Seventy-six per cent of the population in the United States is Christian. Of this, studies show that about 25 million actually buy Christian-themed products. That’s a pretty big number to make a connection with.
Granted not all who profess to be Christians actually want to read Christian fiction, but there’s certainly enough of a market for any Christian author.
The pathway for marketing a Christian novel will be to place your book in the places where readers are looking for books. Here are seven tips to help you get started.
1. Make sure that the phrase “Christian Fiction” is on the back cover of your book, so it will be categorized correctly in bookstores and easily discerned by readers. Don’t make the mistake of trying to appeal to everyone. A reader who doesn’t like Christian-based novels will drop your book once he realizes it was written for a Christian audience. Likewise, a reader who only wants to read novels from a Christian perspective may not realize your book is that unless you make it plain for her to see.
2. Work on getting your book placed in Christian bookstores. Start with your local Christian bookstore. They will be much more open to give a local author shelf space. Once you have your book in one store, encourage as many people as possible to buy it from that store. Then, use the leverage of those sales when contacting other bookstores to follow.
3. Join Christian writer’s groups. Here’s a few to check out. Beliefnet.com, FaithWriters.com, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Catholic Writers Guild. Also check out places like Goodreads, Yahoo, and other large groups that have special categories for Christian writers.
4. Blog on topics on your website that are specific to a Christian audience. Comment on current events that your audience would find informative, engaging, even entertaining. Make sure you use keywords that will help your audience land on your blog when searching for news or information.
5. Comment on Christian blogs that allow you to leave a link back to your website. Make sure your link goes to a page that will showcase your book and writing ability in the best light. It’s a great idea to offer a free first chapter or other incentive to get them to try out your book.
6. Get a famous person in the Christian community to endorse your book and place it prominently on the front or back cover. Endorsements are extremely powerful for selling books for any author, but mandatory for beginning authors. Many Christian authors will give you an endorsement if you ask (of course, your book must be good) and give them enough lead time. Don’t assume that just because you are an unknown they won bother. If you don’t have a famous Christian author, why don’t you ask your pastor to endorse your book!
7. Send out a news releases to Christian media. Almost all Christian newspapers, TV and radio websites have a page where you can submit a release. You can also send out news releases to other media that have Christian sections.
Once you start tapping into a few Christian resources you’ll find that it will lead to many more. Use search engines to find Christians blogs, websites, and groups. Offer to speak to groups in your local community and church.