We All Need a Little Encouragement

I was having one of those days. You know the type of day I am talking about. A day when you feel discouraged and entertain the idea of throwing in the towel.

Everyone has these days. Days when we feel ineffectual, like what we do does not matter. We feel that no one cares about our writing or efforts; that we are not making a difference.

You are doing an outstanding job.

I was having one of those days, well, maybe a week of those days, when I received the following note:

“By the way, of all of the publishing and writing organizations I belong to, CIPA consistently has the most usable information of any of them. You are doing an outstanding job!”

Wow! That little note made my day. It gave me the boost I needed to keep going.

God knew what I needed. He knows what you need also. If you are discouraged, I want you to know that your writing and publishing does make a difference. The written word has the power to shape our lives by touching our emotions and expanding our knowledge.

The message God has given you to write and publish is needed by someone. People are hungry for truth.

According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in their recent StatShot report:

  1. Sales of religious books have grown year over year for the past five years. Religious presses’ revenue grew 14.7 percent in 2018 with 75.7 percent of that revenue coming from print formats.
  2. Non-fiction books experienced the largest percentage revenue growth for publishers over the past five years. Adult non-fiction unit sales grew 20.9% from 2014 through 2018. Unit sales for Children’s and Young Adult non-fiction grew 17.8% over the same five-year period.

It can get easy to get discouraged as an author. Marketing a book is hard work. It is increasingly difficult to make any book stand out. Each book is competing with millions of other books available for sale, while other media is claiming more and more of people’s time.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) exists to help indie authors and small publishers have access to the information and tools you need for publishing and marketing the Christian books God has called you to produce. Take advantage of our Summer Membership special—$120 dues for membership through December 2020—and join today to receive encouragement, information, and money-saving benefits.

Related Posts:
What Is Your Purpose?
Does Your Passion Need a New Spark?
Are You Expecting Fast Results?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

How to Sell More Books

Super Mario Maker 2, a Nintendo video game, released this summer. The game allows players to create game levels and post them online for other players to play. The game allows for creativity as well as game play.

How to Sell More Books

My son is a huge fan of this game. He played the first version and downloaded the second version as soon as it became available. He loves to create levels and post them for other gamers to play. The other day, my son was over-the-Moon happy. Of the thousands of levels that players create, Nintendo featured one of the levels my son created in a video showcasing exceptional player-created levels.

In talking with my son, he told me that he had studied the formulas the makers of the video game used to create levels within the game. He then used those same formulas to create his levels. It was successful.

Yet, it was not just following a formula that got my son’s game level noticed. Rather, it was a combination of strategies that came together. My son followed a formula to create better game levels, but he also showcased these levels on his YouTube Channel that is dedicated to Nintendo games. So, it was a combination of skill, marketing, and plan old luck (or providence).

Authors also love formulas. Just give us the formula for writing a best-selling book, and we will write it. Just give us the formula for marketing to sell thousands of books, and we will do it.

Every time I turn around, someone is peddling a course with a formula for authors on how to sell thousands of books or create a bestseller. Some of the courses I have seen are:

  • How to Sell a Thousand Books in Three Months
  • Launch a Bestseller
  • 3 Steps to a Bestselling Author Platform
  • Nonfiction Writers: Create Six Figure Classes (how to build an online class business)

Authors jump on these classes and pay anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars to learn how they can sell thousands of copies of their book.

I wish it were that simple: Get the formula, follow it, and sell thousands of books. Sadly, it’s not that easy.

There is no proven formula for creating a best-selling book

There is no proven formula for creating a best-selling book.

If there were:

  1. Every book published would become a bestseller.
  2. Someone would patent the formula and use it to create best-selling books, making themselves a lot of money.

Often the people selling these online courses on how to sell thousands of books are authors who have written and published a book that sold well. They then think that they know the “formula” to do this and decide to teach others how to do the same thing.

JA Konrath, a best-selling author, raises a good question about these authors. He asks, “If you know how to write a bestseller, why aren’t you writing bestseller after bestseller? Why are you writing How-To books (or courses)?”

The bottom line is that there is no formula. What works for one type of book may not work for another type of book. Additionally, selling a general-market book is vastly different from selling a Christian book to a niche market. Selling a self-help book is vastly different from selling a Bible study book or a memoir.

So, how do you sell more books?

First, you have to write a compelling book. Second, you have to publish it with a professional-looking cover and interior layout design.

Then, you have to market the book. This is the tricky part. No single marketing technique is a surefire way to sell your book. Instead, you must use a variety of techniques that can include:

  • A launch team
  • Book reviews
  • Media exposure
  • Developing an audience
  • Connecting with influencers
  • Advertising

Just like my son’s game level, any book that sells well is due to a combination of factors including sometimes just being in the right place at the right time.

Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you need marketing ideas for your Christian book, I encourage you to read my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books. As one reader said:

“Wow, this book provides so many marketing ideas that it would take years to implement them all. As I am reading, I am making a list of all the tasks I need to perform to improve my book sales.” —Susan

Remember, there is no marketing formula that guarantees success. You have to use a variety of marketing strategies to sell more books.

Related Posts:
Marketing is Murky
Are You Looking for a Formula?
Selling Books is Challenging

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

How’s That Working for You?

“How’s that working for you?” This little, yet powerful question was made popular by Phillip McGraw, of the Dr. Phil show.

Let me ask it of you, author. When it comes to social media, “How’s that working for you?”

How's That Working for You?

When I consult with authors, I frequently hear this phrase—or one similar:

“I’m on Facebook. I have a lot of followers. They like and comment on what I post, but people aren’t buying my book.”

In fact, studies show that, on average, 53% of people who follow brands (businesses) on social media don’t buy anything from them at all. They just want the content (the information) the brand shares.

Authors hear “build a platform” and jump into social media trying to gain an audience. Often, they gain followers, but get frustrated when they don’t see these followers convert to book sales.

One reason for this is that people are not in a buying frame of mind when they are browsing social media. It is much easier to sell someone a book or product when they are already “shopping”. Someone who is engaged in the shopping process is much easier to persuade to buy something than someone who is not thinking about buying a book or product.

This does not mean that you can’t or won’t ever sell a book to someone via social media, it just means that it is harder. This is why I tell authors to not just use one tool (social media) to market their books.

Social Media is not your only marketing tool.

Instead, social media should be used in conjunction with other marketing tools like:

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is about giving your audience useful information that has value for them. It is information that your target audience is thirsty for. It’s about creating blogs, articles, video, and audio that provides valuable information and insight for your audience. One study showed that 7 out of 10 consumers would rather learn about a product or company from interesting content than from an ad.

2. Email Marketing

Email is more effective at reaching consumers than social media. Emails prompt purchases at a rate of at least three times that of social media. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message. When people like the content you are creating, they will give you their email address in exchange for receiving more content directly. This gives you the opportunity to market your books directly to a group of interested people.

3. Media Interviews and Speaking Engagements

Speaking is one of the best ways to sell books because people buy books from authors they know and trust. Speaking to a group of people develops that trust and allows an audience to get to know you. Media interviews work similarly. After people hear you on the radio or a podcast, they feel they know you and are more likely to purchase your books.

Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

I will be teaching four continuing sessions on “You CAN Indie Publish & Market Your Book” at the upcoming Great Philly Christian Writers Conference in August. This seminar focuses both on how to publish your book as well as how to begin marketing your book—using more than social media. I invite you to attend the conference and get the information and knowledge you need to successfully publish and promote your books.

Related Posts:
Not Everyone Uses Social Media
Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?
How to Improve Your Social Media Success

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

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.

Related Posts:
Are You Using Publishing Industry Standards?
Your Next Big Break
It Takes a Step of Faith

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Maitree Rimthong.

You Can Make a Difference!

Studies show that 80% of people feel that they have a book inside of them.

Book inside

Surprisingly, the biggest motivating factor to write a book is not fame or money. Most authors are driven to write for one of the following reasons:

  1. To share expertise or pass on knowledge.
  2. To motivate or inspire others.
  3. To tell a story.
  4. To market a business.

My main objective in writing Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books was to pass on knowledge. As someone who has been immersed in the world of indie publishing and marketing for the past 15+ years, I want to give authors and new publishers the resources they need to be successful in promoting their Christian books. I also hope that the book motivates and inspires readers to do the hard work of marketing.

Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

It is always satisfying when one receives confirmation that the purpose of their book is being fulfilled. A few recent reviews of Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books inspires me to keep going. After all, most authors—myself included—want our books to make a difference.

Following are a few recent review quotes for Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books:

  • Your book is amazing! You saved me hours (maybe years) of research.” ~Crystal Bowman
  • This is a book that will become a dog-eared reference for authors to use during every phase of their book’s publication. I highly recommend this book as a practical and valuable reference!” ~Ava Pennington
  • The competition for readers has never been greater than it is today. Sarah Bolme shows you how to get your book the visibility it needs to sell.”  ~Jacquelyn Lynn
  • This exceptionally well organized and presented guide walks authors and publishers step-by-step through the various aspects of book promotion. It is an ideal and thoroughly ‘user friendly’ resource for authors and publishers.” ~James Cox, Midwest Book Review

What about you? Do you feel that your books are fulfilling the purpose for which you wrote them? Do you long to publish a book that is inside of you?

If you feel that your book has not reached its potential, or if you desire to publish the book that is inside you or in manuscript form, then you can get the information you need to do just that.

1. Attend one of my upcoming intensive workshops on “You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book”. I will be teaching this extended workshop at the following two upcoming Christian Writers Conferences:

2. Get a copy of my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books and read it. Learn the important steps in marketing your book so that it leaves your hands and goes into the world to fulfill the purpose for which it was published.

Related Posts:
Don’t Just Be Anyone
You Get What You Pay For
Proof! Author Platform Building Works

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.