The Law of Unity

United we stand; divided we fall.

This Kentucky state motto is often used to inspire unity and collaboration.

Unity works in God’s kingdom. United, our light shines brighter and we have a greater impact on the world. Sadly, instead of uniting, often Christians view other Christians as their competitors, not their teammates.

I have witnessed this with Christian authors and publishers. Often authors and publishers view other in the industry as their competition. Instead, we should be embracing each other, seeking for ways to build each other up, and exploring ways to work together for Kingdom purposes.

If you are a Christian author or publisher, other Christians writing and producing Christian books are not your competition. These people are on the same team as you. We are all working toward the same goal—or we should be. Our common goal is to draw people to God.

The law of unity is simple. When we are united, our efforts are multiplied. In other words, when we join forces with other Christians working for the same goal, collectively our impact for the Gospel and God’s Kingdom will be much greater.

Jesus’ desire was for unity among his followers. In his prayer in John 17, he says, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me.

Since we are on the same team, we should be helping and cheering each other on. Are you cheering or helping your fellow Christian authors?

Consider these five easy ways to unite and cheer on your fellow Christian authors and publishers:

  1. Review and recommend others books to your followers.
  2. Invite other Christian authors to be a guest on your blog or podcast.
  3. Share fellow Christian authors’ social media posts with your followers.
  4. Give other authors a shout out when they have a noteworthy accomplishment.
  5. Offer words of encouragement and advice to others who are writing and publishing Christian books.

As teammates, we should be looking after each other’s interests as well as our own. When we do, our collective efforts will be multiplied. Remember, there is room for everyone in God’s kingdom.

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Your Next Big Break

Your big break—that media interview, that stellar endorsement, an influencer willing to work with you, a large book order, that awesome speaking engagement—might be right around the corner. You never know when it will happen… but I can guarantee it won’t happen if you don’t plant seeds.

To harvest fruit, you must first plant seeds. All your marketing efforts—both small and large—are seeds you are planting.

Marketing is planting seeds

I have sent out scores of press releases. Many never get a response. Not too long ago, I sent out another press release to the media. I really wasn’t anticipating much from it. After all, I know that press releases are about planting seeds and watering those seeds.

A few weeks later, I received an email. It said:

I am doing a story on indie publishing in the Christian market. I’ll talk to a number of sources for the story, and would love to include you and the newly named CIPA.

An interview was scheduled. A conversation took place. Then, an article was published. I was quoted in the article.

Not a big break, but a nice one that brought more exposure. You can read the article here.

Too many authors are “one and done”. They try something once. When they don’t get the result they expected, they decide that the marketing technique did not work and don’t try it again.

In marketing, “one and done” will kill your efforts. No farmer plants one seed and expects a good crop. Farmers do not know which seeds will germinate or which seeds will lie fallow or end up getting eaten. So, they plant many, many seeds, sometimes overseeding so they can ensure a crop.

Wise King Solomon knew this principle. He said:

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hand rest, because you don’t know which will succeed, whether one or the other, or if both of them will be equally good.

writing at night

In book marketing language, this statement reads:

In the morning conduct your marketing activities, and at evening don’t think you are done, because you do not know which activity will succeed, whether one or the other, or if all of them will be equally good.

You can’t have a big break unless you are constantly pursuing opportunities. So, keep doing marketing activities like:

  • Sending out those press releases.
  • Pitching for interviews.
  • Asking for those endorsements.
  • Pursuing those speaking engagements.
  • Seeking collaboration with other authors.
  • Showing up day in, day out on social media adding value to other’s lives.

And remember that God is the Lord of the Harvest. Your success rests in his hands. Trust him.

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Photo courtesy of Dương Trí and Bruce Mars.

Have You Given Your Book Feet?

The newspaper article headlines read:

Fire chaplain drives 300 miles to leave crosses for Jacksonville victims

He’s left crosses at Ground Zero in New York City, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Dallas after a gunman ambushed police officers, and most recently, after the school shooting in Parkland.

Have you given your book feet?

Another headline reads:

Chaplain, Impressed By Pittsburghers’ Strength, Offers Comfort At Synagogue Memorial

With a simple greeting and wearing a navy-blue coat that reads “Chaplain” across the back, Bob Ossler is a constant these days.

Triumph Over TerrorChaplain Bob is the author of Triumph Over Terror, an eyewitness account from a first responder at Group Zero on 9-11 that recounts the questions, fears, struggles, and sacrifices of the families and workers overwhelmed by despair. Bob knows how to give his book feet. Bob is a chaplain with a heart for victims of terror. He lives out what he believes and his book goes with him on his journeys.

Books are inanimate objects. They cannot move or talk on their own. You, the author, must give your book feet.

You may not have the mission or ability to travel as far and wide as Bob does, but you can still give your book feet. You may not be as extroverted and easily able to talk and pray with people as Bob is, but you can still give your book feet.

You can follow Chaplain Bob’s example to give your book feet. Like Bob, you can take your book with you wherever you go, broadening your book’s audience and reach.

  1. Know what need your book meets and who struggles the most with this need. This is your target audience and the people you should focus on as you take your book with you. Bob knows that his target audience are people impacted by terrorist activity.
  2. Always have a copy of your book near. Carry them in your car. Carry your author business card or bookmark featuring your book in your purse or wallet.
  3. Look for opportunities to connect with others around the subject matter of your book. Bob travels to places that have experienced terrorist activity. He brings hope to victims through prayer and kind actions. In this way, he is connecting with others around the subject matter of his book.
  4. Don’t be shy about your actions. If you, like Bob, are doing something good for the community, let the local news know about it. People need to be encouraged and having good-will stories reported encourages people. It can also bring attention to your book.
  5. Share your actions and your book’s journey on social media. Chaplain Bob readily shares on social media about the people his book has touched, about responders and victims he admires, and about his care for those who are impacted by terrorist actions.

Here’s a recent Facebook post from Bob sharing about his book.

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Photo courtesy of Ian Baldwin.

Write Up, Speak Up, and Change the World

Today is World Book Day in the UK and Ireland. World Book Day is a celebration of books and reading.

The slogan for World Book Day is: Reading is Power. Read up, Speak up, and Change the World.

Reading is power. Many, many lives have been changed through reading a good book. Some readers have received hope or inspiration to get them through a tough time. Others have received eternal hope through the Gospel message found in a book.

Reading is power, but writing is also power. Reading cannot be power without having life-changing words to read. Authors, take heart. Your writing is important and powerful.

The world needs Christian authors writing and publishing books that point people to God. As Romans 10 says:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I believe the same is true for the written word. Beautiful are the hands of those who write good news!

But all your writing and publishing will amount to nothing, if your books don’t get into the hands of people. People have to read your books to be impacted by your words.

Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you are struggling with promoting your Christian books, help is here. The Fourth Edition of my award-winning book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, is now available for purchase.

This book provides authors and publishers the advice and resources you need to effectively promote your Christian books. I recently received the following message from a reader:

“I’ve read your book. It’s fantastic!  I’m definitely going to use it as my guide for marketing!”

The hardest part is not writing or publishing a book. The toughest part is marketing the book—getting the word out to let people know how your book meets a need in  their life. Marketing involves speaking up in numerous ways.

The slogan for World Book Day in part says, Read up, Speak up, and Change the World. Authors, our slogan can be similar. Let’s make it:

Write up, Speak up, and Change the World

If you would like a copy of the Fourth Edition of Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, the price for the print book is just $24.99. You can order your copy today direct from the publisher or from Amazon.

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Why You Should Use Micro-Influencers

Last Sunday, the pastor at church mentioned a book in his sermon. He even went a step further and said that if the congregants had not read the book, that he recommended we do. I thought the book sounded interesting, so I acquired a copy.

That, my friends, is micro-influencing at work.

micro-influencers

Micro-Influencers

Marketing with micro-influencers has recently become a hot topic. Social media has given rise to a new brand of micro-influencers, but smart marketers have always worked with micro-influencers.

A micro-influencer is anyone with a smaller audience (it’s a relative number). These include:

  • Bloggers
  • Podcasters
  • YouTubers
  • Church leaders
  • Ministry leaders
  • Community leaders
  • Librarians
  • Retailers
  • Professors and Teachers

Why Micro-Influencing Works

Micro-influencers are more effective than any other category of influencer marketing. Why? Because people trust recommendations over advertising.

A study conducted by Nielsen in 2015 found that 80% of respondents said that they trust opinions or recommendations of family and friends. Often the audience of a micro-influencer considers these people as part of their trusted circle.

This is why another study found that nearly one in three Christians have purchased a Christian product after hearing about it in a sermon in a church, while only one in six having made a purchase after hearing about a product on the radio. This study demonstrates the difference between micro-influencers (pastor) and macro-influencers (radio).

The key with micro-influencers is not the size of the audience, but how much trust these individuals have with their audience. The micro-influencer may only have an audience of 200, but if that audience is highly engaged with him, then his recommendations carry clout.

audience size for influence marketing

Micro-Influencer Marketing

Targeting micro-influencers is a marketing strategy that authors can adopt. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Give review copies to micro-influencers to increase the likelihood that these individuals will read and recommend your book to their audience.
  2. Authors with an audience (think social media following or newsletter subscribers) can partner or collaborate with other author micro-influencers for cross-promotional purposes. For example, authors with books in the same genre can pool together to create a multi-book giveaway with each author promoting the giveaway to his or her own audience.
  3. Ask a micro-influencer to write a guest post for your blog. The influencer will then let her audience know that she is making a guest appearance on your website and her followers will visit, exposing you and your books to a new audience.
  4. Partner with a ministry that focuses on people who would benefit from your book’s message. Be a sponsor for one of the ministry’s fundraisers or events in exchange for some promotion for your book.

Remember, micro-influencers are not just online. They are also present in the physical world. Partnering with micro-influencers both online and in your community can bring increased awareness and sales for your books.

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Don’t Overlook Micro-Influencers
Marketing Your Christian Novel Like a Pro

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Photo Courtesy of Ben Konfrst.