Monday, March 20, 2017

If You Build It, Will They Come? By Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans
The idea gained traction about four or five years ago: Publish books, then, revisit your back list and offer older titles at a discount, or for free, to better enable new readers to ‘take a chance’ on you as an author, to hopefully enjoy your work, and purchase new releases at full price.

Today the idea of free or deep-discounted books is becoming the norm rather than the exception to a degree that I’m starting to wonder if the CBA isn’t causing itself to implode. In a quest for interest/reach/reader loyalty are we giving away sustainability?

Like many others, I’m broken hearted by the news that Family Christian is closing its doors. I’m broken hearted by the fact that the Christian market—not just for books, but any variety of retail merchandise, is dying a slow, painful death. I’ve had four signings at my local Family Christian over the years and I treasured the store’s support. I couldn’t get my books on shelves, or even do signings, at Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million. Meanwhile, Family Christian welcomed me with open arms and the results were mutually beneficial.

Now, that avenue has come to an end; yet another pathway closed to Christian authors (and retailers) who are being squeezed into non-existence.

The idea behind my post today? That we need to support one another. From the pocket book. For the record, I’m all about freebies. I’m all about sale prices on great merchandise, like Christian books for example. I’ve taken advantage of many a bargain and discovered awesome new authors at the result. However, I’ve concluded that I need to dig deeper than that and support our industry by purchasing goods at a price and in a manner which creates sustainability. I need to hold to the truth that the effort authors (in this case) and other Christian retailers put into their businesses is worthy of patronage and financial compensation. If not, these ministries will perish.

In Jesus’s day, his followers existed, and then survived, by banding together, by forming a community and supporting one another. Today is no different. If we want to survive, we must live in a spirit of mutual viability.

And so, I’m eager to know: What are your perceptions on the current ‘state of the Christian industry?’ Any thoughts about ways to stem the backward slide of store closures, lack of exposure and sinking sales? Blessings, friends, and see you next month!
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Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Hearts Communion earned a win for Best Romance from the Christian Small Publisher's Association. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award, Then & Now for Best Contemporary Romance and Finding Home for Best Novella. Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.
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Amy Monarch is a tireless volunteer at the Dupont Rescue and Recovery Center, an establishment for the destitute founded by her mother. There, Amy has kept her identity a carefully guarded secret. She is actually Princess Amelia Marguerite Louise DeLaGrande of Remeth. Working at Dupont offers the opportunity to serve in blessed disguise.

Fresh into a promising career in commercial real estate brokerage, Patrick Sawyer returns to the picturesque isle of Remeth intending to reconnect with his collegiate study abroad friends and figure out 'what's next' in his life. Since his father's passing, the world he knows leaves him uninspired. He volunteers at Dupont during his visit and becomes enchanted by Amy.

But Amelia is trapped within a silken web. When she reveals who she is, Patrick pulls back. He's not interested in royalty--at all--but how can she ever break free? How can she find a way to service and God's plan for her life? Most of all, how can she reconcile the call she feels toward a remarkable man who may be 'common,' yet is 'uncommon' when it comes to matters of the heart?

8 comments:

  1. Oh, Marianne, I feel your heart here. CBA publishing is on a rough pathway right now. I wonder how things will settle and when, and what will be the catalyst(s). I don't have the answers, but I definitely see your point. Thanks for this thoughtful post!

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    1. I hope it didn't feel like a "downer" - but I happened to drive past my Family Christian store before writing this post, saw all the "store closing" signs and my heart ached. I wondered what folks thought. :-) Thanks for the support and input, Annette! <3

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  2. I've wondered these very things. At the Christian book store close to my home practically all they carry are bargain books. It concerns me.

    Personally I'm willing to pay full price for a book I really want. I'm willing to pay to support Christian retailers. Sometimes I fear we are our own worst enemy.

    On the other hand I have friends who this new way of pricing with the first in a series being free who are flourishing.

    Wish I knew the answers.

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    1. I've had success with putting my back-list on deep-discount, or offering free reads, and I have no problem with it...but the slope, I think we're discovering, can get quite slippery! :-) Thanks for your thoughts, Terri!! <3

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  3. I agree an abundance of freebies and deep discounts can negatively affect whole industries like Christian publishing. The recession of 2008 (and its aftermath) changed the way people shop. I try to shop U.S. made, shop local and support authors I enjoy by purchasing new releases as they come out. We're at a net 7% loss of income since 2008. Prices have risen a lot since then. I buy less than I used to, but we can do our best!

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  4. Marianne,
    Some good insights here. Enjoyed reading your thoughts.

    Personally my biggest problem is our local family book story has changed so much in the last 10 years, I hardly shop there anymore. My daughter worked there for 3 years and they can only put out what corporate decides is good for the area. Most have never been to MT. Each year their christian fiction section gets a little smaller and the only way I can get the books I desire to read is on line. Please never stop writing!!! I promise to do what I can to keep permotteing and reading your books. I never mind paying for them. They are that good!!! And so many others I like to read.

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    1. Hey, Renette! Your CONSTANT encouragement, support and love are treasured!! You're a vital part of my street team! <3 :-) I hope the post didn't come across as being negative - I'm humbled and honor to continue to create and write for God's glory, so no worries there - I love your observations - it's just so frustrating sometimes, but, God's already there. He's got this! xo <3

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  5. Elise, what excellent points and observations! I'm so grateful for your visit today, and appreciate your insights! XO XO blessings!!

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