Christian Small Publishers Association Gets a New Name

This month, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) celebrates its 15th anniversary and embraces a new name. The organization has changed its name to better reflect the current publishing landscape and the authors and publishers it serves. The association is now known as Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA).

Over the past 15 years, the publishing industry has undergone tremendous changes. According to R.R. Bowker, the official U.S. ISBN agency, the number of independently published books has grown by 156% over the past six years. Since CSPA’s membership is comprised of both small publishers and independently published authors, the name change was instituted to better reflect who is being served.

The mission and focus of the organization stays the same: To provide information, tools and resources to strengthen small publishers and independent authors, and to continue to represent this group to the larger Christian book industry.

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) offers the same great benefits as CSPA, with new benefits being added for 2019. Membership benefits include:

  • A monthly e-newsletter packed with marketing tips and industry updates.
  • Cooperative advertising opportunities including a print catalog, magazine ads, and eblasts.
  • Quick reference guides and on-demand seminars on publishing and marketing.
  • List of radio and podcast media actively interviewing authors.
  • Book Launch Marketing Checklist.
  • Tradeshow representation.
  • A book review program.
  • Free title setup and revisions with IngramSpark.
  • Free title setup with Lightning Source.
  • Discount when ordering ISBN.
  • Discount on Publishers Weekly subscription.

Membership in Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is just $90 for the calendar year. You can join today at www.christianpublishers.net.

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) will continue to sponsor the Christian Indie Awards for Christian books by small publishers and independent authors. Voting for the 2019 Awards opens February 1, 2019. Watch for the announcement.

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Do You Need Marketing Confidence?

You have heard the clichés “Dress for success” and “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” While familiar and maybe a little overused, they are still true.

Similar to dressing for success, there are steps that you can take to build your confidence for success in marketing your books. If you find yourself lacking marketing confidence, implement these three suggestions that will boost your confidence the way dressing does.

1. Present a Professional Image.

A professional image is about dressing sharply. As an author, your website, business card, letterhead, email signature, and social networking sites are where your audience receives their first impression of you. Make sure these look sharp and professional. Use a professional author photo. Have consistency across all your platforms in image, color, and theme so that you present a branded image.

Studies show that the clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others. In other words, the image you present to the world affects how you think and act. So, present a professional author image and you will gain confidence.

2. Stay in The Know.

Nothing builds confidence like knowledge. The more you know, the more secure you are in stepping into that knowledge. Staying up-to-date on publishing and marketing trends helps you act more confidently. Learn what others are doing successfully and then mimic these tactics with your target audience for successful exposure.

Join writers’ or publishers’ associations to receive cutting-edge information and join with others in group marketing efforts. Network with members of the organization to learn what is working for them and for collaborative opportunities. Right now, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is offering a summer membership special for small publishers and independent authors producing Christian books. For just $120 you can join CSPA through December 2019.

3. Show Your Passion.

As an author, you should be passionate about your book and the message it conveys. A passionate person displays confidence in the subject they are passionate about. Let your passion shine through as you communicate with people. Enthusiasm is catchy. As your fervor for your book shines, others will also catch your excitement and want to know more about your book and how their lives might benefit from your message.

Pursue and respond to opportunities to let your passion shine. Write guest blog posts and articles aimed at your target audience. Look for speaking opportunities to share your message.

Developing a professional, well-dressed image will build your confidence and help establish trust with your readers and other professionals you interact with as you market your books.

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Are You Too Busy?

Americans are busy. We wear our busyness as a badge of honor. One study found that we Americans associate “busyness” with high social status.

So, busyness looks good. But is busyness really good for us?

I recently took a personal prayer retreat. I had been meaning to do this for over a year, but alas, I was too busy. I finally made it a priority, cleared room in my schedule, and went. I am glad I did. It was refreshing and too awesome to put into words. I definitely communed with God.

At the retreat center, I spoke with the directors. Their desire is for people to come to their center and hear from God. They talked about how many people who came to their retreat reported that they never heard from God. We had a wonderful conversation about how we often don’t hear from God because we simply are too busy.

We don’t make room to allow him to grab our attention and speak to us. Because spending time with God is not our priority, we fumble about our lives without his direction and blessing and wonder why things don’t work out.

Sadly, I have seen a similar busyness trend among members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). I have been told this year by a few members that they are just too busy to read the information that CSPA provides.

The purpose of CSPA’s information is threefold:

  1. To keep our members up-to-date on industry standards.
  2. To provide ideas for marketing Christian books to increase exposure and sales.
  3. To offer services that save our members money.

At Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), we understand that our members are busy. That is one reason for joining the organization. You can trust CSPA to provide you the information you need to stay up-to-date on industry standards. On your own, you would have to spend more time reading numerous industry blogs and journals to stay on top of this ever-changing industry.

If you are too busy to stay up-to-date on industry trends and standards, are you really able to produce the best quality books? Are you able to market them effectively?

If you are producing Christian materials, you want your books to reflect God’s glory.
One way to do this is to not be too busy to receive the information you need to stay relevant to produce quality books. After all, we are to work as though working for the Lord, and God wants your best.

Don’t get so busy that you neglect your soul or your calling.

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Christian Retail is Struggling

This past year has been a tough year for Christian bookstores. Family Christian Stores closed all 240 of its stores earlier this year. Only about 20 of those stores have been purchased by other entities and will continue to operate under new names.

According to CBA’s recent State of the Industry report, 45 independent Christian bookstores closed in 2016, while only 20 new stores opened. This represents a net loss of 25 independent retail stores (not including the 220 store closures from Family Christian Stores). Within the same period, there has been a 6 percent decline in sales of Christian retail, according to the same CBA report.

I have been attending CBA’s International Christian Retail Show now CBA Unite, with Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) for the past fourteen years. Each year I have watched the show grow smaller. This year’s show was by far the smallest with the fewest attendees that I have experienced, reflecting the industry’s struggle.

At CBA Unite 2017, I noticed:

  • Fewer vendors
  • Fewer book buying attendees
  • Fewer international attendees
  • Fewer author appearances
  • Fewer exhibitor sponsored evening events (there was one this year)
  • Fewer educational opportunities
  • Only a couple big-name personalities appearances including best-selling authors, music artists, or actors (as compared to multiple in previous years)
  • Lack of a show smart phone app (as offered in previous years)

CBA is not releasing official attendee or exhibitor numbers this year—indicating that the numbers were poor. Publishers Weekly reports that attendance at the CBA Unite show dropped 43 percent from 2014 to 2016, and observations from the floor this year indicate that 2017’s turnout continued to fall. While BookExpo, the industry book trade show for the general market, reported that their trade attendance was significantly up this year from last year’s show in Chicago, that show’s attendance is still significantly down from 20,895 attendees in 2015 to 7,425 in 2017.

Authors attending CBA Unite with Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) this year still received exposure for their books. Additionally, most were able to score quite a few media interviews since they were not competing with big name authors for these spots. You can watch the video featuring pictures of CSPA’s booth and author book signings at the show below:

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NRB Proclaim 17 Convention Recap

The last week of February, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) took ten of our Member authors to the NRB Proclaim 17 convention.

NRB stands for National Religious Broadcasters. This convention is a large gathering of Christian communicators from around the world. Those attending the show included radio producers, television producers, film producers, bloggers, podcasters, pastors, and parachurch ministries. It was a rich gathering for authors to network with Christian communicators to make connections and spread the word about their books (stay tuned, I will provide testimonials from CSPA Members later this week).

This is the first year that CSPA has showcased our Members at NRB. We are always looking for new ways to help our Members market and promote their books, and NRB proved to be a great venue for doing just that.

One benefit of belonging to an association is the ability to attend conventions and trade shows to showcase your books at a reasonable fee. Membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is affordable at just $90 per calendar year. Join now so you don’t miss out on these types of great opportunities for your books.

Here are some photos of CSPA’s booth and our Member authors showcasing their books at NRB.

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