Stop Waiting and Start Risking

Opportunity knocks but once.

This proverb implies that when an opportunity is presented, you must act quickly or you will not get another chance. The truth is, opportunity rarely knocks. Instead, it comes across your path disguised as a risk.

Risk involves the potential for loss

Most of us are risk avoiders. We crave safety and security. We feel safe in our “comfort zone.” It takes effort to move out of this zone and take a risk.

Risk involves the potential for loss. In risking, we may lose something we value:

  • Our comfort
  • Our money
  • Our reputation
  • Our connections
  • Our social status
  • Our sense of significance

We are hard wired to avoid risk. Scientific studies show that the pain of loss is almost twice as great as the reward of gain.

Most opportunities come when take a step that involves risk. In his new book on risking titled Living a Life of Yes, David Rupert writes:

Living a Life of Yes

 

“We often wait around waiting for God to open doors. While ‘I’m waiting around for Him to show me what to do next’ sound spiritual, it really limits your opportunities to experience what He has in store for you.”

 Are you waiting for opportunity to knock? Are you sitting around waiting for your big break? Maybe you hope that a journalist, radio host, or organization is going to stumble upon your amazing blog article, book, or social media post and ask to interview you or invite you to speak. Maybe you are waiting for that “perfect” opportunity to promote your book.

Here’s the hard truth: The knock is not coming. Instead, you must venture forth and take a risk to find it. What risk do you need to take to find opportunities to promote and market your book? Do you need to:

  • Start blogging, podcasting, or live-streaming videos?
  • Start contacting podcast and radio shows to request a guest interview?
  • Start asking people to endorse or review your book?
  • Start creating a budget for some paid advertising and marketing?
  • Start asking local bookstores to host a book signing for you?
  • Start asking local schools to host you for an author appearance?

After all, book sales don’t just happen. They take work and involve risk. Opportunity rarely knocks.

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Photo courtesy of skeeze.

Author: Do You Believe?

If you want to start a new habit or change an old habit, what is the one ingredient that makes the difference between failure and success?

Are you cultivating this habit?

According to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, that key ingredient is belief. Charles reports that all habits follow a similar pattern:

  1. A cue
  2. A routine
  3. A reward

He asserts that no matter what habit you are trying to change—drinking too much, quitting smoking, eating healthier, or exercising more—that you must change the routine. Changing the routine writes a new habit over the old habit. The cue and the reward stay that same, but now a new behavior is accessed for the old cue.

Someone who wants to eat less may note that they eat when they are bored. The cue is boredom. The routine is eating something. The reward is not feeling bored. To change the habit, the person needs a new routine. It might be that they decide to go for a walk when they feel bored instead of eating. If they change the routine to a walk, they have written a new, healthier habit over the old habit.

However, for the new routine to actually stick and work, the person has to believe that they can change. Without belief, we have trouble changing a habit. Instead, we fall back into the old routine when things get tough. So, for someone to kick an addiction, lose weight, or get in shape, she has to believe that she is capable of doing it.

What about you? Do you believe:

  • That your book makes a difference?
  • That some people need what you provide in your book?
  • That your marketing efforts will have some success?
  • That the time you spend marketing is meaningfully spent?

If you want to get into the habit of spending time each day marketing your book, then first and foremost, you must believe that your time will be well spent, that it will introduce people to your book, and that your sales will increase as a result. Belief is required for you to develop a daily marketing habit.

Once you believe that your marketing efforts can actually make a difference for your book sales, then the next thing you must do is develop a cue to help you remember to engage in marketing activities. Maybe you decided you will do one or two marketing activities on your lunch break. Then lunch will be your cue to engage in marketing.

Develop a list of marketing activities that you can do each day. That way, you are prepared. If you need ideas, check out the ideas in “Are You Willing to Commit?” and “10 Daily Book Marketing Activities for 2019”.

Developing a marketing habit is not easy, but it is a habit that can improve your book sales. However, you must believe that marketing will make a difference for the habit to stick.

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Photo courtesy of Alexas_Fotos.

Get Caught Reading; It’s Good for You!

May is Get Caught Reading Month. Reading is good for you. It is a wonderful de-stressor and actually prolongs your life.

Here are four more interesting tidbits about reading:

  • U.S. residents spend an average of 16.8 minutes per day reading.
  • U.S. households spend an average of $118 yearly on reading material including newspapers and magazines.
  • Revenue for U.S. book publishers grew 4.6% in 2018, largely due to the increase in audiobook sales.
  • People who read 30 minutes or more a week reported feeling 20% more satisfied with their lives.

I hope that you read on a regular basis.

Each year Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) puts together a cooperative catalog featuring books by our Members. This year’s catalog features 84 titles from 37 CIPA Members.

I invite you to click on the catalog cover pictured below to check out the great Christian titles CIPA Member produce! I am sure you will find within the pages of this catalog a new book you can “get caught reading” this month!

CIPA 2019 Book Catalog

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Bringing Hope, Healing, and Life

On a recent Sunday, my church hosted an international worker (that’s the new fancy term for missionary) from Kosovo. This missionary talked about how she was developing oral Bible stories as part of her ministry outreach.

Books Bring Hope, Healing & Life

I was struck by her talk of “oral stories” since Kosovo is a literate nation. I asked her about this. Her response was that while the people of Kosovo can read, many don’t take the time to do so and are more willing to engage with an auditory or visual story. Interestingly, half the population of Kosovo is under the age of 29.

This trend away from reading for young people is not just in the United States. It appears to happening in other countries also. It saddens me. I believe that reading has great benefits and that books bring hope, healing, and life to people in a way that movies and audio stories cannot touch.

Wise King Solomon said, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22) King Solomon is referring to written words when he states “Let them not depart from thine eyes.”

A friend of mine enlightened me about a program that the United States government operated for soldiers in World War II. Keeping up morale for American soldiers was a national concern. The Library Section of the U.S. War Department partnered with over 70 book companies to create and print pocket sized paperback books. Over 123 million copies of a total of 1,322 books were printed and distributed to service members for free. These included Westerns, mysteries, comics, humor, biographies, anthologies of poetry, and classic and contemporary fiction.

A Tree Grows in BrooklynOne of the books selected for the program was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Smith received a flood of mail from soldiers telling her how her book had helped them get through the dark days and horrors of war. One GI expressed in his letter to Smith after reading her book, “I can’t explain the emotional reaction that took place in this dead heart of mine. . . . I only know that it happened. A surge of confidence has swept through me and I feel that maybe a fellow has a fighting chance in this world after all.

Let’s now forget that books are powerful. They bring hope, healing, and renewed life to people. As an author, you are ministering to your readers. Don’t get discouraged. Someone today is in need of a touch from your words.

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Photo courtesy of Nacho Juárez.

Counting Blessings

We live in a world filled with suffering and struggles. As residents in this world, we often lose sight of the fact that our stay here is temporary and that, as Christians, we have an afterlife that is free of suffering and struggle to look forward to. This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful that I can look forward to a better life once this one has passed.

Thanksgiving is a day for us to count our blessings. Counting our blessings keeps us mindful of how good God is. I have always been fond of the words in this hymn.

Count Your Blessing

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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