You Have to Spend Money to…

Sometimes, you have to spend money to save money. It seems counter intuitive, but it is true.

Take membership warehouse clubs— think Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s. Each of these clubs charges members an annual membership fee to shop in their warehouses. A whole host of cost-saving benefits come with a club membership, helping members save money on needed everyday items and services. The overall benefit is a win for members, as savings add up to more than what members pay for an annual membership.

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) operates under the same premise. The association offers independent authors and small publishers a host of cost-saving benefits. The savings provided members of the association adds up to more than the cost of an annual membership. Some of these cost-saving benefits include:

  1. Free title setup and revisions with IngramSpark (a minimum $45 savings).
  2. Free title setup and first year market access fee waived with Lightning Source (a minimum $50 savings).
  3. A 15% discount on Bowker’s products including ISBNs and barcodes at myidentifiers.com (a minimum $18 savings on one ISBN).
  4. A $25 credit when accessing Reedsy’s services which include editing and cover design.
  5. A 10% discount when ordering book templates and cover designs from Book Design Templates (a $5 minimum savings).
  6. A summer publicity special from a publicist for CIPA Members saving them hundreds of dollars in publicity service fees.

These are just a few of the ways Christian Indie Publishing Association saves our members money. In addition, the association offers members free downloads on a number of checklists and reference guides that usually cost money to obtain. These include:

  • A list of over 70 radio and podcast outlets interviewing authors with contact information.
  • A Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book.
  • A Book Launch Marketing Checklist.
  • A Metadata Checklist.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Joining a publishing association can save you money in the long run. Don’t just take my word for it. Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association agree. They say:

The benefits I have already reaped from membership in CIPA have far surpassed the membership fee. CIPA has far exceeded my expectations in terms of the outstanding resources you provide for authors.”

You can read more testimonials at https://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/testimonials.

Christian Indie Publishing Association is running a summer special on Membership with the organization. For just $120 you can join now and receive membership through December 2020. That’s 18-months of membership and a savings of $60 for you!

Don’t miss out on your chance to save money. If you are not a member, you can join today at: https://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member.

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Photo courtesy of Maitree Rimthong.

I Don’t Know Anything About Publishing

“I don’t know anything about publishing.” The gentleman standing before me started with this sentence. Then he went on to state, “…but I published a book on CreateSpace.” He reached into his brief bag and brought out a book. Next, he asked, “What can Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) do for me?”

I explained that one of the things CSPA does is help authors like him learn about publishing. That we have on-demand seminars that teach indie authors how to publish an industry-standard book and we offer a Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book as a resource for our members.

“What would you suggest I change on my book?” The author asked next. I gently pointed out the following to him.

  1. His book title needs to be able to be easily read from six to 10 feet away and also in a small thumbnail sketch. I noted that I had difficulty reading his book title two to three feet away due to the fancy font he used and that I definitely could not read it six feet away.
  2. I suggested that his interior was not laid out to industry standards. His margins ran too close to the edges and his font-size and layout made the book look like it was for a middle-grade reader, not an adult.

The author insisted that he did not want to change the font he chose for his title—that he liked it. He stated that he liked the interior layout because he had envisioned such a layout for a larger landscape book (however, this book was a traditional smaller portrait paperback). He kept insisting that he liked what he had done.

I suggested that if he had just published the book for himself and his family, that liking what he had chosen was perfectly acceptable and sufficient. However, if he wanted to sell this book beyond his small circle, as he had indicated to me, then he needed to make the book industry standard.

I explained to him that readers know what a book is “supposed” to look like. When a book does not look like what they expect, they will often pass it up. In publishing, looking different or out of place does not sell books. What sells books is compelling covers and prose.

Next, the author asked me what I would do to help get more attention for his book on Amazon. I suggested the following.

  1. Make sure that his Amazon author page was complete. To have a good author photo, a bio, and links to his websites on his Amazon author page.
  2. Use great keywords to help people discover his book. I explained that his book was an Advent devotional, yet he did not use Advent anywhere in the title or subtitle. As a result, he is missing out on people searching for Advent books. I pointed out to this gentleman that this was the type of information CSPA regularly provides to our members in our monthly newsletter.

The author told me that he did not want to change his title or subtitle, that he liked it. I told him that he did not have to take any of my suggestions. I reminded him that he had asked my advice after telling me he did not know anything about publishing.

Advice is just that—advice. I give it. You don’t have to take it. It’s your book, your life, your goals and dreams. But, let me offer one last piece of advice.

If you want to sell books, you can’t be too tied to your first idea. Let your idea germinate and grow. Let others water it and help nurture it to maturity so that your end product is something that is beautiful and excellent and actively fulfills the purpose for which God birthed it in your heart.

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How Not to Sell a Book

Nominations for the 2018 Christian Indie Awards are rolling in. One recent nomination demonstrates how not to sell a book. I thought I would share it with you, so you can know what not to do.

The Christian Indie Awards nomination form requests various information. The form asks the nominating party to list the publisher of the book along with contact information. This contact information is very important, because it is who we contact should the book win an award.

One recent nomination listed CreateSpace as the publisher of the book and gave contact information for CreateSpace. Folks, CreateSpace is not a publisher. Yes, you can request that they assign your book an ISBN number and then they list themselves as the publisher of the book on Amazon, but they are not the true publisher of the book.

If you are an independent author, you are the publisher. If you use any print-on-demand service like CreateSpace, IngramSpark, Lightning Source, BookBaby, or LuLu, you are still the publisher. These companies are simply printing platforms that allow you to independently publish your book.

So, this independent author lists CreateSpace as the publisher of the book and gives the contact information for CreateSpace. Now, if this nominated title were to win an award, we would have to send the announcement to CreateSpace. Do you think CreateSpace cares? Do you think they would contact the author and let the author know that he won an award? No, they won’t. CreateSpace is simply a revenue stream for Amazon. The company exists so that Amazon has more books to sell, and thus can make more money.

In an attempt to see if I could scare up other contact information for this author, I Googled the book’s title. To my dismay, the only place this book is listed on the internet is Amazon. The author does not have a website for the book. Neither the author nor the book are listed on Goodreads. There is not even a Facebook page for the book. Nothing.

Next, I strolled on over to Amazon to check the Author Page to see if I could scare up some information on the author. This time, I was not too surprised when I found that this author had not even completed the author profile for his Author Page on Amazon.

The book in question was published in November 2016. That was a year ago. In that time, the author has done almost nothing (from what I can tell) to promote this book. That’s like saying you are a missionary, but all you do is put some tracts in a local café and spend the rest of your time sitting in your house. How will people hear about the Gospel unless you tell them? How will people know about your book unless you tell them?

Having your book for sale only on Amazon with no other online presence will ensure that your book won’t sell. You must tell people about your book for them to know about it. Telling on the internet includes (at a minimum) having a website and a presence on social media.

By the way, nominations for the Christian Indie Awards are open through November 15, 2017. You can nominate your books at www.christianaward.com.

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Photo courtesy of Brandon Kawamura.

Are You Considering Publishing a Book?

The first self-published author I ever met in person was in the mid-1990s. At that time, becoming an author was one of the items on my bucket list. I was open to exploring all possibilities to make this happen.

Publish Your Book Affordably Cover 2

I inquired of this gentleman how much self-publishing his book had cost him. Fortunately, he was gracious enough to share this information with me. He told me that for $15,000, he had 3,000 copies of his book in his garage. When I heard this figure, I just about had a heart attack. Immediately I ruled out self-publishing as an option for me.

Fast forward ten years to about 2004. The publishing landscape had drastically changed due to rapidly advancing technology. No longer did it cost thousands of dollars to publish a book. Thanks to print-on-demand, publishing a book had become within the reach of most people—including me.

The self-publishing field has grown drastically in the 21st Century. In 2015, author-published books accounted for 18% of the entire book market in the United States.

Consider these additional statistics on independently published books in a recent Author Earnings report:

  • 33% of all paid ebook unit sales on Amazon.com are indie self-published ebooks.
  • 20% of all consumer dollars spent on ebooks on Amazon.com are being spent on indie self-published ebooks.
  • 40% of all dollars earned by authors from ebooks on Amazon.com are earned by indie self-published ebooks.
  • The Big Five traditional publishers now account for only 16% of the e-books on Amazon’s bestseller lists.

Amazon is the biggest player in the author-published market. Between its three publishing platforms—CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing, Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX)—Amazon produces an estimated 85% of self-published titles.

Publishing a book today is within your reach. The self-publishing stigma has faded. Self-published authors now land on the best-seller lists regularly. While publishing your own book can now be done with ease, you do need to educate yourself on the process.

To help aspiring authors who are considering publishing their own book, I have created a FREE online on-demand seminar. You can access this seminar anytime it is convenient for you. You can even watch the seminar multiple times if you need to refresh your memory on any of the information given.

To watch this informative seminar, DIY: Publish Your Book Affordably, simply CLICK HERE. Anyone considering publishing their own book will benefit from this information.

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