C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

Take it from me. When researching the topic of marketing for fiction, it seems there are about as many “experts” out in cyberspace and our local bookstore as there are writers of fiction. Each one believes they have the formula for success. Yet, when you check their sales numbers on Amazon or CBD (if they are Christian-based), their sales are often not very good. What does that say to you and me?

What it tells me is that selling books is a lot like creating a product. Some become household names, like Kleenex and Ford. Some were mistakes that found a purpose in another realm, like sticky notes and Rogaine.

Others never get past the cutting room floor.

In just about every case, marketeers abound. You’ve got your Ronco people, who appear in your face every Saturday afternoon and at night between the hours of 2:00-4:00 AM, offering their wares to the “Next 20 callers.” This has become so popular, a spin off crowd of QVC mavens have taken this concept to 24 hours a day! I wonder how many of these folks actually read books…

Then there’s the Guru group who put out ads in the next city on the tour, inviting you to a convention center setting for an evening. Their promise is to hand you their million-dollar fiction marketing makeover kit, regularly $599.00 for only $149.99. Others create companies that do the same thing and are primarily cyberspace cadets.

Lastly, there’s the “local experts” I spoke of earlier. They’ve written a book. Usually, it’s self-published. And they desire to sell it to you. They promise 10,000 followers on Twitter when their own personal account has only 702. Hmm….

What I do find amidst the noise is they all end up in the same stomping grounds. Arenas of expertise that seem to ebb and flow based on a variety of factors.

For example, authors must have social media accounts, they say. What I’m finding is that most people on social media like me are doing the same thing. We all “like” and “follow” each other, but how many of us actually purchase and read each other’s works? Not get it for free in exchange for a review. Not wait until the eBook goes on sale for 99 cents. But actually buy it when it first comes out in all of its $17.99 per paperback glory?

Authors, they say, should hold promotional gimmicks like giveaways and swaps. Again, what many people are finding is these folks get the free copy, read it, give a review, and then sell it online…some of them making more money than the authors. Sigh.

Another thing is, authors need a website. I’d be interested to know how many fans actually go to their favorite author’s website.

What’s the point of all this?

Perspective.

Finding what works for you amidst all the noise is so critical. It’s really one big roll of the dice. Sometimes, we come up snake eyes. Other times, we hit it big. Some love social media and find that it works for them very well. Others see social media as the spawn of Satan. Some love book signings. Others would rather go to the dentist for a week of days before sitting behind a table, pen in hand.

So, find what works for you. Get good at it. Then, expand to the next trial and error method.

Build your platform.

One thing at a time.

One day at a time.

So that, in the end, it’s something you can live with.

_____________________________________

The Serpent's Grasp by C. Kevin Thompson

The Serpent’s Grasp by C. Kevin Thompson

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1.

 

Website:           www.ckevinthompson.com

Blogs:               www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com

http://www.thehelpfuleducator.blogspot.com

Facebook:          C. Kevin Thompson – Author Page

Twitter:            @CKevinThompson

Goodreads:        C. Kevin Thompson

 

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Jackie M. Johnson

Jackie M. Johnson

Greetings from Jackie M. Johnson! 

In today’s market, finding a literary agent is no longer an option, it’s an essential. A good agent is your advocate, the person who represents your book ideas to potential publishers and aims to get you the best book deal possible. He or she negotiates the deal in terms of advance, rights and royalties.

So, how do you find an agent? First, know what you are looking for in a potential agent. Some agents specialize while others are more generic in the types of manuscripts they are looking for. For instance, an agent may work only with nonfiction. If that’s the case, and you write novels, then you will need to find an agent who deals with fiction authors.

As you connect on the phone or in person, ask yourself if this is someone with whom you want to have a working relationship. Finding the right agent is about “fit” as much as it is about business because you will be working with this person for years to come.

Second, know what agents are looking for in a potential author. You can’t just hire an agent; they select you if you are right for their client list and objectives.

Alice Crider, an agent with WordServe Literary, provides some helpful insight: “Agents (and publishers) are looking for these three elements from an author: excellent writing, remarkable content, and a strong platform. If you have two out of three of these, your chances of landing an agent who can help you land a contract with a traditional publisher are good. If you have all three, even better.”

Alice continues, “Writers these days need to do a lot of groundwork to build a platform and a lot of homework to know their market. They may also have to spend a great deal of time working on their craft in order to stand out above the competition. Above all, agents are looking for authors who are ready for publication–those who can deliver a message or a story that masses of people can access easily, relate to, enjoy and share with others.”

So, you’ve honed your craft. You’ve written a query letter. You’ve written your manuscript or at least part of it, and you’re ready to find an agent. Here are some of the best ways to look for a literary agent: 

Ask your writer or editor friends who they know, or whom they would recommend for a literary agent. You’d be amazed what can happen when you simply start asking around.

Consult the Christian Writer’s Market Guide by Jerry B. Jenkins. This comprehensive resource is reprinted annually (so be sure to have the version for the current year). In addition to listing book publishers and magazine publishers, there is also a section listing, by state, some of the literary agents in the CBA market.

Obtain a free list—sent directly to your email inbox. Terry Whalin is a former literary agent and acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He provides a Free List of Literary Agents online when you submit your first name and email, you can receive a list of more than 400 agents agents, names, addresses, websites and phone numbers. “A great research tool for any author,” says Terry.

As you commence your quest to find the best literary agent for you, remember these two important things:

1) Agents do not charge you a fee. Literary agents who represent traditional publishers get paid the industry standard 15% (and this is paid by your publisher after you have a book deal, not by you).

2) Follow the agent or agency’s submission guidelines. Generally, they are listed on the agency website.

My hope is that by following these helpful ideas, you will have a long and successful career as a published author—and your words will bless others in ways unexpected.

P.S. Check out the new FaithHappenings website for events, conferences, concerts, blogs and other Christian resources. For authors, it will soon be a place where you or your publisher can promote your events and books.

Jackie M. Johnson is an author and freelance writer in Colorado. She also helps writers as a book publishing consultant. Previously, she worked at the premier literary agency, Alive Communications, and the CBA-publisher, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. Visit her encouragement blog, A New Day Cafe, or website for more information.

 

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Author, Janet Perez Eckles

Author, Janet Perez Eckles

Anybody out there dizzy like I am? Are you being bombarded by offers, suggestions, advice, luring seminars, and workshops—all to expose your writing, enhance marketing efforts, and boost sales?

Confessing…I’ve been caught in the gotta-try-that frenzy. Most of us are dashing here and there, hoping to get that platform built. Eager to get our books promoted. Trying to get that door to open, one that will make our work soar to the top. Trying to book that big speaking engagement. Trying, trying till we collapse into bed, our head exploding with endless possibilities—too many to try. And some, too expensive to accept.

So, what to do? How to dodge the firing of internet luring? I just came up with five practical steps, simple to follow. And with a bit of diligence, they will bring serenity to the internet insanity.

1. Begin the day with prayer for God’s wisdom—abundant wisdom to choose, evaluate, and discern.

2. Be careful. Is the offer sounding too good to be true? It probably is.

3. Be prepared. Is the lure touching your emotions with wording: “only three spots left; act now and save…offer only today.”

4. Be bold. Check out input from trusted fellow authors and speakers. They will share their experience, giving valuable insight.

5. Be faithful and embrace this truth: in the midst of endless offers, God offers His grace to accomplish what we cannot.

At the end of the day, you can put your head on the pillow of peace, and having made Godly-wise decisions, your heart will echo, “All is well with my soul.”

Janet

Judson Press, 2011

Simply Salsa, Amazon Best-selling book

 

Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Although blind, Janet Perez Eckles inspires you to see the best in life. With her #1 Amazon best-selling release, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta, she inspires you to look beyond a complicated world to find the simplicity of God’s joy and success.
www.janetperezeckles.com

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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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Ecuador retreat 09    Hey, friends! Jennifer Devlin again. For this second post of the week, I’m switching hats from a “board” post to a “speaker” post. Bear with me; I’d like to continue the thought I started earlier this week. Let’s think about our drive to proclaim the gospel — now in our speaking rather than our writing.

I included this specific photo because it reminds me of a wonderful opportunity I had to speak to a group of believers. We spent the weekend encouraging, teaching, training and discipling. We shared meals, Scripture, prayers and hearts. We experienced a bigger sense of God’s family. And, the team I took with me got to see a glimpse into the power of selfless ministry not experienced every day here in the fast paced lives we lead.

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