A Time to Begin, and a Time to End

In January of this year, I heard very clearly from God that it was time to step away from my involvement with Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). This was not an easy decision for me to make, or an easy step of obedience.

A Time to End

Seventeen years ago, I helped co-found the Association and have been providing leadership and direction ever since. Over the years, I have had the privilege of both educating and encouraging hundreds of Christian authors and publishers. It has been a noble calling and service that I have always known was God’s intent.

As a follower of Jesus, it is my privilege to listen to him and do as he directs. This can be challenging when the path is not clear.

Fortunately, God is faithful. At the NRB Convention in February in Nashville this year, I shared God’s leading and my decision with Susan Neal, a CIPA Member. That night, God woke her up and told her that he was calling her to lead Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). I obeyed and God provided a new director.

Numerous people have asked me what I will be doing next. To be honest, I do not know for sure. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

That is where I am. I am taking the next step, but I don’t have a clear picture, yet, of where this new path will ultimately take me.

In 2008, I started this blog and have faithfully shared articles twice weekly on publishing and marketing books for the past 12 years. If you have benefited from the information that has been freely shared and want to give something back, I invite you to join me on my next step.Cross for Chapel

God has called me to help build a chapel on the grounds of a Spiritual Retreat Center that has been a blessing to me in my spiritual journey. Funds are needed for this chapel. Donations are tax deductible. If God is leading you to help, please make a donation on The Quiet Place NC’s website at https://www.thequietplacenc.org/the-chapel.

Finally, thank you reader for your support over the years. I have enjoyed sharing with you and I pray that God will bless you in His calling on your life!

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.

Related Posts:
Are You Thinking Like an Entrepreneur?
Don’t Hobble Your Marketing Efforts
Unity in Diversity

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Where Will Christian Books Be Sold?

“Change is the only constant in life.”

This quote by Greek philosopher Heraclitus is as true today as when he lived in the sixth century before Christ.

The publishing and book-selling industry is no exception to this rule. Publishing houses come and go. Book distributors open and close their doors. Retail stores move from brick-and-mortar entities to the digital realm.

In an era when Amazon is opening physical stores, chain stores are falling by the wayside. Retailers filed for bankruptcy at record-high rates in 2018. The American trend has gone from small independent stores to large chain stores to digital shopping.

Lifeway Stores to Close

Christian booksellers are part of this shift. Lifeway stores are the latest victim. Last week, Lifeway Christian Resources announced that they will close all 170 of their brick-and-mortar stores this year.

In January, LifeWay announced it would reduce the number of its retail locations due to declining customer traffic and sales. The company had hoped to keep some stores open, but due to market projections, they decided to close all physical stores.

This means that there will now be 170 fewer stores where Christian books will be sold. In 2017 Family Christian Stores closed all 240 of their brick-and-mortar locations. That is a loss of over 410 Christian bookstores stores in three years.

These closures are a loss for the whole Christian book-selling industry. In my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, one of the twenty marketing fundamentals I provide states:

The more channels through which consumers can purchase your books, the more books you will sell.

The Christian book-selling industry now has fewer places to sell books. Since Lifeway did not work with many indie authors or small publishers, this most recent loss is not as great for us as it is for the established Christian publishing houses.

Online Commerce Growing

Lifeway reports that over that last decade, they have seen commerce increasingly move online. They are not the only store to fall to e-commerce. In 2012, Cokesbury closed all 47 of its physical bookstores and went to one online-only store. I believe it is only a matter of time before Barnes & Noble follows suit.

Online commerce is growing while physical shopping is declining. For authors and publishers, this means that the main focus of your marketing efforts should not be about getting your books into bookstores. Instead, your focus must be on selling directly to consumers.

Selling directly to consumers means that you must focus your attention on branding and platform building to develop an audience to sell your books to. It’s the new way of selling everything—not just books.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

If you need information and support to help you make the shift in your marketing efforts to developing an audience and selling directly to consumers, Christian Indie Publishing Association can help you.

Christian Indie Publishing Association exists to provide information and tools for success in publishing and marketing to independent authors and small publishers. The Association has numerous resources available for you to educate yourself on how to develop an audience and sell books directly to readers. These include on-demand seminars, reference guides, checklists, and our monthly newsletter. You can join today for just $90 and have access to all these great resources.

Related Posts:
Five Christian Book Publishing Trends for 2019
Why Christian Bookstores Are In Decline
The Demise of the Christian Bookstore

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Photo courtesy of Tim Mossholder.