Sarah Bolme, Director of Christian Indie Publishers Association (CIPA). will be at the GLVWG Write Stuff Writers Conference™, “2020 Vision”, on Saturday, March 14, at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center.
Sarah will discuss:
Three Things to do Before You Publish
The number of books published each year keeps increasing. With so much competition, it is difficult to stand out and get your book noticed. Doing the three things presented in this session before you publish a book helps every author—whether traditionally or self-published—get a jump start on marketing to make their book stand out among the competition.
Sarah will also be hosting Marketing Sessions throughout Saturday. To sign up for a consultation session, follow the instructions on the registration form. Your actual times for the consult will be assigned after registration is closed, and will be attached to your personal conference booklet upon signing in.
Sarah Bolme provides assistance to small publishers and independently published authors marketing books to the Christian marketplace. Sarah is also the author of the award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. The fourth edition will be released in February 2019.
Sarah is an independently published author and a traditionally published author. She is also the Director of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) an organization that exists to help small publishers and independently published authors market their books in the Christian marketplace.
Sarah’s blog, Marketing Christian Books, is to educate and inform small publishers and independently published authors about publishing and marketing Christian books.
Click “Continue Reading” for Sarah’s interview
An Interview with Sarah Bolme, by Donna Brennan
If you google Sarah Bolme’s name, you’ll find a treasure trove of articles and posts about marketing your books online and building (and maintaining) an author platform. She writes blog posts for Ingram Spark and shares her abundant publishing and marketing knowledge on medium and other sites.
Sarah’s book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, has won the Independent Publisher Award, Book Excellence Award, Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Award, and International Book Award. Although it focuses on the Christian market, many of the ideas and principles can be applied to the general market as well.
Donna Brennan had the opportunity to ask Sarah some questions about herself, self-publishing, and book marketing.
Q: Why isn’t it enough to have a lot of followers (and get a lot of likes) on Facebook? What more do we need?
Sarah: Studies show that followers and likes on social media don’t convert to book sales. It’s easy to look and like things on social media. It’s the engagement that matters. Book sales come from a simple formula: Know + Like + Trust. First people have to know about you and your books. Then they have to like you and what you have to share. But knowing and liking are not enough. People have to trust that what you have for them will meet their need—whether that need is to solve a problem in their life or to have a really good story to escape into.
Q: We’ve all heard the advice about building an author platform and using social media to get your name and your book’s information “out there”, but how much time do we need to spend on promoting our current book verses writing our next one?
Sarah: I think a good rule of thumb is 50-50. Spend 50% of the time you have on writing new material. Then spend the other 50% of your time on promoting your current book.
Q: Why isn’t social media marketing alone enough? What other marketing tools are out there? Will you be covering any of this in your session?
Sarah: Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket?” This saying holds true for marketing a book. No one avenue is going to be the silver bullet. The main methods for promoting a book are: social media, content marketing, advertising, speaking engagements, and media exposure. My session will not specifically address these tactics. Rather “Three Things to Do Before You Publish Your Book” sets the author up to have success with these marketing activities.
Q: If someone follows your advice about building a platform and promoting their book, how soon should they expect to see results?
Sarah: Book marketing results vary widely. After presenting this seminar, I had one author ask me if she was to do just one thing to build her platform, what should she do. I suggested that she write an article once a week related to her book’s topic. I advised her to post this article on her website and share it on her social media platforms. I saw her about six months later. This author told me that she had followed my advice. When I asked her how it was working, she informed me that she had received invitations to speak as a result of her blog posts. That is pretty impressive. This author’s topic was timely, which added to her success.
Q: You’ve been involved with book marketing for over ten years, keeping close tabs on what’s changing. How did you first get drawn in?
Sarah: Actually, I have been involved with book marketing for just about twenty years. I got drawn to it when my first book was published. I realized that the publisher wasn’t doing much to promote my book, so I started researching what other authors did to promote their books. Then I started to do some of those activities to promote my book.
Q: Your two self-help books were published through a small publisher, but then you self-published your children’s board books. What made you decide to self-publish, and how difficult was the learning curve?
Sarah: My husband and I decided to self-publish Baby Bible Board Books: Stories of Jesus for infants and toddlers when we could not find a Christian publisher to take on the project. The learning curve was extremely steep. We were not just publishing a book; we were publishing four board books that had to be manufactured in China and shipped through customs. Print-on-demand technology has made publishing a book much easier. There is still a learning curve, but it is not quite as steep as the one I had to climb.
Q: When you founded the Christian Indie Publishers Association, was your main goal to help indie authors to publish their books, or to market them? How closely are those two activities tied?
Sarah: When Christian Indie Publishing Association was founded in 2004, the main goal was to help independent authors and small publishers with marketing their books. Marketing can be expensive and our goal was to provide information and cooperative marketing programs to keep the costs affordable. Publishing a book and marketing a book are closely tied. You can publish a book, but no one will buy it unless you market the book. In addition, the design of your book is your number one marketing tool. If your book is not well-designed, people won’t buy it because they will not be drawn to the book. Buying is an emotional decision that we back up with our logic.
Q: Your session on “Three Things to do Before You Publish” promises to help us get a jump on marketing and make our book stand out from the competition. How soon before we publish our book should we implement the advice presented in this session? Is it too late to do any of it now if our book has already been published?
Sarah: All of the advice in the session is meant to be implemented prior to a book being published. However, those who have already published a book can also benefit from the information. The three things can be done post-publication, but will probably require some adjustment to the book’s cover when completed.
Q: You were a counselor long before you were an author or book marketing expert. In what ways is counseling similar to sharing what you know about book marketing and self-publishing?
Sarah: A lot of counseling is education. In counseling, you teach people strategies to manage their mental health and their relationships. Teaching these strategies is combined with encouragement and a dishing of hope to help people get unstuck and enjoy life. Sharing what I know about book marketing and publishing is a combination of teaching and encouragement with a dose of hope.
The advice and resources you need to promote your Christian books successfully! This updated, award-winning resource is packed with valuable information on promoting Christian books. Chock full of specific resources from launching your book to connecting with consumers and retailers to obtaining media coverage to utilizing social networking, this guide walks you step-by-step through the various aspects of book promotion. It is the perfect resource for authors and publishers.
Previous editions of this title have won the following book awards: Independent Publisher Award, Book Excellence Award, Indie Excellence Award, USA Best Book Award, International Book Award.
Available through Amazon.
Be sure to follow Sarah Bolme’s blog at https://marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com/ , as well as her social media links on