Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Three Things to Do Before You Publish a Book

with special guest Sarah Bolme, Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Selling books is hard work. The competition for readers’ time and attention is stiff.
The reading rate in America has held steady since 2012, with 73% of Americans reading at least one book each year, according to the Pew Research Center. At the same time, the number of books published in the United States has grown exponentially since 2010. The number of titles from self-published authors and small presses has grown from 133,036 books produced in 2010 to 727,125 in 2015. That’s over five times as many!

Writing and publishing a stellar book does not guarantee sales will follow. Authors must put time and effort into promoting and marketing their books—and this can’t be an afterthought once the book is published. Marketing should begin long before your book is birthed. It should start at conception.

As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I am passionate about helping authors and publishers produce and sell books that glorify God and advance his Kingdom. Providing authors and small publishers information and tools for success in publishing and marketing is the whole purpose of Christian Small Publishers Association.
I meet a lot of authors. Many have published books independently and seek advice on how to market their books. I frequently run into authors who did not even think about marketing before publishing their book. Don’t be left behind, rushing to catch up when it comes to promoting your book. 

Following are three marketing activities you can and should do before you publish.


1. Identify Your Target Audience.

Who is your target audience? I am continually surprised at how many authors have trouble answering this question. So many authors have a burning to write a book, yet they fail to identify whom they are writing their book for. 

“Everyone” is not a target audience. Neither is “all Christians.” Your target audience is the group of people who will benefit the most from what you have to say. Maybe it’s those Christians who want to start seeing answers to their prayers. Maybe it’s single moms who are weary of fighting the parenting battle alone.

Knowing your target audience makes your writing stronger and clearer. When writing your book, keep your ideal reader in mind. It helps you write so that your target audience hears and connects with what you are communicating. 

If you are unsure who the target audience for your book is, ask yourself: Who am I writing to? What is this person’s:

  • gender?
  • age?
  • economic status?
  • relationship status?
  • employment?
  • spiritual level or interest?
  • special interests?


2. Establish a Unique Message.

According to King Solomon, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” This includes your storyline or the subject matter of your book.

If there is nothing new under the sun, then the information or story you cover in your book is already available to readers. So why would anyone read your book?

Readers want to read your book for the spin you put on the subject or storyline. In other words, they want to read your book for the unique way you solve a problem or tell a story.

To garner attention in today’s information-rich society, you must tell a unique story. Your book is in competition for people’s time and attention. Readers have numerous reading options. You must handle your topic in a manner different from everyone else. 

To discover your unique message, ponder these five questions:


  • What makes my book different from other books on the same subject matter or in the same genre?
  • What do I offer that other books on my topic don’t?
  • What will readers get from my book that they won’t get from other books on this subject?
  • What deep-seated human need or desire does my book fulfill?
  • What differentiates me from other authors writing on this subject?



3. Develop an Audience.

Most new and aspiring writers put all their effort into writing and publishing their books, but publishing does not mean people will read.

Research shows that the number one reason someone reads a book is because they know or are familiar with the author. Of course, this does not mean that the person knows the author personally, the reader may know the author because:


  • They have heard the author speak.
  •  They have read other books by the author.
  • They have heard the author interviewed on a radio show or podcast.
  • They have seen the author interviewed on television.
  • They have read an interview or article by the author on a blog or other publication.
  • The author is an influencer they listen to, watch, or follow.


Basically, readers read books by authors they trust. They may trust the author because they are already familiar with the author’s message, or they may trust the author because someone the reader trusts recommends the author and imparts trust through the recommendation.

You can develop an audience for your book even before it is published. Start by putting your unique message in front of people through a blog, podcast, or video series online as well as sharing it on social media. As people begin to know and trust your message, they become eager to read whatever you produce. As a fiction author, you can share about:


  • characters in the story.
  • additional information about the setting of the story.
  • information related to themes in the story.
  • surprising discoveries you made or cool things you tried while researching your book.


If you are reading this article and realize that you have already published your book but failed to do these three things in advance, take heart. It is never too late to start promoting your book. 

Conclusion

Few people are born with an innate ability to know how to market a book. Marketing is a learned skill. Fortunately, there are many resources available for you to learn how to effectively promote your books. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is one such resource. 


Membership in CSPA provides independently published authors access to an unbelievable amount of information on marketing through the organization’s newsletter and on-demand seminars. Additionally, the association provides cooperative marketing opportunities that create affordable venues for you to promote a Christian book. You can learn more about CSPA at http://www.christianpublishers.net.

CSPA sponsors the Christian Indie Awards (https://www.christianaward.com), which honors Christian books by independently published authors and small presses. CSPA also hosts the BookCrash books-for-bloggers program (http://www.bookcrash.com), where bloggers can receive free Christian books in exchange for a review of the book on their blog and one retail site. 
Let’s learn from each other. Share what are you doing or have you done to develop an audience for your book—or—what your biggest challenge is when it comes to spreading the word about your book?

Seekerville is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card in honor of Sarah's visit today so you can buy...MORE BOOKS! Leave a comment to be entered. Winner announced in the next Weekend Edition.


Sarah Bolme is the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (www.christianpublishers.net). The organization provides small publishers and independently published the authors information and  tools they need for success in publishing and marketing Christian books. Sarah is also the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace (www.marketingchristianbooks.com), now in its third edition. You can read her blog at https://marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com. 

138 comments :

  1. Sarah! Welcome to Seekerville. We're delighted to have you.

    I discovered Sarah and CSPA after reading a post she wrote on the Book Designer -Joel Friedlander's blog and invited her to visit. Thanks so much for joining us today.

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    3. Just like Seekerville! Tina, thanks for inviting her.

      A new resource to me! Sounds great. Will check it out.

      Wonderful tips today also. Some I knew but quite a few gave a new twist. Thank you Sarah!

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  2. Welcome Sarah! You are speaking my language tonight :-)

    I'm a reader and boy how you said these really made a light bulb go off in my head! You said "Readers want to read your book for the spin you put on the subject or storyline. In other words, they want to read your book for the unique way you solve a problem or tell a story." And this one here: "You must handle your topic in a manner different from everyone else."

    I've read many books that cover the same topic, but they aren't the same old stuff because of this very reason, the author makes it unique to the situation or circumstances in the book. A fresh spin or unique idea sets it apart from anything else. I've often asked myself "what sets this one apart from the one I just read two books ago (or whatever)?" I can easily answer this as long as the author steers clear of the same old stuff :-)

    I also review books and I keep in mind that I want my review to stand out from all the others. I try to put my own "voice" to it as much as I can. When I agree with most other reviewers, I try to word it different or make it stand out somehow. I don't want to be bored by my own review...lol!

    Wow this is an awesome post tonight, I got all excited reading it and I'm not even a writer...lol! But I can agree with everything you've said here in a reader's point of view.

    Please toss my name in for the gift card, who doesn't need more books...haha! :-)

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    1. Trixi, you are a blessing. No lie. ;)

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    2. YAY for readers, especially those who are kind enough to post honest reviews. Very difficult to come by in my experience and so valued!

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  3. Sarah, this is a resource that I didn't even know existed! Thank you for sharing about Christian Small Publisher's Association.

    I'm guilty of not marketing properly and have so much to learn.

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    1. Terri: Marketing is like the ocean: never ending. There is always more to learn and more to do. :)

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    2. Oh, my that's a scary thought! LOL

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  4. As a reader a unique story will certainly grab my attention.

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  5. Sarah, I am a newbie writer, and want to be an author. While I'm writing the book of my heart, I will keep in mind your three marketing tips to assure myself that my book gets to the right audience. Thanks so much for this informative post.

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. You are welcome. Thanks for reading. Best wishes with your writing.

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    2. GO Marcia!!!
      Check the Seekerville archives too. MUCH great info there. It's like a master's course - no joke!

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    3. KC, you are absolutely right! I try and read at least two older posts everyday! Right now, I'm struggling with making my dialogue flow, so I'm in the dialogue section. So much valuable info here! A goldmine!

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  6. I have read many of stories that have the same basic story but how the story is relayed makes the difference.

    What a party we had last month! Thank you Seekerville!

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  7. Thank you for the post! As a reader, I’m just beginning to realize that authors can use my support in influencing others to buy/read their books. Memorable characters and beautiful writing grab me first in a book.

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    1. Yes. Authors love it when readers tell others about their books. Every year, I give books as Christmas Gifts to my relatives. It is usually a book I loved that touched my life that I think they will benefit from.

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    2. MH, yes, writers need readers! Reviews, word of mouth recommendations, etc. Any visibility helps us!

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  8. Welcome, Sarah! Thank you for sharing this resource with us. I wasn't aware of the Christian Small Publisher's Association. This is helpful information. Thanks for visiting Seekerville.

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  9. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for your post! I am unpublished, so I often don't think of myself as needing to market...but I see your point to making yourself a known entity before your book hits the shelves.

    I often hesitate to submit proposals for workshops at GRW or RWA because I'm unsure anyone would attend them since I'm not published. What would you say is one of the best ways to start marketing if you are unpublished and don't have a book deal yet?

    Thank you!

    Jeanine

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    1. Jeanine: The best way to begin marketing is by having a website and starting a blog, podcast, or video series. The material you present should be tied to the theme(s) of the book(s) you are planning on publishing. That way, you are already beginning to speak to your target audience. I have a couple on-demand seminars that you can watch to help you out. One is "Develop an Audience for Your Books" and the other is "Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing". If you want to learn more on developing a platform to sell your book to, you can view these at https://mcbuniversity.selz.com/.

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    2. Checking this link out myself, thank you!

      Write on, Jeanine!

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  10. It's true, I am more inclined to buy a book by an author I've already read. But if the cover catches my eye and the back blurb is intriguing, there's a good chance the book will make its way home with me! (And then you end up with more books on your wish list because you've added another author to your library - dilemmas!)

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  11. Sarah, this is a very informative post! Thanks for sharing and including the questions. Very helpful! Will be printing this off and applying it to my current story.

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  12. What a delight to have you here, Sarah! Thank you so much for spending the day with us, and I love your tips. Marketing isn't an easy task, nor an unearned skill... and it starts with tiny seeds, nourished when planted and coaxed along. Very few authors hit the ground running as media/marketing savvy, so posts like this are perfect for us old-timers... and newly pubs or aspiring authors.

    Gain ground with your presence. Be approachable. Smile your way to people's hearts and homes!

    This is solid groundwork for all of us, Sarah. Thank you.

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    1. TRUTH!

      Always something to learn and of course, Seekerville is the place to find it!

      Still basking in the month-long party glow. :)

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  13. Interesting post. Who could use a gift card?

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  14. Sarah, great advice and perfect timing. With a couple of releases on the way, I'll definitely keep this in mind! CSPA has been very good to me and I'm thankful for this group and your devotion to both authors and readers.

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    1. Elaine: Your book "Always With You" won the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award in the General Fiction category this year! Congratulations!

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    2. Elaine! Congratulations! Wonderful!

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    3. WAHOOOOO Elaine!
      Great info shared, Sarah.
      Exciting!

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    4. Sarah, thanks for the lovely shoutout. I was thrilled and honored, especially since it was my debut novel. I thought I'd shouted from my mountaintop for all to hear, but maybe not, LOL. Again, CSPA is a great group and I highly recommend all to subscribe to the blog, at the very least.

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    5. So sorry: I also meant to say last evening a warm thank you to Myra, Tina, May/KC, and Missy for your congrats.

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  15. Great information, Sarah!

    I love the part about knowing your target audience. If you are a contemporary inspirational romance author, you probably don't want to speak at a historical book festival that focuses on academic books. Although (most) people will be polite and listen, you probably will not garner many sales or readers. Right?

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  16. Yes, especially if it focuses on academic books.

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  17. Hi Sarah, you've certainly some great advice and the stats you shared about the number of titles from self-published authors and small presses and the increase in the past five years are amazing. I might add that those writers trying to get the word out should also consider contacting libraries. This may sound simplistic but I know from experience that librarians are always seeking ways to offer library programming on VERY limited budgets. I was thrilled if an author wanted to do a booktalks and even though the audience may have been small, there was always a newspaper article. Patrons saw the author's name and the title of the book and "word of mouth" can be an asset!
    Thanks again for a great post.
    Blessings!

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    1. Good advice Connie. Thanks for sharing.

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    2. Great info, Connie. Thank you.
      Haven't done one of those in a while, and should!
      I've been focusing more on elementary/middle school and library visits as I write middle grade adventure novels.
      Any "librarian" or "CSPA" advice for those of us who write for a different audience than the usual found here?

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  18. Hi Sarah, thanks for visiting Seekerville today. I love the five questions to reflect on before starting our stories. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Jackie: I am glad you were able to get something useful from today's post.

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  19. Good morning Sarah.

    You mentioned knowing our target audience. I think one thing I miscalculate is I picture most romance readers as single, like they're looking for hope. Almost all of my friends are married but read romance. So I'm feeding my brain false information.

    I just looked up statistics that said romance readers are more than likely married. (Doesn't give percentage.) So there you go.

    Great post.

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  20. Lovely to have you as our guest today, Sarah, and thanks for telling us about CSPA. This organization is new to me, so I'm definitely interested in learning more!

    One of my biggest challenges as a romance writer is coming up with a new twist on the many familiar and often used tropes. We know what the happy ending has to be--the H/H falling in love and beginning their future together--but getting there in a fresh and engaging way, when there are already hundreds and thousands of romance novels already vying for readers' book dollars?

    Clearly, that's where developing our audience is crucial. I'll be rereading your tips and thinking more about all these points as I begin my next book!

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    1. One nice thing for novel writers is that when you have a reader who likes one of your books, they become a fan. Fans then read all the books you publish. So, once you have a few books out your audience begins to grow organically.

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  21. hi Sarah
    I'm still seeking my target audience - the one that God wants as my target audience. I still write stories that pop into my mind, but I believe I'll have better finishing success once I find that groove I'm supposed to inhabit.

    Your post is very helpful and I know I will be referring back to it often. Thank you for sharing!!!

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    1. Keep writing what pops into your head. That is where your voice is. Then ask yourself, who would be most interested in this story, theme, or message?

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  22. What I love about Seekerville is the fact that the posts speak to both writer and reader. I agree with Trixi - it can mean the reviews we leave need to stand out, too. So readers will notice and want to read the book. I know in the book world it seems topics have been exhausted, but I still find authors who can pull out the unique plot from them and still make a book that stands out. Wonderful post!

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    1. Very true!
      Believe me, those willing to honestly review are precious. Thank you!

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  23. Great tips! I always think about myself and how I pick books - I have reviewers I trust and love. (I buy the books they like, and I've even adjusted my own writing based on reviews.)

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    1. Yes, reviews help sell books. Studies show that 90% of consumers read online reviews, and up to 88% say they trust online reviews and comments created by other consumers. So be sure to leave a review on Amazon or whatever site you buy books from when you read a book you really like.

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  24. I'm sure there is way more to getting a book published than the general public imagines! Great tips for those wanting to bring their story to life.

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    1. Hi Arletta! And I used to think all I had to do is write the book. LOL. :)

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    2. ME TOO, but Seekerville and others have taught me the truth. :)

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  25. YES! Sarah, your post came at the perfect time for me. I've immersed myself in the topics of book marketing and promotion, planning for a release April 1. I have a lot to learn!

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    1. My best to you on your upcoming release! If your book has a Christian theme, be sure to check out my book "Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace"(www.marketingchristianbooks.com)to add to your reading list.

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    2. YAY Barbara! Exciting!
      Sarah, will check that out. Thank you.

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  26. Great tips for authors. Authors and readers is a wonderful relationship!

    HAPPY NOVEMBER SEEKERVILLE!

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    1. Back at you, Caryl! You are entered.

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  27. Welcome to Seekerville, Sarah! What have I done to spread the word about my books? Hmmm... I knock on doors, sometimes peek in windows (ha!), and then in spite of my fear of failureor making a fool out of myself, I still show up!

    That's it. Just open the door, walk through & show up.

    Over the years, that's meant the following, among other things...

    ~Blogging & commenting in Seekerville and elsewhere.
    ~Being brave enough to contact local groups to to speak, sign books.
    ~Accepting invitations to Skype - then scrambling to figure out how to not look or sound like a dork.
    ~Show up on social media, in my newsletter, etc.

    In the last couple of weeks, I visited one library, Skyped with another one, and had a booth at my small-town local festival. It's such a fun hometown event where everybody knows everybody, and a lot of my readers know I'm going to be there. So, it's a chance for them to bring their books to get them signed or pick up copies if they haven't already bought them.

    Speaking of just showing up, it was raining Friday night so none of us (the vendors) wanted to put up our canopies for the event, so that meant a mad rush to get 40-50 booths set up Saturday morning with all vehicles out of the way before 7:30 am which is when the 5K runners come through. Ack!

    And, it was about 40 degrees when I got up at 5:30 in the morning. Thankfully, the rain had moved out, but the temps didn't get much over 57 all day. The temp wouldn't have been so bad, but the wind was brutal. We had a couple of tents almost blow away later in the day!

    But... I'd promised my readers I'd be there, so I just bundled up, and I showed up.

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    1. Pam: Thanks for the great advice. You are right. 90% of success is simply showing up!

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    2. Good on ya, Pam.
      Festivals are fun especially because you interact with fans AND meet potential new ones. Nothing like receiving a hug from a child who thanks you for writing a book series. Makes it ALL worthwhile.

      But yeah - fall shows can be really iffy. Been there, done that. Feel your pain. Hope you were ok.

      I usually partner with a pet treat company at festivals, which helps us both. They have the tent and tables, plus their products. I help set up and sell all our products.

      Over the years, they've come up with wonderful weights and a system of bungees to help keep the tent in place. This came about because during one particular blustery festival (before my time), the tent began to shimmy and shake and as it lifted off, their daughter grabbed it and ended up breaking a finger. Yeeouch. :(

      Anyway, after mid-October, we only appear at inside shows. Just too iffy here in TN and surrounds. Brrrrr! But still, love doing festivals!

      Love your points about showing up, Pam. Knocking on doors. Thanks! Needed that reminder today. :)



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    3. Smart idea, KC. But I am like you. I love festivals. Have sat through many a chilly one myself.

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    4. Back in CO or there in AZ?
      Possibly both. :)

      We were SO shocked at the Grand Canyon this past New Years... When it SNOWED. Crazy!

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  28. As scary as revising can be, I think marketing is worse (just at the word, my inner introvert wants to hide in the back bedroom closet, curled in a fetal position). I can pinpoint a target audience and establish a unique message largely from the safety of my home, but developing an audience means actually stepping out and putting myself out there. I've been learning to do it with art, another great profession for the introvert until That Day Comes [in which one must start selling or starve], but I have to say, it's a challenge.

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    1. You may want to check out the book "Marketing for Introverts." https://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Introverts-Marcia-Yudkin-ebook/dp/B005ETBK9C

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  29. Sarah, I have a hard time marketing my own book when it isn't finished yet. I do have a Facebook page and a personal blog where I promote authors and my reviews. Many authors and editors do know me my name, but I'm a huge introvert who would rather be quite, instead of drawing attention to myself. Even fellowship time at church, I sit in the back of the room and read a book. I do talk well one-on-one. Just not in a group. So I have a hard time promoting something I have written. I know I need to be better. Something else for God to work on in me. Have a great week! God bless!

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    1. Kelly, I think there are many ways introverts can promote comfortably. Writing articles, guest blog posts, joining online forums where your target audience hangs out, and commenting on blogs that speak to your audience are all good ways to start. Best wishes.

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  30. Sarah, what was the journey that got you to this position with CSPA?

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    1. That is a long story Tina. Here is the short form. I stumbled into the world of publishing after my two self-help books were published by a small publisher. My husband and I then collaborated on a set of board books for infants and toddlers. After much consideration, we decided to indie publish, and this began my journey into marketing a Christian book, which led to the co-founding of CSPA and educating and guiding other indie publishers and authors producing Christian books.

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    2. Thanks for sharing that!

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  31. Sarah, thanks for being with us today. Thanks, too, for providing great information! Marketing is that "other" hat authors need to wear. Sometimes it's outside our comfort zone. You're provided important considerations to get us into the marketing groove!

    Knowing your readers is key, isn't it! I see that with the Amish series I'm currently writing. Many folks love Amish stories. I need to tap into the blogs, FB sites, etc, that they frequent.

    When I first published, my editor at the time mentioned growing a groundswell in a certain area of the country. That's what I've done in my local neighborhood. The folks, especially from my church, support my signings and spread the word to friends and relatives across the country. They are such an asset and their faithfulness always touches my heart.

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    1. Debby: Check out https://hometownreads.com/ and the #readlocal movement!

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    2. Sarah, I know a number of authors in the ATL area on your Hometown Reads site! Thanks for sending!!!

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  32. Marketing scares me the most in this writing journey. Thank you for the tips.

    I am building my presence on facebook even as I am just in the polishing stage on some books and the beginning of some new manuscripts.

    My nanowrimo book is now at 482 words and there are still more hours in the day yet to reach my goal.

    Is anyone else in Seekerville participating this year?

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  33. Lots of things for me to think about, Sarah, as I write my first book. Thanks for being here. Please enter me for the gift card!

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  34. Another question from the peanut gallery. If a busy writer had to pick one social media venue to be active on..which would you recommend?

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    1. I would recommend whichever one they thought they could reach their audience the best. Facebook is the biggest social media network, and probably the best for fiction writers. Some nonfiction writers prefer linked in. The prevailing advice is to just pick one or two social media sites to participate in. Don't spread yourself too thin.

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    2. I would also add don't overlook Goodreads. Every author should have a presence on Goodreads.

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    3. Excellent advice. Thank you!!

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  35. So CSPA has an annual contest? Can you share more about it?

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  36. CSPA sponsors the Christian Indie Awards (https://www.christianaward.com), which honors Christian books by independently published authors and small presses. The name changed this year to Christian Indie Awards from Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year. CSPA has run the award since 2008. We started with just four categories and the award has grown to 14 categories. We anticipate adding more categories for the 2019 award. Nominations are being accepted for the 2018 Christian Indie Awards through November 15, 2017. It is open to books that are Christian in nature and promote the Christian faith and were published in 2016 or 2017. Complete eligibility and guidelines can be found on the award's website at https://www.christianaward.com.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing and I will put this in Seekerville's Weekend Edition too!

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  37. Sarah, Marketing is scary. Thanks for all the helpful points in your column. I find it full of valuable information, and also a great help on the overcoming the fear of doing it. From most of the comments here, I see I am not alone either. Bless you for sharing.

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  38. I haven’t had lunch yet, and if you haven’t either there’s some baked potato soup steaming in the crockpot and I’m happy to share with you all. Cranberry walnut muffins on the side. Happy November to you too. Keep on writing and reading everyone.

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    1. Suzanne you better be careful or we will plop a chef hat on you and lock the kitchen door with you in it! Thank you!

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  39. Happy Tenth Anniversary Seekerville. Let the party roll on....Who else hates to see it end???

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  40. Sarah, welcome to Seekerville. Thanks for the great information in your post. You suggest knowing your target reader. As a fiction author of inspirational romance, I find that question harder to answer than if I wrote non-fiction. My readers want romance with a Christian worldview, but that's not very specific beyond suggesting my readers are Christian women. Any suggestions on how to narrow this down?

    Word of mouth and having read and liked an author before are the ways I select books and hope the stories I write produce that trust in my readers. All we can do to ensure that is write the best story we can in our voice, with our message.

    Janet

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    1. Romance with a Christian worldview is a great place to start. However, even these readers don't read every Christian romance book. Maybe they like contemporary romance and don't read Amish. Maybe they like historical and don't care for romance with suspense. Maybe they like love stories from a war era, but don't care for mail-order bride stories. So, even within the larger audience, there is a niche audience that tends to read a "type" of fiction romance. Hope that helps. Keep writing!

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    2. Janet, you asked my question. I know my readers are Christian women who like wholesome contemporary romance. From the reader feedback I get, most are older. But those may only be the ones who have time to write. :) I've heard in a workshop before that our LI readers are working women who like the shorter books because they feel guilty taking time away from their families to read. So that may be one part of the demographic to consider.

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    3. Interesting, Missy! I hadn't thought about the Love Inspired demographic quite like that. Makes sense!

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  41. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for the interesting post. This will be one I read multiple times. Knowing our audience is so key. As a pre-pub'ed Inspy writer, tailoring my work to a specific publisher/editor is something I really zone on in addition to identifying my readers. What an interesting business!




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    1. I agree. Writing and publishing is a very interesting business.

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  42. Sarah, thank you for your ideas to consider before I publish my book. It is so good to know about your organization, one that specifically helps Christian authors promote their books. I will be carefully studying all your points. Thank you!

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  43. Sarah, thank you for sharing all this valuable information! I've read some of these same things on other sites. I appreciate the questions and things we should consider in establishing who our target audience is.

    All of this is so helpful!

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  44. Great advice for successful marketing! I'm sure this is just the beginning of developing a marketing plan. How nice to be able to work with a team that knows what they are doing!

    Please throw my name in for the giveaway! :)

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    1. Another wonderful reader! You are entered, Heidi!

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  45. Wonderful, timely advice for me. My book launches Saturday to uhm, er, uh, a specific audience that I will narrow down soon! Thank you for helping me consider how to narrow my audience to help my marketing focus. Happy Author's Day!

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  46. This is so interesting! Thank you. I would love to be in the drawing.
    Becky b.

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  47. Sarah, I enjoyed your post! I am an avid reader and would love to win the A. card! THANKS

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    1. WE LOVE READERS! You are entered, Jackie!

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  48. Great, informative post. Thank you, Sarah!

    Please do enter me in the drawing. I'm going to go check out the BookCrash program now.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  49. Hey, Sarah, WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!! It's exciting to read your post and learn about the CSPA -- I didn't even know it was out there, so THANK YOU!!

    And I agree with Phyllis -- the BookCrash program sounds great, so I need to check it out too!

    You said: "“Everyone” is not a target audience. Neither is “all Christians.”

    Boy, have I learned that lesson the long way! ;) You really do have to identify your readership, especially in the Christian market, where the preferences are not only abundant, but very particular over and above genres.

    You asked us to "share what we are doing or have done to develop an audience for our books —or—what our biggest challenge was/is when it comes to spreading the word about our books."

    The biggest challenge for me as an indie author is to get the word out about my books, which I don't do near as well as my traditional publisher, unfortunately. I have done everything from newsletters, social-media promo, and blog interviews to blog/influencer tours, magazine/Facebook/Bookbub ads etc., and even hiring a publicist.

    For me, the things that have worked the best have been Bookbub and Facebook Live, which is relatively new, but appears to be a great boon to book sales!

    Great post, Sarah -- thank you!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie: Thanks for sharing. Have you tried Facebook ads? If so, did you have any success?

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  50. We're heading into the dinner hour on the East coast. Sarah, thank you for spending the day with us and sharing your insights! You've gotten us all jazzed!

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  51. I've actually just started a Goodreads account to help market my book. And I'm doing a blog tour through CelebrateLit- starts tomorrow, actually. I'm very excited.

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  52. Sarah, I'm going to echo many of the previous comments (since I'm late to the party this evening). Everything about book marketing came as a shock once I signed my contract. I didn't really know what it was, that I had to do it, or how to do it. And while I can promote others' books enthusiastically and without shame, it feels so self-serving to promote my own. It just feels like a lot of yuck a lot of the time. But along the way I've discovered communities like Seekerville and other networks where authors feel the same way and are willing to help promote one another. Like so many things in publishing, marketing is easier when you're not doing it alone.

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    1. I agree, not doing it alone is important. I always tell authors that when you are promoting your book, you are not self-promoting. You are sharing with someone how you have something that meets a need in their life, even if that need is a great story that provides them entertainment and escape from reality for awhile.

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  53. Thanks for these interesting tips. I don't really have any advice on the matter since I'm still figuring what works and what doesn't (mainly what doesn't).

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  54. Very informative post Sarah! I'm not a writer, I'm a reader :)

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  55. Thank you for sharing. Sounds like there is a whole lot of challenges to get a book published! I'll just stick with reading!

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  56. Lots of great tips, Sarah! Thanks for stopping by.

    Please throw my name in the drawing.

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  57. I've read a lot of posts on reaching readers, but the clarity and simplicity of this is putting it on my Pinterest writing board. Thank you!

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  58. Some great pointers! They’ll surely get this reader hooked :)

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