Tuesday, November 10

Christian Books Do Not Fly Off the Shelves By Donald L. Hughes

Christian Books Do Not Fly Off the Shelves
Someone Has to Push Them

By Donald L. Hughes 


I once spoke with a woman who had written a Christian book and I asked her what plans she had to promote it. She said, "I don't intend to promote it, that's the publisher's responsibility."


Wrong answer.

There used to be a time when publishers promoted books, now about all they do is issue catalogs and put them in the hands of overworked traveling bookstore reps. Once upon a time publishers had big publicity departments which set up author tours, book signings and radio and television interviews. That day is largely gone. Sure, the big name authors can get the celebrity treatment from publishers, but that's only after they have sold a million books and there is some evidence that they're going to sell a few million more.

Some authors who are new to the publishing business are under the impression that bookstores are in the business of promoting their inventory. That's not true either. You seldom see Christian bookstores placing print ads in local newspapers or having TV spots highlighting the availability of particular books. The Christian bookstore business is rather archaic because they sell on consignment, and they are able to return unsold books to the publisher. They have little motivation to advertise your book.

So who has the responsibility for promoting the Christian book you have written? You!
Before you sign a contract with a publishing company, they're going to want to know if you have a platform. What is the platform? It is a base of followers who are likely to buy your book. Church pastors have the people who attend their church as a platform, speakers have their audiences, and bloggers have their readers. Each follower constitutes a plank in your platform and they are the core buyers of your book. If you have no platform it is much harder to get public visibility and get book sales rolling.

Everyone hopes this core platform group will spread news of your book by word-of-mouth and that it becomes a bestseller through that means. Word-of-mouth is the cheapest and most effective book promotion method available. Authors and publishers love it when a book catches fire by that method, and when it does publishers become willing to spend money to fan the flames.

If you're thinking about writing a book, you need to think about building your platform now. When you present your book to a publisher, you need to tell them how many people attend your church or your seminars, or who read your blog. Information like that helps them make the financial decision to publish your book. A sizable platform means there is a ready-made market for your book.

In addition to having an initial platform, you need to think about the other ways that you can promote your book. The most common ways are by holding book signings, seminars, news articles, and doing radio and television interviews.

You may get some book promotion support from your publisher. However, in most cases it's going to be your responsibility to promote your book yourself. You will have to pay for it out of your own pocket, but it is an investment which could reap huge rewards.


About the Author

Donald L. Hughes is the editor of ChristianWritingToday.com (http://www.ChristianWritingToday.com). He has over 30 years experience as a Christian writer, editor and publisher. ChristianWrtitingToday.com provides information and inspiration for Christian writers and those who want to become one.  Article Source