Interview with John 3:16 Marketing Network
Founder Lorilyn Roberts
Taste and See
QUESTION: Why did you decide to publish Taste and See?
LORILYN: The idea for Taste and See, a Sampling of First Chapters, came after reading Nathan Bransford's blog on September 29, 2011. He asked the following question:
“There is so much talk about self-published books in the writing-o-sphere. But have you actually read one?" 69% said yes and 30% said no out of 1,772 votes.
That made me think, one out of three readers has never read a book that is self-published, and if you include print-on-demand books, the percentage is probably higher. I thought, why not give those readers an opportunity to enjoy a sampling of first chapters by authors they have never heard about who are published in a variety of ways?
The John 3:16 Marketing Network doesn't make a distinction and I have always maintained that readers don't care how books are published. If someone finds a book he likes, he will buy it. From that thought came the idea, why not give authors an opportunity to share a first chapter of their book in a "First Chapters Sampling"?
We have all enjoyed chocolate samplings, coffee samplings, tea samplings, and other such assortments, and it's fun to "experiment" and try something new. Sometimes we find something we really like and then we head to the store or web and buy the product, whatever that might be. It's long been known as a proven marketing strategy to give people samples of free products to try, so we are just "piggybacking" on an old idea with a new twist. I sent out an email to our members to see how many would be interested and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
A very small portion of the publishers were reluctant to let their author contribute a first chapter, so we offered the option to contribute something else; hence, the miscellany section. We wanted to include everybody who wanted to participate.
QUESTION: What are your long-term goals for Taste and See?
LORILYN: My long-term goal is to increase the opt-in list for the John 3:16 Marketing Network. I hope to eventually offer free e-books, more sample chapters, and other book opportunities. Perhaps we will have a book club where books can be purchased at a discounted price.
The short-term goal is to provide exposure for the John 3:16 Marketing Network as well as Network authors. New and low-profile authors' greatest obstacle to successful sales is exposure. I hope readers will take advantage of this FREE opportunity to sample first chapters and other offerings by close to sixty authors. It's a win-win for everyone. Readers discover new authors, and authors get exposure to readers who may want to buy their books.
QUESTION: How were the books chosen for Taste and See?
LORILYN: The chapters in Taste and See were chosen by the authors themselves. The opportunity was weighted toward those who had contributed the most to the John 3:16 Marketing Network; i.e., featuring authors in the network on their blogs, posting Facebook and Twitter announcements for book launches, offering free e-gifts for book launches, participating on the forum, and other social networking activities.
QUESTION: How does Taste and See expand upon the John 3:16 Marketing Network's ability to help authors market their books?
LORILYN: Because this is an innovative idea, I am not sure how successful it will be to promote authors' books, but my feeling is we focus on process and God controls the outcome. My overall goal is to promote books with a Christian worldview, and in so doing, we are making an impact on the world. If we make a difference for one reader or one author, that is a profound accomplishment. Every great book ever discovered began with one person.
QUESTION: What other plans do you have for the John 3:16 Marketing Network in the future?
I have lots of ideas but until I finish my Masters in Creative Writing, my time to implement them is limited. I do struggle with that because I tend to be impatient, but God is teaching me patience and to wait on Him. As it is said in Ecclesiastes 3:1: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven." (King James Bible, Cambridge Ed.) It is then I remind myself that the John 3:16 Marketing Network is bigger than my vision and that God has a purpose and a plan. When I give my dreams to the Creator, He does far more than I could ever have hoped for or imagined.
My biggest "reward" from the John 3:16 Marketing Network has been the relationships I have formed with members. We pray for each other, encourage each other, share knowledge, post links to articles, announce upcoming opportunities, provide answers to questions, write book reviews, and offer encouragement when needed. We even share heartaches and disappointments, for there is a genuine humility among members. There is nothing else like it on the web.