Traction Tactic // Publishing as an Invite Tool


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Programming Note // The unSeminary Podcast is going to be on a hiatus until September. We’ll return then with lots of great new episodes with some fascinating church leaders. Enjoy the summer!

Today’s episode is a little different than usual. Instead of hosting an interview with someone from a church and talking about what they’ve been doing, this time we’ll have what I call a “Traction Tactic Episode.” This means we’ll be drilling down into one tactic we’ve used at my own church to gain traction recently. Interested in hearing what we’ve been up to and how we did it? Listen in for more.

    • Increase the invite-ability of our Sunday services. // The reason most people come to church services for the first time is because they’ve been invited by a friend. We wanted to give our members a bigger hook to invite their friends. So we self-published a book, You Married the Wrong Person, and made the offer that we’d give a free copy to everyone who came to the series we were holding. Practical tools like that make it easy for people to have a reason to invite their friends.
    • Quality content and quality production. // If you offer a hook to get your members to come to your services or special event, but then offer a low quality product in return, you lose the trust and respect of both your members and your visitors. To get people to keep coming back, you have to take the time to make sure your content and finished product are of high quality. In producing our book, our pastor took his work to an editor to get a professional eye to look over it. Then we handed the manuscript off to a view beta readers who could tell us what worked and what didn’t. We used that feedback to rework the book until we all were confident that it was great content and said what our pastor wanted it to say in a high quality format.
    • Exchange response cards for free gift. // On the opening weekend of our series, we had response cards that each attendee received. When they handed in their response cards at the end of the night, they got their free copy of You Married the Wrong Person. We also told them that they would receive free copies of the digital editions as well, which gave us a reason for needed their contact information, including email address. We then used those email addresses right before the next session to remind the attendees that part two was coming up and they needed to come back to hear more of the series. Find a reason to collect the contact information of your visitors, and then use that information to connect with them again to remind them about your services.

So how did we put together a quality product and reach readers all over the world?

    • People judge a book by a cover. // We used a site called 99Designs, which is a site where you can tell them what it is you’re looking for and designers will bid on the project and create drafts for you to consider. The first thing people will see is the cover, so it was important to have a great one that really captures a reader’s eye.
    • Don’t overlook typesetting. // A well-designed book doesn’t end at just the cover. You need an interior that looks great to make it stand out and keep people reading. If you’re doing digital versions too, you also need well-designed epub and mobi files that people can read on their tablets, Kindles, or other e-readers. We used com to help us find someone who could create a layout we were looking for.
    • Make it a real book and make it easily available. // We wanted our book to be a real book, not something we just ran on our office copier, and we wanted it to be easily available to readers. So once we had the finished product done, we used Fulfillment by Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing to make our book available to readers who might not be able to come to our services and get a free copy. Fulfillment by Amazon allows you to rent shelf space from Amazon and have them process orders for the print copies of your book. Kindle Direct Publishing is their digital service that allows you to upload the ebook version of your manuscript and they’ll sell it to their Kindle customers. Both are easy to use and set up, and allow you to reach readers all over the world.
    • Use a quality printer. // We used Versa Press, and we were very impressed and happy with the finished product. Do your research to find a printer that meets all of your needs and expectations and who will deliver a product that looks high-quality. You want to give your visitors something they’ll remember and will want to read, so don’t rush through your research on finding a final product that will make everyone happy.

[Click here to get you free copy of “You Married the Wrong Person!” emailed to you now.]

Episode Highlights

00:25 // Rich welcomes us to the podcast and introduces Attraction Tactic Episode.

02:08 // Rich talks about Liquid Church’s decision to self-publish a book.

04:13 // Rich encourages other churches to package their content in a book format.

06:20 // Rich encourages us to view the presentation on the website.

06:48 // Rich introduces us to You Married the Wrong Person, written by senior pastor Tim Lucas.

07:11 // Rich talks about the content of the book.

07:49 // Rick talks us through the pre-publication process.

09:21 // Rich expresses his pride of how the book manages to retain Tim’s voice.

10:04 // Rich talks about the importance of producing a high quality book.

11:00 // Tim Lucas explains the decision to give the book away for free and gives us a sense of what the book’s about.

12:15 // Rich talks about dovetailing the Modern Love series with the launch of the book.

14:06 // Rich talks us through the response card process in relation to receiving a free book and used as a communication tool.

16:04 // Rich talks about the long term impact on attendance post the book launch.

17:45 // Rich talks about the importance of the book cover and talks us through the process of working with 99designs.

20:30 // Rich talks about the importance of the interior of the book and the different designs they opted for.

21:49 // Rich talks about outsourcing a designer for the interior of the book.

24:11 // Rick talks about Fulfillment by Amazon and talks us through the process.

25:45 // Rich talks about Kindle Digital Publishing and talks us through the process.

27:03 // Rich talks about how they leveraged the availability of the book on Amazon at the pre-promotion stage.

27:31 // Rich talks about Versa Press and talks us through the process.

28:56 // Rich evaluates the project and talks about his learnings.

31:03 // Rich closes by thanking us for listening and offering his contact information.

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Episode Transcript

Rich – Hi everybody, happy Thursday, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. My name’s Rich, the host around these parts. I want to thank you for putting us in your earbuds, I know there’s a lot of things you could be listening to today, but we’re just kind of privileged, we’re honored that you would take some time out to spend time with us today. Well today’s going to be a little bit of a different episode. Normally we have great interviews with church leaders from a bunch of different backgrounds, really trying to expose you to some fantastic leaders and hopefully some thinking that’s challenging you and growing you, we do that week in and week out. Well today we’re going to try something a little bit different, we’re doing something I’m calling Attraction Tactic Episode. What we’re going to be doing is drilling in on a specific tactic that we used in our church that helped us gain traction in the last year. In fact today we’re going to be looking at something that I’m kind of excited about, I’m kind of pumped about. This past February we published, self-published a book and gave it away for free and you know, the impact that had on our church was huge, we were able to make a big day out of just a normal Sunday and saw over 30% year over year increase because of doing this simple tactic of self-publishing. So we’re going to talk about that today, we’re going to dig into some of the details, try to give you as much information as possible and you know, the punch line here is we were able to do this for about 71cents a piece for the individual books and it really was a great win for our church, not only was it a great tool to help us encourage our people and invite their friends, but it also was just a fun project to be a part of. So today what I want to talk about is really publishing as an invite to a book. Before we kind of jump into some of the practical stuff, let’s talk about why we did this. So what we wanted to do was we wanted to increase the invite-ability of our Sunday services. Now you know and I know that the reason why, or the kind of mechanism by which people come to our services is because they’ve been invited by a friend. Now every couple of years our church does a Relationship Series. We take some time out to help people with just some practical advice from scripture on relationships. In fact this is kind of seen as core content, it’s stuff that people love to invite their friends to. You know, in the past we’ve seen great traction from it, people have invited their friends and they’ve really counted it as some of their favorite series that we do here. But let’s think about that moment when you invite a friend to your church. You’re going to say, you know the people in your church are going to invite them and say, “Hey come to this thing in our church, we’ve got this great Relationship Series. Hey we want to just provide practical help for you.” What we wanted to do was in that moment give our people an even bigger hook to invite their friends and what we said was this, “Our pastor, Tim Lucas our lead pastor, is going to be publishing his very first book and we’re going to give it away for free to everyone who attends this series that’s coming up.” So what we did by giving away this book and promoting it ahead of time as a free tool that they could give to their friends. It encouraged our people to talk to their friends and invite them to come because it was different than anything else we had done. It wasn’t just like, “Oh we’re doing a Relationship Series,” what we were saying was we were doing a Relationship Series and our pastor is giving away his first book for free, at this we would love to have you come. Now this is important, don’t miss this. A big part of getting your church to grow is motivating your people to invite their friends, is giving them tools that they can use, practical tools they can use that make it easy for them to invite their friends and this publishing as an invite tool was really all about that. It was about helping our people talk to their friends, we were giving them another story to tell their friends. Now the reason why we picked this content was because we knew it already was content that people love to invite their friends to, we’ve seen that in the past time and time again. It was also core content, it was content that our lead pastor Tim Lucas felt like he had enough content that he had kind of preached on in the past and he felt like, “Hey yeah, I could probably package that up into a book,” and this is what I would encourage you to think about. Maybe there’s a series, don’t get hung up if you’re not, maybe you’re more of a verse by verse kind of church and you don’t do needs based preaching like this, but maybe there’s a type of content that you are really excited about or your people, more importantly, are really excited about inviting their friends for. Think about that and think, “What if I was to package up?” You’d need to write somewhere between 10 and 15 thousand words to be able to do what we’re going to talk about today, but what if you were able to package that up and give it away to your friends? You know, free is still a great marketing tool, giving something away for free is a great hook for people, they really will talk to their friends about that. So yeah, what if you were to do that and put it together into a book? Now for us it was important that not only did we have this kind of promise that we were giving away Tim’s first book but we wanted to make it look and feel like an actual published book. We didn’t want it to feel self-published even though we were just publishing it ourselves. So I’m going to share with you some of the lessons we learned along that way, to try to help make it a great product for people, because obviously ultimately what we’re building trust on is our people inviting their friends and saying, “Hey our pastor is publishing his first book and we’re going to give away for free.” If when they came and we gave them that book, if that book was low quality, if the book wasn’t something great, we would lose trust with our people. So we wanted to make sure it not only was good content, but it also looked like a great book. So if you’re following along online today, listening in by audio, so glad you’re here. You’re going to be able to gather everything you need to know. But I would also encourage you to drop by the website, because we actually have this whole presentation on video and there’s some slides that shows some pictures as we go and will better show visually what we’re talking about. So we really focused our content production on really two different things. We talked about publishing the book, we wanted to develop quality content and we wanted to have quality production. So not only great things to say but also packaged in a great package. So let’s talk a little bit about the content first. So what we did was, the last time around, the first message that Tim preached in our Relationship Series was a home run. People loved it, they’ve shared it tons, literally thousands of times online and the title of that message was You Married the Wrong Person. A great hook and what we did was we decided we were going to use that message, which he preached a few years ago, as the beginning of the book. Basically the book is 50% old messages that we have done, that Tim has preached on relationships, kind of rewritten for this format, then the other 50% is new content, kind of unique to this book. But what we did was we knew that that had resonated in the past and so we called the book You Married the Wrong Person. It has a great title, that’s a fun thing to talk about with each other and the idea behind that, well Tim’s going to actually tell you about that in a second. But the content didn’t just magically become, it takes a while to write, it’s not an overnight process. So for Tim what we did was about 18 months before we published, Tim actually took his transcripts, because he actually preaches from transcripts and he did his first pass on kind of converting the transcripts into a written format, so they worked to be read, not to be just preached publically in front of an audience. Then from there we worked with an editor, someone who writes for a living and we asked them to help us kind of sculpt that text, get it to a place where it felt great. They gave a lot of feedback to Tim and he obviously took that and massaged it. Then when we came into actually publishing, we gathered together a team of friends, really from a bunch of different perspectives; a professional writer friend a volunteer from the church, another couple of staff members who could listen from like a counselling point of view, from another pastor from kind of a pastoral point of view and we gathered this group together and over about a month we asked them to read through the content and really comb it down, we literally just loaded the text up on Google Docs and had them make hundreds of suggestions on the document. Now at the end of the day Tim made all the revisions, he said yes or no to whichever revisions we were going with, but we wanted to gather people around it and this was important to me, as the person that was kind of driving this project, that Tim felt really good about the product, that he felt like, “Okay this is quality content, this actually does say what I want it to say and it’s well written.” Now I’ve been involved in some writing projects in the past where pastors try to write books and it’s actually really hard to do because spoken text or getting up and speaking is very different than written text. So one of the things I’m really proud about, the actual text from You Married the Wrong Person, the book that we gave away for free, is that when you read it and if you know Tim, it sounds like him but it’s written, which is very hard to do. So I was really proud with how it sounded in the end. It really did retain his voice, is what the writers would say. It really retained, it sounded like him, it sounded like this was him just simply sitting down and talking with someone. It was fantastic, I was really proud about it. But on top of that, we not only wanted it to sound great and be great content, but we also wanted it to be quality production. We wanted the book to feel like a real book. I think there was a time when self-published books had a bit of a stigma behind them because it was seen, actually at one point they were called Vanity Press, because it was like, “Oh I can’t get a publisher to publish, I’m going to publish it myself.” But we didn’t want it to be like that, we wanted it to be high quality. I want to take a break here, we’re going to listen in to Tim Lucas. This is my senior pastor, the senior pastor of the church that I serve at as part of the leadership team and the guy who wrote this book and he’s going to tell us a little bit about the book, You Married the Wrong Person. You’ll hear it’s kind of in a trailer format, this was a social media piece that we put together as we were launching. He’s going to tell you a little bit about the book and why we gave it away for free. Tim – We decided to give the book away for free because so many people I talked to are struggling when it comes to relationships. I talked to a lot of single friends who feel frustrated by their quest for the perfect partner, but the good news is I believe compatibility is wildly overrated and God may have somebody for them hiding right in plain sight but they just need eyes to see that. Likewise, I talked to a lot of married couples who live in survival mode; they may have a couple of kids and they’re doing all they can to juggle their jobs, their home life, school and sports and apart from like the periodic date night, the romance has cooled and the question I want to answer is, how can they find the passion amidst the pressures of everyday life? But I also wrote the book for those who have gone through divorce or even considering it. I believe a fresh start with God is always possible. I really hope the book will help heal whatever hurts they have and inspire them to take a fresh look at what makes a healthy relationship. So whether folks are single, married or single again, You Married the Wrong Person is for them. It’s free and we’re giving it away to everybody in our Liquid Church. Rich – Alright, so you get a sense of what he was talking about there. It gives you a sense of what the book’s about and kind of the passion behind it and why we’re giving it away. Now it’s important here, we really promoted it as, this book we’re giving it away for free. Now we did everything we could, including putting together trailers, social media pieces, we did our own website, we did handout cards and everything but what we did was we promoted both the series and the book at the same time. So we really saw this as both a Relationship Series and a book launch. So we talked about it as if it was a book launch like Tim was selling a book, but we were giving it away for free. So you can see if you’re watching on the video, it’s fine if you’re not, I’ll read it to you. If you’re watching on the video, on all the invite cards even, the series was called Modern Love and on the back there’s a picture of the book and it says, “In relationships little things make a big difference. Whether you’re single or married come and learn the surprising secrets of dating, love and marriage this February. Visit Liquid Church for this message series Modern Love and receive a free copy of Pastor Tim’s new book,” and then there’s a picture obviously there of the book. Now this is important, we sold together to our people the series and the book. What we were saying was, “Come to the series and we will give you this free book.” What we weren’t saying was, “Hey we’re giving away this free book.” We really wanted to dovetail these two together, we wanted them really to be wedded in people’s minds that if they come they will get a free book. Now when they actually arrived throughout the series, now most people picked them up on the first week, but what they got when they came to the series was, in the first message from the first… I’ll provide links to that, I’ll provide a link in the show notes today to the first message so you can see it if you’re interested, you want to dive deeper and see how Tim preaches the first message called You Married the Wrong Person and then also talks about how he gave away the book. What we did was in people’s programs there was a response card and we’ve talked a lot about response cards on unSeminary, but what the response card was, was a place for people to fill out their information, kind of let us know their name, their email address, their phone number. Then what they did was they took this card as they left the service and handed it in at a desk and we exchanged that card for their free book. So we didn’t just pass them down the aisle, we exchanged their contact information for a book. That’s important because we wanted to build momentum and all of these things are obviously a part of what we’re trying to do, which is why we call it a traction tactic, we’re trying to connect with people and then get them to come back again, we don’t want them to just show up once for this series and then go away. What we said to them was, “If you give us your contact information today you’re going to get a free book at the back of the room, so you’ll get that today before you leave, but then we’re also going to email you tonight. We’re going to enter all of these cards into our database,” well we didn’t say in the database, we just said, “Tonight we’re going to not only give you this physical book but you’re also going to get the Kindle version, a PDF version and the iBook version. So if you’re a digital reader you’re going to get one of those for free, you’ll get all of those for free as well. So that gave us the kind of excuse why we needed their email address and also gave us the opportunity to make that one time follow up with them to just keep that conversation going. Obviously we also then took those same email addresses and we emailed them two more times. Once was before the next Sunday, so they came on opening Sunday, they got their free book, we emailed them before the next Sunday and said, “Hey you’ve got to come back for part two, it’s even better than part one. It’s going to be great, we’d love to have you come.” The other thing we did was at the end of the series we emailed them and asked them if they would be interested in reviewing the book and so we provided a link to which we’ll talk about in a minute, where they could go and review the book as well, which is a great way to just continue to build momentum throughout with a tactic like this. So now, the incredible thing about this, it really did exceed my expectation. I was hoping for a 15% to 20% bump in attendance. To me that would have been a win for us, that’s hundreds of new people from the year before and that’s a great win for us. When we talk about making a big day, you know in the middle of February, early February, you know in a northern state it’s hard to get people to come to church anytime, so having a bump of 30% is incredible. So we obviously collected all of that data and actually what we’ve seen looking back now, now we’re months away from this, looking back at what was the long term impact, is that this book giveaway in February became a momentum builder which then helped us as we went into our strongest kind of lead up to Easter season ever, our biggest Easter and then spring and now summer. So we really, at least from my perspective, I see this as the beginning of a run of growth that we’ve been encountering these days at Liquid and it really drives back to this one particular piece that we talked about, this kind of giving away of a book. So let’s take a look under the hood. Let’s look behind the curtain and talk about some of the practical tactics. What did we do to help produce this deal? There’s a lot we could talk about frankly and if you want to contact me [email protected], we could probably talk for hours on how we did this project and I’ve wondered if other churches would be interested and there may be an opportunity there to help churches that may want to package a book like this together, I could probably help you with that but we need to think about how we would do that. But anyway, I want to just give you a flyover of some of the practical pieces about how we made this book and gave it away. The first thing, about the cover. People do judge the book by its cover, that’s just true, that’s a truism that has been true for as long as it’s ever been and this is true again today. So you’ve got to make a great cover for the book. In fact, for us, we do have designers on staff at Liquid, we’re really fortunate, we have some incredible designers on staff but what we wanted to do was actually outsource the cover design because we were actually doing this in the craziness of Christmastime. This series launched in the beginning of February, we were doing all of this design work late November, early December, which you know as a church leader, is a crazy time of year. So we took this out of house and used a site called 99designs. Now what 99designs is, it’s a site, an outsourcing site where you go and you basically walk through their process and tell them what it is that you want. They have kind of a series of detailed forms that you fill out, you give them some money and then they run a contest and they have designers from literally all over the world who will bid in and they actually do the first round of designs. We ended up getting 124 different entries. So we have 124 different covers to pick from and it was incredible and if you look onscreen I’ve just provided some of them, there’s a lot there. It gives you the opportunity to really see a lot of different designs, get a sense of what it could look like and then from there what you do is you pick kind of a few of your favorites, work with those designers, kind of refine them and then eventually you pick one winner and you say, “Yes, that’s the one I want,” and then at that point you get the cover design. For us the reason why it was good to use 99designs was because our team was really busy leading up into Christmas, but then also books do have a specific kind of language that they use and we wanted this to fit with other books that people would see on Amazon because obviously when we’re going to promote it we’re going to need a great cover image, even before they have the book it’s just going to be on an invite card and there’s going to be a picture of the front of the book, that’s literally what people are going to judge on, are they going to invite their friend, does the front of the book look great? So for us it was important for us to do a good job and kind of fit within that genre. In the end it’s funny, our designer, actually if you look at her portfolio it’s actually a lot of romance novels, which is kind of funny, it probably fits actually because we’re obviously talking about relationship stuff. So it was a great experience. 99designs, we’ve used them for T-shirts as well in the past, because we’ve run into T-shirt design problems in the past as well, but I would highly recommend them. If you want more information just zip me an email or just check out Now there’s not only the exterior of the book but then there’s the interior of the book, what they call typesetting is kind of the more traditional language for that. What that is, is kind of what the pages look like. Now I never really considered this too much, but actually a well-designed interior of a book, I think is what sets kind of the traditional self-published books apart from a normally published or professionally published books, a great designed book on the inside just looks fantastic and I’m really happy about how ours turned out. We ended up doing four interior designs of the book. We did a print interior, obviously the one that we sent to the printer and that they used to actually print it. We did a PDF, so you could just email it to friends and actually if you go to our show notes today and check them out, you’ll be able to download a PDF version of the book. So you can get it and try it, take a look at it and read it and whatever you want there. Thirdly we did a Kindle version. We wanted to do the digital publishing like we talked about earlier, so we could encourage people to give us their email address plus we wanted to publish on Amazon which we’ll talk about in a few minutes. Then an iBook version for the Apple people among us who read on their phones and on their iPads and stuff like that. So again we used a service here that we’ve talked about in the past called Elance. Elance is an outsourcing service. It’s kind of like eBay but for freelancers. Now they’re actually changing their name, they’re changing their name to Upwork this summer, but if you go to Elance they’ll still be there or and what they are is a marketplace of freelancers. So very similar to 99designs, you kind of define what you’re looking for. Here I basically put together a short description, about 500 words that said, this is what I’m looking for, here are the formats I’m looking for, here’s is the actual text or a close version of the text so the designers could see and then I asked them for references, “I want to see past work that you’ve done, I want you to give me some idea of what you would do with this particular version.” We ended up using a designer from Chicago, a great guy who did a fantastic… Well actually I’m really proud of the interior, each chapter, at kind of the beginning of the chapter there’s an image that matches the front of the book. So first we did obviously the cover then we did the interior next, so it all hangs together quite well and looks fantastic. In the end, I was, like I say, I was super happy with how that turned out. Now this might be an interesting thing for you to think about. We gave the book away for free but we wanted it to look like, now we never said it was published, we never said like, “Oh this was Tim’s published book,” we just said it was Tim’s new book. In fact, if anybody that looked at it closely, one of the things that we wanted interior wise, we didn’t want to misrepresent ourselves, we wanted it to look like this has actually been published by Liquid Church. So if you look at the book it says, right on it, “Published by Liquid Church.” We didn’t set up a shell company and make it sound like Thomas [Inaudible 00:23:33] or anything like that, we literally just published it as Liquid Church. But we wanted it to swing in the same leagues as much as possible as traditionally published books. So actually, more so than a publisher, I think there was a time in the past where having a publisher meant something and although that still probably does in some circles, for most of our people, being up on Amazon is actually a bigger deal than being published and Amazon has made it very easy for you as a self-publisher or as a publishing system like this that we’re talking about, to publish your works. Amazon really is amazing, they do make it very simple for you to make this happen. There’s two different parts of Amazon you need to know about. The first is called FBA, Fulfillment by Amazon and what this is, is you go on, if you just literally search Fulfillment by Amazon you’ll find a link to that. What Fulfillment by Amazon does, it allows any business to set up an account where you rent space. It’s $40 a month where you rent shelf space at Amazon’s warehouses, you send them crates of your books or boxes of your books, you have to describe the size and all of that sort of thing, but you send them the books that you want to sell, you set the price, they take a commission off the top, it’s fairly hefty, it’s like 40% or something like that, it’s pretty high. You take that and you have to pay shipping costs and all of that, you set the price and then they’ll be available online. It literally within days of you getting books to them, they’ll be up and ready to sell. So once your books are published you literally just have to mail them, UPS them, they even setup these really easy to use forms where you print them off and put them on the box and send them to them. But FBA Fulfillment by Amazon. Now we were not trying to make money off of any of this Amazon stuff. All we were trying to do was just to show our people like, “Hey it’s a real book.” It’s like a book book. It’s not like a photocopied thing that we ran off on the printer and so we wanted it to be on Amazon. Our goal was never to make money, our Amazon stuff, what we’ve tried to do is just cover our costs on Amazon which has happened so far. So FBA that’s the first part of Amazon you need to know. The other one is KDP which Kindle Digital Publishing. Now this, we basically took the file from the designer, the interior designer and uploaded it onto Kindle and KDP is incredible, it is so easy to use. You can literally take your Kindle file, upload it onto Kindle and it will be available worldwide within a matter of hours, anywhere in the world people can download the book for free or whatever your decide to charge for it and they make it very easy to do. So our book was available both as a Kindle version and as a physical product version as well and they do a good job. The one thing that’s a bit weird is you have to set up your page on the FBA site, on the Fulfillment by Amazon site because it’s a physical one and then you do it in a separate area for the Kindle one but then it just magically somehow figures out, “Oh this is the same book,” and it merges them together and then you get that really easy interface that you have on Amazon where you can click, you can either buy the physical book or the Kindle, that sort of thing. So I would highly recommend. It’s amazing how many people said, “Wow it’s actually on Amazon too.” Now we leveraged that at our pre-promotion. We were saying, “Hey, instead of buying it on Amazon just come and get it for free.” Again there was a perception deal there that helped us benchmark the book at a certain price in people’s minds, even though that was all implicit, we weren’t saying that explicitly, we were saying, “Hey you can come and get this book for free or if you want to get it on Amazon,” and we’ve literally had hundreds of copies go off of Amazon today. Again, that’s been an interesting part of the process. Alright one last piece. I was really happy with our printer. We used a printer called Versa Press and I wanted to show you, if you’re looking online you can actually see the actual invoice that we used to print the books and they ended up being under 72 cents, it’s like 71something cents apiece. Versa, they’re in Illinois. I really liked them, they were easy to work with. Now they’re a printer, so you have to send them the files, it’s not like you just send them a word document and they lay it out, you literally send them, here’s the cover file, here’s the interior pages, you have to give them the completed files but then they’re going to print it, like any other printer and they do a wide variety of printing. We ended up doing kind of this small book size, we tried to make it really easy for people to give away and so that’s a part of the reason why it’s 71 or just over 71 cents apiece, but they’ll print all different colors, they’ll do color interior, all that kind of stuff. I was really happy with them. Actually I was put onto them by Tim Day, a friend of mine who’s been on the podcast in the past because he used them to print his book as well. They really were great to work with. If you’re looking for someone to talk to over there, you just give them a call but they’re Versa Press in East Peoria, Illinois. Their phone number is 1800 447 7829. They’re great people, Pam Jans is the person I worked with. Alright coming down to the end. So what evaluation, what was kind of my takeaways from this process? So if we were to do this again we definitely would keep the print version. It was great having a physical thing to give away to someone. In a world that’s increasingly digital, physical artefacts like this have a disproportionate value, they actually mean more. We could have just emailed everyone a PDF version of it, yes that’s true, but for not that much money, I realize it’s not pennies, but for not that much money, giving people a physical book, really resonated and people loved it. They came back, they invited their friends, they asked for books. You know, we gave away a book for free but then you could buy a copy or two. There’s a whole other conversation about what we did there but you could buy them if you wanted as well and it was amazing, people would say like, “I’m going to take 10 copies of these and give them to friends,” fantastic. So the stop, I would say, was we not only did Kindle publishing but we also did iBook. I don’t want to bash Apple because Apple is amazing, they make a lot of great products, but their iBook publishing process is a total hassle, it is nowhere near as easy or as straight forward as the Kindle digital publishing process. So in fact, we had problems with it and it was late getting launched and we never had anyone complain it. My sense is that actually no one really uses iBook or that the Kindle is so dominant in the digital book sales business that the iBook is such a hassle and it is such a minor player in that business, that I’m just not sure it’s worth it. So I don’t think in the future we would do iBook again, at least we’d evaluate it because it was a hassle to get it up and running. Then what we’re really looking at is what we’re going to do with the next one. I’m excited about the next project here. You know, the start, I suspect this will be a tool that we’ll use in our [Inaudible 00:30:46] maybe on an annual basis, maybe once a year we will do this for some series, kind of lean together or put together content that would work well in this format, pull it together and then see how that resonates with people. So I’m really glad that you listened in today. Hopefully this has been helpful, maybe inspired you to get you to think about doing something different. Thank you so much for listening in to unSeminary. If you have any questions I would love to help you, particularly with this publishing or anything really, zip me an email [email protected]. I’d be happy to help you. Thank you so much, I hope you have a great weekend.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.