Thank you for taking this journey along with me- letting me share with you the steps I am on in writing, publishing and marketing my new book, “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch.”  This last step, “marketing” is the one I am currently IN at this moment. And here is the bit I am learned so far….

1. Your best marketing these days is done BEFORE your book is published- through your platform on social media. As we already discussed, it is no longer optional to have a strong social media presence if you really want to get your book out there and noticed. One of the best marketing decisions that we made was going with to raise the funding for the professional editing and publishing of the book. While the original intention was raising money for the book project, the best byproduct of using kickstarter for us was the way it got the word out there that this book was in the process of being published. I have sold around 337 books in the past 3 weeks, but 264 of those were through the kickstarter alone.  I got to “meet” and talk with people from all over the world and get honest feedback BEFORE the book went to print. And there are other book funding options out there- “gofundme” for example. And yes, you can apply online for writer’s grants to publish your book (I found several out there)- these grants cannot get you the grass roots support and social media bump that will actually get people buying your book.

2. You need to know your market and target your market.  I really had it in my head to just FINISH the book. I just wanted to say I had it DONE. I hadn’t really thought too far beyond that at the time. I talked to a pastor recently who wrote an entire book- eighteen years ago- and it’s still sitting in his sock drawer.  He just didn’t know where to start on marketing the book. I know that my book is written for children’s ministry leaders and volunteers. So, I had to find facebook groups, google groups, Christian writer’s groups to go talk about my book.  I am currently writing letters that I will be sending out to children’s directors for states/districts and colleges, across the miles and across denominations. What will come of it? I don’t know.  But I do know that things left to themselves tend to SINK not SWIM- so I am attempting to be proactive.  I am watching YouTube tutorials on marketing books and joining published author’s clubs hoping to learn all I can.  Who is your book written FOR? Where can you talk directly to larger groups of these people? If your book is a children’s book, you have written a book for children, but your target audience is parents (who will be buying your book). You need to be crystal clear on who you wrote your book for, who will be interested in it, and where you can speak to these people.

3. You will need endorsements and blurbs- As they say, “The back cover sells the book.”  Think about what you do when you are considering buying a book. Most people pick it up, look at the front cover, look at the inside jacket, look at the author’s bio page in the back, and read the back cover. And people are much more likely to buy the book if they recognize the name of someone they trust endorsing your book. I found sample query letters online, asking for book endorsements.  Then I asked myself, “Who are the most respected people in my field? Those who others (including myself) look to for direction, inspiration?”  I wrote letters to 20 different leading children’s pastors asking them to read a sample from the book (two chapters) and then to write an endorsement or a blurb for the book. I held me breath when I sent the letters.  It was one of the scariest things I have ever done. I knew the worst any of them could ever say was “no”, but I still had to steel myself to hear “no” (or silence) from my heroes if need be! This is grow up time- time to square your shoulders and jump out of the boat, no life jacket or tow rope. For me, the result was 1 “no”, 1 “later”, 2 silence and …….16 endorsements! I was overwhelmed, (I cried a little), and it boosted my confidence enough to push ahead and finish getting the book to print. Is it scary to get those endorsements? Oh yeah. But it is so worth it when it comes to marketing your book to the people you are hoping to reach.

4. Using media hubs- this would include creating a webpage or Facebook page for your book. You can also create banner ads, commercials, radio or contact your local media.  I called the editor of our regional newspaper, and just asked if it could work. To my surprise, he decided to run a full story on the book, paper and online- it was amazing. You never know if you don’t ask! A friend of mine got hers on the local cable station (I haven’t done that to date).   I have only begun this stage, so I haven’t done a website or Facebook page for the book yet.  And there are some great services you can purchase through Xulon press, or Amazon for media advertising. I also have a new friend, Jeremy Collins, a children’s pastor/media director at Bethel Harvest Church in Lexington, KY.  He does websites and media advertising as part of his business. If you would like to contact him, he is on my friend’s list on facebook. Pastor Jeremy is currently hosting the CMWebseminar this October (which he created), a totally FREE children’s ministry conference that will be broadcast 24/7 on that day worldwide. I am speaking about the book at that conference and would love to have you sign up today! (I’ll post the link on my facebook wall, but it’s also on Jeremy Collin’s wall).

5. Take every opportunity you can to speak about your book- book signings, conferences, school assemblies, trainings and more. Marketing is a slower process than you think, given the onslaught of information people have to deal with every day. So you will have to keep speaking about your book, in various ways, in many different locations- and don’t give up! This includes guest blogging, writing book endorsements for OTHER authors every chance you get, and writing articles when you have the chance. I also suggest putting your book on Tumblr, Pinterest, Goodreads and more.  Start rating other people’s books on author sites like “Goodreads” if you want people to take interest in and rate yours. Seek after ratings on Amazon etc.- it really helps to sell your book.

Thank you so much for walking this dream out with me.  All God’s best for seeing YOUR dream become reality and the book that God has put inside of you become the book on your coffee table. God bless- Trisha Peach