Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are There Secret Formulas or Short Cuts for Making the Best-Seller List on Amazon?

Are There Secret Formulas or Short Cuts for Making the Best-Seller List on Amazon?
John 3:16 Marketing Network
Part One of Six

?  + ? = ?

By Lorilyn Roberts

If I knew of a secret formula, I would be a millionaire—and so would you, because secrets promising success don’t remain secrets for long.

There is one sure road to the best-seller list, provided you have a good book, and that is hard work and networking. I don’t know of any other way to do it. What I have discovered, however, is many authors spend a lot of time and money in less productive ways, thus coming away feeling discouraged and defeated.

Examples of comments I have heard include: “I can’t get anyone to review my book,” “my sales are non-existent,” “I don’t know where to begin,” “I spent money doing ‘this thing’ and got no results.”

You also have heard this if you have been marketing for a while. I could tell some fabulous tales of “drain holes” I thought would work and didn’t.

One of the reasons I made becoming a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network free is so people would not feel like they paid for something and got less than their money’s worth; and most authors don’t have a lot of extra money (like me). 

I also didn’t start the John 3:16 Marketing Network to become a marketing guru. God gave me the vision, but He gave me the passion to write. But without a way to promote my writing, I knew nobody would read my books because nobody would know they existed.

I will share a short story about my first book, The Donkey and the King, which I published using a Print on Demand publishing company. When my book arrived, I was ecstatic. I could at last say I was an “author.”

But, sadly, I didn’t know any other authors to share my excitement with and I did nothing to market it. I made no announcement and told nobody about my new book, except my closest friends and family. I did nothing to promote it, not even with people in my church. ZILCH! NADA!

I am sure you are wondering how many copies I sold—maybe ten copies. Yep, I probably made the Guinness Book of World Records for the “worst-selling” book that year. Why didn’t I do something to promote it?  First, I didn’t know how; and second, I was too shy to talk about my own book.

A couple of years later, I went on Amazon to see if The Donkey and the King was listed since as I had never checked. Sure enough, it was there. I had one review by someone I didn’t know with a rating of five stars. That was the first time it occurred to me that somebody out there might like to read my book besides my closest friends and family.

I have gone from that day to this—because God put it on my heart to start the John 3:16 Marketing Network.

The John 3:16 Marketing Network is based on John 3:16 from the New Testament in the Bible: “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

To become a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network requires only two things:

  1. You believe in John 3:16.
  2. You have an active blog/website.
Over the next six days, several of our John 3:16 Marketing Network authors are hosting a guest blog of different authors as part of our twice a year membership launch. Each day I will share a marketing article, and the guest author for that day will share something about herself and her writing career.

Before we are authors, we are people uniquely gifted and loved by God. Once we look beyond what someone does and see him as we see ourselves—a human being with needs, wants, struggles, hopes, and dreams, we can relate to him better and discover things we have in common.

That brings me back to the question and the title of this piece, Are There Secret Formulas or Short Cuts for Making the Best-Seller List on Amazon?

The short answer is no, there are no secret formulas, but yes, there are short cuts to make marketing easier. I will share some of my thoughts and what we do in the John 3:16 Marketing Network to help Christian authors launch their books.

From Wednesday, May 18th through Tuesday, May 24th, we are hosting a membership launch featuring some of our members in a blog tour. Our Facebook party will include many events which you won’t want to miss. Mark your calendar—Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, when you will have an opportunity to win eight free books. During that hour, we will have members online to answer your questions, and we will be offering tutorials on how to do some technical operations for internet marketing. These tutorials/tips will include:

1.      How to upload a .jpeg to Facebook/blog
2.      How to resize a .jpeg and load it Facebook/blog
3.      How to copy and paste widgets on websites
4.      How to set up a twitter account.

The information will be useful whether you apply to the John 3:16 Marketing Network or not.

In addition to an opportunity to win eight free books, on Tuesday, May 24th, if you submit an application to join the John 3:16 Marketing Network , you will be able to download free e-gifts

For more information on the John 3:16 Marketing Network and to submit an application, please visit my website at Lorilyn Roberts.

Again, Tuesday, May 24, will be the membership launch day. If you summit your application on Tuesday, May 24th, you will be able to download free e-gifts offered by some of our authors.

Today on our Blog Tour we will meet two authors Jay Miller and Sherrill Cannon.

The Author Jeopardy Question to win Jay Miller’s children’s picture book, Sal and Sally, during the Facebook Party on Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, will come from our discussion below:

Question: Can you tell us a little about yourself.

Jay Miller: I am a retired Electrical Engineer and now spend time writing children’s books. I have been married thirty-three years; have seven children, and 13 grandchildren.

God gives me the opportunity now to bring Him into the lives of young children so they will learn to love Him in fun ways that they can understand. These books will also teach them to have fun reading, while learning to love and respect everyone else and all the Critters that God has placed upon this earth.

Question: Ten percent of the proceeds from your books go to the Grace for Children Foundation. Can you tell us a little bit about what the organization does?

Jay Miller: The Grace Centre project is an integrated, holistic Christian approach to meeting the needs of a broad range of children. Children of all ethnic and religious backgrounds will be accepted, based only upon the recognized genuine need of the family.

Over the past 40 years the families of Ethiopia have suffered drought, famine, civil war and more recently the AIDS epidemic. Families have been stripped of their wage earners, and traditional multi-generational support. Infant mortality is high (16.5%) and literacy low (less than 30%).

Overall, Grace Children’s Centre aims to work together with families to provide a means of improving the lives of their children. This means the children will be given the opportunity to grow up into people who can change their world in a positive way with a hope and vision for the future.

Sal and Sally: ISBN 9781935028130 (ages 3-8)  
Book Trailer

Two little fish learn to blow colorful bubbles in the sea. Soon all the other sea critters are learning to blow them, too. Nasty Nick, a hungry long nose cowboy shark, wearing a red cowboy hat, swims up and tries to break up the party, but he is unable to pop the bubbles. He soon tires and decides to head back to Texas, but they convince him to stay and blow tiny bubbles through his long nose. Soon, everyone is blowing bubbles and singing songs of praise to Jesus.

The Author Jeopardy Question to win Sherrill Cannon’s children’s picture book, The Magic Word during the Facebook Party on Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, will come from our discussion below: 

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sherrill Cannon: I am the mother of four and a grandmother of nine. All of my books are in rhyme and all teach something like good manners and caring for others. My husband and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last June!  We travel in our RV from the East Coast to the West Coast each year to visit our children and grandchildren... sharing my books along the way!

Question: Was there a particular experience that motivated you to be a writer?

Sherrill Cannon:  After I read the story of the Nativity to my granddaughter, she looked at me and asked, "But where's Santa?"  That night the entire story came to me in a dream, and when I sat down to write, the words just flowed—with ideas I hadn't even thought of. I thank God every night for allowing me to write Santa’s Birthday Gift.

Don’t forget, during our Author Jeopardy Game, you will have an opportunity to win      The Magic Word  and  Sal and Sally, Tuesday night, May 24, 8-9pm EST during our Facebook party at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christian-Book-Launches-John-316-Marketing-Network/145412252147289

Thursday we will be featuring What it Takes to Have a Winning Team, Part Two of Six, from the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Our guest author will be Dr. Ray W. Lincoln, hosted by Paulette Harper (on her website).

ALL THE POSTS IN THIS SERIES CAN BE VIEWED AT http://john316mn.blogspot.com


  1. I love this testimony about putting John 3:16 together. The need for authors to get the word out about their books is greater than ever. For those of us who feel God is leading us to write, how much more important to have the insights and skills to promote these works. Thank you, Lorilyn!

  2. Great post Lorilyn! Like you, I had a calling from God to write my book. I'm afraid I didn't know much about book production, distribution, promotion or social media when I put my book into print. I have learned much over the past two and a half years, and evaluating what "works" and what "doesn't work" is crucial to success.

    Your God vision for the Christian book market is a prime example of encouraging and helping your fellow authors, pouring yourself into their lives and their book projects is commendable and pleasing to the Lord.

    Your author/book features for the launch are
    interesting and informative. Good job Lorilyn!
    God bless you for your selfless acts of service to your fellow believers through your ministry of John 3:16 Book Marketing Network.

    It's all about HIM,

    Deborah McCarragher
    Author of "Mission Possible"

  3. Serving God is the most important thing John 3:16 is about. Each member here does so in their own way, as God has instructed them. These tasks are then joined together to complete the final mold for which He desires. As our team leader, you have made us complete. Thank you very much for allowing me to serve our Lord with John 3:16.
    This article is pleasing to God and worthy of all we represent.

  4. Lorilyn, I enjoyed learning more about you and Sherrill and Jay. Rose

  5. I am looking forward to this event. Especially anxious to learn about resizing those jpegs as I seem to have trouble with that from time to time.
    See you at the party!

  6. Lorilyn,

    Thanks for posting this! I especially loved Sherril Cannon's story of how the entire story of Santa's Birthday Gift came to her in a dream after her granddaughter asked her the question! Very moving story :)

    Scott M. Shafer

  7. Thank you for your comments. The John 3:16 Marketing Network wouldn't be possible if it weren't for folks like you:)