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Out with the old, in with the new!

This American idiom is usually said at the beginning of a new year. With a new year—2021—right around the corner, now is the time to contemplate this idea.

What new things or fresh start are you going to usher in with the new year?

In regards to writing, publishing, and marketing books, what do you need to focus on or do more of?

  • Writing
  • Publishing more books
  • Book promotion
  • Book marketing
  • Networking

Joining a professional publishing association can help you with your goals for 2021. Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) provides its Members with information, tools, and cost-saving benefits to help both indie authors and small publishers have more success with publishing and marketing Christian books. Members have access to:

  • Checklists for designing a professional book and book marketing activity timeline.
  • Webinars to increase your proficiency.
  • Cost savings when publishing a book including discount on purchasing ISBNs and free title uploads and revisions with IngramSpark.
  • Mastermind groups in 2021 for learning and networking with likeminded individuals.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has been helping authors and publishers since 2004. As one Members says:

“CIPA has been the most helpful resource for self-publishers I have found. Thank you for the monthly journal and the videos.” —Kathy

Right now, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is offering a Membership special for 2021.Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books

Join the Association for just $90 for the 2021 calendar year and you will receive a FREE copy of Sarah Bolme’s award winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books!

If you are not already a Member of CIPA, don’t miss out on this great deal! Join the Association today. JUST CLICK HERE!

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How to Spot a Self-Published Book

After viewing hundreds of self-published books, I can almost always tell if a book is self-published upon first glance.

While self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it did a decade ago, if you are interested in your book being part of the overall book market—meaning selling beyond Amazon—then having a book that conforms to industry standards is important.

Industry professionals—book buyers, librarians, distributors, book reviewers—all know what a traditionally published book looks like. There is an industry standard that all big house publishers use when designing their books.

These industry standards include things like:

  • A Title Page
  • A Copyright Page
  • Margins that are not too wide or too narrow
  • Spacing between body text lines not to wide or narrow

The way I can always spot a self-published book is simply by looking at the back cover. Most self-published books lack two things on their back covers:

  • A BISAC subject
  • A retail price

These are industry standard because brick-and-mortar retailers require these to sell the books in their stores—and, historically, traditionally published books were largely sold in physical bookstores.

If you are new to publishing books and are not sure of these industry standards, I suggest that you educate yourself. There are many ways to do this. Here are some resources I have created to provide this information.

  1. Watch this “10 Steps to Indie Publishing Your Christian Book” video. This is free! Be aware, there is no talking. You must read the information.
  2. Download the “Steps to Indie Publishing a Book” checklist. This is a free PDF!

 

For more in-depth information on formatting your book and making sure that it conforms to industry standards, I suggest that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) with your Membership, you have access to:

  1. Video course on “How to Create a Professional-Looking Book.”
  2. Downloadable “Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book.”

Related Posts:

Lessons from Self-Publishing
Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?
Self-Publishing Keeps Growing

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Lessons from Self-Publishing

Whenever you embark on a new adventure, there is usually a steep learning curve. Often those who have already completed the adventure forget that steep learning curve and can make the process seem easy.

I have often run into this with self-publishing books. Self-publishing a book is not easy. There is a lot to learn and understand not just about book design and the publishing process, but also on marketing a book.

Lessons from Self-Publishing

Sandra Beckwith on her blog, Build Book Buzz, recently shared statements from 25 self-published authors on “I wish I’d known before I self-published.” These statements not only show how much there is to learn, but also how important it is to get support in the publishing and marketing process.

A couple of the 25 statements made by these self-published authors caught my eye. I believe they illustrate why belonging to a professional association is important in navigating the publishing and marketing maze.

1.  Get Your Information from Experts.

One “I wish I’d known before I self-published…” author said:

“Use IngramSpark for your print books! I just learned this valuable lesson. Bookstores and libraries don’t buy from Amazon – they use IngramSpark to purchase books, and if you don’t publish there, you are missing out on many sales.”

Sadly, this author has it mostly correct, but not completely correct. IngramSpark is a print-on-demand platform. They are not a distributor. However, IngramSpark will place your books into distribution through their parent company Ingram (and Spring Arbor for Christian books). Retailers and librarians order books through Ingram (the distribution arm) not IngramSpark.

This is important information to know. When you are promoting your book to retailers and librarians, you want to let them know that your book is available for order through Ingram, not IngramSpark.

In addition to getting your information from experts, membership in a professional organization like Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) can save you money. Members of CIPA receive free title uploads to IngramSpark a savings of $49 per book.

2.  Don’t Reinvent the Wheel.

Another “I wish I’d known before I self-published…” author said:

“Writing the book was the easy part. When you decide to embark on the self-publishing journey, you need to have a marketing plan zipped up and ready to launch.”

In addition to having a solid marketing plan, your marketing needs to start long before the launch of your book. The good news is that you don’t need to come up with a marketing plan from scratch. There are numerous book marketing and book launch plan templates that provide you a guide to help steer your personalized strategic book marketing plan.

Here is where a professional association can, again, provide you the information you need. Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), have access to numerous reference guides and checklists including:

  • Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book
  • Book Launch Marketing Checklist
  • Metadata Checklist

Both are great templates to make sure you have the basics covered when publishing and marketing a book.

If you are not a Member of a professional publishing association and are independently publishing books or thinking about publishing a book, I encourage you to join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA).

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA)’s goal is to provide authors and publishers with the tools you need for success in publishing and marketing Christian books. The organization provides numerous resources to help those who are embarking on the publishing journey find success.

Right now, CIPA is offering a Fall Membership Special. For just $110 you can gain Membership in the organization through December 2021. Join today and get the tools and resources you need to be more successful in publishing and marketing your books.

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Are You Using Publishing Industry Standards?
4 Lessons from a Book Purchase

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska.

Book Marketing Amidst Thorns and Thistles

Over Labor Day weekend, I decided to tackle a long-neglected area of my yard. I pulled out weeds and cleared brush.

The weather was hot, so I wore a short sleeve shirt. Only later did I realize that I must have tangled with some Poison Oak when large red welts began to appear on my arms. The damage was not pretty.

As soon as I noticed the allergic reaction, I began to treat the affected areas. I also prayed—asking Jesus to heal me. In my prayer, I reminded God that I was only doing what he wanted me to do—to subdue the Earth and rule over it (Genesis 1:28).

While praying, I was reminded that God told Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; …It will produce thorns and thistles for you” (Genesis 3:17-18).

I had certainly run into some nasty thorns and thistles. As I pondered this, I got to thinking that we don’t just run into thorns and thistles while doing yardwork. We also run into thorns and thistles in other areas when we assert dominion.

As a Christian author or publisher, you run into thorns and thistles in the writing, publishing, and marketing of your books. After all, your writing is part of ruling with God on the Earth (Go into all the world and make disciples).

As a Christian author or publisher, you run into all sorts of thorns and thistles like:

  • Computer crashes where work is lost
  • Cancelled events
  • Lost packages when shipping books
  • Money spent on advertising that does not bring results
  • Book launches that flop

It’s good to remember that while we have to deal with thorns and thistles, that is not all that our work produces.

In the same sentence that God tells Adam “It will produce thorns and thistles for you”, God also says:

“…and you will eat the plants of the field.”

We may run into thorns and thistles, but our work will also bring about fruit. So, while you are struggling with the thorns and the thistles, take heart, good crop is also growing. Your efforts—taken for the glory of God—are not made in vain.

Trust God. Ask him to bless your work. He is faithful and tends the seeds that you plant with your books. Good fruit will come—even though you have to fight the thorns and the thistles in the process.

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Photo courtesy of Dimitri.

Does Your Book Title Grab People’s Attention?

The other weekend, my husband and I were chatting with some neighbors around a table at our community pool. I noticed that one of the men had a book with him.

Book Title

Being the book person that I am, I asked this gentleman what he was reading. He held up the book. The title read:

What Radical Husbands Do

Upon seeing this, another neighbor told this gentleman that he wanted to read the book when the man was finished reading it. Then, as an afterthought, he added, “If you think it’s good.”

This little interchange reminded me how important book titles are. This book title was enough to spark the attention of two males in my neighborhood. Why? Because they want to excel in their role as husbands. This book title promised to give them information on how to do that.

Your book title is extremely important. In fact, studies show that your book’s title is the first thing people consider when learning about your book.

Your title will either draw people in—as was the case at my neighborhood pool—or it will send them on their way. This is why it is important—especially with nonfiction titles—for your title to clearly tell the reader what your book is about.

When I teach at writers conferences on self-publishing, I encourage authors to use the PINC acronym to guide them as they craft titles for their book titles. PINC was created by Michael Hyatt, a former CEO of Thomas Nelson. It stands for:

Make a Promise

  • Example:  21 Seconds to Change Your World by Mark Rutland

Create Intrique

  •  Example:  Why Keep Praying? By Robert Morris

Identify a Need

  •  Example:  Steps to Peace with God  by Billy Graham

State the Content

  •  Example:  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

In addition to using PINC, I suggest that you float your title by a number of people in your target audience. Ask them for their initial reaction on hearing or reading the title. This will give you more information as to whether your title resonates with your target audience and draws them in to want to read your book.

By the way, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is still offering our Summer Membership Special of membership through December 2021 for just $120. Join today and got access to more resources to help you be successful in publishing and marketing your books.

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Photo by Angello Pro on Unsplash.