Will Someone Catch You Reading This Month?

Will you get caught reading this month? I hope so. As authors and publishers, I believe we need to set an example by reading! After all, if people don’t read, our books will be worthless.

May is “Get Caught Reading” month! So, go out and get caught reading this month. Encourage reading. Share with your family, friends, and fans what you are reading.

Each year, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) puts together a cooperative catalog featuring products from our member publishers. This year’s catalog features 46 titles from 28 of our members.

I invite you to click on the catalog cover pictured below to check out the great Christian titles CSPA member authors and publishers produce! I am sure you will find within the pages of the catalog a new book to read this month.

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What Are You Learning?

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. ~Chinese Proverb

Once you learn something new, you are never the same. Yet there is always more to learn, especially when it comes to publishing and marketing books. Even those who have been in the industry for years must always learn more because trends are always changing.

Book_Rapid-eLearning

The learning curve when you are starting something new—such as publishing or marketing a book—is extremely steep, but the learning curve never goes away because there is always more to learn.

What are you doing to keep learning and staying relevant in publishing and promoting your books? If you are reading this blog—kudos to you. You probably read other blogs on publishing and marketing as well. Reading blogs is one way to learn so that you can improve your craft. Four additional ways to keep learning include:

1.  Join organizations that provide services to authors and publishers and read their newsletters and publications.

There are many organizations that provide information to help authors and publishers improve their craft. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) provides services for small publishers and independently published authors creating materials for the Christian marketplace. There are many associations that serve writers. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) is a large organization that helps Christian fiction writers improve their craft. The Word Guild is a writer’s group for Canadian writers.

2.  Read books on publishing and marketing.

There are hundreds of books on publishing and marketing books, and hundreds more on the craft of writing. Books on these subjects are being published each month. The Director of the Midwest Book Review, Jim Cox, highlights new book on writing, publishing, and marketing books in his monthly newsletter. If you are a Christian author or small publisher, and you have not yet read my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, I suggest you do so.

3.  Attend conferences.

Conferences are designed for learning. Wherever you are in your publishing journey, you can benefit from conferences. Industry trade shows like the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) has seminars that show attendees can sit in on and learn new things. I learn new things every year when I attend. Writer’s conferences are also great places for learning more about the craft of writing as well as learning more about publishing, and promoting and marketing books. You can find a list of Christian writers conferences held in the United States at Christian Manuscripts Submissions website.

I will be presenting a seminar the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference put on by Writer His Answer next month. This conference features over 55 authors, editors, and agents presenting their expertise. There is something for every Christian author at this conference. Check out their online brochure on their website and make plans to attend if you live near Philadelphia.

4.  Join discussion groups and interact with other authors and publishers.

There are numerous discussion groups and forums online for authors and publishers. Both Facebook and LinkedIn feature many such groups. Another resource is Christian Writers. This online forum provides a venue for Christian writers to interact with other Christian writers to gain feedback, information, and insight into the writing and publishing process.

I encourage you to regularly engage in activities that help you learn how to become a better writer, publisher, or book promoter. You will not only become better at your craft, you will also become a better person for it. After all, the Chinese proverb reminds us that whatever new thing we learn stays with us and overflows to all areas of our life.

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Great Reads for Christians

Did you know that May is “Get Caught Reading” month? What will you get caught reading this month?

Each year, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) puts together a cooperative catalog featuring products from our member publishers. This year’s catalog features 78 titles from 26 of our member publishers.

I invite you to click on the catalog cover pictured below to check out the great titles CSPA member publishers produce! You might find a new book to read this month.

Due the the number of beautiful book covers featured in the catalog, it may take a few minutes to load. Please be patient.

2014 Cover jpeg

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Celebrating 10 Years!

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is now 10 years old!!

CSPA logo for Marketing Plan

Back in January of 2004, three independently published authors, each with a small publishing company, joined together to create Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). The goal of the newly formed organization was to help each other market and promote our books in the Christian marketplace.

How things have changed in the past 10 years! Some of these changes include:

  • In 2004, the majority of books were published by major publishing houses. Today, more books are published by self-published authors than are produced by the major publishing houses.
  • Print-on-demand was just making an entrance into book publishing. Back then the catch-phrase was “desktop publishing.”
  • The vast majority of books were sold in brick-and-mortar stores. Now, almost half of all books are purchased over the Internet.
  • eBooks were almost unheard of in 2004. Now, they capture 30% of all book sales.
  • The sheer number of books published grows each year.
  • CSPA has grown from its original three members to serving over 100 members publishing Christian books.

As the book publishing and marketing industry change, so we at CSPA continue to adapt and change our services to meet changing needs. Some of our newer benefits include:

  • A partnership with DeeperShopping.com to get our members books in front of more customers.
  • eBlasts announcing new titles to book-loving Christians.
  • A Strategic Book Marketing Plan Kit that includes a phone consultation with a book marketing expert.
  • Ongoing cooperative marketing opportunities.
  •  A monthly e-newsletter with fresh content that educates and informs our members of new trends, opportunities, and state-of-the-art publishing principles and techniques.

This year, get some support in publishing and marketing your Christian books. Join Christian Small Publishers Association and make use of the many benefits we offer publishers and independently published authors to help you reach more people with your books. Membership is just $85 for the calendar year. Join today!

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Adapt or…

The other day, I found a Yellow Pages directory on my front door step. I had thought that print versions of the Yellow Pages had succumbed to the ever-present Internet and had gone the way of the Wooly Mammoth. I guess I was wrong.

Yellow pagesHowever, as I stooped to pick up my copy from my doorstep, I observed my neighbor throwing his in the recycle bin. Ah, our ever-changing world. The Yellow Pages may still be published as print directories (remember their slogan “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking“), but not everyone will use them.

Just as Yellow Pages has had to adapt to the changes being wrought by our increasingly digital world through making their directory available as an online digital directory while still offering print copies, so the publishing industry is also adapting to these changes.

The latest news is that Xulon, one of the leading Christian self-publishing companies (publishing around 3,000 titles each year), has changed their model to adapt to the current trends. Traditionally, Xulon has offered publishing packages that ranged from about $1,700 to $5,000. A mite pricey in today’s publishing climate.

Xulon will begin offering a free book publishing program next month. Yep, you heard that right—free book publishing. Basically, through FreeChristianPublishing.com, Xulon will allow writers to prep their manuscripts for print and ebook publication at no charge. Xulon will make its money from printing copies to order and up-selling their other services such as marketing and promotion.

This new service sounds to me a lot like many other publishing services already available to authors. For example, with CreateSpace, authors can set up a manuscript and design covers for their print books for free. CreateSpace only charges for distribution and when the book is printed. As for ebooks, Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and BookBaby (to name a few) all already allow free setup of an ebook title.

I guess it only makes sense for Xulon to change their service strategy to align with others in the industry if they want to remain viable. You can pay money for Xulon’s promotion services, but most self-published authors will tell you, you get the best bang for your marketing dollars when you, the author, take the initiative in promoting your book. If you are unsure how to do this, then educate yourself by reading Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace and taking advantage of the information and resources Christian Small Publishers Association provides for marketing books.

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