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Out with the old, in with the new!

This American idiom is usually said at the beginning of a new year. With a new year—2021—right around the corner, now is the time to contemplate this idea.

What new things or fresh start are you going to usher in with the new year?

In regards to writing, publishing, and marketing books, what do you need to focus on or do more of?

  • Writing
  • Publishing more books
  • Book promotion
  • Book marketing
  • Networking

Joining a professional publishing association can help you with your goals for 2021. Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) provides its Members with information, tools, and cost-saving benefits to help both indie authors and small publishers have more success with publishing and marketing Christian books. Members have access to:

  • Checklists for designing a professional book and book marketing activity timeline.
  • Webinars to increase your proficiency.
  • Cost savings when publishing a book including discount on purchasing ISBNs and free title uploads and revisions with IngramSpark.
  • Mastermind groups in 2021 for learning and networking with likeminded individuals.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has been helping authors and publishers since 2004. As one Members says:

“CIPA has been the most helpful resource for self-publishers I have found. Thank you for the monthly journal and the videos.” —Kathy

Right now, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is offering a Membership special for 2021.Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

Join the Association for just $90 for the 2021 calendar year and you will receive a FREE copy of Sarah Bolme’s award winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books!

If you are not already a Member of CIPA, don’t miss out on this great deal! Join the Association today. JUST CLICK HERE!

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You Have No Excuse!

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Your Book Matters

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on our world. COVID is damaging our human connections.

Your Book Matters

A recent study by Barna found:

The relational well-being of Americans was already strained prior to the pandemic. U.S. adults and practicing Christians alike noted anxiety and depression as the most commonly faced challenges to relational satisfaction, with 40 percent of all U.S. adults and 34 percent of practicing Christians saying this is true.

More than half of all U.S. adults (58%) and practicing Christians (54%) say they have at least one relational or emotional / mental health issue that impacts their relationships. Younger generations were also already reporting higher levels of loneliness and a longing for connection.

A pandemic shakes up our sense of safety. It brings a new struggle to life. Struggles often highlight deep wounds and problems that lurk in our lives. Issues like:

  • Ungrieved losses.
  • Unresolved conflict.
  • Unforgiven hurts.
  • Unconfronted sin.

Christians and non-believers alike need the Good News that you share in your book. This Good News includes:

  • You are not alone.
  • Jesus loves you.
  • Jesus still heals.
  • Jesus gives new and abundant life.
  • Joy is available for the taking.
  • Heaven—a place with no more sorrows—awaits you.

Studies reveal that during this pandemic, people are reading more. In fact, Unit sales of print books were up 6.4% in the first nine months of 2020.

This means that the interest in books has increased this year. Now is a great time to let people know about your book and how your book can give them a solution to a struggle they face.

Right now, people desperately need hope. God’s timing is not wrong. Your book is just what someone needs today to improve their life.

Don’t shrink from promoting your book as this pandemic continues to rage. Someone needs to hear the words of encouragement, healing, and hope that your book offers.

In January of this year, I presented a keynote address at the Capital Christian Writers Fellowship Conference. The topic of the keynote was “What Makes a Book Christian?”

What Makes a Book Christian?

In my talk, I proposed that the following three things make a book “Christian”:

  1. Points People to God
  2. Reveals Biblical Truth
  3. Offers Hope

This last one—hope—is in short supply today. Globally one million people commit suicide every year—that is one person every 40 seconds. Calls to suicide hotlines have skyrocketed during the pandemic.

By the way, Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) have access to the audio file of the complete 40-minute talk.

If you are struggling with how best to promote your book, I suggest that you read my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books. It is full of great ideas with specific resources to help you get the word out about your book.

Related Posts:

It’s All About Hope
Hope: The Vital Message
Your Christian Book is Crucial

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Photo by Christina Morillo.

How to Spot a Self-Published Book

After viewing hundreds of self-published books, I can almost always tell if a book is self-published upon first glance.

While self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it did a decade ago, if you are interested in your book being part of the overall book market—meaning selling beyond Amazon—then having a book that conforms to industry standards is important.

Industry professionals—book buyers, librarians, distributors, book reviewers—all know what a traditionally published book looks like. There is an industry standard that all big house publishers use when designing their books.

These industry standards include things like:

  • A Title Page
  • A Copyright Page
  • Margins that are not too wide or too narrow
  • Spacing between body text lines not to wide or narrow

The way I can always spot a self-published book is simply by looking at the back cover. Most self-published books lack two things on their back covers:

  • A BISAC subject
  • A retail price

These are industry standard because brick-and-mortar retailers require these to sell the books in their stores—and, historically, traditionally published books were largely sold in physical bookstores.

If you are new to publishing books and are not sure of these industry standards, I suggest that you educate yourself. There are many ways to do this. Here are some resources I have created to provide this information.

  1. Watch this “10 Steps to Indie Publishing Your Christian Book” video. This is free! Be aware, there is no talking. You must read the information.
  2. Download the “Steps to Indie Publishing a Book” checklist. This is a free PDF!

 

For more in-depth information on formatting your book and making sure that it conforms to industry standards, I suggest that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) with your Membership, you have access to:

  1. Video course on “How to Create a Professional-Looking Book.”
  2. Downloadable “Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book.”

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Lessons from Self-Publishing
Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?
Self-Publishing Keeps Growing

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Audiobooks Experiencing Double-Digit Growth

Are you thinking about turning your book into an audiobook?

Audiobooks are continuing to grow in popularity. In fact, Audiobook sales have been growing by double-digits the past three years.

Check out these audiobook statistics from the NDP Group.

Audiobook Growth

Related Posts:

Should You Create an Audiobook?
Is Your Book Available in More than One Format
5 Book Publishing Trends You Need to Know for 2020

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7 Traits for Indie Author Success

Every book is a startup business. A book needs a mission statement, a marketing plan, and a budget. As an indie author, these are all your responsibility—making you an entrepreneur. Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?

7 Traits for Indie Author Success

Indie authors are entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs have a number of things in common. These individuals have a way of thinking and acting that is different from other people. The good news is that anyone can learn to think and act like an entrepreneur and reap the benefits. Following are seven distinct traits of entrepreneurs.

1.  Have Passion

Entrepreneurs tend to be highly passionate about their work. In truth, this passion is what often propels them to success. After all, passion is contagious. As an author, no one else is going to be as passionate about your book as you are. Don’t expect others to sell your book for you. As the author, you are the one with the belief in your message. Let your energy shine through when you talk with others.

2.  Try New Things

An open mind is required to try new things. Don’t stay set in your ways. Successful marketing requires that you adopt new strategies. Instead of just hearing or thinking about new great marketing ideas, try some out. Watch what other successful authors are doing and use what makes sense for your books.

3.  Willing to Take Risks

Little is gained without risk. Entrepreneurs have to be willing to take risks to move their business forward. As an author, both publishing and marketing your book involve risks. Sometimes you have to risk money for advertising and promotion with no guarantee that you will have a return on your money. Be willing to take risks, but be wise about the risks you take. Do your homework to minimize your losses.

4.  Network with Others

Business is all about relationships. Solid relationships are the pathway to success. After all, the number one reason people buy a book is because they are familiar with the author. The more you work on building relationships with readers, the wider your audience will be for your book. Building relationships with other authors can also help pave the way for more success. Collaboration is a powerful tool.

5.  Think Outside the Box

Entrepreneurs are creative problem solvers. They are able to apply unconventional approaches to overcome challenges. As an author, your challenge is to get your book noticed. This takes creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Being able to brainstorm creative techniques for your book promotion strategies is important.

6.  Ready for Roadblocks

Entrepreneurs understand that they will face problems and challenges. Being mentally prepared to deal with these setbacks is crucial for success. Life and business are not easy. As an author, you will run into roadblocks and become frustrated when your efforts don’t produce fruit. A mindset that is ready to overcome challenges will serve you well.

7.  Determination

Determination is all about the firmness of your purpose. Determined individuals don’t easily give up. They stick it out for the long haul. Entrepreneurs know they must do hard work to succeed. Determination will get you where brains and brawn cannot. So, be determined, be resolved to do what it takes to get your book and message to the people who need it.

I encourage you to incorporate these seven traits into your life and act like the entrepreneur you already are as an indie author. When you do, you will experience more success.

Related Posts:

Overcoming Roadblocks to Marketing
What Successful Authors Do
Three Lessons from a Successful Entrepreneur

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Photo courtesy of Tumisu.