Is There Life After Amazon?

is there life after Amazon?

“Lord, is there life after Amazon?”

That’s the question isn’t it? For authors and publishers? If Amazon conquers Barnes & Noble, LifeWay, Family Bookstores, and Books-A-Million, will there remain the freedom to write, publish, and sell novels and nonfiction outside of Amazon?

In July Amazon banished LPC from its KDP Select program. When I asked to be re-admitted, they replied, “We can’t offer any additional insight or action on this matter.” So while our titles continue to appear on Amazon as Kindle eBooks, they are no longer prominently featured or promoted by Amazon.

Thus my question to God: “Lord, reveal to me what you want me to learn from this. Show me the next step for LPC.”

Here are a few insights God gave me this week, followed by my prayers.

David was banished from the presence of Saul. I Chronicles 12:1

“Lord, may you be with us and bless us during our time of exile.”

Some Gadites defected to David. I Chronicles 12:8. The least was a match for a hundred. I Chronicles 12:14

“May the God of our fathers see what has happened to Christian publishing, and send modern-day Gadites to help change the face of publishing. Individuals who are strong in faith, where the least is a match for a hundred.”

Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you. I Chronicles 12:18

“I do not assume this verse of success is for LPC, but if it is your will, please give us success in the marketplace.”

Day after day men came to help. I Chronicles 12:18

“I ask that you send men and women to help LPC grow and reach new markets and more readers.”

Will not God also graciously give [you] all things? Romans 8:32

“Lord, show us a better way. Create opportunities for us outside of Amazon. If the LPC Ambassador Program is your idea, bless it.”

I do not know what will become of book publishing in the wake of Amazon’s growing influence, but the trends remain discouraging. Here are a few recent headlines from the book publishing industry.

Beacon Hill Press ClosingKansas City-based Nazarene Publishing House, parent company of trade imprint Beacon Hill Press, will shut down on December 1.

Abingdon re-evaluates publishing programs beyond 2015Abingdon Press, an imprint of The United Methodist Publishing House, announced Thursday that it is reassessing and realigning its Christian Living and Abingdon Fiction programs as a result of shifts in the industry.

Last week I received word that another popular romance imprint was shutting its doors. Each time a house or imprint contracts, another group of authors looks at the landscape and considers self-publishing with Amazon – a company that demands total loyalty.

Where are our Gadites of our day? Where are those men and women eager to change the face of book publishing? If you feel called by God to rise up and run at the giant, please email me. Together, I believe we can make a difference.

One percent of anything with God by your side is a recipe for success.

 

(All typ0s are orijinal and copywrited. Any rebroadcast or distribution without the XPress riden permission of the author is just find by me.) 

 

There Is No Magic

Summers' Love, A Cute and Funny Cinderella Love StoryWhen it comes to book promotion there is no magic.  Authors may think a version of pixie dustpixie-dust can be purchased and sprinkled on their book, but they are mistaken. The book buying business is mysterious but the formula for success is not.

Write a great book and get it into the hands of influencers of that genre. Repeat as necessary.

In four weeks I’ll serve on faculty at the Blue Ridge Christian Novelist Retreat where I’m sure the topic of book sales, the publishing industry, Amazon, Nooks, Kindles, eReaders, print books, bookstores, etc… will be discussed at length. (Did you notice the way I included all those key words early in this blog post? This is a subtle way of marketing you and your books.) I know these topics will come up because this discussion dominates almost every writers’ conference I attend.

For example, this week I returned home from the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference. The Somersault Group, a marketing and service firm for authors, ran MCWC this year and several of the workshops – perhaps as many as half – focused on marketing, social media, and platform building. But in one sense these workshops only confounded the conferees.

“Platform seems to be all anyone cares about,” one author complained. “But I’m not (famous author name here) with two hundred thousand blog followers and I doubt I ever will be. Does that mean I don’t stand a chance getting published?”Snoopy, the frustrated writer

No. This author can self publish. But that doesn’t solve the missing magic problem. You still have to find readers. Which brings us back to your first goal: write a great book.

But you may ask, “If I write a great book and no one finds it, no one reads it… what’s the point?” The point is, a poorly written book marketed well will sell … once. A great book marketed poorly may not sell, or may sell years later, but it will always be a great book.

Let me say it again; there is no magic. There is, however, work. Book selling is seed sowing: and authors must sow lots of seeds.

Parable of the SowerThe thing to remember is that not all seed will take root. In fact, in the Parable of the Sower only 25% of the sown seed fell on good soil. That seed yielded a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

If there were magic, the rich would buy, horde, and use it for themselves. Praise God, when it comes to book selling, we’re all farmers sowing seeds.

Work as if your book’s success depends on you; pray as though it depends on God.

And stop looking for pixie dust.

An Open Letter From Your Publisher

An open letter from your publisherI remember your book. I recall when you pitched the idea and how excited you where when you emailed to announce you signed your contract. I often reflect upon the difficulty we had matching the cover and title to your pre-conceived ideas of how the book should look, the struggles with editing, proofing, and those way-to-many corrections.

I remember your book.

Daily.

In the past few months I’ve come to live by the words of Pastor Mark Batterson: “Pray as if your success depends on God and work as if it depends on you.”

Each day I review our marketing and production strategy and look for ways to improve both. Each day I seek God’s blessing for your book.  I will not give up on its success.

Ever.

Some question whether LPC publishes too many books. We know our staff is stretched thin, ill-equipped to handle the workload, and quite frankly, not always as professional as we should be. We do the best we can but that’s no excuse for shoddy work.

And so I pray for your book and ask God to look past my flaws and bless your words.

My ministry partner, Cindy Sproles, and I started Christian Devotions Ministries because we believed certain authors deserve “the chance” to see their words in print. As the book publishing industry continues to consolidate and shrink, we still feel called to advance – called to publish more books, take greater risks, and expand our boundaries with great faith.

Launching your book was an act of faith.

This is why LPC seeks authors who are eager for “a chance” to do all they can to make their book a success.

LPC works hard to give authors as many tools as possible for the promotion of their book. We study market trends, take classes at writers’ conferences, connect with vendors, and recommend what we believe are the best marketing practices within the industry. But at the end of each day I know I haven’t done enough. Did all I could, but it’s never enough.

This is why we depend on you.

We need you to believe in your book as much as we do. We need you to pray for your book’s success the way we do. We need you to promote other LPC authors and their books the way they promote your book.

You have heard me say before that silo-platform-building (me, me, me promotion) is at odds with the message of Christ. Jesus did not say, “Do for yourself, as you wish others would do for you.” He calls us to help our neighbor, serve others, and fan the flame of encouragement in our brothers and sisters. In short, we’re to tweet, post, pin, and write reviews for others with the same enthusiasms we use to promote our own book.

I don’t know why you signed with LPC, I really don’t. I do know you took a leap of faith. And for that I am grateful.

I am now asking you to take another step of faith. I am asking you to believe in your book and believe that God is at work in LPC, spreading His Message through a variety of voices.

If you will do that, reply in the affirmative to this email and I will add you to a new Pay If Forward email list of LPC authors committed to supporting and praying for one another.

Thanks for listening.

And thanks for believing in the work of LPC and CDM.

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(All typos are my own. Feel free to borrow and include in your next book.)

Below are a few of the books we’ve published this summer.

Paul's Letters To The Early Church Living Like Lions perf5.000x8.000.indd Chapel Springs Revival

Daddy, Can You Make Me Pancakes? America's Star-Spangled Story - Celebrating 200 years of the National Anthem Enduring Faith - An 8-Week Devotional Study of the Book of Hebrews Messiah to the Messed Up - Because I'm a mess, you're a mess, and we all need a Messiah