Unless the Lord Builds…

I am currently re-reading 100 Amazing Answers to Prayer by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen. This time round I am reading it with my daughter. The book is both inspiring and convicting. The awesome answers to prayer chronicled in the book inspire me to want to pray more and experience more of God’s incredible power in my life. Yet, I am also convicted when I read these true stories because I do not pray enough.

The neat thing is that even though this book was originally published in 2003 by Revell, you can still purchase it new. The book must be selling well enough for Revell to still be printing it. Generally, books published by large publishing houses are placed out-of-print within a year or two of publication if they do not reach best-seller status. Thus many great books fade into obscure second-hand only status rather quickly. Ah, the rub of being published by a large established publishing house. The author pours her soul into a book only to see it sold briefly. This is why I had my own publishing company reprint one of my books that went out-of-print when the original publisher decided to no longer print the book. When the book went out-of-print, individuals began contacting me, the author, asking where they could still purchase the book. So I decided to make it easy for them to do that. But, I digress.

James 4:2-3 says, You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. How much do I not have because I don’t take the time to ask my God? Would my books sell more copies and touch more people’s lives if I prayed more? Would my marketing efforts, my blog posts, and my social networking time be more fruitful if I spent more time praying over them before I undertook each one?

Psalm 127:1 states, Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. We need God to go before us and build our marketing avenues. We need Him to open doors and prepare the way; otherwise our promotional efforts are in vain.

How about you? Are you praying over each promotional effort you are undertaking on behalf of your books? Are you asking God to bless these promotional efforts so that the words God has given you to write or publish may bless those lives it touches? Or are you too focused on obtaining notoriety as an author or on achieving the dream you are carrying?

I am committing myself to pray more over each promotional effort this year. I am asking God to build my house. I am asking Him to build the avenues of book promotion to place my books into the hands of those who most need the words they read, and that through them many others will be blessed also.

Has God recently blessed a promotional avenue you undertook for your books?

Is Your Book Video Lost on the Internet?

Publishers Weekly recently had a blog post where publicists gave their take on book trailers and the effectiveness of this promotional medium for books (http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/400000640/post/1210039121.html). 

Surprisingly, a number of the publicists listed reported rather negative sentiments about the effectiveness of book trailers in promoting books.

The use of book videos to promote books began in 2002 and was basically spearheaded by a company called Circle of Seven Productions (www.cosproductions.com) which was formed to produce book trailers. This company trademarked the term Book Trailer™ in 2003. However, the use of book trailers (now often referred to as book videos) to promote books did not really catch on until 2005 when user-generated online video sites (think YouTube and GodTube) became popular.

I have been encouraging publishers to use book videos to promote their books for the past couple of years. I agree with one publicist on the Publishers Weekly blog who felt that the practice was still too new to fully judge the effectiveness. However, Circle of Seven Productions thinks that book trailers are a very effective way to promote books online and through television, and since their company is on the cutting edge of this technique their opinion is notable.

I think that, unless a book trailer goes viral, the way book trailers are currently promoted online, they mostly engage people within the authors’ and publishers’ existing circle of customers. An individual who wants to view book videos faces a chore in finding book videos online. One must search an author’s website, a book’s website, a publisher’s website, or search a user-generated video sharing site to find them; and to do this the person really needs to know the name of an author or publishing house to begin to find book videos.

Recently websites devoted exclusively to showcasing book videos have begun to emerge on the web. I believe that with these websites, book videos can become even more effective in promoting books. Website entirely devoted to the viewing of book videos, such as http://bookscreening.com, allow readers to find all the book videos on their favorite genre of books in one place.

One  new website, www.christianbookvideos.com, has set itself up, in their words, to be the place to preview all the Christian book videos. Now cbv-button-170x505people who read Christian books have one website to visit to view all the book videos for the Christian authors they like as well as discover new authors and books to read. With these new type of book video sites, book videos no longer have to be “stumbled” upon; instead they can actively be discovered.

The best thing about these new book video sites is that posting videos on them is free. Each site lists its own submission criteria and guidelines. So start promoting your book videos on these new book video sites and gather new readers for your books.

Do you have a book video and what has been your experience with its success?