Your Book: A Needle in a Haystack

The number of self-published titles continues to grow. Bowker, the company that assigns ISBN numbers recently announced that 786,935 ISBN numbers were assigned to self-published titles in 2016. This is an increase of 59,810 titles, an 8.2% increase over 2015.

According to the 2016 Bowker report, ISBNs assigned for print books rose 11.3% to 638,624 titles, while ISBNs assigned to ebooks fell 3.2% to 148,311. Since Bowker measures the number of self-published books by ISBN, its count does not include ebooks released by authors through Amazon’s KDP program, as Amazon Kindle uses ASIN identifiers rather than ISBNs.

Small publishers—defined as those authors and publishers who purchase their own ISBN numbers (rather than using an ISBN number provided by a publishing platform like CreateSpace) and produce 10 or fewer titles—grew by 7.67%, up 3,863 titles to 54,206 from 2015.

These figures indicate that the self-publishing industry is beginning to stabilize as it is growing to maturity. According to Bowker’s report, self-published titles grew 30% from 2013 to 2014 and 21% from 2014 to 2015. Then this past year, from 2015 to 2016, the growth rate of self-published titles slowed to about 8%.

If you released a book in 2016 or 2017, your book is simply one book in a sea of three-quarters of a million other books released the same year. That is a lot of competition. It is much like being a needle in a haystack.

Marketing a book among millions can seem a daunting task. How can you make your book stand out and get noticed? Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help your book get noticed. Here are three.

1. Build a platform.
Building a platform is all about developing an audience of people who trust and listen to what you have to say. You can develop your audience online with a blog, podcast, or video series, or you can develop an audience through speaking engagements. Readers buy books from authors they trust. For more information on building a platform and developing an audience, watch my on-demand seminar Developing an Audience for Your Books.

2. Go Niche.
Niche means a distinct segment of a market. It’s all about narrowing your audience to focus on those most likely to read your book. For example, if you have a book on parenting, instead of targeting all parents, you would refine your target audience. You might refine it to Christian parents and then refine it further to Christian parents of disabled children and then refine it even further to Christian parents of disabled children who need special care. Refining helps you find the best niche audience for your book.

3. Partner with Influencers.
Seek out those who already have influence with your niche audience and partner with them. Influencers can be other authors already writing to your audience. They can be bloggers speaking to these people. They can also be civic leaders, church leaders, educational leaders, or famous personalities. Work with influencers to receive endorsements, reviews, recommendations, and support for your book. Partnering with influencers helps you expand your audience and gives you and your book credibility.

Your book does not need to get lost in the haystack. A little effort on your part can make your book stand out and receive the attention it deserves.

Related Posts:
Are You Developing an Audience?
The Importance of Finding Your Niche
Enlarge Your Audience with Micro-Influencers

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Self-Publishing Has Become Main Stream

According to Bowker, 40% of all books published in 2012 were self-published. That means that just about the same number of titles that are being produced by traditional publishing houses are now also being produced by self-published authors.


This trend has been on the increase over the past decade, but it grew significantly in 2012. Bowker reported that the number of ISBNs purchased for self-published books rose almost 60% in 2012.

Are you still holding out for a traditional publisher thinking that this will make you an “authentic” author? If so, think again. Times have changed.

No longer do authors need a royalty publishing house to give them the nod of approval. More and more authors are taking the reins in their own hands and publishing their books themselves. A number have even become best-selling authors, while others are making a living selling their self-published books.

Whether self-published or traditionally published the truth is that in today’s book publishing climate the author must do most of the book promotion. That’s where Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) can help you. If you have published or are going to publish a book for the Christian market, CSPA exists to help you market and promote your books. Here are just a few of the membership benefits:

  1. Monthly e-newsletter packed with industry information and tips on marketing your books.
  2. Strategic Book Marketing Plan Kit including consultation with a book marketing expert to help you develop a marketing plan.
  3. Cooperative marketing opportunities.
  4. BookCrash book review program.
  5. Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.

You can view all of CSPA’s membership benefits here.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has been helping small publishers and independently published authors market their books since 2004. In honor of the organization’s 10th anniversary in January 2014, CSPA is offering a membership special.

Join CSPA for just $85 and receive membership through December 2014. You can join today and start receiving the help you need to marketing and promote your independently published books.

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The Growth of Self-Publishing

New figures from R.R. Bowker show that the recent growth in the self-publishing market has led to the first increase in print book output in the United States in four years.

This Bowker report showed that 347,178 books were printed in 2011 (up from 328,259 in 2010). Of this figure, 211,269 were self-published titles (up from 133,036 in 2010). In case you are not good with math, about 61% of print books published in 2011 were self-published—well over half (the figure was only around 41% in 2010—less than half).

Did you catch that? Over half of the books printed in 2011 were self-published. We are living in the “Golden Age of Self-Publishing.”

If you are wondering whether to self-publish your book, consider this: If you choose to self-publish, you will no longer be in a “minority of authors” category. You will actually be in the category of the majority of authors today.

Self-publishers are creating growth in the publishing industry. Self-publishing success is possible in today’s market.

Let me temper this excitement with a word of caution. If you think that you can quit your day job to self-publish your book, think again. Less than 10% of self-published authors earn a living from their books.

A study, conducted by Taleist, which surveyed 1,000 self-published authors, found that half of these authors earned less than $500 off their self-published books in 2011. Of course, that means half earned more.

In other words, self-publishing is viable in today’s book market. Just don’t expect to become rich off your self-published book.

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