Why Reading the Bible Matters

If you are an author or publisher producing Christian books, the Bible is important to you. After all, your books are meant to encourage people on their journey with God, and the ultimate guide for this journey is the Bible.

In fact, no other book has had a greater impact on history than the Bible. No book has sold more copies. The average American household owns four Bibles. However, they usually sit unread on the shelf.

bible-2

 

Studies show that in one generation the number of occasional Bible readers fell by 20 percent—the equivalent of about 700 people per day. In fact, fewer than 20% of Americans read the Bible outside of church. If this trend continues, by 2040 two-thirds of Americans will have no meaningful connection with the Bible.

In an effort to reverse this trend, the Institute for Bible Reading was launched last month on November 15. A team of executives from the Bible publishing industry came together to form the Institute for Bible Reading (IFBR), an organization focused on combating the silent crisis of Bible disengagement. The group is committed to changing the prevailing assumptions and practices around Bible reading, which they claim perpetuate a hyper-individualized and fragmented Bible-reading experience.

IFBR’s mission is to give people tools and frameworks that fundamentally change the way they read the Bible so it can achieve its mission and become the story that defines their lives. The group plans to launch a major campaign to introduce new Bible reading practices for the church soon.

I applaud the efforts of IFBR. The Bible is extremely important book. It is our greatest source of spiritual food. Regular consumption is required to be a healthy growing follower of Christ. As authors and publishers, we need to be regularly feasting on the Word of God in order to be able to feed and provide guidance to others.

If you care about Bible engagement, you should check out the Institute for Bible Reading. It may be a resource that you can offer the people who read your books and are in need of some resources to begin to read and understand God’s Word better.

Related Posts:
A Call to Action with Consequences
A Tool to Help You Reach More Millennials
Five Benefits of Children’s Books

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Have You Defined Your Purpose?

Do you find yourself lacking motivation? Do the things that you used to do for your books now seem like a chore? Do you feel like you are pushing uphill most of the time?

Maybe you have lost sight of your purpose. Purpose is the “why” behind what we do. It’s the mission that drives our actions.

purpose

As we enter into a new year, revisiting and reviewing your purpose is the starting point for preparing your goals for the coming year. Goals flow from purpose.

For example: If my purpose is “to write so that other’s experience God”, then my goals would center around my own personal time experiencing God, improving my writing skills, and producing articles or books that draw people to God.

Sometimes people confuse purpose and goals. Your purpose is not your goal. Your purpose is the foundation of your work. Your goals (the work you do) build on your foundation.

Maybe you have not taken the time to define your purpose in writing and publishing books. If not, now would be a great time. You can use this little sentence to help you define your purpose:

I help __________________________, do ____________________________ better, so that they can ____________________________.

Here is one example of a purpose statement from an author who writes organization books for Moms:

I help mothers organize their life better so that they can be less stressed and spend more quality time with their children.

The beauty of a purpose statement is that it keeps you on track. Often, we get sidetracked by information we hear that tells us that we should be focusing our time on this or that to be more successful. These things can be really good, but they can also sidetrack us from our purpose. Having a purpose statement keeps you on track.

With a purpose statement, you can incorporate new activities into your routine or goals, but each of these new activities will advance your purpose, not hinder it.

How do you define your purpose? I would love to hear from you. Share your purpose statement with me in the comment section below.

Related Posts:
What is Your Purpose?
Goals: Guideposts on Your Journey
The Value of Goals

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Four Publishing Trends for 2017

As the end of 2016 draws near many are glad that the election is over and political news has returned to a manageable level. Yet, we wonder what challenges lay ahead in the coming year.

four-publishing-trends

For authors and publishers, I believe that the publishing landscape will continue to develop in the direction it has been growing over the past decade. Here are four publishing trends I see for 2017.

1. Self-publishing will continue to grow.

For the past decade, self-publishing has experienced tremendous growth. The number of self-published books will continue to grow in 2017 as more services arise to guide authors to publish their own books. Services that now offer free book layout software and cover designs (think Reedsy and Createspace) have made the playing field easily accessible for anyone desiring to publish a book. After all, surveys show that 80% of Americans feel they have a book inside them.

2. The number of books published will continue to exponentially outpace the growth rate of reading.

The reading rate in America has remained steady since 2012 (with a slight decrease from 2011 reading rates). Pew Research Center reports that about 73% of Americans read a book each year. However, the number of books published in the United States has grown exponentially since 2010. The number of self-published titles has grown from 133,036 published in 2010 to 727,125 published in 2015. That is a 446.5% increase in the number of self-published titles in five years.

3. With more books than readers, finding readers for your books will become increasingly more difficult.

Discoverability has been a buzz word in 2016. That’s because with the increase in books published, it is harder for any one book to get discovered by a reader. Enter a search in Amazon.com for “prayer” and you will receive 133,759 book results. That is a lot of books on prayer to choose from. Readers are inundated with books. Authors will be increasingly taxed to provide convincing evidence to readers that their book is worthy of a reader’s attention.

4. Audience development will be crucial for an author’s success.

No longer can authors count on readers discovering their book. Instead, authors will need to work on developing an audience for their books. Developing an audience is about gaining people’s trust. It’s about sharing your message with them in bite-size pieces in a way that enriches their lives so that they want to hear or read more of what you have to say.

At Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), we believe that audience development will be crucial for success in publishing in the coming years. To help our members become more skilled at developing an audience, CSPA will release an on-demand seminar on Audience Development at the start of 2017.

As you make your plans and set your goals for 2017, don’t let this news discourage you. If God is calling you to write and publish, then he has readers who need to hear your message. Your part is to be faithful to your calling, not just to write and publish, but to also let people know that your book exists so they can read it.

Related Posts:
Reading Rates Remain Consistent
Independent Publishing Continues to Grow
Are You Developing an Audience?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

International Day of the Bible

Today is International Day of the Bible.

Sponsored by The National Bible Association, the International Day of the Bible invites people of all ages to pause for a few minutes to read or sing Scripture to express celebration of God’s Word.

day-of-the-bible

Join me as I observe #BibleCelebration by sharing with you this scripture from 2 Peter 1:3-11. May you be blessed through the reading of it.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Related Posts:
Christianity and Book Sales in America
Is Your Book a Work of Beauty?
A Tool to Help You Reach More Millennials

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Are You Outdated?

Have you heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”?

Dressing for the job you want over the one you have is about impression. It is giving the appearance that you are capable of handling that job. Your clothing makes a statement about who you are and where you want to go.

Authors don’t necessarily need to dress for the job they want. Instead, they need to stay up-to-date on industry standards to give the impression that their writing is exemplary. Just as clothes are important in making an impression at a job, conforming to industry standards is necessary for authors’ success.

outdated

Staying up-to-date on industry standards is essential for independently published authors to be successful. For example:

  • If you are an aspiring author and you send a complete manuscript via snail mail to a publishing house that only accepts book proposals and chapter excerpts via email, you will not make a favorable impression with the editors. As a result, you will not secure a publishing contract.
  • If you are a published author and you send a press release that does not conform to industry standards, you will not make a favorable impression with the media. As a result, you will lose out on media coverage.
  • If you are an independently published author and you don’t provide the appropriate metadata for your online book listings, you will not make a favorable impression with readers. As a result, you will lose out on sales.

I am surprised at the number of authors nominating a book for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award who provide a 10-digit ISBN number instead of a 13-digit ISBN number with their nomination. The 13-digit ISBN number has been industry standard since January 1, 2007. All books published on or after January 1, 2007, must carry the 13-digit ISBN number on the book.

Yes, Amazon.com lists both the 10-digit ISBN and the 13-digit ISBN number. Amazon does this because they list books published prior to January 1, 2007, that carry the old 10-digit ISBN number. However, when someone asks for the ISBN number of a book published since January 1, 2007, the author should give the 13-digit ISBN number. This is industry standard.

Staying abreast of industry standards can be time-consuming, especially when an author wants to focus on writing, publishing, and promoting books. The good news is that you don’t have to take on that task alone—this is what author and publisher associations help with.

One of the benefits of belonging to a publishing association like Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is that the association provides you the information you need to stay abreast of industry standards so that you can be more successful.

If you want help on making sure that you are up-to-date in publishing and marketing your books, you can join Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) for the 2017 calendar year today! Simply fill out the application on our website at www.christianpublishers.net.

Related Posts:
Are You Up-to-Date?
Is that Information Necessary?
10 Reasons to Enter a Book Award

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.