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.

Are You Playing by the Rules?

“If you are going to play the game, you have to play by the rules.”

This statement is not just true of games. You have to play by the rules to drive a car, to pass a class, to acquire and keep a job, and to purchase a house. The same is true for publishing a book. You need to play by the rules.

In publishing, the rules are referred to as industry standards. There are some basic industry standards that all major publishers follow. These standards allow for an ease of flow for books through the purchasing chain (think distribution, retailers, librarians, and consumers).

Sure, anyone can publish a book and sell it from their own website whether the book conforms to industry standards or not. But, if you are serious about publishing a professional looking book that consumers will purchase and read, that reviewers will review, and that retailers and libraries will stock, your book must play by the rules.
A number of independently published authors are so eager to get their book into print that they don’t take the time to learn to play by the rules. As a result, their books don’t conform to industry standards.

I meet authors who want to acquire media interviews, sell their books to retailers and showcase them at tradeshows, but their books lack ISBN numbers, EAN barcodes, BISAC codes, retail price, etc. One doesn’t go to a wedding dressed in a swimsuit, nor should your book enter the industry in pajamas.

In today’s information age, the information you need to play by the rules in publishing a book is available. One great resource for authors and publishers is publishing associations. Such associations help their members stay up-to-date with industry standards in both publishing and marketing books.

Through providing information and tools such as newsletters, webinars, and other avenues, a publishing association can help you get the resources you need to publish professionally. In addition to information, publishing associations also offer discounts on various products and services that authors and publishers use in producing books.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is specifically geared toward providing information and cost-saving benefits to those authors and publishers who produce Christian materials. One great benefit of being a member of CSPA is free title uploads to IngramSpark and Lightning Source—a great cost saving benefit.

If you are producing Christian materials and want to play by the rules and publish professionally, I encourage you to join Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). The association is currently offering a fantastic summer special. Just $120 will pay your membership through December 2018. That is 18-months of membership at less than $7 per month. You can join today at http://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member/.

Playing by the rules will get you farther then making up your own rules. Conform to industry standards and your book will see greater success.

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Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske.

Four Truths Every Author Should Know

I often hear authors and aspiring authors say things like:

  • When I finish my book, I will attend a writer’s conference.
  • When my book starts to make some money, I will have money to spend on marketing.
  • When I get some reviews for my book, I will begin promoting it.
  • When my novel garners attention and sales, I will write another one.

Sadly, this is backwards thinking.

false-beliefs

Too many people think “when I arrive” I will take the next step. They have the process reversed. In reality, you must “take the next step” to arrive.

Consider the following truths:

1. Attending a writer’s conference will give you the skills and motivation you need to complete your book.

This summer, I met a woman at a writer’s conference who has slowly been working on a novel. She has many self-doubts. So, each year after the conference, she takes the next step, but then the doubts creep back in. She attends the writer’s conference each year to keep herself motivated and on track. She is now, after three years, in the process of rewriting her novel and plans to have it done in 2017 for publication.

2. Marketing your book is essential to drawing people to purchase your book.

You can’t wait until you make money on your book to start marketing. People can’t purchase a book they don’t know exists. Marketing lets people know your book exists. Funds for marketing should be part of your budget when you decide to publish a book. Don’t neglect this important step.

Sometimes authors and publishers tell me that they will join Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) when they start having success with their books. This is the same backwards thinking as marketing your book once it starts to make money. A professional association helps you become more successful by giving you an appearance of professionalism, providing you the information you need to be more successful, and helping you with affordable marketing opportunities.

3. Promotion for your book should start before you produce it.

Don’t wait until you have a book in hand or until you have some reviews to begin to promote your book. You should start promoting your book six months to a year before it goes on sale. Build interest as you are writing the book. Whet people’s appetites with teasers so that they want more and can’t wait to read your book when it is released.

4. Novelists who write multiple books sell better than those who only pen one book.

The statistics show this to be true. People read books by authors they like. So, if you only pen one book, you lose sales. The more books you write the better. With multiple books, a reader reads your book and likes it will purchase and read your other novels as well. One bestselling Christian author told me that every time she releases a new book, the sales for her other books increase.

If you have been operating under a false belief about writing and selling books, I encourage you to embrace the truth.

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Is This Part of Your Publishing Team?

I have been reading a number of articles recently that tell independently published authors that they cannot be an island. These articles assert that a team is needed to be successful in publishing a book. Recommended team members include: cover designer, editor, proofreader, and beta readers.

Teamwork

I strongly agree with this recommendation a team is needed to produce and sell a book. However, I would add to the lineup of team members recommended by most articles. Few include a professional association in their list of recommended team members. I think a professional association should be on the list.

Professional associations for publishers and authors offer additional help and support in the publishing journey. Here are three things adding a professional association can do for your publishing journey:

  1. Membership in a professional association provides you cutting edge information. Staying up-to-date with requirements and trends in producing and marketing books bringing you more success in your endeavors.
  2. Membership in a professional association can save you money. Most associations provide their members cost-saving benefits geared at helping their members be more successful.
  3. Membership in an association helps you to appear professional, allowing you to garner respect from others in the industry, especially reviewers, book sellers, etc.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) aids our member publishers and authors with these types of assistance. CSPA is constantly striving to add more benefits that help our members be successful, especially in marketing and selling their books.

CSPA has recently added three new benefits for our members:

  1. More eBlast choices for announcing books.
  2. Discounts with Lightning Source and IngramSpark.
  3. Access to an online foreign rights facilitation service for Christian books.

If you have not yet added a professional association to your publishing team, I urge you to do so. If you publish Christian books, CSPA is offering a membership special. Join now, and $115 will purchase your membership in CSPA through December 2015. You can apply online on CSPA’s website.

If you are uncertain about whether membership in a professional organization is worth the membership fee, I encourage you to read the testimonials from members of Christian Small Publishers Association. You can find these testimonials on our website.

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What Do You Do?

I have a book that I want to get published.”

As Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I hear this statement multiple times each month from potential authors who are looking to get a manuscript published. Since CSPA has the word “publishers” in our name, these authors assume that we are a publishing company.

After I tell these authors that CSPA does not publish books, nor do we assist authors in getting their books published, I direct them to the “Author Seeking Publisher” page of CSPA’s website where CSPA member publishers who are actively seeking manuscripts are listed. Once I have done that, most of these aspiring authors ask:

question-mark

“If you don’t publish, what is it that you do?”

I answer, “We are an association for publishers.”

“Yes, but what do you actually do?” they ask again.

My reply is generally, “We assist publishers in marketing their books.”

Inevitably the author will then ask, “Can you help me market my book?”

To which I say, “Yes, once you publish the book.”

What I believe these potential authors are really asking is: What exactly does belonging to a publishing association do for publishers? That answer is too long and complicated for a short phone call, so I thought I would answer it here.

1. First and foremost, belonging to a publishing association brings you credibility. It says we are a legitimate publishing house, serious about our business. Associations are known in the book industry, so when different entities within the trade business see that you are a member of an association, they take notice. For example, Midwest Book Review puts requests for book reviews by publishers who belong to an association ahead of those from publishers who do not.

2. Belonging to a publishing association keeps you informed. One of the main responsibilities of an association is to keep their members informed and up-to-date on standards and requirements within the industry. That way, you won’t be using a 10-digit ISBN when a 13-digit ISBN is required.

3. Every association offers their members cost saving benefits. At Christian Small Publishers Association, our focus is helping our member publishers with marketing. Therefore, we offer a number of affordable programs that help publishers get the information about their books out to the Christian marketplace.

4. Being part of an association provides you networking opportunities. Two are better than one and three are even stronger. In other words, finding other people who are doing similar things allows you to make alliances and create greater opportunities for spreading the word about your books. In addition, networking allows you to learn from other publishers who have gone before and can keep you from making costly mistakes.

I always encourage publishes and potential publishers to not limit themselves to help from just one association. Join as many as you find you can benefit from. Each organization specializes in different areas of publishing and marketing. Here is a list of the national publishers associations for small publishers and independently published authors:

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