Day 14 - (Butchart Gardens) 182_2

Cheri Cowell here.

I'm often asked why authors should attend the yearly industry conference called the International Christian Retail Show? As I'm preparing to attend this year's convention in Orlando July 15-18, I thought I'd share a few marketing tips for those attending this year or who plan to attend next year in St. Louis.

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Cheri Cowell here.

I've been a lurker for several months. There were several reasons for my reluctance 1. I didn't want to spend time on a fad that would fade, 2. I couldn't see adding one more social media need-to on my list of must-dos, and 3. I just didn't get it. I didn't see how I'd use Pinterest and how the time invested would offer a worthy return. But, after several months of reading the stats (Pinterest looks like it is here to stay and its power as a good return on one's investment is now proven), I finally decided to take the plunge. Here is what I found.

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Ava Pennington

Author, Ava Pennington

Hi, all! Ava Pennington here from sunny Florida…well, mostly sunny Florida. The afternoon rainstorms have finally started, to the residents’ joy and the tourists’ chagrin!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the relationship between words and numbers in the publishing industry. I’m a writer, not a mathematician. I love words – their structure and style, their rhythm and rhyme. I enjoy alliteration and onomatopoeia. I’m drawn to the images that words evoke. Numbers…not so much. Still, serious writers know that publishing—even Christian publishing—is a business. And business is often about the numbers.

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From Cheri Cowell's desk:

In preparing for a weekend retreat I'm hosting on Marketing for writers I came across these social media stats. If you need a push to join the social media bandwaggon, perhaps these social media stats will help you decide to jump on board.

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Merry Christmas From Cheri Cowell

Now don’t turn me off before hearing me out. I’m not talking about the annoying and sometimes over-the-top commercial marketing all of us are tired of by now. I’m referring to the marketing God did that first Christmas to tell the world about His great gift. What do I mean by calling God’s work marketing? Marketing in the positive sense means sharing the good news about something so as to entice others to [join, buy, get, receive or] desire to have. There are three things we can learn from God’s marketing plan—three things you and I can use in our own speaking and writing.

First, God used targeted marketing. He used a star to guide the Wiseman or astrologers, as some biblical scholars call them. For the shepherds in the fields, He sent a host of angels to calm their fears and tell them what to do. To Mary God sent an angel and the wisdom and assurance of Elizabeth. And to Joseph He sent the unmistakable Word of God to help a good man make the right decisions. God knew His audience and spoke to them using the language and method best suited for each. Who is your audience? What is their language? Are they on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, do they belong to MOPS or Book Clubs?

Second, God sold the sizzle. For each person or group of people, God chose what would excite them and shared that. God didn’t serve the whole meal when only the appetizer was needed. To the Wiseman He said the star would lead them to the promised Messiah—He didn’t tell them about Herod and their need to avoid him on their way home until that information was necessary. Likewise, you and I don’t need to tell everyone the ten points we cover in our book or message when we are simply enticing them to enjoy a taste. What is the one thing they need to hear now, so later they will hunger for the whole meal we are ready to serve?

Third, God gave. Still the most astounding part of the Christmas story is that God gave it away for free. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t charge for our books and speaking, but what are you and I giving away for free? I have found I’m unable to out-give God. I started by giving away bookmarks with a poem a friend wrote for the closing of my presentation, and people bought things from my book table that went with that bookmark. Then I took a leap of faith and changed my fee structure—I charge a flat fee per person for speaking which includes a free autographed book (and for retreats it includes the companion workbook, too). I thought back of the room book sales would be gone, after all everyone already had a free autographed book, right? Wrong. They wanted to buy a book for a friend “since they already had a free one for themselves…” God gave. How can you give away more in this coming year? Just try to out give God…and may you have a Christmas filled year!

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