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March 2011

Two Marketing Tips for Authors

1. Don’t mention poor reviews. One of the tips I give pre-published writers when they’re trying to get the attention of an agent or editor is to not talk about who didn’t like their book or who rejected it. Published best-selling authors do the same thing, both secular and Christian. You never hear them talking publicly (including on email loops) about their bad reviews or their one-star ratings on It stings when poor reviews come in, but those are items for the prayer closet. Authors who want to be successful talk about their wins, who loved it, how hard they work, and maybe even how exhausted they are from success—because that works.

2. Videoconference with libraries and schools via Skype: Libraries and schools are looking for authors who can use Skype, a free videoconferencing program. The program requires a video camera and a microphone, but those items are standard on most computers. (The latest version allows you to have up to six people on a video call, which could be great for critique groups.) One of the sites where you can put your hat in the ring to videoconference as an author is the Skype An Author Network. Hint: some authors get paid to Skype.


Market News

Editor’s note: Don’t forget to see Linda’s two tips for writers in the sidebar panel.

Literary agent Steve Laube claims legal fights around royalties from The Shack are due to lack of agent representation. At first I thought, that’s easy for an agent to say. But it may be true.

The fight seems to be mainly over money between Young and his partners at Windblown.

According to The Christian Post, we’re talking $10 million in sales and translation into 30 languages. This for a book originally self-published by author William Paul Young and his two friends, who started Windblown Press.

Now lawsuits are flying. The fight seems to be mainly over money between Young and his partners at Windblown. Bottom line: no one gets paid during the suit, except maybe the lawyers.

The moral of the story?

Prepare for success. Failure doesn’t require much preparation. But when things start to go, get an agent as quickly as you can. Hopefully, before you sell—but if not, as quickly as you can after. There will be too This Present Darkness by Frank Perettimuch going on for you to handle everything yourself.

By the way, this isn’t the first time a book published by a small press unexpectedly took off and there was a legal fight later. Frank Peretti told me in an interview in1995 he felt like a child in a custody suit when the couple who started Crossway Books sued for divorce. Crossway took a chance on Peretti’s This Present Darkness in 1986, when people said there wasn’t even a market for Christian fiction. Now Peretti has 12 million books in print. So this has happened before.


Borders LogoBorders will survive, at least in the short term. The bookseller is “rightsizing” under Chapter 11 by closing about 150 out of 500 stores by the end of April. Despite rampant speculation it would go under entirely, there was money pumped into a revamped website along with the announcement of a full-line of e-book readers. Both of these events occurred in the months before Christmas when everyone knew the organization was bleeding red ink. Funding for this catch-up came from someone who sees a future for the limping bookseller, so I suspect there’s more where that came from and we’re likely to see Borders around for a while longer.

God bless you and the work of your hands.

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