Is Your Book Flashlight Worthy?

Flashlight Worthy is a newer website that showcases lists of good books to read. This website currently features over 4,000 great books to read in 54 different categories with 433 unique lists.

The creators of Flashlight Worthy used Twitter to gather a large following of book readers who use their website to find books to read.

Sadly, this website is lacking lists of Christian books. There is no religion category or inspirational fiction category.

Have some time on your hands? Want to promote your own Christian book? Then may I suggest you put together a list of great Christian books in your book’s category and submit it to the Flashlight Worthy website.

Check out this video featuring one of the creator’s of Flashlight Worthy talking about the website.


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Do You Have a Poem in Your Pocket?

April is National Poetry Month. Inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets (www.poets.org), National Poetry Month is when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

Just like Small Press Month, National Poetry Month offers great opportunities for authors to promote their works. Where you have a full book of poetry or just a poem included in your book, you can take advantage of the opportunities this month presents for you to promote your book.

Authors can join poetry readings, offer to read a poem and teach children how to write a poem at a local school, host a poetry event at a local bookstore or library, or volunteer to read one of your poems during your church’s worship service this month.

This month also offers the opportunity for Christian poets to enter a new unpublished poem in the free poetry contest sponsored by Utmost Christian Writers at www.utmostchristianwriters.com in honor of National Poetry Month. pocket_logo

One of the events that is part of National Poetry Month this year is “Poem in Your Pocket Day” on Thursday, April 30, 2009. For this day, people are encouraged to write a poem and carry it in their pocket to share with co-workers, family, and friends.

I think “Poem in Your Pocket Day” offers wonderful potential for promoting books. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Offer a discount on your book on April 30, 2009 to anyone who emails you a poem.
  2. Hold a contest for a free give-a-way of your book on April 30, 2009 to the person who sends you the best poem (you be the judge).
  3. Organize a poetry reading for April 30, 2009. Place your name and book information on the marketing material as the sponsor for the event.
  4. Post a poem on your social networking sites on “Poem in Your Pocket Day” as a way to promote your book.
  5. Twitter the first two lines of a poem to generate more interest in your book and poetry. It’s acceptable for “Poem in Your Pocket Day.”

I am not a poet. However, in honor of National Poetry Month I will share with you a poem by my eight-year-old daughter, Rachel.

Now That I Know

Now that I know I am going to die,

Please take my soul up into the sky.

Lord, you know me and I know thee,

So up to heaven please take me.

If you have additional ideas for using “Poem in Your Pocket Day” to promote a book, please share them in the comments section.

What’s Coffee Got To Do With It?

I recently read The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary by Joseph A. Michelli. Michelli is an organizational psychologist who studies successful businesses. This book examines the five key leadership principles that transformed an ordinary cup of coffee into a worldwide business phenomenon.

In addition to the five principles that Michelli labels in the book, Starbuck’s leadership has a foundational discipline they call the “Five Ways of Being.” These five ways of being are taught to every employee of Starbucks. They are:coffee1

·  Be welcoming

·  Be genuine

·  Be considerate

·  Be knowledgeable

·  Be involved

I think these five ways of being are great principles for every publisher and author marketing a book to emulate. In being welcoming, you forge a bond that invites your readers back again and again. To be genuine is to connect, discover, and respond to others. Listening is an important part of this and key to creating a connection. Being considerate goes beyond mere politeness to being mindful of the needs of others. Being involved is the action of meeting these needs.

Good marketing is based on relationships. Most of the activities you will engage in to market your books are relational. A website is relational. Social networking is relational. Author interviews and book signings are relational.

As authors and publishers, we can apply these five ways of being to all of our marketing efforts. Take your website for instance. Ask yourself these questions. Is your website welcoming? Is it genuine? Are your words chosen with care and consideration? Does your website show that you are knowledgeable on the subjects you are promoting? Does your website invite the customer to become involved?

Consider your actions when you are promoting your books online through social networking or when you are doing an author book signing? Ask yourself these questions. Are your comments genuine, knowledgeable and considerate? Are you more concerned about making sure you sell your books or about connecting and touching the lives of the people you interact with?

What strikes me that most about these five ways of being is that Jesus modeled all of these for us. He was welcoming, genuine, considerate, knowledgeable, and involved with the people who crossed his path. In our fast-paced world, we can easily forget to take the time to embody these principles and instead get wrapped up in pushing our agenda, especially in marketing our books. Yet, in our fast-paced world, Starbucks has effectively carved out a place that is warm, inviting and relaxing for their customers. They have done this through having each of their employees embrace and embody these five ways of being.

Next time I am rushed and tempted to push things along to my agenda, I want to strive to remember to embrace these five ways of being. No matter how stressed or hurried I may be, I can always take the time to be welcoming, considerate, genuine, and involved in touching the life of each person God places in my path.

A Starbucks executive stated “We’re not in the coffee business serving people. We’re in the people business serving coffee.”

What about you? Are you in the book business serving people or the people business serving books?

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It Only Takes 12 Seconds

One of the things I love about marketing is that there really is no limit on what can be done to promote a product. A creative person can turn almost anything into a marketing gimmick. With all the new social networking tools popping up on the Internet, the field is ever-expanding for the availability of marketing ideas.

Take Pastor Andre Butler. He recently authored the book Not in My House. This book deals with Biblical principles of money management and applying these so that the current recession does not disable you and your household. His website incorporates a great little marketing gimmick using social networking techniques. He invites his readers to post their own unique video message saying, “Not in My House.” You can view the webpage at http://www.notinmyhousebook.com/how-do-you-say-it/.

What smart marketing! Pastor Butler has invited his readers to engage with his book and help him promote his message.

Some new applications online have made it easier to include this type of feedback on your own website. Ease of use and ease of application are both extremely valuable when asking your readers to engage with you and help promote your books in this fashion. The easier the application, the more people will actually do it.

One such application is http://12seconds.tv. This cool website is to YouTube what Twitter is to Blogs. The idea behind 12seconds is that you can share what you are doing with people in your life through quick, simple video taken from your cell phone. Only 12 seconds because they believe anything beyond that is boring. The video is taken from your phone and can be emailed to the site or posted directly from the cell phone unto the website.

With this cool application, people can do a 12 second video on their cell phone from any place they currently are and post it. Better yet, with 12seconds, you don’t have to wait for your customers to do the work; you can make it easy for them by using your own cell phone to video tape testimonials. As an author or publisher, you can use your own phone to interview people and get testimonials for your books wherever you are. These quick 12 second videos can then be posted to your website for use in your marketing campaign.

Take a few minutes to check out http://12seconds.tv and let me know if you make a 12 second video and where you post it.

Word Made Art

Let me share with you a new website I was recently introduced to. The site is called Wordle. You can find it at www.wordle.net. This great little site allows you to create art with words, or, as Wordle puts it, “word clouds.”

So what does word art have to do with marketing?

First of all, creating Wordles is just plain fun. The word clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Creators can tweak their word clouds to feature different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.

Second of all, it’s great art for your promotional materials, your website, your blog, or even your profile picture for your social networks. The images you create on Wordle can be used however you like. Just save the images you create in jpeg format onto your computer.

One neat feature of Wordle is the ability to use an RSS feed to fetch the text for an art picture. You can enter any website that has an RSS feed and Wordle turns that website’s recent text into art. Here is this blog (www.marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com) as a Wordle. mcb12

Another idea for using a Wordle in your promotional materials would be if you have a theme Bible verse for one of your books, your blog, or your website, you can turn that verse into a Wordle and post it online. Here is an example of a Bible-verse-turned-Wordle using John 1:1-3. mcb2

The best part is that using the Wordle website is free. The creator of Wordle is a part of IBM Research’s Visual Communication Lab. They are currently trying to understand how and why people are using Wordle. In exchange for using the site, I encourage you to take a few minutes to complete their short anonymous survey as a way to say thank you.

The creators of Wordle call it a toy. It truly is. One can get lost happily creating Wordles for hours. Happy Wordling!

Did you create a Wordle you want to share? I encourage you to post a link to your Wordle in the comments.

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