Do You Have a Teachable Spirit?

As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I run into all sorts of authors and publishers. Each one is somewhere on the journey of penning, publishing, and promoting books. Some are just starting, others have published a few books, and still others have been publishing for years.

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The most surprising thing I run into are authors and publishers who have some knowledge and yet, they think they know all they need to know. Their spirits are not very teachable. These authors and publishers know the basics, but don’t take the time to educate themselves on the finer points.

Some of these finer points include:

  1. Crafting an intriguing book title.
  2. Writing an engaging author bio.
  3. Composing sales text that addresses people’s needs.
  4. Adding value to people’s lives in social media campaigns.
  5. Building trust with consumers.
  6. Learning effective marketing and sales strategies.

Almost anyone can slap together a book. Being open to learning the finer points in publishing and promoting books is what will make the difference between having a successful book or just having a book.

Even if you have been publishing for years, there are always new things to learn. When I first published Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, one woman who read the book wrote me and told me that even though she had been in the publishing business for nine years, she learned things she did not know before from reading my book.

The book Outliers made popular the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Very few independently published authors or small publishers have spent 10,000 hours on their craft. Even those that master a skill can still always improve and learn more.

Having a teachable spirit is important to success not only in publishing and promoting a book, but also in life.

Related Posts:
The Power of Testimonials
Passion & Expertise
Three Lessons from Six Years

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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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