5 Things Inspirational Authors Must Know to be Successful

5 Things Inspirational Authors Must Know to be Successful

I hear from aspiring inspirational authors all the time wondering what it takes to transform their ideas into a published book.

It takes me back to this quote from a publishing executive at a Book Expo of America a few years back:

“Just because you have a computer, doesn’t make you a writer.”

Fact is, 81% of all Americans think they should write a book (according to Write & Publish magazine), and only two percent of that crowd ever actually complete a manuscript – and get it published.

Yes, computers have indeed made writing a book more accessible, and print-on-demand (POD) has made self-publishing a snap. But the problem is, there are about 150,000 new books a year, and they’re not all selling!

5 Things Inspirational Authors Must Know

If you’re stuck in that boat, here are some simple things to do to move you from book idea to manuscript to actual sales!

Learn about writing

Taking writing courses. You can go to the American Christian Writers website and get info on their American School of Christian Writing, The Writer’s Institute, and Writer’s Mini-Course. Also, subscribe to their newsletter (The Christian Communicator or The Advanced Christian Writer).

Take time to go to various writers’ conferences, where you’ll meet editors, publishers, and other authors. You may even find a mentor at some of these events.

Getting a writing mentor is so critical to your success – if you listen and heed their advice! There are tons of book coaches. Google “book coach” to begin.

Finally, read! Best-selling Christian fiction author, Victoria Christopher Murray, said on a recent Chocolate Pages Show, “To be a good writer, you have to read good writing.” I am so surprised when I talk to many Christian writers, and I ask if they have read any of the “best-sellers” – at least the Christian or spiritual books. They answer, “NO.”

Some have never even read “The Purpose Driven Life” (the best-selling book of all time), The Shack (a Christian publishing phenomenon in the book world), or The Secret (at least take cues how they have marketed the mega-star of a book).

Most inspirational authors don’t even take note of any of the top 10 New York Times or CBA best-sellers.

Ughh! You have to know what the market is buying and read it to see why the book is highly acclaimed. By doing a little homework, you can improve your writing. You have to move it from a hobby to a craft if you want a viable book.

Bonus: Books Every Inspirational Author Needs at Their Fingertips!

  • On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Knowlton Zinsser (Best book I’ve read on what, precisely, makes up a great piece of writing)
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., E. B. White
  • I also recommend subscribing to Writer’s Digest for invaluable information every month.

Learn about self-publishing and how the book industry works

I often have writers come to me and tell me their “publishing nightmare” stories. They talk about how printers or subsidy publishers took advantage of them.

Yes, some companies will swindle you. But, if you are well-informed, it will lessen the chances of someone ripping you off. Don’t rely on one source for all your information. Use Google and do some research! You must do your due diligence.

Know where to get an ISBN, how to get national distribution, where to find a cover designer, typesetter, printer, etc. Ask other self-published authors what they’ve done and how it has worked for them. Follow the leaders. Do what they did to achieve success.

Study what Kendra Norman Bellamy, Stephanie Perry Moore, Marilynn Griffith, or Kim Brooks have done. Most authors have their “publishing testimonial” on their website or offer publishing tips to new authors. Read their advice – you can learn from mistakes or from mentors. Mentors are cheaper.

Learn about marketing and publicity

Build a platform. No book will sell without telling others about it – over and over again. Not just once. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Creating “buzz” requires a strategy and a robust platform.

Once the book is published, a lot of authors believe it will sell by itself. Many inspirational authors sway the other way and are too humble to tell anyone about their book. They think if they put it up on Amazon or tell a few of their “yes buddies,” it will take off. NOT!

Just like any product sold for cold cash, it must be marketed and promoted to sell. It takes money to make money.

Learn about agents

Agents are not your “literary fairy God-mothers.” They are in business to make money. And they make money by selling “marketable” writers to publishing houses.

Besides having a great book, decent platform, an audience – you must also have a good book proposal. The proposal is what sells your book. Part of that proposal is the marketing plan. Again, it’s about the bottom line.

It took former Heart & Soul editor Stephanie Stokes Oliver 25 years to have her first book published. And she had a platform and was a professional writer. She had to find the right publishing house. She says she went through 10 agents and eventually got the divine connection and got three book deals.

Learn about Web 2.0

Podcasting, blogging, social networking. Each day, there seems to be a new platform you simply “must” join. (Did you see my post on Clubhouse and how it’s the new connection craze in 2021? Find it here)

Did you know you can blog on Amazon.com if you’re an author? You can even put up video reviews. How cool is that? You must embrace technology and keep up with what is moving books. The best way to move books is to get people talking – and the more they hear your passion and get curious about all the “buzz” they keep hearing from you online – the more you will attract customers.

(Here are Five Ways to Build Relationships and Leverage Your Leadership with Social Media)

So, “get out there” by joining Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. Do a Blogtalk Radio Show and get a Youtube channel. Post up your blogs in RSS feeds and even do some daring stuff like join a lot of “nings” or start one! Join the Chocolate Pages Network (a new social network for Christian Authors).

There are so many ways for an inspirational author to get exposure online – hey, you could even end up in Oprah’s book club!

More help for inspirational authors

Mentoring inspirational authors on building a platform and attracting significant media and publishing contracts is my superpower. If you want to learn more about how my services can help you, click here to take the next step.

Did you enjoy this post about becoming a successful inspiration author? Here are three more to read next:

How to Build Your Social Media Platform: 5 Stages You Can’t Skip
How to Get Media Attention
No More Whack DIY Websites…Outsource to the Experts and Improve Your Brand Image

This article was published in 2012, but has been updated for 2021.


Ministry marketing pioneer and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” She’s also the creator of the ChocolatePagesNetwork, a social network for Christian authors and the Chocolate Pages Show at Blogtalk radio

  • Hi Pam,

    Very good advice you’ve provided. I also own The Elements of Style. And last year when Borders closed, I picked up Writing Down the Bones, which I’ve not yet completed. Then there’s your stuff 😉 to buy, still… . Oh girl, I need a 72 hour day! Trying not to “hoard” time.

  • […] Smart Guide To Book Marketing and Promotion 5 Things Christian Authors Must Know to be Successful Book Publishing “Then” and “Now”– Web 2.0 for Authors […]

  • Danson Ubebe says:

    Pam, that is great adviice. My 2013 title book: “Return to God” was on display at 2014 exhibition of new titles at BooksExpoAmerica in NY. It received the attention of “Connect PR” outfit who found it worthy to promote, after skimming through according to him. But when he contacted me and knew I live in Nigeria, he decline to continue. That was not the first disappointment, even though the amazing contents seem to appeal to them. It would seem my location on the map of the World is an issue. But God is not mocked and the true must prevail some day. God bless you and may He continue to boost you business.

  • I do agree that there are tons of Christians who believe they should write a book. Once the trend shifted shifted to self-publishing, the internet was flooded with ads about the matter. Anyone can write a book, but every book will not be a success. You give great advice on improving the odds of success.

  • Thanks Pam! This is so much fun.

  • Tanya Palmer says:

    Hey Pam,

    I one of the ones just getting started, though I have always been a writer. I found this site and I learned so much. I hope I can find more information from where you are. I write fiction. Christian action and inspiration. You have inspired me today.

    May be go ever further in Grace.


  • kriti says:

    hey Pam! Thanks for the wise advice. It’s true that anyone can write a book, but it’s not easy to be successful.

  • Danielle S. McDole says:

    Thank you so much for the information.\!

    Are there folks who you can pay to do the marketing for you? I do not have a website- however do have a Face Book Author Page.

    Looking for ways to create ads online to drive folks to the book~ need affordable help~ if that even exists…. lol.

    Thank you!
    New Book Release October 2, 2020….

  • Hello Pam,

    I am Dr. Leonette Lewis, interested in discovering how your organization/business can advance me in getting my book out to the public. Please email me privately at the above email address for discussion. Thanks!

  • Please contact me at the email address above.

  • I respect everything that you have written in this blog. Please continue to provide wisdom to more people like me.

    Please check my blog about Benefits of Reading Spiritual Books

    Hope this will help. Thank you.

  • Hi Pam, your article is great I love it!
    Every Christian Authors should know to create a Godly and successful book.
    You may also read my blog on Writing Advice for Christian Authors
    Hope this will also help.

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