Author’s note: This blog post will end my digression into challenging more writing!
Note #2 – Next Tuesday at 7:30 CST on my Facebook page – Carlton L. Coon Sr. I will be doing a Facebook Live Webinar. My topic Disciple-making – Overcoming the Sociological Challenges of Newcomers! The gist of the matter: In some instances, existing church members act in ways that keep the circle closed. If that is not corrected and quickly – you won’t keep new converts. Join me to learn some solutions.
Concept: We need an expanded circle of influence for quality Apostolic writing. Such an expansion could first begin with sister organizations. Below, I offer some suggestions to accomplish this objective.
My library is between 5 and 10,000 books. It includes books from many authors. They come from many different organizations. My ordination and majority of ministry has been in United Pentecostal Church (UPCI). As a result, UPCI constituents buy the majority of my books. I’m grateful for each person who buys one of my books.
Current Reality – Buying and Selling
There is currently a great difficulty in cross-pollinating beyond my organization. Would leading Apostolic authors be wise to band together to build marketing bridges?
The largest publishing entity in Apostolic ranks is the Pentecostal Publishing House (PPH). The largest book-selling entity in the Apostolic world is also PPH.
Looking at the untapped markets, the future of a self-publisher writing, marketing and selling a book is great. Some realities do need to be considered:
- A large publisher/seller is less likely to promote an author-published book. Promotion may happen but it is not assured. This is business sense. A publisher/seller makes more money from a book they publish. No self-published author can expect anything different from any publisher. If I were in management I’d handle it the same.
- There is no place for self-published authors to market their book(s) from a single website. Pastor Bill Jones, (Bolivar, Missouri) has written an excellent book about leadership. His target audience is younger adolescents. Bill’s book gets positive reviews. Like most, Bill does not have a clearinghouse, other than Amazon, from which he can sell his book.
- Books published get stuck in an organizational silo. The information and content in Bill’s book will tend to be limited to the organization he is part of. Would his book benefit people in other organizations? Of course, but to date, there is little opportunity for such cross-pollination.
Could a capable entrepreneur develop a “Pentecostal Publishers Clearinghouse?” By design, it would market, sell and ship books written by self-published authors. The primary market would be constituents of the the over 200 Apostolic organizations in North America.
It could work something like this.
- An author (or artist, if music is included) pays an annual fee to be a member of the Clearinghouse. Base the annual fee on the number of items the author wishes to sell.
- The Clearinghouse would warehouse a small number of each book.
- The Clearinghouse would develop and maintain a website. Equal space would be provided for each member’s biography. Contact information and an author’s overview of each book would also be on the website.
- Sliding ads promoting an author’s book would be available at a specific cost to the author. Such ads would be on a first-come, first serve basis. A policy would make sure no single author commandeered all the ad space.
- The Clearinghouse would do online marketing. and sales, using purchased social media and google ads. Low-cost state of the art credit card and paypal processing would be offered. The Clearinghouse would have no credit option.
- The Clearinghouse would handle shipping in a cost effective manner.
- On a quarterly basis, the inventory updates. Each author receives 60 or 65% of the gross for books sold. As with Fulfillment by Amazon, any books damaged are a loss to the author, not the Clearinghouse.
- The Clearinghouse would email a weekly sales newsletter. An author could buy priority placement.
- A weekly Fabulous Friday “Twitter” and “Facebook” sale. This opportunity would be available to no more than three authors. The author would pay for this marketing effort.
- The Clearinghouse would work with self-published authors to develop sales to move out “old inventory.”
Growing the Thing
To build an email list that expands beyond any one organization. Where possible the Clearinghouse would have a representative attend national events.
There would be three goals: (1) Look for additional self-published authors. (2) Grow an extensive email list. (3) Sell a limited array of books/materials. (4) If welcomed, offer seminars and resources on writing, self-publishing, and marketing.
What I’m suggesting is not perfect, nor would everything I’ve described work. With a bit of tweaking and experience I see something like this benefiting authors. It will also provide readers additional material.
The entrepreneur who tackles will need to have (1) A bit of seed money (2) Someone on the team who is a good webmaster. (3) The ability to do spreadsheets on various scenarios to show a way to make a profit. (4) Good communication skills (5) A sharp business mind. (6) Strong work ethic. (7) A determination to serve the Apostolic movement beyond a single organization.