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Ep. 71: Transform Book Marketing with Shelley Hitz⁠

*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!

Are you a Christian writer or author ready to transform book marketing? If so, I want to invite you to join me at the Kingdom Writers Conference Email Marketing Edition, A FREE one-day virtual conference to help writers unlock the power of email marketing to generate book sales without feeling sleazy, and instead, you’ll create authentic relationships (and you know we’re all about authentic around here)!  You’re going to love today’s interview with Shelley Hitz, teaching you how to transform book marketing!

Discover a proven strategy to stay connected with your readers without posting on social media every day!

Join CJ and Shelley Hitz, hosts of the Kingdom Writers podcast and founders of the Christian Book Academy. The conference is just one day with eight speakers so you don’t get overwhelmed, it’s all about email marketing, and I am speaking on 7 Ways to Get Your Followers to Join Your Email List!

Resources

Kingdom Writers Conference Email Edition

Listen to Ep. 61: Combining Instagram and email marketing in 5 smart ways

Listen to Ep. 75: Email Subscriber Strategies for Authors

Listen to Ep. 13: How she secured a book deal on Instagram; Case Study

Transform your book marketing

Do you get stuck when it comes to marketing your book (or potential book)?  You are not alone, my friend!  After I published my first ebook, I struggled with how to present it in a way that wouldn’t seem like I was touting myself or bragging.  I was fearful of what people would think of me. She is always talking about herself.  Who does she think she is, why does she have a book, why is she doing this, and what is she trying to prove?  

And chances are many of you listening struggle with this too.  Christian writers feel deeply called to their craft, but when it comes to marketing books they start to shrink and almost lose confidence in everything they built.  This is when it’s time to own the fact that you were called to do this, and you will need to transform your book marketing and it will involve book promo.

Marketing pro for self-publishers, Shelley Hitz

This is where author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Shelley Hitz comes in.  She’s been mentoring writers since 2010  inside The Christian Book Academy.  She’s a terrific entrepreneur and has built a business on book writing and coaching others.

Inside Christian Book Academy Shelly helps aspiring authors write words that will outlive them. Self-publish books that fulfill their calling, and reach more readers with their message. Shelley and her husband CJ have often been called “pastors for writers” and together create a powerful team to help you accomplish your God-given goals. They host the Kingdom

Transform Book Marketing

Ruthie: Shelly, I started following you back in 2015 and joined your training for how to write a book. You had such a fantastic way of explaining how to do it simply, and quickly so that you could get a simple 10,000-word ebook out there. I did it and that was just such an amazing experience.

Shelley: That’s so exciting, we’re celebrating our eighth member anniversary of the Academy this month. It’s hard to believe, but we now teach that information in Christian Book Academy and also have a separate workshop, Procrastination To Publication.

Unlock your business growth by transforming your book marketing

Ruthie: It’s super practical and Kingdom-minded. There’s a bigger picture, and I just love all that you stand for. Today, we’re gonna talk about unlocking business growth by teaching you how to transform book marketing tips. You do have to market a book. So, it’s sort of like you have to be business-minded, right Shelley?

Shelley: Right, I always say you give birth to the book, and just like giving birth to a baby, the birthing process is pregnancy and birth. Typically nine months, and then you parent for the rest of your life, right? It never stops. You have that initial burst of the writing and the publishing and giving birth to this book. Then you have the marketing and it’s also true with the business, right? It’s a stewardship thing, I get the opportunity to steward this message that God has given me to impact lives for eternity.

Ruthie: Yes, and I would say, many of our listeners and clients are writers and authors or aspiring authors, probably 75%, and they struggle to market their books. They just don’t know how. We’re going to talk a little bit more about how you can cross that bridge, and how you got into running a business and seeing it as a business too. Let’s talk about when did you first become passionate about entrepreneurship? You were an author first, right?

From physical therapist to entrepreneur

Shelley: Yes, I was thinking about this and my previous career was as a physical therapist, and I think I already had those seeds of entrepreneurship in my job as a physical therapist. I worked at a special location, just by myself, and I ran that clinic with Whirlpool Corporation. So I was onsite there, and I would create programs for body mechanics and lifting, and I would go out to job sites and create new forms. And I was always thinking and creating and doing new things, and that’s what an entrepreneur does, right? 

It started with an idea

We create something from nothing. Then we were missionaries in Belize for two years. I used my physical therapy degree and did ministry and worked with children with disabilities. I was creating programs, I was training people, I was doing things that make something from nothing.

When we came back from Belize, this experience sparked something in us. What are we gonna do? We loved having our own time freedom and working together. My husband and I actually stumbled across some training on how to write a website that attracts people from search engines. I started my first website in Belize, and so that was 2004. I started some entrepreneurship before I published my first book in 2008.

Ruthie: Okay, and I remember starting my website way back before I met you and thinking, man, this is really hard. I can’t imagine writing a book, but at the same time, I had all those sparks too, so I know what you’re talking about. It’s like those juices start flowing, don’t they?

Shelley: Yes. Now I have written and published over 50 books. With my husband, it’s been over 70, and we’ve created I don’t even know how many programs. God made me to be prolific and to be a teacher and to share my experiences, even my testimonies. God made me an entrepreneur.

Ruthie: Right, and so you just looked at those threads and you saw what sparked you and then you just went with it, didn’t you?

“God can’t direct a parked car.”

Shelley: Yeah. Just one thing at a time. And I didn’t wait until it was perfect. I didn’t wait until I had all the plans. I think that’s one of the things that we can do is we just sit around thinking, oh, I need to know exactly what’s gonna happen and how it’s all gonna work. My friend Shea Binds, from Kingdom-Driven Entrepreneur, says “God can’t direct a parked car.”

Ruthie: That’s right, and I hear the excitement in your voice, and the more you talk about it, the more excited I get because we share the same passion. It’s something that I tell our people over and over again. So tell me this, when Christian female writers come to you, what is their biggest hangup about running their own business?

Transform your mindset for marketing your book

Shelley: I’ve been mentoring authors now for 13 years, and one of the things that keep coming up is I don’t wanna appear prideful or greedy.

I think sometimes we see worldly ambition or worldly gain, and making money as bad, right? We have this mindset that if I take these gifts and this calling and these desires that I have, and I just start going for it, people are going say, whoa, this woman is greedy, she is prideful.

This is a gifting and a calling He’s given to me and to whom much is given much is required, right? What I do and the actions I take are between me and God. God knows my heart. He knows my motives, and yes, sometimes I get off course. Sometimes he has to course correct but I believe that we are to let our light shine. Matthew five says, and be not for our own glory, not for our own gain. Although we are to earn money, and it is good to earn money, ultimately it is so that people can glorify God in heaven.

You don’t have to explain your calling to everybody

Ruthie: Amen. You do have to sell some books, but it’s okay to promote yourself in the name of the Lord if you feel like you have been called to do this and it’s good. I saw a quote, I think it was last week, that said, “You don’t have to explain your calling to everybody.”

Shelley: That’s exactly what I’m saying. I think we live in a culture where everyone knows everyone else’s business, right? Because of social media, because of all the things, and even when you think you know someone, you don’t know everything that’s going on behind the scenes.

Follow God’s calling on your life

You know those people that are judging me, they don’t know. They don’t know the blood, sweat, and tears. They don’t know how many hours I spend in prayer with God. I don’t need to explain it to them, but I do have a calling. I do have gifting. When I stand before God one day, I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

You took a little and you multiplied it with My presence, with My power, with My spirit, and many lives were impacted as a result.

Ruthie: Yet another powerful statement and I was just reading this morning about the servants, the ones who hid his talent. 

Shelley: The parable of the talents…

Ruthie: This is definitely a God-ordained conversation today. I’m just seeing so many signs that this is something that was supposed to happen, a conversation that our listeners and the authors and potential authors out there need to hear.  So what are your top three tips, Shelley, for running your own business? Let’s talk about your business and how can these tips relate to book marketing.

3 tips to transform your book marketing

1. Don’t give up

We get discouraged, we don’t see the results we want when we want them, and I get it. I’m in it right now too, of some of the things I’m doing. And it’s “Lord, I wanna see the results faster.” And he’s like “Patience, my daughter. Patience.” And I think if I could say anything to any one of you, stay connected to the vine, stay connected to God. We recommend doing business meetings with God, which is having him lead and guide you in your business.

2. Engage & Invite

Typically, that’s going to be through our email list. We’re engaging them, and then we nurture them. Then you have Invite. This is another step I find my audience has a hard time doing. The call to action to actually buy something from you. We need to actually share with them what are the benefits of working with me or reading this book, or that you even have a book.

3. Delight & Attract

You’re delighting your readers to the point where they want to share word of mouth. The thing I really wanted to share is that this is a part of the Attract stage. Using SEO – Search Engine Optimization and collabs are an important part of this. I think there are some of you that just simply need to move back a couple of steps to the Attract Phase and say, okay, what am I doing to attract new readers, new people to my business? 

Ruthie: For sure. I think that a lot of times writers, we’re a little hesitant. We want to get our book out there. We’re afraid that if we collaborate, it’s going to take away from the time that we need to promote our own book, or maybe our audience is going to go for somebody else with their book, but that is a scarcity mindset.

Marketing is all about relationships

Shelley: Oh yeah. Yeah, it’s amazing, and the thing is, marketing is all about relationships anyway. For someone to grow to know, like, and trust you. Honestly though, if I recommend other books or other marketing books, people are going to typically buy more than one book on a topic. If they’re really interested in it, they’re going to be devouring it. In fiction novels, you think, oh my goodness, they can’t keep up with the demand.

We know the collabs that are right, and that’s one of the prayer requests that we pray for almost every week. The right person at the right time buys the right book or joins our academy, but that it’s the right person at the right time.

Ruthie: It is all in God’s hands. He has it, he’s orchestrated it. I wanna talk about your Kingdom Writer’s conference in just a second, but briefly, can you sum up your best three tips?

The core foundation for how to transform your book marketing

Shelley: It’s good to remind ourselves of the five-step marketing process, which is, attract: how are you attracting new people through SEO ads or collaborations, engage: having a way for them to sign up for your email list. Then to be able to nurture. To attract, engage, and nurture. There’s some sort of regular content, Then to invite. Lastly, is to actually invite people to buy your book, to work with you.

Ruthie: I just wanted to thank you for reiterating all of that because it was so good. I know that I needed to hear it again.

Evaluate your marketing

Shelley: This is a core foundation for how to transform book marketing. I think we all need to reevaluate on a quarterly level. How is my marketing going? And on these five steps, how is it going? Maybe you’re really strong in the nurture phase, but you’re not as good with the invite stage. The call to action of I want to invite you to buy my book, however, you wanna say that. It’s such a good thing and it’s just a basic foundational structure that you can refer back to again and again.

Ruthie: That’s so good and we’re not going to be good at all five of those, but the goal is to work on the weak spots so that we get better. Like especially when you said the promotion part and the copywriting. That works our writing muscles. Marketing is not taking away from what we’re trying to do. It’s actually enhancing it. It’s growing us and it’s growing our writing. That’s exciting.

Shelley: Yeah, and for those of you that love to write, there are many ways you can use your writing to market your books. You can write a short ebook that you run on free promotions that’s just 99 cents and it’s an impulse buy. It introduces people to your other books. You can write blog posts, you can guest blog posts. There are many ways that you can use your writing. Email marketing is a great way you can use your writing for your marketing. Test, track, and tweak.

Ruthie: Yes, kind of like the superpower that we talk about a lot. Test, track, and tweak. I like that, and then you said a magic word, a keyword that is going to segue us into your Kingdom Writer’s Conference, and that is “email”. I’m excited about this conference because I get to be one of the speakers and talk about getting your followers on your email list, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about it and what our listeners can receive from it? 

Email marketing for authors

Shelley: This will be our fourth Kingdom Writer’s conference, and this one is the email marketing edition. I have been working with authors for a long time, and this is something I see them resist, and I even resisted for a while in my own business. It’s been the number one way that we’ve sold products, books, and programs. It’s sustainable, it works for introverts and extroverts, and you can use your writing to nurture people. We are going to be hosting a free, one-day conference to help writers unlock the power of email marketing to effectively grow their audience, consistently sell more books, and free up valuable time for writing. Email marketing will transform your book marketing.

Social media is rented space. Email marketing is your own.

Ruthie: Yes, me too. When you asked me, I was like, “Yes! Email!” Everybody thinks that I love Instagram the most. I study Instagram and I teach it, and I do like it. But what I love is email and I also teach that. As you said, social media is rented space, email is your own. There are so many fun ways to connect with your audience through email. Those are your purchasers. Those are your people.

Shelley: Yes, and there’s this concept of a thousand fans. They say, if you can have a thousand true fans that will buy everything that you offer or that are excited about what you’re doing, you can make a full-time living. You can grow your email list to a place where you’re gathering those people and then you have a way to reach them when you have something new to offer. Not dependent on algorithms, not dependent on if you have the ad spend. You don’t have to spend money to send your email unless you’ve reached a certain number of subscribers and then you’re just paying a monthly fee, but it’s mind-blowing what you can do with email if you will just give it a chance.

Ruthie: Amen, so true. This has been amazing. Y’all follow Shelley. Shelley, where can they find you?

Kingdom Writers Podcast and Social Media

Shelley: Yeah, so you’re here, so you’re a podcast listener, so come over to our Kingdom Writers podcast and get connected there. We have a ton of free training for you, and we really try to keep our pieces of training Kingdom-minded. You can find that here. One of those is how to have business meetings with God. You can check that out here.

Listen to what God is calling you to do

Ruthie: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our audience before we close?

Shelley: Yeah, I just wanna say there are so many voices out there shouting at you. What if you just decided to turn it off and tune into the Lord, what do you have for me right now?

It’s still work, but that work is based upon what God is giving you to do, what he’s leading you to do. Hearing his voice, hearing his promptings, and these things are going to produce eternal results. Yes, you can make some things happen in your own strength (and I’ve done that too), but when you follow the Lord and you’re doing the things he’s leading you to do… mind-blowing.


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Shelley Hitz has mentored writers since 2010 from her experience writing 58 books and selling almost 700 million copies. She and her husband CJ are the hosts of the Kingdom Writers podcast and together they create a powerful team to help you accomplish your goals inside their membership Christian Book Academy. They have often been called “pastors for writers.” Find out more at TrainingAuthors.com.

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