Don’t Miss This Opportunity

Over 200 books by small publishers and independently published authors pass my desk each year. That is a lot of books that I get to look at and learn from.

A Bead and a Prayer

Some of these books have great elements that fascinate me and I think are wonderful marketing techniques and ideas. Others, while good books, sometimes miss important opportunities.

A Bead and A Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads by Kristen E. Vincent was one of the books nominated for the 2014 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. The book caught my eye mostly because of its unique subject matter, but also because it has a nicely designed cover.

The book is a short read. I read it quickly. At the end, I noticed that the author gave instructions on how to make prayer beads and included websites where readers could purchase supplies to make their own prayer beads. For those who were not interested in making their own prayer beads, four websites were mentioned where pre-made Protestant prayer beads could be purchased. I think all these resources were great.

However, one of the buzz phrases in publishing today for authors is, “Don’t look at a book as an end product.” In other words, consider the ways your book can direct readers to make more purchases—whether that is for a service or a product.

This author did miss an opportunity. She missed the opportunity to sell Protestant prayer beads directly to her readers either through her own website or through partnering with someone who made these beads via an affiliate relationship. Doing either of these would have brought the author increased revenue, as well as allowed her to collect customer information for future marketing efforts.

I encourage you to take this message to heart and don’t miss an opportunity with your next book.

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Advertising Tie-Ins

As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association, I get to view a lot of books. I see all sorts of cover designs, layout themes, and other interesting design elements. Some are great, some are good, and some could be improved. One winner of the 2012 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award caught my eye.

Just Honor God won the award this year in the Devotional category. It is a very short book—about 50 pages long. It features just 27 devotions. The interesting piece of this book is that after about every three or four devotions, the publisher has inserted a page advertising one of the tie-in products that has been produced in conjunction with the “Just Honor God” theme. In all, there are seven pages that are each devoted to one of the tie-in products. These products include:

  • Wristbands
  • A Journal
  • Lanyards
  • Dog Tags
  • Sticky Notes
  • Bumper Stickers
  • T-Shirts

I thought that adding advertisements for the tie-in products that people can purchase into the book was a clever idea. The publisher did a nice job of tying in each promotion to the theme so that it did not seem out of place. For example, the page advertising the sticky notes states “These attractive sticky notes offer a simple reminder to Just Honor God without saying a word.”

While this publisher clearly added the tie-in products throughout the book to “pad” the pages (the book’s content is 47 pages with these seven advertisements), I thought the idea of making readers aware of the tie-in products within the book is a great way to advertise and market these theme products.

I think advertisements within books, when tastefully done, can be a good way to draw people to make another purchase.

Would you put an advertisement for a tie-in product into your book?

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