Marketing Is a Mindset

Do you want to know what the secret to selling books is? The answer can be summed up in one word: Marketing.

Jack Canfield, best-selling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series should know. He encourages authors to “Spend 90% of your time marketing, selling, and promoting your book.

Then Neil Bradman says, “”90% of marketing doesn’t work because it doesn’t get done.

Marketing is a Mindsest

I know that I don’t do enough marketing. I believe most authors and publishers are in the same boat. We know that there is more that we can do, but we don’t—often because of constraints like time, money, ideas, and even bandwidth.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

We can distill these activities into one sentence: Marketing is about persuading someone to take an action (click on a link, download a free ebook, buy your book, etc.). To persuade someone to take the action you want them to take, you have to know who is most likely going to want to take the action. In other words, marketing is also about knowing who your target audience is.

Many authors want to write something. So, they go about writing, and then they try to figure out who the book is for. Editors of large publishing houses know this. That is why they are gatekeepers. Their job is to find the books that speak to their customers and their needs.

But here is the catch. If you write the book first and then try to figure out who your target audience is, you have a lot more work and less chance of speaking in a meaningful way to that audience (resulting in fewer sales) then if you know who you are writing to before you pen your book.

Good marketing includes an understanding of how your book will fit people’s needs, wants, values, and lives.  Marketing is not a set of activities that you engage in once you have a book. It’s a mindset. It becomes 90% of what you do when you keep your target audience in mind with every step you take in the book publishing process, starting with the conceptualization.  Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

If you need help with either developing a marketing mindset or ideas for marketing your books, I am pleased to announce that the Fourth Edition of my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books will be released at the end of February!

The book is available for preorder at a special rate of $22.00 that includes free shipping in the US (retail price is $24.99). Order your copy TODAY by Clicking Here.

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Photo courtesy of Geralt.

How to Market a Christian Book

The other day I had a conversation on the telephone with a gentleman who paid a lot of money to have his book published by a large self-publishing company. I asked him if he was marketing his book. He told me that he had purchased a “marketing” package with the publisher he used and that they had put his book for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retail sites online.


Sadly, having a book for sale on retail websites is not marketing. Marketing is participating in activities that draw attention to your book. Marketing should start long before you have a published copy of your book.

I have found that many self-published authors of Christian books are rather lost when it comes to marketing their books. That is why I wrote my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. This book is a guide to anyone looking for information on how to market a Christian book.

Marketing a Christian book is both similar to and different from marketing a secular book. Knowing the nuances of marketing a Christian book is important for success.

To help educate authors on how to better market a Christian book, I have partnered with Authors School to present a webinar on “How to Market a Christian Book”.

In this webinar you will learn how promoting a Christian book differs from promoting a general market book. You will also learn special tips to help you effectively market your Christian book to Christians.

My hour-long webinar will be on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, at 5:00pm Eastern Time. You can sign up for the webinar at

There is a 50% discount if you register by June 15, 2015. Register by that date and you will only pay $25 for the seminar.

I invite you to join me on June 23 for this webinar. Get the information you need to promote your books effectively in the Christian marketplace.

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This year, I committed to updating my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. That process is well under way, and the Third Edition of the book will release in early 2014.


What has amazed me in updating the book is the monumental changes that have occurred both in the publishing industry and on the Internet since the Second Edition. For instance, in the past four years, social networking has gone from being a fairly “new” thing to an everyday activity for most people.

In the Second Edition of Your Guide to Marketing Books on the Christian Marketplace, there is an entire chapter devoted to social networking. Within the chapter there is a whole section dedicated to popular social networking sites that are open to everyone, but Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo only received mentions, and Twitter was not even in the mix.

The new Third Edition of the book will feature whole sections within the social networking chapter devoted to Facebook and Twitter, yet the landscape has changed so drastically that most authors will already be using these social networking sites when they read the book.

One of the other huge changes in the industry is the growth of ebooks. While the Second Edition of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace has a whole chapter on ebooks, back in 2009 digital book sales were only around six to eight percent of all book sales. In 2013, ebook sales make up between 25 to 30 percent of all book sales. That is a large amount of growth. In essence, ebooks have gone from being a specialty book format to a common book format.

With the growth of ebooks, most of the publications that review books now accept review copies in digital format. Also many of the book awards that used to accept only print books now have added ebook categories to their awards.

What do all these changes mean for you?

The Internet continues to evolve. As it does, the way we do things changes with it. The Internet is continuing to change the way we publish, distribute, and market books. As an author or publisher, it is important for you to stay on top of these changes so that you can continue to meet your target market where they are.

Stay tuned to hear more about ordering the new Third Edition of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace!

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Learning from Experts

This year at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) hosted some great speakers who are experts in their field. These experts shared with attendees at Publishers’ Insitute: Expanding Your Reach some valuable information.

I am going to share with you a small sampling of nuggets from these speakers.

Publishers’ Institute’s first speaker was Bill Nienhaus from Logos Bible Software. He talked about Logos Bible Software’s Digital Publishing Platform and he shared the following with attendees:

Technology is changing so rapidly that today, we, at Logos, are implementing new programs that we were not even thinking about six months ago. It’s not so much about which digital format to use, as it is about using the right digital format for the customer base you want to reach.

The second speaker, Jessica Quinn, a publicist spoke on “What a Publicist Can Do for Your Book.” She shared:

It’s all about relationships. Media personnel book interviews with people that will bring a guest who will interview well. Often it is the existing relationship between the publicist and the producer that gets your author in the door for an interview.

The last speaker at the seminar was me, Sarah Bolme, Director of Christian Small Publishers  Association (CSPA). I shared:

eBook sales were 9% of all book sales in 2010. They have grown to 19% of all book sales thus far this year for 2011. Predictions that ebook sales will reach 25% of all book sales in 2012 appear to be on target. The digital world is driving many new trends in marketing and publishing.

The complete audio version of Publishers’ Institute: Expanding Your Reach is now available as an audio download for those publishers and authors who were not able to attend the seminar but would like access to the useful information that was shared.  You can purchase the audio version for $16 on Christian Small Publishers Association’s website and listen to the complete seminar.

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Waylaid Plans

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. Rather, whenever I see I need to improve or change something, I try to make a resolution right then and there to do something about it.

Just like New Year’s resolutions, my moment-by-moment resolutions can begin great and then fall by the wayside. Last fall, I decided I needed to compost my kitchen scraps. I started a compost area in my garden and for a few days took scraps out to it. Then the weather turned sour and it began to rain. There went my resolution. My resolve was not strong enough to include walking outside in the rain to dump the kitchen scraps.

Recently, I decided to try again. This time, I implemented a better plan. I put a bucket under the kitchen sink to empty kitchen scraps into. Now, I only take the scraps outside on nice days.

Our marketing efforts can be like New Year’s resolutions. We set up a marketing plan at the launch of each new book. Then, even with the best intentions, we often get sidetracked with all the other important things a small publisher wearing many hats must do.

From time to time, we need to resolve again to get back to marketing.

My resolution to make Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace available as an ebook keeps getting waylaid. It seems that each time I decide to concentrate on that goal, I run into some small obstacle and the project gets waylaid.

Whenever I run across a statistic on the increase in ebook sales, I am reminded that I need to get back to that project. Here is one ebook statistic I came across recently:

  • In 2010, the global ebook market grew by more than 200 percent. More than 90 million ebooks were purchased during that year. The value of the sales equates to more than $900 million and has been largely attributed to growth in the United States, which represented more than 80 percent of global book revenues.

This statistic spurred me to get back to my waylaid plan and put my book up as a PDF ebook on the book’s website. So, if you have been waiting for Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace to become an ebook before you purchase it. You can now do so at

I am also making progress on placing it on other ebook sites for sale as in ePub and Kindle format. Hopefully, my resolution to make it happen won’t get waylaid again.

How about you? What piece of your marketing plan has been waylaid? Resolve today to get back to it. You won’t regret it.