The Best Places to Sell Your Christian Book

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Everyone wants to make money from the book they write. Except for some Christian authors. Many of these don’t realize there is a direct connection between book sales and the impact their book has in the lives of readers.

These Christians say, “If my book just changes one life, it will be worth it.” That seems like a foolish waste of time and money. If you are only interested in changing one life, walk across the street and speak to your neighbor about Christ. No need to make the effort to write and publish a book.

Books are a mass medium, and for Christians, our goal should be to write them in such a way that they touch as many lives as possible.

Readers Don’t Value Free Ebooks

Far too many Christians write books that are so bad, that no one buys them and they are forced to give them away. They think they have done a great thing when they see 5,000 or more people have downloaded a free book. They don’t realize most go unread. According to research, people don’t open 60% of the ebooks they buy. The open rate for free ebooks is as low as 20%, and there are no assurances people actually read them after they open them.

A free ebook once had appeal, but that is no longer true since they have become ubiquitous. In most cases, “free” means they have entered the dumping ground for books that no one will pay to read. Few Christian authors have the altruism to give away paperback editions, which are expensive to produce and ship.

Christian authors must recognize that selling books is as much a part of the book publishing process as writing. The time is long past when Christian writers can be prima donnas and let others handle the “dirty work” of book sales. Even major Christian publishers expect potential authors to have an audience already in place today to spur sales and to participate in marketing at their own expense. After you you sell your first 100,000 books, a major publisher may assign a publicist to you and start paying for the promotion of your book.

You can and should have the joy of triggering book sales. However, there is an important precondition to getting any sales at all.

Two Important Preconditions to Getting Sales

There is no point in whipping a dead horse. Many Christian books don’t make it out of the starting gate because the authors have not done their homework. They automatically think they are somehow special and God will bless their book. That is almost never the case. If it happens, it occurs so rarely that it makes the news. Magical thinking aside, properly marketed books make bestseller lists on a regular basis.

There are two preconditions you want to consider before you write your book.

Determine Reader Interest in Advance

Will anyone be interested in reading your book? That is the first task of any author. The notion that “everyone will be interested in my book” is more groundless magical thinking. People buy books that fit specific genres, and you must write for a specific niche.

One of the best ways you can predict if your book might sell or not is to examine the market. You want to write a book that is better on a topic than the ones readers are currently buying. You want a preexisting market for your book if you expect it to be a success.

How can you procrastinate this? There is a great tool that allows you to gather statistics from the world’s largest bookseller, Amazon. PublisherRocket allows you to see all the other books in your anticipated genre and their sales figures. Here is the PubisherRocket competition analysis for the term “Christian Parenting.”

Notice that you see the category of the book (very important to getting sales on Amazon—it must be in the right category), the author’s name, the age of the book (in days), it’s sales rank on Amazon (ABSR), the length in pages, use of Keywords in search (KWT), the sales price, the estimated daily sales in US dollars, and the estimated monthly sales the publisher or author earn.

PublisherRocket

 

You can even examine the type of covers that spur sales. Many novice authors select a cover for artistic reasons, but seasoned authors select covers based on their marketing value.

PublisherRocket removes the voodoo from book marketing. Research is never foolproof, but it’s far more valuable than magical thinking about your book’s prospects for reader acceptance. No writer should be without this tool. The cost is small when compared to the time you will waste writing a book for which there is no market.

Determine Your Ability to Reach Readers Cheaply

Your goal as an author is to reach as many potential book buyers as inexpensively as possible. As I mentioned, your book will not be of interest to everyone, so you must determine your Narrow Vertical Market (NVM). You must determine the audience that is most likely to buy your book and seek to reach those people.

Today, there is an emphasis on book advertising. Both Amazon and Facebook, for example, allow you to buy ads aimed at a specific demographic. You have varying degrees of control, but ideally, you could present the Christian parenting book ad to just those who use that search term.

No book sells itself. You must be proactive in letting potential readers know it exists and where they can buy it.

This raises several issues for Christian authors. The first is, will Amazon or Facebook or others allow you the granularity so you can appear only to those searching for “Christian parenting?” It is ineffective to search for “Christian” and “parenting” as two separate terms. That won’t help you find your specific demographic.

That brings us to the second important aspect. You must have a high “conversion rate,” which means most people click on the ad link and buy your book. It will not do if you are spending $100 on ads but only selling $25 worth of books.

So, where can you reach the most people in your NVM as cheaply as possible?

The Best Places to Sell Your Christian Book

1. The best place to sell your book is on Amazon.com. You will need to let people know it’s there, but it is the world’s largest bookstore. You can publish at no cost. They take care of paying sales tax and shipping and send you the money you earned at the end of the month.

2. The next best place to sell your book is Draft2Digital.com. Amazon may be the biggest bookselling platform, but it is not the only platform. Draft2Digital enables you to sell on Apple, Kobo, and all the other major platforms with minimal hassle.

3. Your own website is among the best places to sell your book. No, you don’t want one of those free websites—those will destroy your credibility. You want a website where you can engage your readers. Give them a “home base” where they can learn more about their favorite author (you!) and your upcoming releases. Of course, you’ll want to sell your book by linking to Amazon or Draft2Digital. Have no shame when it comes to promoting your book.

4. Sell your book at your church, church groups, or at special speaking engagements you can create. Book signings are rather old-school, but people will attend mini-workshops on the topic of your book at bookstores or churches. You have a back-of-the-room table set up. Many authors don’t realize they can buy their own books at wholesale prices from Amazon, plus postage. If your paperback book sells for $14.95, you can make $10-$11 dollars from each one, for example. You want those kinds of profits from a captive audience.

5. You can sell books on your own social media pages, but that’s the least effective. The whole point of all social media is to drive visitors to your website sales page. Better yet, get your followers to spread the news about your book to their followers. You get a multiplication effect that way. Word-of-mouth continues to be the cheapest and most effective way to sell books.

Selling your book requires unrelenting effort. You didn’t give up when you were writing, and you can’t give up on promotion. Book promotion is an essential part of the creative process.


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