If you are a serious author, you will plan for the future. Failing to plan is actually planning to fail. You will need a check list of ideas so you can stay on track.
The secret to authoring a book and marketing it is to allow God to be your co-author. The Holy Spirit is given to all of God’s children. That means he is available to guide us into doing the will of our Heavenly Father. This applies to every aspect of our daily lives, even writing and publishing.
Guess what? It’s not all about you. It is about using your gifting as a writer to the glory of God and to accomplish his divine will. This mindset is essential to being a success. It will determine what you write about and how you relate to those that follow you.
The Christian author uses his or her gifting as a ministry to be a blessing to others. We all want to make sales but ministry is more important. If we look for ways to invest into the lives of those around us, God will take care of the sales. That being said, let’s look at some ways to increase book sales and minister at the same time.
I have established a, “Tool Kit” of ideas for my own use and am glad to share it now with you. If I missed any ideas, feel free to drop me an eMail and I will add it to my list.
Here are ways that I have identified. I have not tried all of them. It is my list of opportunities.
1. Direct Mail: This requires buying a list, doing a graphic presentation, printing, using a mail house to mail your book offer. It is best used to promote multiple books.
2. eMail Blast: This can be accomplished through CIPA or by list rental and self-blasting. I use CIPA for eBlast to retailers and consumers. It’s a lot less expensive than doing it myself.
3. Give-A-Ways: I like to give away some of my books. I see it as an investment into the lives of others. I always ask first if they will read my book if I give it to them. I am just starting to add an insert that requests a book review on Amazon. This is my ministry effort and also a way to create word of mouth promotions.
4. Local Press Releases: I got on the phone and called every newspaper within a 50-mile radius and asked for the book review person, the feature article writer, and the product news release coordinator. I sought to get a name and eMail with phone and extensions. This became my press/media list. Now, I send a press release or book review request every quarter.
5. Fundraising Promotions: I am in the 1st stages of seeking out churches that agree with my Christian viewpoint in hopes that I can offer them one or more books to use as a fundraiser for youth activities, or other ministry outreaches. It is important to have the pastor on board and offer the books at cost + (whatever you want as a royalty.) The beauty of this idea is that all the sales are in advance. No front money is required by the church or organization. They pay when you place the order…and the church deducts their share right away.
6. Seminars: I am planning a free seminar on the end of the world. I will promote it through fliers and press releases and hold it in a local library. It will be in an effort to sell my book, “The End of the World, From The Beginning.” I’ll give away one free book and offer more at a reduced price like 50%. My objective is, of course, to sell books but also to present the gospel message and lead folks to Jesus.
7. Tabletop Presentations: Setting up a presentation table can be done most anywhere. Ask your pastor if you can set up a table for “Show & Tell” before and after the Sunday service. Check with the local library for a table in their lobby. Sometimes, grocery stores will let you set up a table as well as at Walmart. Just tell them that a portion of the proceeds will go to support??? Look at fairs, festivals and other outdoor events for a table presentation opportunity.
8. Telemarketing: You can get on the phone and call churches to see if they have a bookstore. If they do, send them a comp. copy of your book with a flier on other books and where to order. This would be a great time to investigate the possibility of a church fundraiser among those that do not have a bookstore.
9. Free eBook Promo: This is a great way to capture names and eMails for your on-going eMail efforts. You can offer it on all social media as well as your author’s page or website.
10. Newsletters: Newsletters are great to stay in touch with your friends, book buyers and family. I use it to share info on various topics related to my happenings as well as introducing new books and offers.
11. Blogs: A Blog is nothing more than an article. It expressed how you think and feel about a certain thing. It is perfect for ministering the gospel and sharing the message of redemption. It does not have to be about selling books. Your newsletter and other special eBlast are a better use of time and effort.
12. List Building: As an author, you will need to build various lists for p/r and sales promos. I am in the process of building a Christian Book Reader list, A Local Media list, An Independent Retail Bookstore List, A Church Bookstore List, Customer List and some others that I haven’t thought of as yet. Data Mining can be done to locate the type of reader emails you want.
13. Bookmarks: Bookmarks are great for trade shows, tabletop displays and just individual pass-a-longs. I use them all the time everywhere I can.
14. Business Cards: A good 4/color glossy business card is a must. I give them to strangers I meet as well as others I know. It helps to build branding and added exposure.
15. T-Shirts: A good T-Shirt can draw attention to your books and you as an author. You can make up a few for you and close friends to wear around town.
16. Website: I use my website to push free eBook offers, all book titles that click through to where they can be purchased and general overall ministry. I have some podcasts, poetry and other stuff that can minister.
17. Social Media: “Social Media” is the perfect choice for periodic promos that push list building. A free eBook offer is a great way to do that. Blogs are also good for publication on Facebook, Instagram and all the other platforms. Realize that it is not a focused list of book readers or buyers but they are still people and could be open to following you and receiving the gospel through what you write. The best part is that it is free.
18. Holiday Promotions: Design your book offer around a special holiday and offer it as a gift for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and all the other special days. You can tie your offer to a free eBook with the discounted rate for a paperback or hardcover.
19. Special Reports: Maybe you have a short report or Bible expose that can be offered with no strings attached. It is a good way to build branding and customer loyalty.
20. Logo Items: Another great branding effort is to purchase “Ad Specialty” logo items like pens, cups, key chains, tote bags and other items that display your logo and website. They even have logo watches. Some can be used for repeat customers and others are perfect for trade show hand-outs and general face to face marketing.
21. Radio/TV Interviews: These may be hard to get but there is no harm in trying. You could get an interview and become recognized as a local author.
22. Word of Mouth: Selling yourself is the beginning to the path to success. You must speak up and not be shy. I spoke up at the dentist office recently and discovered a potential customer. I gave my business card and hoped for the best.
I am sure you can find more ways but these 22 will get you started. The key is to look closely at each one and if it fits, cost it out so you know how much to add to your overall budget.
Now let’s look at some other things you will need:
You will need to write your manuscript.
You will need to have it proofed and edited.
You will need to format the interior of your book to the size you desire.
You will need a glossy color cover designed.
You will need a means of distribution.
You will need ISBN numbers for both print and eBook publishing.
We can do all of that for you except write the manuscript, proof and edit. That’s up to you. Check out our website for more info.
Finally, if you have a yearn to write, know that God has given you a gift and wants you to rely on him to make it happen. He is your co-author, inspiration, guide, source of funding and the only one that has your best interest at heart.
Be sensitive to God’s voice and do what he directs you to do. I gave away a book just the other day because I heard the Lord say, “That person could benefit from what your book focuses on.” It was better to give than receive.
John Marinelli, Author & Publisher