the same CBA report.

I have been attending CBA’s International Christian Retail Show now CBA Unite, with Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) for the past fourteen years. Each year I have watched the show grow smaller. This year’s show was by far the smallest with the fewest attendees that I have experienced, reflecting the industry’s struggle.

At CBA Unite 2017, I noticed:

  • Fewer vendors
  • Fewer book buying attendees
  • Fewer international attendees
  • Fewer author appearances
  • Fewer exhibitor sponsored evening events (there was one this year)
  • Fewer educational opportunities
  • Only a couple big-name personalities appearances including best-selling authors, music artists, or actors (as compared to multiple in previous years)
  • Lack of a show smart phone app (as offered in previous years)

CBA is not releasing official attendee or exhibitor numbers this year—indicating that the numbers were poor. Publishers Weekly reports that attendance at the CBA Unite show dropped 43 percent from 2014 to 2016, and observations from the floor this year indicate that 2017’s turnout continued to fall. While BookExpo, the industry book trade show for the general market, reported that their trade attendance was significantly up this year from last year’s show in Chicago, that show’s attendance is still significantly down from 20,895 attendees in 2015 to 7,425 in 2017.

Authors attending CBA Unite with Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) this year still received exposure for their books. Additionally, most were able to score quite a few media interviews since they were not competing with big name authors for these spots. You can watch the video featuring pictures of CSPA’s booth and author book signings at the show below:

Related Posts:
The Demise of the Christian Bookstore
How to Get a Book into a Christian Bookstore
ICRS 2016 Recap

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