Posts Tagged ‘waterbrook’

Using Generic Backgrounds in Product Highlights

You can enrich newsletter and social media posts by creating backgrounds to which you can apply different book cover images as needed. In this one, the purpose was to highlight three new release hardcovers from Penguin Random House that we are selling at a cheaper “our price” to try to cut the pain of PRH not providing ITPEs for the Canadian market.

If you’re using it a lot, you can vary the background colors using your favourite image editor. Then you add the titles and save it as a separate file:

Feel free to help yourselves to these.

Two of these were books I would like to have reviewed here, on Thinking Out Loud, and with a short excerpt at Christianity 201. If anyone from Waterbrook or Multnomah is reading this, it’s time to up your game with social media influencers in Canada.

When an Author Changes Publishers

It’s that moment that, just when you’ve got a number of customers hooked on a new author, they jump ship and land with a publisher who only releases first editions in hardcover across North America.

U.S. industry people simply won’t get what I’m writing here, but Canadians are a frugal people. They’ll wait the year for the trade paperback conversion and by then they will have forgotten they meant to buy the title. Momentum lost.

This time it was John Mark Comer, a keep-your-eye-on young pastor from Portland. I’m a fan. His new title is with Waterbrook, and it’s hardcover only on both sides of the 49th Parallel, and at $23.99 US (for only 224 pages), it’s just too rich for my customers even if I discount it.

Furthermore, Waterbrook-Multnomah is simply not forthcoming with review copies. I have these three blogs. One reports new releases. One reviews the book. One prints a short excerpt. The posts link to each other. It’s a triple win for publisher who will work with me. But after three distinct attempts, I could land neither an advance manuscript copy, and Advance Reader Copy, or a peek at the finished book.

Waterbrook (Penguin Random House), Howard (Simon and Schuster) and FaithWords (Hachette) don’t get it. I once spent nearly an hour on the phone with a Hachette sales manager (or VP of sales, I don’t remember) suggesting he take just one, single, Joyce Meyer title and release it here as an ITPE and then compare the numbers.

Couldn’t do it. Or wouldn’t do it. When will they learn we’re not the 51st state?

I’m not asking for these giant publishing houses to change their overall policies. I’m suggesting they see the Christian market differently; reconsider where faith-focused titles are concerned; or at least be willing to experiment.

The ITPEs do exist. Check out Eden books in the UK or Koorong and you see them. But literary agents (who are basically lawyers at heart) see Canada and the U.S. as a single market, except where it suits their purposes not to.

Fortunately Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins) and Zondervan (HarperCollins) don’t see it that way. Thank goodness.

But I’ve written all this before.

I hope they offered John Mark Comer a great deal. And I hope they are able to make good on their promises.

Free Samples Whet Appetites for Christian Books

5 Ways to Get Customers As Excited About Books as You Are

That water looks so good... and getting your customers to satisfy their thirst for Christian reading isn't rocket science when you know a few tricks.

That water looks so good… and getting your customers to satisfy their thirst for Christian reading isn’t rocket science when you know a few tricks.

by Paul Wilkinson

There’s a saying that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink;” to which the response is, “True, but you can put salt in its oats to make it thirsty.”

Getting customers — and people you would like to see return as customers — into the books you stock is always a challenge. These days, it seems like there are so many things competing for our attention. But there are some things you can do:

YouTubeI’ve mentioned this before but I’ll say it again. Let a customer listen to N.T. Wright or Francis Chan, and they will literally hear those authors in their heads as they are reading. I’ve directed many customers to an obscure clip from Chan titled “Balance beam” many times. These links create familiarity and intimacy with the authors and drive customers back to get their books. Of course, there are also book trailers. I wish the publishers would help us find out about them better, and have something to direct our customers to find them.

MagazinesMost stores say their magazine program is dying or has already died, but these resources were great for allowing people to read excerpts and reviews of current products. We’re currently doing a giveaway program with Faith Today magazine from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, to help people who want to be better connected stay in the loop. Our regional Christian newspaper, The Christian Herald, contains book reviews in each and every issue. For stores still playing the magazine game, Relevant, Christianity Today, various women’s magazines and Focus on the Family are examples of periodicals that can drive sales, though with Focus you’re competing with their in-house product sales.

Church LibrariesMany stores see the local church libraries as competition, but nothing could be further from the truth. Besides being among your best customers, they get people excited about books, authors and series, and I like to encourage some of the local church librarians to make sure the library is frequently mentioned in the announcements or the bulletin. With one or two churches, I’m going to take some pictures of the library myself, send them to the church office, just so they have an image to go with a mention in the weekend announcement slides, and mid-week e-mail blast.

Thrift ShopsSomeone made a point of tracking me down when Bibles for Missions opened a store in my town, to inform me that this would spell certain doom for my bookstore. Quite the opposite. People get a couple of titles in a 4-book set and come to us hoping to find the rest. I don’t have room to start a used department, so I see the thrift store as complementary to what we’re doing in the retail bookstore. Besides, the book departments at Value Village or The Salvation Army are testimony to the fact that book reading is alive and well.

Excerpts OnlineI recently asked an author for 6 or 7 paragraphs from his recent book. You would think I had asked for a share of his royalties. Publishers and distributors and literary agents couldn’t make it happen. I just don’t have time to transcribe from each and every book, or I would; and I can’t copy and paste excerpts from fuzzy .pdf pages. Christian publishers are totally dropping the ball on this one and they don’t get it. Fine. I understand that budgets don’t allow for printed samplers anymore. But it costs nothing to post sample chapters and then let retailers know where the heck they’re buried online. It’s the bookstore equivalent of handing out samples at the grocery store or Costco. Give me a little bit on a toothpick, and if it tastes good, I’ll probably throw the package in the shopping cart.

  • Another way publishers can help retailers with HTML elements for store newsletters, store websites and store Facebook and Twitter pages. But we’ve said that over and over again here. And here.

Dear Thomas Nelson; Dear Waterbrook/Multnomah

Dear Thomas Nelson:

I have five copies of Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage in my store which has now been shown to have plagiarized the writing of other authors. The author is also alleged to have been involved in manipulation of the New York Times bestseller list. I can no longer stock or sell this title with confidence but I am well beyond the normal return window. I am asking you, as a gesture of good faith, to send me five copies of some other merchandise at the same retail value in order that I remove Mark’s book from inventory.

Dear Waterbrook:

I have four copies of Steven Furtick’s Greater in hardcover in my store. I had great admiration for this writer and gave his first two books growing reviews, but now find his ministry to be greatly tainted by his building of a $1.75M house as well as widely reported related issues surrounding his book sales. I can no longer carry this product with confidence and am asking you, in good faith, to send me four copies of some other merchandise at the same retail value.


Jabez Author Returns with The God Pocket

I’ve watched this video a couple of times; but I’m not sure I get where Bruce Wilkinson is going with The God Pocket.  Is there some ancillary item called a “God Pocket” we should be carrying with this, or is he speaking figuratively?  The video isn’t clear so I checked the publisher marketing:

God wants to put a face on giving – and the face he has in mind is not yours, but his. What if you could take something out of your pocket today that would make God wonderfully personal and absolutely real to someone who, only minutes earlier, had been secretly calling out to God for help, for an answer, for any shred of evidence that He cares?

Discover the incredible resource that’s small enough to fit in your wallet or purse, yet big enough to change someone’s life – starting with yours. In “The God Pocket,” Bruce Wilkinson tells you what that little something is, explains how to deliver God’s provision to someone in need, and shares how God is ready to reveal Himself through you.

The God Pocket Prayer
Dear God,
Today I ask to be sent to show Your love and deliver Your funds to the person You choose. I carry Your provision in my God Pocket, and I am ready and willing. I am Your servant, Lord. Whenever You nudge me, I will respond! Here am I – please send me!

So I suppose he’s talking about giving, and the God Pocket is some kind of ‘wrapper’ for a money gift which is a token of financial encouragement, which I suppose you can design/create yourself; but in giving, there has been some advance preparation and prayer.

But that’s just a guess.  There are no consumer reviews on this product online yet.  The hardcover from Multnomah is fully titled: The God Pocket: He Owns It. You Carry It. Suddenly Everything Changes.

Update: One blogger mentions that the concept of “the God pocket” is introduced in You Were Born for This:

One concept that was very inspiring was the God Pocket.  He encourages Christians to set aside an amount of money (maybe $20) that they always keep tucked away in the billfold or pocketbook.  That money is to be used in the lives of others as needs present themselves.  He told the story of feeling led to leave all $20 as a tip for a waitress.  She came to him before he left in tears explaining that she was a single parent and had prayed God would provide the money she needed for medicine for her ill child.

Another wrote about You Were Born…:

A buzzword he coined “God Pocket” blessed my socks off.  I have a tendency to be what is kindest to call “thoughtlessly generous”– generous without giving thought to if it is how the Lord would want me to give.  I’m a need meeter.  If I see a need, I have the funds/ability, I try to meet it.  I love to try to help meet needs.  However, just because there is a need, and just because I can meet it, doesn’t mean that I am the best one for it and it’s hard to know when/where/how.  His idea of  the “God Pocket” really encouraged me to become deliberate in preparing to meet needs rather than reacting to the needs in front of me.  I think it is what I’ll take from the book and use/value the longest.

So my guess wasn’t too far off.

Serita Jakes Introduces New Novel

Serita Jakes is executive director of WoMan to Woman Ministries and also the wife of Bishop T. D. Jakes of The Potter’s House church in Dallas, Texas.   Her novel, The Crossing releases near the end of September with Waterbrook. 

Publisher marketing:

Imprisoned by memories, Claudia Campbell lives each day in the shadow of a ten-year-old murder. Who can set her free?

On the way home from a football game, a decade earlier, a masked gunman opened fi re on a Texas school bus.  Cheerleading coach B.J. Remington was killed, but her murderer was never found. Claudia, who had a close friendship with the young, spirited teacher, constantly relives the anguish of that day, caught in one moment in time. When her husband, the assistant district attorney, becomes determined to uncover the mystery of that tragedy, the secrets buried over the years threaten to tear their family apart.

Officer Casio Hightower will never forget the day his dreams were destroyed. A star quarterback with a promising future, Casio was on top of the world—until one bullet changed everything. He is eager to help Victor Campbell find B.J.’s killer, the man who shot him. Maybe solving the case will help silence the demons driving Casio to hurt the woman he loves.

As the Campbells and Casio teeter on the brink of losing everything, will they be able to discover that what begins at the crossing ends at the cross?

Thanks to Norm Robertson at Waterbrook’s Canadian distributor — Augsburg-Fortress Canada — for sending the video link.

Do Authors Win or Lose With Tyndale, Waterbrook e-Books?

I can just picture the author coming home and saying, “Hi Honey, any calls?”

To which she replies, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Tyndale is taking your book.  The bad news is it’s going to be an e-book only.”

The question is, ‘Would an author be better served to have a print edition available with a vanity publisher — especially given the integration of small publishers into larger distribution channels — or to have a title picked up by a major publisher but not put in print?’

Dr. Bobby Conway is the lead pastor of Life Fellowship Church in Charlotte, NC; and his book, Hell, Rob Bell, and What Happens When People Die would certainly fit in to today’s bookselling climate.  I would carry a few.  But Waterbrook is publishing it as an e-book.  There’s not even a print-on-demand option.   Tyndale has done this as well.  This is high on publishers’ agendas and the drive is motivated by the fact that it bypasses the retail chain and also there is no cost for actual print publication.  Conway’s book sells for just $3.99 and the author no doubt gets the same royalty he would from a $13.99 print title, and the publisher makes the same profit as they would from print.

But I’m not sure as an author I would be pleased, especially when it comes time to look back on “a book” that I wrote only to find the devices have been superceded by new technology.  Example: How many of you can still watch your VHS wedding video?  Or those Super-8 movies your parents took? 

Broken out the slide projector lately?  My father took mostly slides and said later on he wished he’d done prints of everything.  Some e-book authors will have similar regrets, I’m sure.

Radical is the Hot Title for Summer

The cover sizzles like the hot summer sun.

The color foreshadows that Radical by Birmingham, Alabama pastor David Platt is the hot ticket for July and August sales.

You can find out why today on my other blog, Thinking Out Loud.   Or take the first link on this earlier post at T.O.L. and then click on “Chapter One” to read the first chapter of this powerful book.

Thanks to Waterbrook’s CDN distributor Augsburg-Fortress for a “must keep” copy of this to review.

The Last Christian: David Gregory

No, David Gregory isn’t the last Christian, but he is the author of two very effective gift books which answer the questions many have about Christianity:  Dinner With A Perfect Stranger and A Day With A Perfect Stranger, both of which have been made into movies.

This time around, he authors a futuristic novel:

A.D. 2088.

Missionary daughter Abigail Caldwell emerges from the jungle for the first time in her thirty-four years, the sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed her village. Abby goes to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity has completely died out. A curious message from her grandfather assigns her a surprising mission: re-introduce the Christian faith in America, no matter how insurmountable the odds.

Here’s a preview of The Last Christian:

Michael Spencer aka The Internet Monk: First and Only Book Releases Posthumously

Nearly ten years ago, in November of 2000, Michael Spencer began blogging as The Internet Monk.   During that time he gained a huge online following, and when he passed away just a few short weeks ago, there was a huge outpouring of sympathy and love online.

Sadly, he never lived to see the publication of his first book, Mere Churchianity, being published by Multnomah.   I just finished reading the first chapter, “The Dairy Queen Incident,” and I think that Michael’s message is about to reach an entirely new set of readers.   Make sure you have copies on order.   (In Canada: Waterbrook/Multnomah is distributed to CBA trade by Augsburg-Fortress.)

…This is not a Christian book in the time-honored tradition. I’m not going to tell Christians to be nicer, care more, help other people, be generous, try to
forgive, do more for God, and so on, so that we can be better witnesses for Jesus.

I have good reasons for staying off the standard Christian-book path. It was churchianity—the “do more, be better, look good for God’s sake” variety—that turned me and my youth group into a room full of jerks.

So if you’re a Christian, by all means read this book.  You will find an approach to following Jesus that doesn’t ask you to do more while pretending to be righteous. I think you’ll like it.

But I’m not writing to church members who are happy where they’re at or to Christians who are heavily invested in the success and propagation of the church as an organization. I’m writing instead to those who
may still be associated with the church but no longer buy into much of what the church says. Not because they doubt the reality of God, but because they doubt that the church is really representing Jesus.

If you have customers who peruse Christian blogs, they will already be anticipating the release of this book.   You can send them to this blog post at iMonk to catch a first chapter download, but since most of us are bookstore buyers, I hope that neither the blog nor the publisher will mind me posting the link button here for us industry types.   Just click the image.

Great Titles You May Have Missed

What would you do if someone walks into the store and says, “I’m looking for the book about the guy who went mountain climbing with his daughter?”   The story of David Pierce and his married daughter Sarah was featured on a Christian television show, or else I would have missed it entirely.   Still, I wonder how staff can track things like this if I’m not there.   I tried a well-known online Christian bookseller, using “mountain climbing” as the keywords, and the title was not one of the 16 which appeared.   At this point, many frontline staff would just give up. That’s too bad, because this looks like a great story.

One day after reading a book about a wilderness adventurer, David Pierce’s fifteen-year-old daughter Chera announced that she wanted to climb a mountain. What David heard behind that wish was a bold declaration: “I’m growing up, Dad-what are you going to do about it?”    A few weeks later they bought matching backpacks.

Over a three-year period they climbed five mountains and ran in two marathons. Together they suffered sore muscles, bitter cold, sprung knees, shin splints, and broken spirits. But they also reveled in blazing sunsets, glissaded on a glacier, and celebrated numerous victories great and small. And in the process, they built an unshakable father-daughter bond that will withstand the tests of time

The book is Don’t Let Me Go published by Waterbrook.   Learn more at the author’s website. Tell your staff not to give up too soon if a title can’t be found; sometimes it’s just a matter of asking another staff member. And always get a name and phone number or e-mail in case you connect the dots minutes after the customer leaves the store.

Waterbrook Offers a Free First Chapter Download

In preparation for Tuesday’s release of Radical by David Platt, Waterbrook-Multomah is networking through social media such as WordPress and Facebook, to invite readers to download a free chapter of the book.

Instead of sending out review copies, the company, no doubt aware of recent blogger traffic jams at Thomas Nelson, is instead inviting social media pagemasters to download chapter one of the book, review it, and then in turn invite their readers/followers to get a free download of a companion booklet, being sold in packages of ten, titled The Radical Question. They will also be presented with a chance to download the first chapter of the larger work.

For booksellers who want a peek at the book and the marketing program, the free first chapter is available here.    The free download of the booklet is available here.

Now you know everything except what the book is all about.   Here’s the publisher marketing:

It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…


In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple–then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a “successful” suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment –a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

Finally here’s an author video clip: