Join us by watching this video of the CAN Crown Awards. Our winners share their success tips for book and brand marketing in the Christian publishing arena.
Great for readers to get to know these wonderful people and the books they write, authors to learn from successful marketing campaigns, and we all get to celebrate with them!
Congratulations to these winners:
Outstanding Broadcasting Gold: Susan Neal for her book series— The Healthy Living Series Silver: Bethany Jett and Michelle Medlock Adams for their book/brand—Platinum Faith Bronze: Dr. Craig von Buseck for his book — I Am Cyrus
Outstanding Web Presence: Gold: Carla Hoch for her brand— FightWrite.net Silver: Cynthia L. Simmons for her brand—Cynthia L. Simmons (clsimmons.com)
Outstanding Visual Media: Gold: Michelle Medlock Adams and Bethany Jett for their book—They Call Me Mom Silver Tie: Laine Craft for her book—Enjoy Today Own Tomorrow Silver Tie: Andrew Huff for his book—A Cross to Kill Bronze: Lynn Austin for her book—If I Were You Finalist with Distinction: Janice Hanna Thompson for her book launch of— Just Roll With It
The CAN Crown Awards Celebrate Excellence in Christian Media and Marketing by Authors.
Purpose of CAN Crown Awards: To recognize, educate, and encourage excellence in marketing and promotion skills of all Christian authors.
Why? One crucial career area for Christian authors is marketing. (I know, stop rolling your eyes. Marketing can be fun!) The problem is that an author now has to wear so many hats. So many hats that the marketing hat may cause the whole stack to tumble if you don’t know how to make and follow through with a marketing plan.
Yes, there’s a second problem. Marketing has been an elusive beast that’s been difficult to master. We’re building a bridge over that chasm of author OR marketer to help you become author entrepreneur. Being a professional author means you are a business owner. A business owner that needs marketing to reach readers, retailers, and librarians.
What if we had some excellent examples?
What if those examples could shine a light for other authors fumbling in the dark?
What if shining campaigns earned an award and even more promotion as part of that award?
Over the last few decades, the publishing industry has morphed into something completely unrecognizable. Authors have to be a Jack/Jill-of-all-trades from writing to design to marketing. Many authors self-publish while many are hybrids who do both traditional and indie arenas. The major need for any Christian author, regardless of publishing platform, is to learn and execute excellent marketing plans. The book of your heart can’t get into the hands of readers, retailers, or librarians without a great marketing plan. Though there’s some conference training, there hasn’t been a lot of examples of marketing campaigns that work. Campaigns may well be excellent, or not.
Who could know? There hasn’t been a recognition of those campaigns. Until now.
Introducing the inaugural #CANCrown Awards. The Christian Authors Network exists to help professional authors market their books. CAN is in the unique position in the industry to bring recognition to excellent marketing campaigns.
The benefit: Recognition nationally. Awards you can display on your website, book, book series, newsletter, social media, etc. Winning campaigns get more promotion via the CAN network of influence. Winners will be promoted in front of a large audience of publishing and film industry professionals during the Crown Awards during theICVM/CAN Conference.
What does that mean? Winning means that for the small entry fee, you’ll get a lot more promotion of your book, book series, or brand. You’ll be able to display your award forever. CAN will promote your winning entry through our channels and expand your reach. But, we’ll also be sure to recognize all finalists. Entering the #CANCrown Awards magnifies your marketing efforts. Feedback from judges will help all entrants gain insight into more effective marketing, may help tweak an ongoing plan, and encourages excellence in all we do as Christian authors.
With deep gratitude to our #CANCrown Awards Committee:Edie Melson, Karen Whiting, Dianne Barker, Linda Kozar. I had the distinct honor of working with these wonderful, wise, and thoughtful women in designing this opportunity for you, Christian authors, to help you get your books, book series, and brands into the hands of readers, retailers, and librarians. —Angela Breidenbach
Angela Breidenbach is the president of the Christian Authors Network, a bestselling author of 18 books, speaker, genealogist, and a techie enthusiast.
Coach Talk Radio host, Sandra Beck and co-host, CAN president and best-selling author, Angela Breidenbach talk and teach about how to create a writing career in 13 episodes. Special guest stars include quite a few CAN member authors. Also on iTunes.
Writer’s Series: Research TechniquesAngela Breidenbach and Sandra Beck interview special guest star award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, on research techniques. Lena hosts “The Lena Nelson Dooley Show” on the Along Came a Writer blog radio network.
Writer’s Series: Marketing and BrandingAngela Breidenbach discusses marketing and branding with host, Sandra Beck. Tips and techniques along with ideas on low-cost marketing and ideas for marketing without spending a dime!
Writer’s Series: Creating TensionAngela Breidenbach and Sandra Beck discuss creating tension w/special guest stars Dr. Richard Mabry and Sandra Orchard. Dr. Richard Mabryis a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” Sandra Orchard writes fast-paced, keep-you-guessing mysteries with a dash of sweet romance.
Writer’s Series: Character ArcsAngela Breidenbach discusses character arcs with special Guest Sarah Sundin, author of eight historical novels, including Anchor in the Storm.
Writer’s Series: Traditional Vs. Self PublishingAngela Breidenbach visits with Sandra on the common questions of traditional versus self (now called indie) publishing.
Writer’s Series: Finding the Right Literary AgentAngela Breidenbach with show host, Sandra Beck, discuss finding your agent with special guest, literary agent Tamela Hancock Murrayof the Steve Laube Agency.
Writer’s Series: Editing & Proofreading Special guest star, Kathy Ide, author of Proofreading Secrets of Best Selling Authors.
Writer’s Series: Plots & SubPlotsAngela Breidenbach visits with Sandra Beck on creating compelling stories.
Writer’s Series: Conferences & AssociationsAngela Breidenbach, CAN president, visits with Sandra Beck on what first time authors need to know about conferences and associations, what to join, what to expect, and how to make the most out of your conference and association experience.
Writer’s Series: The Synopsis and Book ProposalsAngela Breidenbach and Sandra Beck discuss what first time authors need to know about preparing a synopsis and a book proposal.
Writer’s Series: Avoiding RejectionAngela Breidenbach, CAN president, and Sandra Beck discuss submitting to publishing houses, literary agents, and attending conferences.
Today I’m happy to introduce author Kathy Howard as she shares highlights from her amazing writing journey. You’ll be encouraged by her discoveries and innovative suggestions. Thanks for reading! ~Davalynn Spencer
Kathy, tell us how you first became involved in writing.
My passion for teaching the Bible led me to writing. About 10 years ago, God dropped me into the middle of a teaching ministry to spiritual seekers. After using the material I had for a while, I knew I could develop curriculum that would better meet that group’s specific needs. I was in seminary at the time so writing the Bible study, God’s Truth Revealed, became my field study work. This study opened the door for two more studies, a devotional book, and a non-fiction title.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California. As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s especially fun to feature Christian romance author Cecelia Dowdy! Cecelia has a unique background for a writer – with a degree in finance, she worked as an accountant for a travel agency and was able to travel the world. Nothing stokes story ideas like travel!
Cecelia, how did you get into writing?
About fifteen years ago, I didn’t have a book to read during my lunch break, so I started writing. I’ve been writing ever since.
How many books do you have published?
Five. Three of my titles (John’s Quest, Milk Money, and First Mates) have recently been re-released as e-books.
CAN authors, retailers, and other groups are preparing for Christian
Store Week. Check your local store to see if they will have special
events during September 28-October 8 (it is really longer than a week).
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!
Greetings from Sarah Sundin on a crisp fall day that makes me want to cuddle up in a warm quilt – perhaps like one of the quilts author Diana Brandmeyer features on her website. Not only is she an extraordinary quilter, she’s a gifted writer with plenty to share with us today.
Diana, how did you get into writing?
Like many, I wrote stories when I was little, but it wasn’t until the birth of my second child I realized I could make a little money and share my faith with my stories. I started writing devotions for children, which led to taking a course from the Institute of Children’s Literature.
Tracy (T.L.) Higley here, posting another marketing lesson I’ve learned from my years in online retail sales. As I’ve mentioned in previous months, I’m currently in the midst of an experimental year, applying principles from my retail business to the marketing of my fiction. If you’ve missed earlier posts, and would like a better explanation of my background and what these posts are about, please see Principles #1-#9 here.
So, on to Principle #10… Give yourself a reality check.
Writing is hard. Making money at writing is even harder. There is considerable discussion and debate these days about what it takes to grow your readership, whether social networking efforts translate into book sales, etc. It’s not my intent to weigh in on that issue in this post, but to give you some real numbers to think through, that may help you as you make your own decisions.
The #1 problem in making money writing books is this: you have an extremely limited product line, with new products being released very infrequently. One book per year is probably average. Think about this. One low-profit product, released once per year.
Stick with me here, as we dive into some realistic numbers.
In my online retail business selling craft supplies, the average order is about $45.And about 20% of my customers purchase from me repeatedly in a year. My bottom-line profit on each order (after purchasing the wholesale products and paying for overhead) is probably about the same as a book royalty. But my average order is much higher than a book price, and I get more repeat business. By my calculations, one of my retail customers is worth about 8 times more than one book-buying reader. This means I need to sell books to 8 times more readers.
Let’s look at it another way. What is the annual salary you would be satisfied to take as a full-time writer? Figure about $1 in royalty/advance for every book-buying reader per year. In other words, an annual salary of $50,000 would require 50,000 book sales per year.
How many authors come anywhere close to this number? Not very many. Depressing? But reality.
You have three options, as I see it.
1.Do what it takes to build your readership to the point that you have as many book-buying readers as dollars you’d like to make. Only you can answer what it takes.
2.Develop multiple streams of writing-related income. In other words, get yourself more than one “product” to sell. This can take many forms – article-writing, writing and selling e-books, editing, book-doctoring, developing a successful blog that sells ad space, and a host of other options. Some of these can even build passive income.
3.Have another stream of income that is not writing-related, and do not expect to make a full-time salary with your writing.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with any of these options!
Perhaps you are willing to put your heart into #1 – developing a broad reader base. I’d suggest implementing the second or third option while you do. Expect to be busy for awhile. Realize it’s a difficult task. But then go for it.
If #2 seems attractive to you, there are so many options, and you can find lots of great information online to generate ideas and get started.
If you choose #3, then do the things that make sense to build your readership, but release yourself from frantic, burdensome marketing efforts driven by a desperation to make enough money. Yes, there are many things you can do to increase your success. Choose them wisely, as your time may be limited. Be realistic in your expectations.
Hopefully I have not discouraged you. As a novelist myself, I’m taking my medicine here this month, too. But marketing that is not based on realism will lead you to wasted efforts and even more discouragement.
Take an honest inventory of your desires, goals, and current situation this month. A reality check is a wise marketing principle.