Publishing Myths Busted!

Over the years, I have heard writers make some fairly outrageous claims like:

  • “My book is going to rock the Christian world.”
  • “Everybody needs to read my book.”
  • “I just write; I don’t read.”

These writers have bought into ideas that are not true. Sadly, there are numerous publishing and marketing myths that newer writers and authors often believe.

Publishing Myths Busted

In his new book, 10 Publishing Myths, W. Terry Whalin sets out to debunk 10 popular publishing myths while educating writers on the reality of book publishing and marketing.

This small book is packed with useful advice and resources for aspiring and new authors. For each myth, Terry provides an MBA—not a Masters of Business Administration—but a Myth Busting Activity for the reader to do.

Terry Whalin knows the publishing industry. As both an editor and a writer, Terry has written over 60 books and numerous articles. He has worked as a magazine editor and is currently an acquisitions editor. His advice is sound.

In debunking the “My Book Will Be a New York Times Bestseller” myth, Terry states:

With over 4500 new books entering the marketplace every day, it is a challenge for any author to find readers—and to find readers who will write a few sentences of honest review and post it on Amazon and Goodreads and other sites.”

I agree with Terry. The competition for readers’ time and money is stiff. Authors have to devote time and energy to promoting and marketing their books to reap sales. I have often said that book reviews are your second most important marketing tool—your book’s cover is your number one marketing tool.

In the “My Editor Will Fix All My Mistakes” myth chapter, Terry writes:

One of the ways we can grow as a writer in the knowledge of our craft is to read how-to books. Even though I have an undergraduate degree in journalism and have shelves of how-to write books, I continue to read books on the craft of writing. For years, I’ve read at least one of these types of books each month. New how-to books continue to be created and published—and I learn something from each of them.

Every writer and author can benefit from this piece of wisdom. There is always room for improvement, and there is always more to learn. As an author, you should follow Terry’s advice and encourage others to do so also. One way you can put this into practice is to gift Terry’s book or another book on writing or marketing to one or more writers in your life this Christmas.

Authors should be readers. Read books in your books’ genres and read books to improve your writing and marketing skills. I suggest that you start with this book and then read all the additional resources and books that Terry recommends in the book.

Related Posts:
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Book Reviews Are Social Proof

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Photo courtesy of Patrick Fore.

Self-Publishing Keeps Growing!

The descendants of Abraham are “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore” (Hebrews 11:12). It’s beginning to feel that the same is true for the number of books published.

4,200 book published every day

Self-publishing is showing no signs of slowing down. Bowker, the agency that assigns ISBNs to books, just released their data on the number of self-published books for 2018.

1,547,341

That is the number of PRINT books that were self-published (including small publishers who produce less than 10 titles a year) in 2018 in the United States. This is a 46% increase from the 1,060,821 PRINT books self-published in 2017.

This means a self-published PRINT book is published every 20 seconds in the U.S. That is over 4,200 books self-published a day!

These are just the figures for PRINT books. This does not include books that are published as ebooks only. Nor does this number include the books that are published by traditional publishing houses.

Here is the kicker: 1,416,384 of these books were published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)—formerly CreateSpace, which existed until the end of 2018 when it was folded into KDP. This means that 91.5% of all self-published PRINT books are published through KDP.

Fierce Competition

With over one million books self-published in 2017, 2018, and again in 2019, the number of books available for sale keeps growing exponentially. Books are not going out-of-print much anymore. The sheer number of books available to read or buy boggles the mind. This means that every year any given book is competing against more and more titles.

books

In fact, many readers are beginning to experience overload. They have more books to choose from than they can conceive. Scientists believe that while the presence of choice is appealing in theory, in reality, people find more and more choices debilitating.

This means that for the self-published author, selling books is harder. The book marketing techniques that have worked for years no longer have the same power to persuade people to buy your book. More and more, a personal connection with an audience or standing out in some significant way is required for a book to sell.

If you are a self-published author, then you need information and tools to be as effective as you can be at promoting your book. It is not enough to just write and publish a book anymore, you also must take the time to learn how to market your book effectively.

CIPAChristian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is one resource available to self-published (indie) authors who need guidance in marketing Christian books. The Association provides its Members with information and tools for success in publishing and marketing Christian books.

You can take advantage of CIPA’s Fall Membership special. For just $105, you will receive Membership through December 2020. Sign up to join today at https://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member.

Related Posts:
New Record: One Million Self-Published Books
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Photo courtesy of MontyLov.

 

Murphy’s Law for Book Publishing

Murphy’s Law is the name given to any adage stating that if anything can go wrong, it will. Things do go wrong in book publishing. Here are five Murphy’s Law book publishing adages that I found on the Internet. Can you relate?

Murphy's Law for Book Publishing

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Are Children Still Reading?

Generation Z, those children born after 1995, are digital natives. The first generation to grow up with ready access to the Internet, smartphones, tablets, and social media, concern has been raised about this generation’s short attention span and disinterest in reading.

Sales of Children's Books Have Grown

Interestingly, the rumors of the demise of reading with Generation Z may be exaggerated. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) reports that sales of Children’s and Young Adult books have grown over the past five years. Specifically, unit sales for Children’s and Young Adult nonfiction grew 17.8 percent.

A study by Scholastic and YouGov in 2017 found that 86 percent of Canadian children aged 6-17 years old were reading or had finished reading a book for fun recently. Another study by Common Sense Media in 2015 of U.S. children found one in four tweens and one in five teens reported reading for pleasure regularly. Both studies found that the majority of these children read print books (67% in Canada and 83% in the United States).

While it is good news that Generation Z is reading, we know that overall reading has decreased in the past few decades. One study on young people’s reading habits over the last 50 years summarized in “The Rise of Digital Media, the Decline of TV, and the (Near) Demise of Print.” cited a depressing finding. There has been a decline of daily reading of some form of print—whether magazine, book, etc.—from 60 percent in the late 1970s to 12 percent today. The authors use the notion of “displacement theory” to explain this decline—82 percent of young people use social media today (not to mention video games), which more than likely displaces time they might formerly have given to reading.

If you are a children’s author, these studies hold both good news and sad news. The good news is that Generation Z is still reading, and that they prefer print books. The sad news is that reading continues to fall wayside to other forms of entertainment.

Books Still Make Great Gifts

What can you as a children’s author do about this? I have two suggestions.

1. Help create a love of reading in children.

Studies show that children with classroom libraries are more likely to be frequent readers. Yet, only 43% of school-age children have access to a classroom library. You can be part of the solution. Volunteer to help build a classroom library for a teacher at a local Christian school. Donate some of your books as well as other age-appropriate books the teacher and kids are interested in.

2. Promote your books as great gifts.

Studies show that busy Millennial moms like online gift guides. In fact, some big box retailers like Toys R Us have gone out of business because many Millennials prefer to shop online. If you are a children’s author, put together an online Christmas gift guide for moms. Offer a range of gift ideas for the age-range your books target, and be sure to include your books in the guide.

Whether you are a children’s author, a young adult author, or an author of adult books, helping increase literacy and reading in children is a good cause to participate in. After all, children grow up to be adults, and you want to have adults read your books in years to come.

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What Every Children’s Author Needs to Know
Authors Profit By Encouraging Children to Read
Promote Your Books as Christmas Gifts

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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok.

How Long Does It Take to Read Your Book?

So many books… so little time.

Wise King Solomon said, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

How long does it take someone to read your book?

We are all strapped for time. Numerous outlets clamor for our attention. As a result,  some people find it hard to commit to reading articles and books. These individuals feel like reading the article or book will take too much of their time.

To combat this issue, some website have begun to post the “read time” for articles on their site. Amazon’s Kindle provides readers a “time left in book” feature that tells each reader how long it will take him to finish reading the book.

Some publishers are also beginning to include the a “read time” on their print books. Morgan James Publishing is one publisher that is listing the read time on the back cover of their books.

Read Time on Book Cover

I think this is a great strategy. Putting a read time on a book lets a reader know approximately how much time it will take them to read your book. This small piece of information might be the deciding factor in purchasing your book for some readers.

How to Determine Reading Time

Reading time is based on the average reading speed. This is measured in words-per-minute. The average reading speed is between 265 and 300 words-per-minute. It appears that 275 words-per-minute is a commonly used number.

To determine how long it will take the average reader to read your book, simply take the number of words in your book and divide this by 275 words-per-minute. This will give you the  number of minutes it takes to read your book. You can leave the read time in minutes, or you can convert it to hours and minutes.

Adding your book’s read time to the back cover of your book is a brilliant idea. Consider using this little tip, especially if your book is a quick read.

Related Posts:
Good News: Reading Is Still Popular
Is Your Book Cover Too Cluttered?
The Importance of Following Trends

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Photo courtesy of suju.