Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Author's Brand - Where Do You Live and Minister?

On his blog, Author Bill Reichart writes about branding and what it means to do a good job of it. Most authors aren't thinking of branding as they go about their careers and often find their brand is something that attached itself to them along the way. Not surprisingly, those involuntary brands often miss the mark and ministry of the author, consigning them to audiences just a beat off and out of step with the calling of your work.

One must determine their "Brand" then work to make and keep it so.

Great Branding Should Be Invisible
Written by Bill Reichart on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Legendary film director John Huston said something to the effect, “Great movie directing should be invisible. If someone in the audience ever tells you how great a particular shot is, then you’ve failed, because you’ve distracted them from the story.” Huston knew great shooting was there to enhance the film story, never to call attention to itself.

The same way is true about "branding".

In Phil Cooke's book Branding Faith, he shares that branding and identity are tools to help a product, person, or organization connect with an audience. An effective brand story is a way to cut through the media clutter and get your message heard. The ultimate point of course is to sell more products, get your message out there, or create name recognition.
Our church is currently in a branding process. Of course we are not so much concerned about "selling products" but we are interesting in getting our message and identity clearly out. We are working through our church name, logo and look to make sure we connect and communicate with the community and people that have contact with our church.

Branding isn't about spin. It isn't about communicating something your aren't. But rather branding marks out and identifies clearly who you are. That is the process our church is currently moving through. It is a process, and it takes a while. But we are staying faithful to it and seeing where it is going to taking us.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

How NOT to Pitch Your Book Proposal

One of things that is fun whenever publishing people get together is to listen to the "crazy stuff" portion of their conversation, when they play, "Try to Top This!" The crazy stuff is the stories of all the funny, poignant, sad, silly and downright mental stuff that comes across their desks, phones, faxes and e-mail.
Mike Hyatt shares some of these in his latest blog...

How NOT to Pitch Your Book Proposal
by Michael Hyatt

Hello fellow Twitter user! Don't forget to Twit this post if you like it, or follow me on Twitter if you find me interesting.
In 30 years of book publishing I have heard it all. In the spring of 1987, I received a book proposal from a man who was predicting that the Rapture would happen before November (the 40-year anniversary of the founding of Israel).
He said, “Since I will be gone once this happens, I wish to assign all my royalties to my brother-in-law who is not a Christian.” I kid you not.
I replied, “Being Christians ourselves and being convinced by your proposal, we don’t believe we will be around to publish your book!” I never heard from him again.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only crazy stuff I’ve heard. In fact, I probably get at least one proposal a month that makes me shake my head in disbelief.
Therefore, let me save your proposal from a one-way trip to the trash can. If you are trying to get a publisher (or an agent) to take your proposal seriously, there are at least ten things you should never say:
1. God told me to write this book.
2. God told me to contact you.
3. My book is destined to be a bestseller.
4. My book is perfect for Oprah.
5. My book is very similar to [insert the name of the latest mega-bestseller].
6. There is nothing like my book in the marketplace.
7. This is a multi-million dollar opportunity. I hope you are smart enough to see it.
8. I will only share my book idea with you after you sign a confidentiality agreement.
9. I don’t care about the money; I just want to help people.
10. You probably won’t publish my book, because most of what you publish is fluff.
If you want to write a good query letter, start by reading The Writers Digest Guide To Query Letters. Then just apply a little common sense.

Making Friends: The Essence of Marketing

On his blog, high energy marketer, John Kremer talks about the art of forging positive relationships in marketing

Making Friends: The Essence of Marketing
All of marketing ultimately comes down to one thing: creating relationships. If you don't understand this basic principle, you will ultimately fail as a book marketer. Indeed, you will fail in life as well.

Think of it: What is publicity? It is simply creating relationships with people in the media who, if they like your product, idea, or service, will pass on that information to their audience in the form of reviews, interviews, stories, or notices.

Think of it: What is distribution? It is simply creating relationships with bookstores, wholesalers, and sales representatives who will make your books available to retail customers.

Think of it: What are rights sales? They, too, are based on creating relationships with key companies and people who can exploit those rights better than you can.

Think of it: What is editorial? It is simply creating relationships with authors, literary agents, and other people who can bring you good material to polish, design, and promote.
All of book publishing ultimately comes down to creating relationships. Indeed, all of business operates the same way.

Wherever you look in business, relationships are what make things happen: networking, the old boy network, the new girl network, customer lists, sales reps visiting their customers, publicists talking with the media, luncheon meetings, conventions, trade shows, chat groups, newsletters, blogs, and more. They all have one thing in common: Their primary purpose is to enhance communication and further relationships.

To help you create better relationships and market your books more effectively, here are a few basic principles you should follow.

1. Create your Kremer 100 list. Don't try to be friends with thousands or millions of people. You can't do it. Focus on 100 key media and marketing contacts (if you don't have time to focus on 100, make the database 25 or 50 people). Develop this Kremer 100 database or list yourself. Find out what their addresses are. Also their phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, and URLs. Plus their cell phone numbers, perhaps even their home phone numbers. Your goal is to get to know their likes and dislikes, what moves them, and what they look for in a good story (if they are media) or a good product (if they are a buyer). You also want to get to know how they like to get info. Do they prefer email, fax, phone, or mail?

2. Be persistent. Once you've developed a database of key contacts, you must be in touch with them on a regular basis -- at least once a month. Tell them something new with each contact. If you ever get an opportunity to meet them in person, jump at the chance. But the key is continual follow-up. It makes all the difference in whether or not you establish a real relationship.

3. Create a word-of-mouth army. Since 80% of all books are sold by word-of-mouth, your primary goal in marketing your books is to create a core group of people who will spark that word-of-mouth. I like to think of these people as the officers for your word-of-mouth army, because what you ultimately want to create is an army of people talking about your book. In that army, you'll have privates, corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, majors, colonels, and generals. The moment someone meets one of your authors, they've self-promoted themselves to at least a corporal. If they get an autograph, count them a sergeant. If they buy ten books for other people, promote them to lieutenant. You get the idea. In my 1001 Ways army, I have at least two five-star generals: Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. They've earned every star. [Note: If you don't like the analogy of an army, then think of it as a parade, or fan club, or party.]

4. Become a people person. At home in Fairfield, I'm a quiet shy fellow. Here, few people know who I am or what I do. But when I go out to speak or to attend trade shows, I become a new person -- a people person. Fortunately I enjoy that interaction with the public. If you are going to become a successful book promoter, you, too, will have to cultivate that fun feeling when you go out into the public. If you genuinely care about people, you will have no problem facing the public. Just open your heart and let it out.

When speaking to the Women Writers of the West conference several years ago, I realized that when I talked about creating relationships, I was really talking about making friends. Because that is what every good marketer really does: They make friends. When you begin to think of marketing in this way, everything about marketing books becomes more fun. Suddenly there is no foreignness, no fear, no feelings of inadequacy. We can all make friends. It's a talent we've had since we were little children. Use it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Eight Second Rule?


John Kremer
at says...

Bookstore browsers spend an average of 8 seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds studying the back cover before deciding whether to buy your book? If your book cover doesn’t instantly hook their interest and eyeballs, and then convey the right message about you, your chance to make a sale is gone.

And you don’t just lose the sale. You lose a potentially long-term, highly profitable customer. Most authors, speakers and consultants use their books as the introductory product in a funnel of increasingly expensive products and services. When prospects don’t buy your book, you lose the $19.95 sale and the thousands of dollars they could have spent on your audio programs, seminars, and coaching/consulting services.

Reader sustainability is our first job when we think about marketing our work. If you can't sustain your customers you will not succeed in giving a long life to your work.

Can Books Survive in the Facebooked, ADD, Multichannel Universe?

Can Books Survive in this age of electronic madness?
Sure they can. But only if publishers adopt Wark's perspective and provide new ways for people to encounter the written word. We need to stop thinking about the future of publishing and think instead about the future of reading.

Every other form of media that's gone digital has been transformed by its audience. Whenever a newspaper story or TV clip or blog post or white paper goes online, readers and viewers begin commenting about it on blogs, snipping their favorite sections, passing them along. The only reason the same thing doesn't happen to books is that they're locked into ink on paper.

Stop thinking about future of publishing and think instead about future of reading.

Publishing and publishers have sought to abandon the present by embracing the past. Authors are being shortchanged by shortsighted marketing plans and an out of date view of who the customer really is, where they live and what they want.

The future of publishing is a broad, positive and exciting place, full of new challenges that give way to new markets, new marketing and a two way communication vehicle that lets authors dialogue with readers to understand what the reader wants to buy.

"Fear Not," the angel said, because the shepherds would automatically fear the unknown ahead. That advice is as true today as it was in Bethlehem.

At WillowCreek Marketing, we connect authors to their readers and build lifelong relationships that enhance and promote positive communication to create stable and profitable, long term, customers.

Growing Fiction Category Offers ‘Escape'

Good News. Christians love their favorite authors enough to buck the trends and that love has resulted in Christian Fiction being recognized as one of the only growing categories in publishing this year.

Christian Retailing Magazine sums up this surprise in their latest edition.

Growing Fiction Category Offers ‘Escape'

Allen Arnold
Defying current sales trends, Christian fiction continues to grow-offering a bright spot for retailers, publishers and readers during a bleak economy.

In the midst of the economic recession, some publishers are targeting growth while others are launching new fiction lines for the first time. They attribute the growth to consumers' desire to escape their day-to-day challenges-at a reasonable price.

Thomas Nelson's fiction has seen double-digit growth this year over the previous 12 months, translating to "millions in revenue," according to Allen Arnold, senior vice president and publisher, fiction. Weeks into the new fiscal year, the company is "projecting aggressive growth" for the next year, which includes summer releases from Ted Dekker, Colleen Coble, T.L. Hines and Eric Wilson.

"No publishing group is bulletproof, but fiction that offers hope is one of the best places to be right now," Arnold said.

Shannon Marchese, senior editor, fiction for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, pointed to a parallel between fiction's popularity during the current recession and previous economic troughs.

"Historically speaking, novels have been an affordable means of entertainment and 'escape,' so to speak," she said. "The Wizard of Oz is one of the best examples, in both book and film form, of a very popular choice, written during an economic shift and attracting fans during the Great Depression.

"(In) an environment where it's difficult to turn on the news, I believe fiction that offers a different view of the world, like fantastical or allegorical stories or some of the sub-genres, with embedded truth will draw an audience looking for a good story and a bright spot."

Read the full report in the June 6 issue of Christian Retailing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Texas Hospital Removes American Flag From Office - Calls it "Offensive"

Texas Hospital Call American Flag "Offensive"

Kindred Hospital Corporation in Mansfield, Texas removed an American Flag from an employee's office and left it on the floor, referring to it as offensive, yesterday.

Kindred Hospital - Mansfield
1802 Highway 157 North
Mansfield, TX 76063
Phone: (817) 473-6101

I think we need a letter writing campaign to help them see the light.

Sales Occur at the Intersection of Need and Opportunity

*Beef Prices*

It's a summer holiday weekend and a man walks into a butcher shop which has a sign in the window saying "Ground Sirloin: 29 cents per pound" The man says, "I'm having a cookout this weekend. I'd like 5 pounds of your ground sirloin, please."

The butcher shakes his head and says, "Sorry. I'm all out."

The man, disappointed goes down the street to another butcher shop and asks, "How much is your ground sirloin?"

The proprietor replies, "It's $3.29 per pound."

"Three twenty nine!?!" exclaimed the customer. "Just up the street he sells it for 29 cents!"

The butcher smiles calmly at the gentleman and asks, "Does he have any?"

"No. He's out of it right now."

"Well," says the butcher. "When I don't have any, I can sell it for 19 cents per pound!"

So many companies offer terrific deals on things they don't have to deliver.

Self Publishing companies can be like that, offering what looks like great pricing, amazing marketing opportunities and fine tuned promotional campaigns. It's what they're selling that they actually deliver that counts and that's where you find the truth.

I was surfing one well known self publishing company that advertises their network has distribution to 25,000 bookstores, Including 2,500 Christian Bookstores.
The truth is EVERYONE has distribution potential to 25,000 bookstores.

Bookstores order what sells. Bookstores order from distributors and though a "Self Publishing Giant" might have an account with major distributors, it doesn't mean they have marketed, serviced and successfully gotten their clients books into those outlets. It means they know the name of all the major distributors.

Marketing for authors is a combination of hard work, perseverance, combined with the science of direct to consumer contact and consistently, creative approaches that speak to the reader in terms they respect, understand and to which they respond.

There are no short cuts, other than the disciplines of direct marketing that have been tested, refined and applied consistently. Any self publisher promoting their massive distribution list is simply repeating the number of potential outlets for those who are willing to engage in activities that open those doors.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book Expo America gets underway this week and the "buzz" is all about what's not happening.

Worried Book Industry Gathers For Convention

NEW YORK (AP) - This weekend's BookExpo America will be a good time for promoting, predicting, mingling - and worrying.

For example, the audio market.

Except for e-books, sales are down throughout the publishing industry and the numbers have looked especially steep for audio sales. The Association of American Publishers has seen a 47 percent drop this year: Just 14 publishers reported to the AAP, but they include Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and virtually all the major New York companies.

The numbers at Nielsen BookScan, which covers about 75 percent of sales (although not audio downloads), are down 20 percent this year from 2008. Data compiled by the newly founded Institute for Publishing Research Institute projects a 4.7 percent fall in 2009.

Anthony Goff, president of the Audio Publishers Association, doesn't know the exact figures (the APA is assembling its own statistics). But he is sure they are bad.

"We know all too well what's happening in the marketplace," says Goff, the publisher and director of audiobooks at the Hachette Book Group USA, among those reporting sales to the publishers association.

Goff and others cite a few reasons for audiobooks' troubles. Sales of physical audiobooks, dropping for years, have been especially poor and the relatively steady, but still emerging, digital audio market has yet to compensate.

With the economy shrinking, fewer people work, and fewer people drive to work; many audio customers listen in their cars. Audiobooks also tend to cost more. The audio download for the country's hottest title, Mark R. Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny," has a list price of $29.99, nearly $5 higher than for the hardcover.

"There is a sense that audiobooks are a luxury item. The gut feeling is that, 'OK, sales are down and the price points are of concern.' Publishers are trying to bring it down, but the cost of audio book production is so expensive it's hard to bring the cost down very far," says Goff, who estimates the cost can run as high as $40,000-$50,000, especially if a celebrity has been signed up as the reader.

The state of audiobooks will be among the countless topics - from Google to Arab publishing - at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, where around 25,000 publishers, booksellers, agents and writers are expected at a time when sales are falling, and advances and print runs have been cut.

Like the industry itself, this year's booksellers convention seeks to be smaller, more economical and more committed to a digital future.

The show will likely cover 20 percent to 25 percent less space than last year and cocktails, rather than dinners, will be the standard for after-hours gatherings. E-books, after years of being sidelined from the convention floor, will be centrally showcased at a New Media Zone, which will feature the Kindle and other e-book devices, and provide space for the growing number of bloggers.

"We're attempting to shine a light on the Internet and digital content
," says BookExpo show manager Lance Fensterman. "And we see BEA as becoming increasingly interactive."

Featured authors include Pat Conroy, David Baldacci and Richard Russo, along with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, actresses Julie Andrews and Julianne Moore, and the country's favorite airline pilot, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger. There won't be many major celebrities, but a good number of minor ones: Kathie Lee Gifford and Mary Jo Buttafucco, Oliver North and the Amazing Kreskin, Emeril Lagasse and "Sneaky Chef" Missy Chase Lapine.

Endlessly criticized as too expensive and even irrelevant, the booksellers convention remains the industry's best chance to meet in person, although some may prefer to be kept apart.

On the Net:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day - What is Taps?

If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which taps were played; this brings out a new meaning of it. Here is something EVERY AMERICAN should know.

We in the United States have all heard the haunting song, Taps. It's
The song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song; If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment. When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.

The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb With shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out.

Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army. The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy

His request was only partially granted. The Captain had asked if he Could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral. The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.

But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him Only one musician. The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform. This wish was granted.

The haunting melody, we now know as Taps ... used at military funerals was born. The words are ...

From the lakes ... From the hills ...
From the sky ... All is well ... Safely rest ... God is nigh ...

Fading light ... Dims the sight .. And a star ... Gems the sky ...
Gleaming bright ... From afar ... Drawing nigh ... Falls the night ...

Thanks and praise ... For our days ... Neath the sun . Neath the stars.
Neath the sky ... As we go ... This we know ... God is nigh ...

I, too, have felt the chills while listening to Taps but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along. I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.

On Memorial Day

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

A Christian group has proposed an amendment to our constitution. Here’s why:

Believing that Almighty God is the source of all power and authority in civil government, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Ruler of Nations, and that the revealed Will of God is of Supreme authority in civil affairs; Remembering that this country was settled by Christian men, with Christian ends in view, and that they gave a distinctly Christian character to the institutions which they established;

Perceiving the subtle and persevering attempts which are made to prohibit the reading of the Bible in our Public Schools, to corrupt the Family, to abolish the Prayer in our National and State Legislatures, and other Christian features of our institutions, and so to divorce the American Government from all connection with the Christian religion;
Viewing with grave apprehension the corruption of our politics, and the disregard of moral and religious character in those who are exalted to high places in the nation;

Believing that a written Constitution ought to contain explicit evidence of the Christian character and purpose of the nation which frames it, and perceiving that the silence of the Constitution of the United States in this respect is used as an argument against all that is Christian in the us-age and administration of our Government.

To the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled:
We, citizens of the United States, respectfully ask your honorable bodies to adopt measures for amending the Constitution of the United States, so as to read, in sub-stance, as follows:

We, the people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, his revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian govern-ment, and in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the inalienable rights and the blessings of life, liberty, and the pur-suit of happiness to ourselves, our posterity, and all the people, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This Christian Amendment is not the work of Tom DeLay, Bill Frist or Rick Santoram. It was not proposed by Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, or James Dobson. It came from the National Reform Association on January 27, 1864.

This group of Christian ministers presented it to President Abraham Lincoln because they were convinced that the Civil War in which the nation was embroiled was not about slavery but was an act of God.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Colorado Christian Writers Conference

When you sign up for a writers conference, the question always seems to be, "what am I going to get for my money?"

Marlene Bagnull has discovered the answer to that question, at least for some 250 writers last week in Estes Park. At 7500 feet people received a full schedule of clinics, continuing classes, seminars and critiques, that started early and ended late. Most folks didn't last through twelve straight hours of brain drain but got so much out of each day, they had to make copious notes to keep it all straight.

The faculty was pretty extensive, also. Here is a short list of just authors in attendance.

Liz Babbs

James Scott Bell

Dianne Butts

Sue Cameron

Sandy Cathcart

Wanda Dyson

Suzie Eller

Dianna Gay

Kristen Heitzmann

Virelle Kidder

David LeCompte

Robert Liparulo

Rick Marschall

Susan Meissner

Diane Obbema

Emily Osburne

Katherine Porter

Tim Shoemaker

Susan May Warren

Get the idea?

These people know their work and they dug in to the work of those who attended and helped sharpen, cut, add and edit the work in ways that make it better, clearer, harder and more exciting, to catch the attention of the list of editors that were in the same room.

Marlene Bagnull - Publisher and Editor, Ampelos Press; author; writing mentor

Jessica Barnes - Associate Editor, WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Jean Blackmer - MOPS International Publishing Manager

Craig Bubeck - Wesleyan Publishing House, Eleison Publishing

Jeff Gerke - Publisher, Marcher Lord Press

Nick Harrison - Senior Editor, Harvest House Publishers

Cindy Kenney - Representative, WinePress Publishing

Catherine Lawton - Cladach Publishing

Shannon Marchese - Senior Editor, Fiction, The WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

Amy Nappa - Executive Editor and Champion for Women's Ministry - Group Publishing

Linda Evans Shepherd - Publisher, Jubilant Press; founder Right to the Heart of Women e-zine and AWSA; author; speaker

Natasha Sperling - Managing Editor for young adult books, Bethany House Publishers

W. Terry Whalin - Vice-President and Publisher, Intermedia Publishing Group

Joe Wheeler - Joe Wheeler Books

Jeanette Windle - Author Representative, Kregel Publications

When their work completed, the conferees were still in the room with some of the toughest, most powerful agents in the business.

Terry Burns - Agent, Hartline Literary Agency

Jeff Dunn - Agent, Winters & King

Teresa Evenson - TEAM Services

Diana Flegal - Agent, Hartline Literary Agency

C. Hope Flinchbaugh - Agent, HigherLife Publishing

Rachelle Gardner - Agent, WordServe Literary

Bill Jensen - Agent, William K. Jensen Literary Agency

Chip MacGregor - Agent, MacGregor Literary Agency

Don S. Otis - Veritas Communications

If that didn't complete the work, then...

Teresa Evenson - TEAM Services

Was there to help them through the questions about how one promotes their work once it is published. Teresa made quite an impression on the writers present. Her continuing clinic on publicity and being your own publicist was just one of the many venues directed at the business of writing, along with lots of attention to the ministry.

All in all you need to see it to understand it and I have an amazing amount of respect for Marlene and her fantastic staff.

Monday, May 18, 2009

John on Twitter

You all know the publishing world has gone Twitter Crazy! You can find me at,

I just returned from teaching at the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference and met some of the nicest, kindest, most talented and decent people in the world.

The weather was Colorado gorgeous, which means it was Florida freezing but the conference made a huge impression on me.

It is owned and operated by Marlene Bagnull of Write His Answer.

She has held it for years and another in Philadelphia in August.

Both are worth the price of admission.

Terry Whalin, of Intermedia Publishing Group

was my roommate and we had a wonderful time, though Terry had to suffer through my loud breathing at night.

Sorry Terry!

His new publishing venture allows him to say yes to writers, instead of the never ending succession of rejections he has spent decades sending out for other publishing houses. We'll talk about Terry one day soon and catch you all up.

Super Agent, Bill Jensen,

one of the most respected agents in Christian Publishing was gracious to this first time faculty member and led me and three others, on a sunset climb to the top of Bible Point Mountain, where we saw the grave of a nineteen year old boy, who died in 1918. His memorial plaque, hammered into a huge bolder atop the grave made you want to cry.

The sun was disappearing so fast we had to hurry down or make the walk in total darkness but the scenery, antelope, mule deer and stupendous view were worth the effort.

In the next couple of weeks, I will attempt to acquaint you all with what is coming of the paradigm shift in publishing and how the smartest people in the business are getting ahead of it and making the most of the new world of opportunity.

In the meantime...

Peace be the Journey

Do You Ever Wonder Who is Buying Books?

I came across this while working on another project, today. It opens a lot of discussion avenues for the future and for those who wonder about their publishing careers.

The presentations from the Making Information Pay conference organized by publishing consultants Mike Shatzkin and Ted Hill for the Book Industry Study Group are now up on the web.

Most readers now get book information online

* 67% of readers say they find reviews online vs. in traditional print media
* 54.8% rely on online/internet ads to find books
* 24.8% rely on retailer e-mails

Seniors are embracing e-readers and e-books

* Of Kindle owners, people 50 or older are the biggest adopters, followed by 18-34 year olds
* 35-49 year olds who read e-books prefer doing it on their iPhones
* But most people (48%) are still using their computers or laptops to read e-books
* E-book sales grew 183% among seniors aged 65+ and 174% among seniors aged 55-65

Sales channels skew by age

* Online is the #1 selling channel: 23% of the market vs. retail chains at 21%
* Younger readers are big supporters of bricks and-mortar retail, while older buyers tend to buy online
* 20% of all female buyers and 16% of female buyers 65+ buy books through traditional consumer book clubs

Here are more highlights for all the omnicurious number crunchers out there. There’s lots to chew on and discuss. We welcome your comments below!
Who was reading in 2008

* 45% of Americans read a book last year
* The average age of those who read a book was 44
* 58% of readers are women
* 32% of readers are over the age of 55
* The average reader spends 5.2 hours reading per week vs. 15 hours online and 13.1 hours watching TV (In 2008, going online surpassed watching TV as a primary activity)

Who was buying books in 2008

* 50% of Americans over 13 bought a book
* The average age of the most frequent book buyers was 50 years old
* 57% of book buyers are female and they buy 65% of books (e.g. women buy books and they buy in volume)
* 67% of books were bought by people over 42; Gen Xer bought 17% of books; Gen Y bought 10%
* Of books purchased by those who earn $100K or more, mystery and detective fiction represent 16% of sales, juvenile 13%, romance 6%, thrillers 4%, and comics and graphic novels 4%
* 41% of all books are purchased by those who earn less than $35K
* The average price of a book purchased last year was $10.08
* 31% of all book purchases are impulse buys

Who bought what digitally in 2008

* People 50 or older are leading the way in adopting the Kindle, followed by those 18-34
* People 35-49 prefer using their iPhones to read e-books
* But most people (48%) are still using their computers or laptops to read e-books
* While e-books are1.5% of the total book market, ebook sales grew 125% overall in 2008
* E-book sales grew 183% among seniors aged 65+ and 174% among seniors aged 55-65

Today’s fiction consumer

* Mystery/Detective and Romance account for more than half of all fiction people buy
* Fiction buyers in every category are predominantly female

Where people bought in 2008

* Online is the #1 selling channel: 23% of market, vs. retail chains at 21% (these numbers flipped in 2008 vs. 2007, when retail chains were at 23%)
* 21% of fiction was purchased online in 2008
* Younger readers are bigger supporters of bricks and-mortar retail while older buyers buy online
* Traditional book clubs (e.g. Bookspan) still capture significant part of older adult market – 20% female buyers and 16% of 65+ female buyers

How people became aware of books in 2008

* 67% say they see reviews online vs. in traditional print media
* 54.8% rely on online/internet ads to find books
* 24.8% rely on retailer e-mails
* 15.7% rely on ads in newspapers and magazines
* 21% of fiction purchases in 2008 were based on online awareness, with online book reviews the lead source of information (6.2%), followed by online ads (4.8%), the author’s personal website (4.6%), e-mails from retailers (3.2%), publisher’s website (2.9%) and online forums, blogs, Google and Yahoo searches (1.1%).
* Fantasy readers and romance readers are more active on social networks than thriller and mystery lovers

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