Resolutions Every Author Can Use

Research shows that about 60% of people make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8% are successful in achieving them. These dismal statistics cause some people to eschew New Year’s resolutions.

Sadly, goalless people wander and then wonder why they are not achieving what they had hoped. Goals keep us on track, moving in the direction we want to go. As an author, I suggest that you make New Year’s resolutions about writing and publishing. Here are five that every author can benefit from making.

1. Write More

There is always room to write more. Whether you are writing to publish more books or writing more content for your blog or other publications to promote your books, writing more is a good aspiration. Make it a resolution to write more in 2020 than you did in 2019.

2. Publish More

People buy books from authors they are familiar with. This means that they have had some type of contact with the author. Often, this contact comes from reading a book by the author. Studies show that people tend to read more than one book by a given author. Many authors report seeing a bump in sales of their older books every time they publish a new book.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Make it your aim this year to publish more. If you are an independent author or small publisher, you can have access to print-on-demand sales distribution through Membership in Christian Indie Publishers Association (CIPA). CIPA Members receive free title setup with both IngramSpark and Lightning Source. You can join CIPA today at www.christianpublishers.net.

3. Promote More

There is no such thing as too much marketing. Every effort you put into promoting your book(s) means that more people are exposed to you and your books. Studies show that people need seven to twelve exposures before they make a purchase. Thus, the more you promote, the more sales you will reap.

If the idea of spending more time on social media to promote your book does not excite you, then I suggest you read my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books. This book is full of book promotion and marketing ideas that go way beyond social media and the Internet.

4. Learn More

Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” There is always more to learn. Technology is bringing rapid changes to every area of life—including the publishing industry. In publishing, if you stop learning, then you become out-of-date and out-of-sync with the standards and protocols involved in publishing and promoting books.

Henry Ford Quote

Make it your ambition this year to keep learning. Learn to be a better writer. Learn to be a better book promoter. Step into all the roles associated with publishing a book with confidence and grace. Stay abreast of industry changes and trends by joining an author or publishing association and by attending Christian writers conferences.

5. Read More

Reading is good for you. Studies show that reading reduces stress and increases life expectancy. So read more this year. In fact, reading more is one of the top ten New Year’s resolutions the people make!

As an author, your fans look to you for book recommendations. You can provide more book recommendations to your readers by reading more. This year, read for free. Sign up to be a BookCrash reviewer and you can get free books in exchange for a fair review. Learn more at www.bookcrash.com.

Related Posts:
Goals: Guideposts on Your Journey
New Year’s Resolutions for Every Author
Book Publishing Trends You Need to Know for 2020

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Sticking to the Basics

The new CEO of Barnes & Noble has a plan to rejuvenate the ailing bookstore chain. His plan is fairly simple. It involves getting back to basics and sticking to them.

In a recent interview with Publishers Weekly, James Daunt, the new CEO, said, “Basic book selling is what grew this company, and that is what we want to get back to.” To this end, Daunt has begun to implement changes with the overall goal of putting more emphasis on books in the Barnes & Noble stores.

Barnes & Noble

It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of your calling and goal.

I believe many Indie authors struggle with getting sidetracked. It’s easy to in today’s fierce book market.

Most Christian Indie authors want to write and sell a book that God has laid on their heart. Then, when they hit the marketing path, they can get sidetracked and lose sight of the basics.

Basic marketing is simple. It’s about providing something that people need and drawing people’s attention to this need and the solution your book provides.

Yet, marketing is a world of its own that one can wander in forever. Advice abounds in this world. Everyone has an idea and an opinion of which path you should take:

  • Grow Your Social Media Presence
  • Hire a Publicist
  • Start a Podcast
  • Speak to Groups
  • Pay for Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest Ads
  • Build an Email List and Offer Lead Magnets
  • Host a Contest
  • And…

All these are great ideas, yet each one takes time and energy because each involves a learning curve and requires attention and feeding. Hence it is easy to get sidetracked and lose focus of your original calling.

Don't lose focus

It’s good to stop and take stock, especially as we move into a New Year. Ask yourself:

  • Have I become sidetracked?
  • Do I, like Barnes & Noble, need to “get back to the basics”?
  • Do I need to simplify and streamline my marketing activities so that I have time to focus on what I feel called to do?

One Indie author who is a Member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) recent sent us the following note:

I am less than 200 book sales away from 10,000!Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour?

This Indie author, Karen Finn, has just one book that she published in 2012. She has spent the past seven years diligently marketing her book—and it has paid off.

Karen has stuck to basic marketing. She did not get sidetracked into marketing that sucked her time and focus away from her goal of getting the word out about her book and how it can help people.

Instead, Karen focused on her audience. She considered all the audiences who could use her material and implemented a marketing plan that included social media, radio interviews, press releases and announcement letters to friends and family. She reports that word-of-mouth referral is not overrated—it provided her with a strong support base right away and created a platform that she could build upon.

Karen says, “Membership with the Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has been a worthwhile investment; I am able to keep abreast of the ongoing trends in the publishing business and obtain additional support and information specifically relating to my marketing efforts.

As we head into 2020, I encourage you to join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) to get the tools, information, and support you need to experience success in your publishing and marketing endeavors. Membership dues are just $90 for the year. Join today at www.christianpublishers.net.

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Back to Basics
Author: Are You Doing These Marketing Activities?
A Book Marketing Recipe

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Is Your Author Website Scaring People Away?

Caution! Slippery When Wet!

The sign, often used in public places, warns people to take care. The floor is wet, therefore slippery, increasing the risk of falling. This warning sign catches people’s attention and helps prevent accidents.

Is your website scaring people away?

The internet also has warning signs. As fraud increases, the internet community has bumped up their concerns about safety. As a result, internet browsers now warn people whether a website is safe or not.

If a website is safe and secure (featuring an https:// in the URL), the browser shows a lock:

secure website

If a website is not secure (featuring an http:// in the URL), the internet browser will show some type of warning:

not secure website

website not secure warning

These signs tell a visitor to your website whether your website is a safe and secure place. Savvy internet users recognize these signs. If your website does not sport an https:// and the browser features a warning sign, potential customers visiting your book or author website may be scared away.

Recently a Member of Christian Indie Publishing Association sent in an announcement about a new book for the Association’s newsletter. When checking the URL for the newsletter, I noticed that his website appeared as “not secure” in my browser. I sent this member the following note:

By the way, you should update your website from http:// to https://. Just ask your hosting service for an SSL Certificate. Many now provide them for free. Google’s SEO is now paying attention to https and you will rank higher if you have it.

The Member sent back this response:

Thank you for the SSL tip. I was able to set up my website for free with a certificate from my hosting service (I just always assumed that they would charge me extra for it).

His response surprised me. Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has been encouraging all our Members to update to https:// with an SSL Certificate for the past year. The Association neglected to tell our Members that many hosting services provide this for free. In reality, the benefit of having an https:// outweighs any small cost some hosting companies may charge.

So, I am passing this information on to you so that you can make sure your website is:

  1. Not scaring away visitors by being unsecure, and
  2. Ranking higher in search engine results because it is secure.

If your website still sports an http:// in the URL and shows up as not secure in a browser, check with your web hosting company. You can get an SSL Certificate for little or no cost.

Your website sends a message to the world. Make sure your website says you are professional and can be trusted.

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Tips for Selling Books from Your Website
Are You Doing This with Your Website?
Are You Backed Up?

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Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels.

The Law of Unity

United we stand; divided we fall.

This Kentucky state motto is often used to inspire unity and collaboration.

Unity works in God’s kingdom. United, our light shines brighter and we have a greater impact on the world. Sadly, instead of uniting, often Christians view other Christians as their competitors, not their teammates.

I have witnessed this with Christian authors and publishers. Often authors and publishers view other in the industry as their competition. Instead, we should be embracing each other, seeking for ways to build each other up, and exploring ways to work together for Kingdom purposes.

If you are a Christian author or publisher, other Christians writing and producing Christian books are not your competition. These people are on the same team as you. We are all working toward the same goal—or we should be. Our common goal is to draw people to God.

The law of unity is simple. When we are united, our efforts are multiplied. In other words, when we join forces with other Christians working for the same goal, collectively our impact for the Gospel and God’s Kingdom will be much greater.

Jesus’ desire was for unity among his followers. In his prayer in John 17, he says, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me.

Since we are on the same team, we should be helping and cheering each other on. Are you cheering or helping your fellow Christian authors?

Consider these five easy ways to unite and cheer on your fellow Christian authors and publishers:

  1. Review and recommend others books to your followers.
  2. Invite other Christian authors to be a guest on your blog or podcast.
  3. Share fellow Christian authors’ social media posts with your followers.
  4. Give other authors a shout out when they have a noteworthy accomplishment.
  5. Offer words of encouragement and advice to others who are writing and publishing Christian books.

As teammates, we should be looking after each other’s interests as well as our own. When we do, our collective efforts will be multiplied. Remember, there is room for everyone in God’s kingdom.

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A Little Yeast…

“Please note that if I review this book, I would have to give it a 2 star based on its poor punctuation and grammar. The story is great and wonderful, but the writing is sub-par.”

“For the story content and the impact it had on me, I would definitely award this book 5 stars. But, I could not give it 5. Sadly, the book is riddled with typos, wrong words, formatting mistakes, misspellings, and other editing issues that kept jerking me out of the story and making me wish the publisher had edited it properly.”

I cringe when I read comments like these from book reviewers. Indie publishing has come a long way in shedding the stigma attached to it. This stigma said that self-published books were sub-par. Poor covers, bad editing, and mediocre content is what people expected from these books.

Fortunately, the stigma attached to self-publishing is fading. However, every time a book reviewer writes a statement like the ones above, indie publishing takes a hit.

I often feel like a broken record because I repeat myself so much about this issue. If you choose to publish a book yourself, professional editing, layout, and cover design is a must. If your book is a Christian book, it not only has an impact on God’s reputation, it also has an impact on the reputation of indie published books.

After all, Paul says in I Corinthians 5:6: Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Is your yeast good or bad?

I interact with a lot of indie authors. Many are frustrated because they have trouble selling their books. However, I find that often many of the authors that vent this frustration did not take the care or money to have their books properly edited.

Indie publishing is an incredible gift. We live in a time when almost anyone can afford to publish a book. But, just because you can publish a book doesn’t mean you should. Before you decide to publish, be sure that have done your homework so that you know what an industry-standard book looks like and you know the basics involved in promoting and marketing a book to readers.

Part of the mission of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is to strengthen small publishers and independent authors in the Christian marketplace. One way CSPA does this is by providing tools and information to help you produce quality books.

Members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have access to the on-demand seminar “Create a Professional-Looking Book” as well as the “Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book.”

You can join CSPA for just $90 for the 2018 calendar year and have access to this great information and more. Join today at http://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member.

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