Cast Your Vote!

If you read or sell Christian books, you are invited to VOTE for the 2015 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.

Cast a VoteYou can vote online right now at www.BookoftheYear.net. Voting on the Book of the Year Award is open through March 31, 2015.

Although small publishers are often less well known than larger publishing houses, they produce fresh and innovative books to inspire readers or fill niche needs. The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award honors books produced by small publishers for outstanding contribution to Christian life.

The 2015 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award features 126 books in 13 categories.

The winners of this award are determined solely by the votes of Christian book lovers and retailers alike. The winners of the 2015 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award will be announced on April 20, 2015.

The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

What are you waiting for? Go Vote! And, invite your friends to vote also!

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So You Want to Be an Author…

Now that the ceiling for having a book published has been lowered to the floor, self-publishing is growing exponentially. After all, self-published books topped 450,000 in 2013.

While I applaud the ability for anyone who wishes to be able to produce a book, I also recognize that hundreds of aspiring authors are just throwing their words together and making a book. As a result, the overall quality of books published is taking a hit.

I stumbled across this humorous look at how a number of aspiring authors decide to publish a book. I think it is worth the watch. I know what this video says is true, because, every week, I talk to aspiring authors who want to publish a book. Many of them share these same misconceptions.

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Predictions for 2015

No one can predict the future. Only God knows the future. Still, every year, people make all sorts of predictions about the coming year. I don’t make predictions. I don’t feel qualified to do so. Besides, usually only about half of the predictions made come true, meaning anyone has a 50-50 chance of making a true prediction.

2015

Here are a few predictions I have seen for 2015:

  1. Reviews will become more important and powerful for businesses—this includes books as well. Surveys show that 78% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews.
  2. Author and marketing guru, Seth Godin, thinks that 2015 will be a big year for breakout self-published titles. We are already starting to see this trend.
  3. Amazon’s ebook market share will continue to grow. Amazon already holds a 65% share of ebook sales.
  4. Humor will be needed to create an authentic connection with Millennials and secure their business. Some believe 2015 will be the year of humor in digital marketing.
  5. Something bigger is going to happen with GoodReads. Some predict it will more tightly integrate with parent company Amazon.
  6. The United States economy will continue to grow. This growth will be driven by increased consumer spending. More money being spent is always good for book sales.
  7. Jeb Bush, Republican, will run against Hillary Clinton, Democrat, in the 2016 Presidential race. This would mean a repeat of a Bush-Clinton race.

Based on these predictions, I don’t see any major new shifts for publishing and marketing books. I believe independently published books will continue to grow as will book sales via the Internet. Currently, less than 10% of books are sold through brick-and-mortar bookstores.

If you plan to publish for the first time this coming year, or you are just continuing to publish—and you produce Christian materials—I encourage you to consider membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) as part of your business plans for the coming year.

CSPA provides both small publishers and independently published authors with a number of resources to help you be more successful in both publishing and marketing your books. You can read our complete list of membership benefits on our website by clicking here.

Membership for the 2015 calendar year is just $90. I encourage you to become a member today by clicking here.

Do you need to read testimonials (reviews) before you decide to join? These are also available on our website. Just click here.

The one thing I am certain of for 2015 is that God holds our hands. May you find strength and comfort in this.

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Gifts for You

The giving of gifts at Christmas is not a universally accepted idea. Even Christians are divided on the issue. Those who choose not to give gifts often cite that they feel that gift giving takes the focus off of Jesus Christ and places it on commercialism. Those who choose to give gifts often do so because of the example set by the Magi.

Gift givers believe that we give gifts to each other to celebrate and demonstrate to others the gift Jesus Christ gave to us in becoming incarnate and providing a way for us to have peace with God. I fall into the latter category. I love to give gifts at Christmas as a symbol of my love for others. After all, Jesus gave me the ultimate gift due to his love for me.

This year for Christmas, I have decided to give you, my readers, gifts. Since reading this blog is free, it is an on-going gift to you from me. However, this month, for Christmas, I will be giving you specific resources in each post that can aid you in your publishing and marketing endeavors.

I am sure you have had the experience of receiving a gift of something that you already had in your possession. This month may not be different. For some of you, the resources I am giving may not be new. If that is so, let the gift be a reminder for you, and pass along the information to someone else who may receive it as a gift of an item they do not already have.

My first gift to you will start with the basics. If you are an author or a publisher who is publishing a book that you plan to sell, then you are running a business. As such, you should be approaching the publishing and marketing of your book as a business endeavor.

A new book, Every Book is a Startup, by Todd Sattersten is set to be released in December 2015. This book will strive to provide a roadmap for publishing professionals interested in bringing a fresh, entrepreneurial approach to the business of book publishing, based on techniques proven effective in the world of tech startups.

You can learn what Todd Sattersten has to say about this concept in this free 60-minute presentation.

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Indecision: A Success Killer

You can find articles on mistakes authors and publishers should not make all over the Internet. It seems that almost everyday, I get an email with a link to another article talking about mistakes to not make if you are a publisher or an author.

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I recently read a white paper on “6 Mistakes in Publishing Today.” The paper took a look at the fact that the publishing industry has been turned upside down by new technology and market dynamics and the mistakes many publishers are making in this season of publishing. While this paper was really geared toward larger publishers, one of the mistakes listed stood out to me. I think it is a mistake that many small publishers and independently published authors make.

This mistake is indecisive leadership.

I can hear you saying, “Wait, I am the only employee of my publishing enterprise. I don’t have to worry about leadership.”

You are wrong. If you are the only employee of your publishing endeavor, then you are the leader. It is up to you to have the vision, set the direction, and make the strategic decisions necessary to ensure success of your enterprise.

Two common issues the article included under “indecisive leadership” were:

1. Choosing short term profits over long-term success.

I have seen this many times with small publishers and authors. I have often said that marketing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. Those that act like it is a sprint often make decisions that maximize short term returns. Short term profits might feel good, however, focusing on short term goals almost exclusively will not ensure the success of your publishing enterprise over the long haul.

2. More words than actions.

As the saying goes, talk is cheap. It is often easier to make plans than to execute them. If you find yourself thinking more about what you should do to market your books, then actually doing those things, take note. Success follows action. Don’t let fear of failure or indecision about which course of action is the best keep you from executing a plan. Pray over your plan. Then move forward. Trust that God will lead you.

All decision involves risk. In your leadership of yourself and your enterprise, I encourage you to strive to create a clear plan of action and balance short and long term considerations for your publishing endeavor.