Are Reviews Important?

In my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace,” one of the marketing fundamentals is:

Book reviews open doors for book sales.


This marketing principle is one of the reasons that Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) began the BookCrash book review program for our member publishers. BookCrash is a “books for bloggers” program, where, in exchange for a book, we ask that the blogger review the book both on his or her own personal blog and on one retail site.

Book reviews help sell books for several reasons.

  1. Reviews expose more people to your book.
  2. Reviews let readers know that your book is or is not worth an investment of money or time.
  3. Reviews provide you on-going testimonials about your book for use in your marketing materials.

The updated Third Edition of my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, recently garnered two great reviews. For the sake of space, I will not quote the entirety of the reviews here, just the salient points. I have provided a link to each review if you wish to read the entire review.

James Cox of the Midwest Book Review wrote:

Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace by Sarah Bolme will prove to be an indispensable 266 page instructional resource for authors and publishers of Christian literature whether fiction or non-fiction. Comprehensive, exceptionally well organized and presented, practical, informed and informative.”

Deborah Piccurrelli of TWJ Magazine wrote:

“I have to admit, my first thought was, ‘Another marketing book?’ because I already own a whole load of previously published ones. But once I began reading, I wanted to just go straight through without stopping. I never thought the subject could be so interesting. The formatting of this book is done in such a way that I never experienced tedium.”

If you have a new book you are publishing, make the push, get out there and get reviews. They will help you sell more copies of your book.

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The 2014 Book of the Year Award Winners!

The votes are in and counted. The winners of the 2014 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award have been determined!

Over 3,100 Christian book lovers and retailers voted on 108 nominated titles in 12 categories. This year the voting was very competitive. Two categories had ties for first place—a first for the Book of the Year Award.

Award 1The winners in each of the 12 categories are:

FictionThirty Days to Glory, Kathy Nickerson, CrossRiver Media Group

RomanceShenandoah Nights, Lisa Belcastro, OakTara

Christian Living (tie)A Bead and a Prayer, Kristen E. Vincent, Upper Room Books &
Life’s A Pain: Journeying By Faith When Every Step Hurts, Todd Rettberg, CrossLink Publishing

Bible Study / Theology: The Epic of God, Michael Whitworth, Start2Finish Books

Devotional:  This I Know, Toby Holsinger, CrossRiver Media Group

Biography (tie):  SuperGal vs. GOD, Lori Hynson, Broken Shoe Press &
Crossfire: The Life of Chuck Svoboda, a Foot-Soldier in God’s Army, David J. Bauer, Grace Acres Press

Relationships / Family:  25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband, Jennifer L Flanders, Prescott Publishing

Children’s (age 4 to 8):  The Potter, Cindy Starr Stewart, Carpenter’s Son

Children’s (age 8 to 12):  Where the River Rises, Rosie Boom, Boom Tree Publishing

Young Adult (age 12+):  A Cry From Egypt, Hope Auer, Great Waters Press

Gift Book:  101 Surprises! Sayings with Scriptures You Didn’t See Coming, Wilma Shepard Caraway, Fruitbearer Publishing LLC

eBook Exclusive:  Subject Your Flesh, Beyr Reyes, ShadeTree Publishing

Award 2

Congratulations to the winners!

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

Looking for a great book to read next? Try one of the winners of the CSP Book of the Year Award listed here.

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Do You Need a Marketing Template?

I am a list maker. I make a list, check off what I have accomplished, and then revise my list by making a new list that includes the items I have not yet completed and more that I need to complete. I frequently have multiple lists going at once.

Book Marketing Template

Do you like lists? What about a blueprint or template that shows you what to do?

One of the things I find is that I am often reinventing the wheel. Some tasks I do must be repeated weekly or monthly, yet I write them on each list. I find the same is true in marketing a book.

For each book I publish, I reinvent the wheel by creating a new list from scratch. I finally decided that I have had enough of that. To solve the problem, I created a Book Marketing Plan Template in Excel.

This Book Marketing Template is based on the marketing advice in my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. It includes all the important marketing steps from pre-publication through publication and ongoing marketing after publication of a book.
I have decided to share this Book Marketing Template with other authors and publishers. The template is designed to be used as a companion to Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, but it can be used as a stand-alone tool also.

Here is the best part. I am offering this re-useable Book Marketing Template in Excel for a bargain price. For just $4.99, you can have your own copy to use in marketing your book. Simply click HERE to purchase your copy today!

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24-7 Book Lending Machine

As American’s, we love instant gratification. Have you ever been frustrated by your local library’s hours? That may soon be a thing of the past.

EnvisionWare is doing a service for the public library system, similar to the service that OnDemand Books is providing for buying books with its Espresso Book Machine. The Espresso Book Machine is letting buyers have instant access to books that are not physically sold in a bookstore.

While EnvisionWare’s new book vending machine will not help independent authors and small publishers increase the distribution reach of their books (as the Espresso Book Machine does), it does provide an interesting and unique service.

Last month, the first 24-hour library vending machine in the United States opened. Built by EnvisionWare, this fully automated machine will be able to dispense more than 400 pieces of media (books/DVDs/audiobooks) and store more than 1000 returned items.

Check out how the machine works in this video created by the machine’s maker.

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I am Thankful for…

Every year, the fourth Thursday of the month of November is designated as a special day for thanksgiving in the United States of America. It provides us a wonderful opportunity to sit back and reflect on all our blessings and the things we have to be thankful for.


I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

As Christians, God wants us to have thankful attitudes every day. I strive to do just that.
However, in light of Thanksgiving, I am spending just a little time on this blog to share with you some of the things that I am thankful for.

  • I am thankful for having the privilege of leading and directing Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) for the past 10 years.
  • I am thankful for all the publishing members (both present and past) of CSPA and the desire they have to spread the message of the Gospel.
  • I am thankful that we live in a country where we can freely publish and distribute Christian materials.
  • I am thankful that the Third Edition of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace will release in early 2014. The guide desperately needed to be updated and God has graciously given me the bandwidth to do it this year.
  • I am thankful for you, the readers of this blog. I pray that it is a blessing to you.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful, supportive, loving family.
  • I am thankful for a heavenly Father who loves me and provides for all my needs.

What are you thankful for today?

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