Creating Book Sales

I recently had an independent author ask me what Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) does to help “create sales” for authors. My response was that CSPA does not create sales; rather, the organization provides opportunities for its members to create sales.


Understanding how sales are created is important. Advertising in and of itself does not create sales. Marketing activities in and of themselves do not create sales. Both are simply vehicles by which sales can be created.

Sales are created by two things:

1. Meeting a need.
When you provide someone a solution to a problem they have, you can create a sale.

2. Creating a connection.
Sales are based on relationships. People need to trust that you have the answer to their problem to make a purchase.

It’s all about communication. You, the author or publisher, must communicate to your audience that you care about them and that you have what they need. In advertising and marketing, this is largely communicated through the written word. What you write in your marketing and advertising materials is essential in creating a connection and showing your audience that your book can meet their need.

Since Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) does not write marketing or advertising copy for our members, we cannot create sales. All we do is provide our members the vehicles through which they can get their message out to Christian book buyers.

For example, one marketing vehicle CSPA offers its members is BookCrash, a books for bloggers review program. Members of CSPA can provide Christian bloggers a free copy of their book in exchange for a review by the blogger on her blog and on one retail site. A review by a blogger does not create sales. It can, but that creating a sale depends on a number of factors including: the type of review the blogger has written, how much influence the blogger has with her readers, and whether she recommends that others purchase the book.

Even though CSPA does not create sales for our members, there are many benefits to belonging to a publishing association. These include:

  • Professional affiliations boost your professional image.
  • Membership provides you information on how to stay up-to-date and relevant as an author, publisher, and book promoter.
  • Organization benefits include affordable marketing opportunities and other cost-savings on services related to printing and promoting books.

If you want someone to “create sales” for you, then spend the thousands of dollars required to hire a publicist to help you create sales. If, instead, you are looking for more opportunities to create sales for your books at an affordable price, join a publishers association.

You can sign up to become a member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) today. The fee is just $90 for the 2016 calendar year.

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Use Bookstore Days to Promote Your Books

Bookstores want business and authors want opportunities to promote their books. Bring the two together and each can help the other.

As an author, you can piggyback on existing promotional opportunities to get more publicity for your books. Two upcoming events offer authors interesting marketing possibilities.


Author Handselling Day

This Saturday (November 30) is Small Business Saturday. Author Sherman Alexie decided to start a new movement. This year, he invited authors to handsell books at their local independent bookstores on Small Business Saturday. On this day, which he is calling “Indies First”, Sherman wants authors to spend time at their local bookstore and make recommendations to people on what books to buy. He wants authors to not just promote their own books, but other books as well. For Indies First, authors are encouraged to pick a bookstore and talk to the owner to come to an agreement about how you will spend your time in their store that day.

The American Booksellers Association (ABA) likes the idea and has decided to support it. The ABA has a website page devoted to “Indies First” where authors can sign up to participate. Currently, over 700 authors have signed up and over 500 bookstores nationwide will be supporting them.

It is not too late to call your local Christian bookstore and see if they would like to be part of Author Handselling Day and host your time.


Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

Saturday, December 7, is the fourth annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Over 500 bookstores around the world participate in this event. The mission of the event is to introduce children to bookstores and everything they have to offer. It’s also an opportunity for children to interact with booksellers and receive personal recommendations about books to read.

If you are a children’s author, you can use this already established day designed to help bookstores to both help your local bookstore and promote your books. Contact your local Christian bookstore, tell them about this event and volunteer to be a resident author for part of the day. What richness this will add to the experience of the children who come to the store for this special day. Not only will they be able to learn about new books, but your presence will allow them to meet and interact with an author.

Opportunities for authors to promote their books abound. You can take advantage of these events to piggyback your marketing efforts and find new readers for your books.

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