A Spiritual Response

The year 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for the United States and much of the world. We have experienced a worldwide pandemic and political and civil unrest in America.

A spiritual response

Coronavirus Pandemic

Authors across the United States as well as the world have been impacted by the pandemic. Shutdowns have greatly restricted authors ability to promote their books. Book launch parties, book signings, book tours, and author speaking engagements have been cancelled.

Numerous authors have lost income from these cancelled events. In-person author events and speaking engagements sell books. Not all conferences and speaking engagements have transitioned to a virtual venue, leaving fewer avenues for authors to promote their books this year.

Political and Civil Unrest

The United States has been tremendous political and civil unrest resulting in the burning, looting, and destroying of property and businesses. These activities have a large cost to society. The cost to repair and rebuild the damage, as well as the loss of business, means fewer discretionary dollars for people to buy books.

While books still sell in a depressed economy, they do not sell at same numbers as when the economy is robust. Authors and publishers book sales are and will continue to be impacted by effects of both the pandemic and the unrest in our country.

The Response

As Christians, our response should be to pray. We need to be praying for our country and our leaders on a daily basis. We must cry out for God to heal—both from the coronavirus and from the unrest that is rocking our country.

Religious leaders around the country are seeing the need for collective prayer and fasting. I encourage you to take part in these events. Two events that you can be involved in are The Return and Eleven 11 at 11.

1.  The Return

Jonathan Kahn, a best-selling Christian author, has spearheaded a national and global day of prayer and repentance. This is an event for Christians to fast and pray at our Nation’s capital on September 26. The event will feature a live simulcast for those who cannot be in Washington D.C. Christian leaders are encouraging all Christians to fast and pray that day, wherever you are. You can learn more on the event’s website at https://thereturn.org.

2.  Eleven 11 at 11

I was made aware of this event at the NRB Convention earlier this year. This event aims to have millions of believers all across America gather, Bibles in hand, to stand side by side and appeal to heaven and to declare that God is the God of this nation. You can learn more about this event on the event’s website at https://www.eleven11at11.org.

I hope that as a Christian author, you will take part in one or both of these events. Our struggle is not with the physical world, but with the Spiritual world. Our best weapons are prayer and God’s word. Let’s employ these to defeat the enemy and continue our Kingdom work.

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Photo courtesy of Nathan Damlao.

4 Lessons from a Book Purchase

This summer, I was introduced to an author and his book on spiritual discernment through an article in an online news outlet. The article featured the author and the topic of the book caught my attention. The article did not include the title of the book. Rather, it was a story about the author with the article mentioning that he was the author of a recently released book on spiritual discernment.

4 Lessons from a Book Purchase

I noted the author’s name and decided to check out his book. In my research, I discovered that this author has actually penned a number of books.

Lesson #1: Media exposure sells books.

With my interest piqued, I went to Amazon to check out the author. Amazon was the logical place for me to look first since that website features just about every book published.

The book’s page on Amazon revealed that the book had over 350 reviews with an average rating of 4.8 stars. I was interested in the topic and was convinced that the book would be worth my time and money when I saw the reviews.

Lesson #2:  Positive reviews, especially a large number of positive reviews, sells books.

I bought the book on Amazon. It was just convenient. I could bundle it with other purchases and get free shipping (I am not a Prime Member). When the book arrived, I was excited to read it—and I did.

It was a good book. I enjoyed it. It was an easy read. The chapters were short and the book was only about 100 pages. When I got to the end, I realized the book was only 100 pages. I was a little disappointed that it had cost as much as it did. The book’s retail price is $14.95, but Amazon sells it for about $13.00. This price seems a little steep for a 100-page book.

I realized that I had not paid much attention to the number of pages in the book when I purchased it. Rather, the description and reviews had convinced me that the book was worth buying and reading.

Lesson #3:  Price is not typically a deciding factor in book purchases—unless the book is priced unusually high.

At the end of the book, I realized how this author had been able to accumulate over 350 positive reviews in a short period of time. The book was released in January, and I purchased it six months later. The author had used a launch team.

This book had something that I have not seen before. At the very end of the book, the last six (yes, six) pages of the book were dedicated to “Special Thanks to Our Launch Team”. I counted the names on just one page and counted about 120 names. If you multiply 120 times six pages, you get a launch team of about 720 people.

This author had around 720 people talking about and writing positive reviews for his book when it launched. That is truly impressive.

Lesson #4:  Launch teams (a.k.a. Street teams) help make books successful.

If you are unfamiliar with what a Launch Team is or how to go about gathering and using one. I recommend that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) and download our reference guide on Book Launch Teams. This guide covers recruiting a team, communicating with your team, promotional activities for our launch team, and rewarding your team.

Christian Indie Publishing Association’s (CIPA) Book Launch Team Guide is just one of the many resources Members of the Association have access to. You can join CIPA on our website at https://www.christianpublishers.net and have access to this Guide and many more.

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.

Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?

I recently came across an article in the New York Times titled:

“Self-Publishing Is a Gamble. Why Is Donald Trump Jr. Doing It?”

It appears that Donald Trump, Jr., has written a book titled Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats’ Defense of the Indefensible. He plans to release the book in early September.

Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?

Interestingly, even though Center House, an imprint of Hachette—the publishing house that published Trump Jr.’s first book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us—made an offer to publish Liberal Privilege, Trump Jr. turned them down.

Why?

Because self-publishing is not the gamble that the authors of the article believe.

Trump Jr.’s book Triggered has sold 286,000 copies since last November when it released, according to NPD BookScan. It is still selling steadily.

By self-publishing, Donald Trump, Jr., a public figure, can easily sell thousands of copies and make a much larger profit then he can with a traditional publishing contract.

The New York Times article states:

Authors who sign with a publisher typically receive an advance payment before the book goes on sale, then about 10 to 15 percent of hardcover sales after they earn back their advance. If the book is self-published, there is no advance but an author can generally walk away with anywhere from 35 percent to as much as 70 percent of the sales.

Trump Jr. is a savvy business man. He already has his own platform, so, he does not need the publicity that a major publisher can create. He is a New York Times best-selling author as his book Triggered was a No. 1 best seller last year. In addition, the Republican National Committee will use this new book for fund-raising—ensuring Trump Jr. large quantity orders of his book.

Of course, self-publishing comes with its own challenges, including editing and proofing. This summer, Trump Jr. posted a photo on Twitter of his new book. The cover image contained a typo. The apostrophe was in the wrong place. The cover has since been corrected.

Book Cover Error

What this story demonstrates is that self-publishing, rather than being a gamble, has become mainstream. As with starting any business, self-publishing a book comes with risks. You have no guarantee your venture will succeed. But, neither does any other startup.

The good news is that indie authors are no longer on the fringe. After all, even public figures are ditching traditional book contracts to self-publish.

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Does Your Book Title Grab People’s Attention?

The other weekend, my husband and I were chatting with some neighbors around a table at our community pool. I noticed that one of the men had a book with him.

Book Title

Being the book person that I am, I asked this gentleman what he was reading. He held up the book. The title read:

What Radical Husbands Do

Upon seeing this, another neighbor told this gentleman that he wanted to read the book when the man was finished reading it. Then, as an afterthought, he added, “If you think it’s good.”

This little interchange reminded me how important book titles are. This book title was enough to spark the attention of two males in my neighborhood. Why? Because they want to excel in their role as husbands. This book title promised to give them information on how to do that.

Your book title is extremely important. In fact, studies show that your book’s title is the first thing people consider when learning about your book.

Your title will either draw people in—as was the case at my neighborhood pool—or it will send them on their way. This is why it is important—especially with nonfiction titles—for your title to clearly tell the reader what your book is about.

When I teach at writers conferences on self-publishing, I encourage authors to use the PINC acronym to guide them as they craft titles for their book titles. PINC was created by Michael Hyatt, a former CEO of Thomas Nelson. It stands for:

Make a Promise

  • Example:  21 Seconds to Change Your World by Mark Rutland

Create Intrique

  •  Example:  Why Keep Praying? By Robert Morris

Identify a Need

  •  Example:  Steps to Peace with God  by Billy Graham

State the Content

  •  Example:  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

In addition to using PINC, I suggest that you float your title by a number of people in your target audience. Ask them for their initial reaction on hearing or reading the title. This will give you more information as to whether your title resonates with your target audience and draws them in to want to read your book.

By the way, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is still offering our Summer Membership Special of membership through December 2021 for just $120. Join today and got access to more resources to help you be successful in publishing and marketing your books.

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Reading Habits By Generation

I came across this infographic that provides an enormous amount of useful information around the reading habits for each generation.

While the infographic focuses on the generations, some things hold true across all generations like:

  • 55% of every generation get book recommendations from friends and family.
  • Print books are still preferred across all generations. 

There is lots of good information to glean for use when marketing your book from this insightful infographic. Check it out.

Reading Across the Generations Infographic

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