Are You Regular?

Most experts in marketing will tell you that, at a minimum, you should be doing five things a day to promote your book. Sometimes book promotion is like reading your Bible. You know you should do it every day, but often you fall short. Life just gets in the way.

Fortunately God’s grace is greater than our failings. That’s true in our relationship with him as well in our book promotion. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make the grade. Simply resolve to do better.

The best way to ensure that your book marketing efforts are regular and continual is to create a marketing plan. From your marketing plan draft goals for yourself about what you will do each day. Then set out to fulfill those goals.

Your daily five promotional efforts can include a blog post, commenting on someone else’s blog that reaches your target audience, sending off queries for acquiring book reviews, seeking speaking engagements, seeking guest blog appearances, writing articles about your topic that help promote your book, seeking radio or television interviews, setting up book signing appearances, targeted mailings, writing a newsletter for your fans, and sending thank you notes for book coverage received; to name just  a few.

Promoting a book is not a sprint. It is a marathon and something that you must do on a regular and continual basis. Regular, continual book promotion will keep your book selling for years. Baby Bible Board Books: Stories of Jesus (www.babybibleboardbooks.com), the set of children’s books that I co-authored with my husband, are still selling six years after they were published; all because we continue to engage in regular promotional efforts.yg2-front

If you are having trouble coming up with a marketing plan and specific resources to use in promoting your book, then I suggest you read a book on marketing books. Books such as John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market Your Book and my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, are filled with specific resources and contacts for you to use in making a plan.

If that approach overwhelms you, then consider hiring a marketing coach to help you. I provide book marketing coaching for Christian books. My service includes a marketing plan with specific resources. You can learn more about this service at www.marketingchristianbooksinc.com.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then five promotional efforts a day sells your book.


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Buyer Beware!

The majority of complaints I receive from publishers are usually about a business that they hired that did not give them what they promised. These complaints range from press release services that did not actually send out releases, printers whose books were of inferior quality, to publicists who asked for payment up front but gave no guarantees of performance and did nothing.

I always ask each publisher or author the same question, “Did you check references or ask for referrals from the company?” Almost always, the response is, “No.”

Each time I have one of these calls or emails, my heart goes out to the individual who has been ripped off. I feel bad for them and their loss of funds, time, and energies. However, my brain knows that the individual I am speaking to is partly at fault for not doing due diligence in checking out the service before handing over a large sum of money.

I wish that I could say that these instances are just limited to general market companies where the people are probably not Christians. However, this is not the case. The vast majority of publicists and companies I hear complaints against claim to be Christian.

Here is my advice for authors and publishers who are employing help in any aspect of their book production or marketing: Do each of the following steps before hiring a service. Don’t skip any!

1. Google™ (or use another search engine) the name of the organization or person you wish to employ. Check the sites that come up to see if there are any complaints against the company or person listed on the Internet.

2. Ask other publishers and authors if they have used the service and what their experience was. This is where belonging to online discussion groups of like-minded individuals engaged in the same pursuits can be a goldmine that you do not have to pay for.

3. Ask for references from the company you are thinking about employing. CALL the references. Simply being given the references is not enough. Call them and ask them questions about their experience with the company and their services.

4. Ask to see copies of the work the company has completed for others. If you are hiring a company to print your book, they should send you samples of other books they have printed so you can inspect the quality.

5. Pray over your decision before proceeding. God will give you direction. Just as Isaiah 30:21 says, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” God can direct you. If you have a check in your spirit, don’t use the service.

We are all busy. It is tempting to skip some of these steps to save time. Remember the little saying that goes “a stitch in time saves nine.” In this case it means a little time early on may save you lots of money and heartache later.

Have you ever failed to do due diligence with a company that resulted in a bad experience?