#WriterWednesday I’m Into Distribution: Do You Need to be in a Bookstore to Sell Your Books

Why did you become an author? To sell books or see your books in a bookstore? We all want distribution, nationwide distribution, but does being in a store actually sell your books? 

With my latest release, Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion, I attempted to answer my own question. I didn’t do what I would typically do, put it on sale through Ingram for distribution purposes, instead I put it on sale on Gumroad and directed all traffic there. 

Initially, there were only a few pre-orders, but since it’s release at the end of October I’ve sold almost 100 books and shipped them across the country and internationally. Now maybe to you 100 books isn’t a lot, but since according to Bookscan most books don’t sell more that 250 copies within the first year of its release I’m good. 

So, do you need major distribution? According to one my students if your book isn’t in stores then you’re not doing good. You may be of a similar mindset, but that’s the wrong mindset. If a bookstore doesn’t have my book when a customer asks for it they lost a sale. While I’ve built in exclusivity for my book and I am able to keep a majority of the money from the sale. 

A bookstore doesn’t sell your book, you sell the book, your marketing efforts sell the book, readers who recommend your book sells your book. With the whole world at your fingers, literally it’s time for you to be like me–I’m into distribution. 

Is this what your dream really is?

Why sell your book to a bookstore for a deep discount with no guarantee that the book will ever leave its shelf? If you can partner with an independent bookstore that’s going to help you move the books great, but if your book is just going to become another book on the shelf–I wouldn’t recommend it.

I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to the traditional model. My ebook will still be available on Amazon, but I’m enjoying the liberty (and my dinero). 

You may be wondering what I’ve been doing to move Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion. Well, I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing: 

1. Praying. I made sure this book was soaked in the Holy Spirit. 

2. Working my marketing plan. 

3. Praying. 

Now if you need help any of these I got you–Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion: Prayers for Creative Christians and Entrepreneurs will teach you how to pray over your passion instead of slaving over your passion and if you want to work with me on your marketing, writing, or both book a Publishing Pow-Wow NOW and #getyourInheritance 

So, what’s it going to be? Is it a must for you that your book is seated on a shelf in a bookstore or are you open to exploring your option? 

#WriterWednesday 3 Ways to Set YourSelf Apart From the Pack

To be a successful published author you don’t have to do what everyone is doing. Of course there are experts out there that say you must do it exactly this way in order to replicate my success. The question is as an author did you go into publishing to be successful like them or a successful version of yourself? 

Embrace what makes you different as an author. 

Own it. 

Do it intentionally. 


It might make a few people upset, but if there was only one way to do right, if there was only one way to tell a story and make it successful we probably wouldn’t have the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each author owns there style–Matthew is an author of precision, Mark is the king of brevity, Luke though he is a trained physician is an expert in writing informally, he writes like he’s just telling a story to his homeboy, John is poetic with his parallelisms. 

There are many ways to own your space within your genre: 

1. Your book covers. Three authors I can think of you use their book covers to stand out from the rest of the authors in your genre are: 

Adrienne Thompson, a romance author whose book covers are typically artistic, handdrawn reflections of the story or characters. 

Click for more info on this author

E.N. Joy, writes Christian Fiction and her book covers are as distinct and dramatic as the stories she crafts. 

Click for more info about this author

Unoma Nwankwor writes Christian Romance. Her covers always depict a unadapted hero and a beautiful heroine that could easily be you or me. 

Click for more info about this author

2. Stand out with style. Like the writers of the gospel make some intentional stylistical choices that set you apart from the pact. You can write heavily episodic pieces, great conversational pieces, be the sultan of sultry, or the queen of sass. Do something that will help the readers recognize your voice. What’s your writing super power?

Can you twist a plot like Brian W. Smith

I deliver grit, realism of the city streets, and our urban architecture, which sets me apart from a lot of other Christian Fiction authors whose books are primarily set in southern cities or don’t give their setting a large role in the story. 

3. Don’t just be one dimensional. Create interactive social media profile across platforms incorporating some of your other strengths. If you’re very visual use Pinterest to build worlds connected to your novels or poetry. Use YouTube to vlog–you can review, rant, or express your ideas verbally, go LIVE and give your people a chance to interact with you and your content in real time.  Or take your readers on shopping trips with you via Instagram or Snapchat stories like I do (don’t forget to follow me on IG). If you need help using Instagram to promote your book and build your brand click HERE to download 5 Free Tips for promoting your book and building your brand using Instagram. 

So, what is it that makes you distinct from other authors within your genre. What can or what do you offer readers that sets you apart from the pack?

When You’re Not Making Dollars Does It Make Sense? 

This post is partially personal and partially inspired by last night’s episode of MaryMary. Yes, I watch MaryMary (we all need deliverance). Now, let’s get to the point at hand–and it is sometimes a point of contention for Christians in business–the dollars and the cents. 

We’ve all experienced that lull in sales or a lack thereof that makes you go, “What the…” Then you ask yourself why am I doing this, and then you ask you best friend why am I doing this, and then you ask God why am I doing this. Lastly, you wonder should I continue. 

When you’re not making dollars does it make sense? 

It seems to all stop making sense at that point, but I’ve got the answer for you and it comes from Tina Campbell’s very transparent moment on last night’s episode of MaryMary. Last night Tina confessed that the first leg of her tour had not made any profits. Not one of the shows she’d booked had sold out and thus she was unable to churn a profit. That seems impossible and highly unlikely for a star, but it happened and if it happened to her it can happen to us or has already. 

It happened to me. 

I was scheduled to teach a workshop that was widely publicized and well promoted I thought, however in the end only two or three people showed up. The first person was an older woman who really wanted to discover who Christ was. There was  another author conducting the workshop with me and we both sat side by side and ministered to her. We never led our workshop that day, but God’s work was performed and we did sell books to the small crowd that came through. 

Did we earn big bucks that day? No. We earned a few dollars, but it all made sense in the eternal scheme of things. God’s work was performed. 

Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t earn a profit from your Christian business. I’m not that type of Christian. I don’t believe in the poverty gospel, nor do I partake in the I should n’t want gospel. Yes, I need to want less of the world’s goods and you do too, but there are too many times that God has promised to give me the desires of my heart for it to makes sense that I run a business and not expect a profit. 

Did I stop because I took an L that day? NOPE and neither did Tina. 

The question is what do you when creativity is costing you more than what it’s bringing in?

What should you do to make more dollars so this whole thing makes sense?

  1. Pray for prosperity and promotion. The Bible tells us it doesn’t come from the east, west, or south, but from God and you can’t get something from someone you’re speaking to. 
  2. Promote. Promote. Promote. Promote yourself and pay for promotion. Also don’t be afraid to book a strategy session with a coach. 
  3. Redirect your energy to places where it is more effective. If you’re not getting a response from Facebook it may be time to check out other social media sites to build and create your following. 
  4. Cut costs where you can. I am not saying do it all or waste your time trying to learn how to do it all, but if you can design a business card you can design a flyer and bookmarks. Save those dollars for ad space or to pay a promoter. 
  5. Keep on doing what you do with the utmost confidence in the Gift Giver, Jesus Christ and confidence in His word–the gift He’s given you is good and it will make room for you. It may take others a while to come to that realization, but you keep working until they do. 

Got suggestions on how authors and other creatives can earn a profit? Drop them in the comments below.

Are you an author or a creative entrepreneur that wants to work with me? Send an email to nigeria@inheritancebooks.co to book a 45 minute Monster Manifestation Session to develop an individualized strategy to generate attention and growth for your writing or business. 

#WriterWednesday: Organizing a Virtual Book Tour

This week the Neophyte Author is on tour–virtually. So, what better topic to discuss than organizing a virtual book tour.

Let’s break it down a bit for those who don’t about Virtual Book Tours. A virtual book tour is when an author visits blogs, radio shows, writes guest post, etc. to share their latest work with readers during a specific period of time. The length is up to you–one week, two weeks, a month.

Options

Dollarphotoclub_84358845You have two options–hire someone to organize your tour for you or organize it yourself. I decided to organize the tour myself and thanks to God’s favor this week has been a great tour week. 

DYI Tips

  • Organize, organize, organize. If you’re not well connected in the publishing world or know a bunch of bloggers and radio show host then you’re going to have get organized, well in advance. Most bloggers schedule posts in advance and they are not going to break their timeline for you.You need to start arranging the tour six months in advance.Don’t any bloggers or want to step outside of your comfort zone visit Book Blogger Directory to find bloggers in your genre.
  • Also, be prepared to be rejected. Some bloggers will not want you, your content, or book. If you’re going to be spending money on this tour you better be prepared to spend time putting this tour together.
  • Beware of sites in which you have to pay to be featured on their website. Yes, this a promo tour and sometimes you have to pay for promotion, but paying to be featured on a blog is a little sketchy unless that blogger has a huge audience with some guaranteed results.
  • Create graphics for free using Pic Monkey or Ribbet.
  • Select several different excerpts so that your fans, followers, and friends can have a rich experience while following the tour. 
  • Know your purpose. A blog tour is to create awareness and announce your presence. Don’t go crazy if after you’ve organized this phenomenal tour the only person who buys a copy of your book is your grandmother in Toledo. People cannot purchase something that they don’t know about. A Virtual Book Tour is your introduction to them. 

Have you organized your own virtual book tour before? Share your experiences in the comments. If you haven’t tried one yet make sure you come back and let me know how it goes.

If you’re in the New York City area and want to attend a workshop with me join The Neophyte Auauthortalk theresa & nigeria (1)thor on Saturday, June 20, 2015 for a publishing workshop and book signing. Admission is free and copies of Born at Dawn will be available for purchase. 

#MondayMotivation: Six Month Check Up

Happy June! 

We’re in the six month of the year and it’s time to dish on our dreams.

Where are you?

What have you accomplished and where are we headed next? 

I’ll share some of my progress:

GoalsIMG_0137

-Tempted to Touch is done (editing is a different story–don’t judge me)

-Riches of Grace is still a work in progress

-Berri and Delilah still a work in progress

-I’ve got some notes for High-Stepping

-Set a date to begin outlining that collabo (feeling super duper excited about that) 

Vision Board Progress

Now this year was the first time I engaged in this process and Lord is really blessing me. IMG_0140

-My Born at Dawn has been reviewed in USA and called a “Must Read”

-The African-American Christian Fiction Book Club read “Born at Dawn”

-My second book, Seasoned with Grace has appeared in Publisher’s Weekly

-I’m making “power moves”. I formed my own publishing company, Inheritance Books and I am preparing to not only publish my books, but the work of other authors and facilitate workshops. 

To be truly successful I’ve found that it’s been most helpful to have someone hold you accountable, so right now the Neophyte Author is checking you, boo. Where are we at in terms of reaching our dreams, where are you at on the pathway to your passion? 

For more information on my new company Inheritance Books visit the website

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Pathways to Your #Passion: Are You a Brand?

Branding. The one word that drives almost every author crazy. One of my very first posts on The Neophyte Businessman Computer Planning Marketing Brand ConceptAuthor was about branding, “Building My Brand (and yours)”. I didn’t know what I was doing then and I’m not claiming that I’ve got the answer now–there’s a reason this blog is called The Neophyte Author. One thing that I realized was after establishing a brand you want to make sure that what you’ve established as your brand is actually being recognized in other people’s mind.

I was going to do that evaluation when my one year anniversary came, but since it blew right past me in December I decided to let the sleeping dog lie. Actually, I didn’t want to have to deal with the idea of rebranding if I wasn’t successful. However, if when you’re brand isn’t an instant hit rebranding isn’t the first step for me or you. After a review of Born at Dawn was published on USA Today I realized it’s a fine time for some reflection for me and for you.

A brand needs time to be developed before you can decide it doesn’t work. Take Coca-Cola for example, during it’s first year nine servings of were sold per day. Doesn’t sound like the start to a brand who’s logo was trademarked in 1888 is still recognizable today and is probably responsible for several thousand cavities. 

Are You a Brand (only in your head or in other people’s eyes)?

What is your catchphrase, your one liner, your slogan? What is it that you do in one sentence. I write fiction for the renewed mind.

  • This line should adequately reflect your product, your purpose/mission, and who your audience is.

Check the break down

Writing Fiction for the Renewed Mind

What do I do: I write made up stories (Writing Fiction)

Purpose: Entertain and Edify (Fiction and Renewed Mind)

For Whom: Christians. Will non Christians like it? I hope so, but my intended audience are those who are already Born Again. (For the Renewed Mind a reference to Romans 12:2

Are You and Your Brand Synonymous?

Are you who you say you are? Check. In today’s social media driven world we’re all only one Google search away from, what is done in the dark being revealed and what was said in a corner being shouted from a mountaintop.

If you’re not who say you are you better get right. This is particularly true if you are a Christian author. What we do requires a level of transparency, consistency, and commitment that other genres don’t require. People do not expect J.K Rowling to be a wizard or that James Patterson has committed any of the crimes that fuel his legal thrillers. However, when you proclaim the name of Christ there is an expectancy that you are what you are selling and promoting. If you’re speaking life you need to full of it and people should be able to recognize that.

Who are you and what are the markers of your brand?

Personally, I’ve known for a long time that I’ve got a way of capturing the grit or the pulp of life in words. During grad school my peers would say I’m good with the vernacular. I was offended at first, but then I realized that my brand of writing is gritty, grimy, and for the everyday person. Yesterday that was confirmed by Michlle Monkou of USA Today who said that, ” Gritty, inspirational, and powerful mark Lockley’s brand of fiction.” The grit is me and the inspiration and power have come from God’s redeeming and transforming power. While God makes all things new He is able to use what we were to influence those He wants to reach and touch.  Consider a couple of the authors of the Bible:

Luke the physician–a doctor. Someone good at describing things and who also has the skill to put things in laymen’s terms is the author of two very spellbinding books of the Bible–his own epistle and Acts.

Paul–formerly known as Saul who had a penchant for letters before His conversion. When he was Saul he used his love of letters to persecute Christians and when he gave himself to Christ the Lord used that same passion and letter writing ability to pen a majority or New Testament. He did need a little rebranding, but the Lord took him through that process.

We’re able to look at these men and recognize their brand and distinguish their writing from other books of the Bible. Now what about you–does anyone recognize the marker’s of your brand without you telling them? Are you a brand? Have you established of the basic tenets of branding to test the water? Regardless, of the answer let’s remember Coca-Cola, let’s remember that only one hundred and twenty were assembled in the Upper Room and look at how many have received the Spirit of Christ since then. This is only the beginning and you can always begin again. 

Post your work, an excerpt, a link to your work or some type of ad you use to promote your work/brand in the comments and let’s assess your brand. 

 

#WriterWednesday Publishing is a Business: Advice From Barbara Joe Williams

There are several words of advice I would like to share with new authors. However, I will begin with my main motto: Writing is a hobby, but publishing is a business. If you’re planning to have a long-term career in the publishing industry, you need to learn the business and master it. That means educating yourself and not just relying on your publisher or other authors for secondhand information.  You should do your own research via the internet and read publishing manuals from experienced authors who are succeeding in the business.

Another word of advice is to get a partner. Not a writing partner, but another writer you can share ideas with, proofread each other’s work, provide feedback, and keep each other motivated when your spirits are low. This is the one thing that has helped me tremendously over the years. My partner is honest with me and tells me when my writing sucks, and I tell her when to get off her butt and write something whether it sucks or not.

I also advise new authors to become part of a writer’s group or a local author’s network for professional development. There’s nothing like networking and sharing with a group of likeminded individuals. Instead of having one person to give you feedback, you will have a whole network of authors who can keep you motivated to write. Every writer’s group is not the same, so it may take some time for you to find one that fits or you might end up starting your own, like I did.

My final word of advice for beginning authors would be this: Don’t expect overnight success. I’ve seen many authors publish a book, promote it for two months, and then drop out of sight simply because they haven’t sold a thousand copies (or whatever number they had in mind). It takes time to build up a following of loyal readers, and it usually doesn’t come from just having one book on the market. Find your audience, market to them, and when the next book is released, they will find you.

Barbara JoeBarbara Joe Williams is the author of ten novels, a novella, several nonfiction books and short stories. Her latest eBook is titled, A Cup of Barbara Joe: Things I’ve Learned about Life, Marriage, Motherhood & People.

Amazon page: http://goo.gl/hCOkBb

Website: www.barbarajoe.webs.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbara.williams.31105674

Thanks for the interview. My next nonfiction eBook release is February 5 titled, A-Z Marketing Tips: A Motivational Guide to Selling Your Products. And my next fiction eBook release is titled, Holiday Hotel 2: A Valentine’s Day story.

Quality books. All the time for $2.99 or less.