Kathy Brace and I released our book, Born to Deliver, at the end of last year, and are so encouraged at how God is using it to touch lives and bring healing. My good friend, Molly Williamson, of Imago Photography generously offered to help us put together a book trailer that we hope will serve to spread a message of hope and redemption to even more people. Here’s the wonderful result of her creative talent and work on our behalf:
If you’re looking for a great videographer to help you put together a book trailer for your book, I highly recommend Molly!
One of the things I never anticipated, but have come to realize more and more as I continue to market my book, is that authors are also expected to be speakers. There is a certain comfort and security as a writer in knowing that you can delete things that don’t make sense, reword sentences for precision, add illustrations that come to you later, etc. All of that is non-existent in the world of speaking! You have to be able to think quickly, formulate cohesive thoughts and present them with clarity, articulate with precision, and more. These things do not come naturally for me, but I am having to learn them on the fly!
So far this year I’ve had an average of one speaking engagement per month. The opportunities are varied, but each one has been a learning and growing experience. From presenting a workshop to a group of university students, to speaking for an on-line conference, to being a featured speaker at a women’s retreat, to sharing with a MOPS group, to participating in radio interviews. Above all, these experiences have been a real-life education in learning to trust God and depend upon Him for the words to speak. I recently came across this statement by author, poet, and hymn-writer Frances Ridley Havergal that applies to both writing and speaking:
“Writing is praying with me, for I never seem to write even a verse by myself, and feel like a little child writing; you know a child would look up at every sentence and say, ‘And what shall I say next?’ That is just what I do; I ask that every line He would give me, not merely thoughts and power, but also every word, even the very rhymes.”
I pray that this will be the attitude of my heart, not only now when I still feel nervous and inexperienced as a speaker, but even as I develop greater skill in this area in the years ahead (Lord-willing!). Here are links to a couple of the speaking engagements I’ve had this year:
This is from the on-line homeschool conference that I spoke at in February: Everything Your Child Needs to Know…and How to Teach it to Them (right click and select “Save As” to download the file; left click to open the file and listen via the internet).
This one’s hot off the press (or whatever the radio equivalent is!): An interview hosted by Kevin Swanson on Generations Radio. Posted on July 19, 2010.
If you listen to either of the above and have any constructive criticism you’d be willing to share, I would love to take any suggestions that would help me improve in this area! Feel free to e-mail me or leave it in the comments section.
If you’ve listened to my Journey to Self Publishing CD, you know that one of the early steps I recommend is to “Announce Your Book to the World!” About a year before my book was released, I started sending out a monthly newsletter letting my family and friends know that I was writing a book and keeping them updated on my progress. This proved to be an invaluable source of motivation and encouragement as I pressed on with the often times overwhelming task of getting Pajama School written and published.
As my contact list has grown, I’ve run into more glitches with the free e-mail newsletter program I was using. After considerable thinking and some research, I finally decided to take the plunge and try using Constant Contact – a service used by many organizations for list management, e-mail marketing, and more. I’ve only been using it for several weeks, but I already love it! I think it will help me do a much better job of staying organized and keeping in touch with people about new products and special promotions. Plus, after each mailing you get helpful reports and statistics to keep track of how many people open the e-mail, how many and which links are clicked, who opts out, etc. I know there are other similar services out there, but so far I’m really happy with Constant Contact!
And, of course, if you’d like to be added to my mailing list to be the first to know about our latest products and promotions, just sign up using the form below! 🙂
After getting Pajama School accepted and viewable on Google Books, I wanted to give their Co-Branded search feature a try. I had a few difficulties. First because there had previously been a version of my book listed at Google Books, but it was not the one with the preview available, so the search always returned nothing since that was the book being referenced by the search. Second, because once I had this resolved, I didn’t realize you had to manually change the code to point to the ISBN for the specific book for which you wanted to set up the search capability. I thought this was coded automatically and couldn’t figure out why the search kept taking me to some book on Lutheranism… Anyway…I’m happy to say that everything now appears to be working properly and you can search the content of my book for any word you like! 🙂
As I mentioned in my last post, it took me a little longer than I expected to finalize the process of getting Pajama School up and running at Google Books. It turns out that the file upload must not have been successful the first time, but once all the files were uploaded the remainder of the process only took about a week. So, feel free to click on over and get a preview of Pajama School on Google Books! 🙂
If you want to make a book available on Google Books, sign up on the Google Books Partner Program homepage. It actually took me forever to find this page because I kept trying to figure out how to add my book from the regular Google Books homepage but could never find the right link. I don’t usually consider myself navigationally-challenged, but the various twists and turns you have to take to find the right programs and portals for some of these book-related sites (ahem…Amazon…) is dizzying!
I was a little hesitant to upload my book to Google Books because I was afraid that it would cut into sales if people could easily view the book on-line. However, you can actually specify what percentage of the book content you want to have made available in the preview so that it will give people an idea of what the book is like, but they won’t be able to read the whole thing. Plus, having Pajama School on Google Books allows all of the content to be factored into searches and will return the book in relevant search results. I will also be able to place a search box on my website to allow interested readers to search for particular words or phrases in the book. A very nice feature. Still working out a few kinks on that one, though!
Also…if you just love the design (cover and interior) of my book and want to hire some professionals to do design work for you (which I highly recommend!), be sure to check out the links to these gifted graphic designers on this post. As you can see, hiring high quality, professional designers to do your book pays for itself over and over again when you can easily upload and make your book available through channels like Google Books.
After jumping through several hoops, I am excited to report that Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate is now part of the Search Inside The Book (SITB) program at Amazon.com. The process is slightly more complicated than you would expect, but once I understood the steps to take, it was relatively seamless:
1. Go to Amazon Seller Central and sign up for an account. Because of some of the verbiage, I was hesitant to do this because I thought I might end up having to pay some additional fees. After a brief exchange with the customer service rep, though, I was assured that this was indeed the appropriate procedure for uploading the files and no additional fees would be incurred.
2. Look for the Search Inside The Book category on the left hand side of the page and click on PDF and cover upload.
3. Carefully review all the guidelines for naming and uploading files and prepare the files on your end accordingly. I created a separate folder for Amazon amongst my book files on my computer so that I could keep these files separate and readily accessible.
4. Zip all the files and upload them via the uploader on the Seller Central site.
5. Click the submit button and wait and watch to see when the Search Inside The Book feature becomes active on your book page. I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly this process was completed (especially considering that I’ve been waiting for several weeks for a similar process over at Google Books – I’ll have to let you know once that one is up and running!).
Earlier this week I came across the Christian Book Videos website. I just finished submitting my information to them for Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate. This is a great, free service designed to help promote Christian books. Just download the PDF referenced on the FAQ page for a simple list of information items to include when you submit your book video.
One thing that you can never do too much of as a self-publisher is getting the word out about your book via every possible outlet. One of my friends recently told me that part of the success with her book has been the result of hours spent submitting links and book information to every internet directory and listing she could find. What a great idea! That’s something I’m hoping to do in the next couple of months.
It would be incredible if there was a master list somewhere of all the websites where you can post a free listing about your book – anyone know of such a thing? In the meantime, I’m planning to keep track of such websites and post about them here periodically. Para Publishing has a brief form you can fill out that will place a listing of your self-published book on their success story page. I listed my book, Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate, there a couple of months ago but just remembered it today as I was clearing out some old files.
For those of you who aren’t subscribed to my e-newsletter, I thought I’d share the exciting news that as of last week, we had sold 475 copies of my book, Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate. The book officially released on April 30 of this year, so that averages out to almost 80 copies a month. To be honest, that’s not as good as I expected the sales to be for the first 6 months, but I’m coming to grips with the fact that my expectations might have been a bit unrealistic.
So, as I stated in my newsletter, we are so close to hitting the 500 mark that I’ve decided to make a special offer – whoever places the order for the 500th book will receive their copy of the book entirely free, including shipping! So if you’ve been meaning to order a copy, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, or you want to order some additional gift copies for friends, now is the opportune time. 🙂 (If you order the 500th copy through our website, I’ll just issue a full refund after the order comes through.)
By the way, if you’d like to subscribe to the e-newsletter, just sign up using the form at the top of the Sibro Publishing website. I send the newsletter about once a month with a brief update about how things are going and announcements about any new endeavors in the works.