You can create culturally relevant children’s curriculum

Have you heard of Corrie ten Boom? Hudson Taylor? These are household names in many Christian families. Why? Because someone told their stories. One of the most exciting ways to create culturally relevant children’s curriculum is to use true life experiences and heroes of the national church. Every country is filled with heroes of the faith. Author Jeanette Windle describes how to turn these stories into captivating curriculum.

1)       Biography

Example:  Go to the historical sites of the person being studied. Using a digital device, collect and record the history of the local church through interviewing the person herself or survivors who remember her.  Write a five chapter biography.

2)      True life experiences

Example:  A nine-year-old street child who is looking for the love of a family learns three important lessons:   1. You are created by an Almighty God, 2. God loves you very much, and 3. God is with you wherever you go.

Five simple steps for turning stories into curriculum:

1)      Choose a Bible verse

2)      Introduce the story

Example:  “Have you ever felt alone?  Is that true?  Let me tell you about a little girl who discovered she was not truly alone.”

3)      Tell the story

4)      Make the Biblical application

5)      Offer a take-away thought and activity

This LittWorld 2012 video was shot and produced by Good News Productions in Nairobi, Kenya, for MAI .

Selling the Benefits (part 2 in bookselling success for publishers))

By Tony Wales

This is the second article in a four-part series to help publishers succeed in selling their books. This article describes the second key: selling the benefits of your publications.

The first key is preparing yourself with proper knowledge of your publication. See the article, Four Vital Ways to Improve Your Success in Bookselling

When I go to the store to buy a shirt, my main concern is not my collar size or sleeve length. My 16 inch collar and a 33 inch sleeve are mere features, helpful background information. Rather I go looking for a shirt which will serve various needs. These may include benefits such as: Are the shirts in the store are well made (no loose threads or other flaws)? Will it be long-wearing, good material? Will it look good on me and work with my other clothes? This mixture of personal and practical needs informs my decision to buy. They are the benefits that may lead to my purchase.

Similarly, when we are selling publications, we need to focus mainly on benefitsNepal by Owen Salter not features. Provide your customers with answers to questions such as: What will this publication do for the reader? Does it fit with the customer’s profile? If your customer is a bookshop, will your publication fit in? For example, if your book is a novel, do they have a fiction section into which it can go? Or if your customer is a church, what will your book offer that particular congregation?

Although product details are important, our temptation is to load up our customers with detailed features, such as length, price, author or even content. But these facts are insufficient. I have often seen books and their product info presented to potential customers without the key reasons to buy: the benefits to the customer and end-user.

Increasingly successful selling depends on you being prepared with a clear idea of the benefits that your book will bring to readers and therefore give your customer reasons to buy your publication. Always remember that your customers are making an investment by putting your book on the shelf. You need to prepare them to sell it to their own customers.

The late motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar made a key point with this simple poem:

“If you want to sell John Jones what John Jones buys,
You’ve got to look through John Jones’ eyes”

Too often we try to sell our publications without looking through our customer’s eyes.

So here are some action points you can take:

–  Prepare your reasons for the customer to buy your publication

–  Include the book’s benefits in all your sales materials and especially on the cover of the book. Review your sales materials, catalogues and book covers to see if they reflect this important principle. Don’t be afraid to make changes!

–  Aim to constantly try to understand your customer’s needs as you present your publications

Selling the benefits is the second step to successful selling. Next time we will look at the third great principle of sellingAsking for the order.

Tony Wales is a board member and trainer for MAI based in the UK. See his first article on bookselling for publishers.

Photo above courtesy of Owen Salter

Four Vital Ways to Improve Your Success in Book Sales

By Tony Wales

During my 40-plus years in publishing, I learned that these four principles were always the key to successful sales. If I forgot even one of them, failure followed. These principles are rooted in Christian love for God and love for my neighbor.

The first principle for successful selling is PREPARATION. When we offer our customers a book, we often ignore the need for proper knowledge of our product. Prepare yourself with these key points:

Photo courtesy khunaspix, Freedigitalphotos

Photo courtesy khunaspix, Freedigitalphotos

The author – Who is she? Does her background, her work or her church provide an opportunity for you to sell her book? What are her qualifications for writing? Has she published other books? Find out all you can and carry an author information sheet.  These details give proper respect for our authors and help build their profile, a key aspect of all successful publishing.

The content of the book – Gain sufficient familiarity with the text in order to answer any customer questions. Bring a complete outline of contents, sample text or the complete text, and a cover of the book. These items will increase your confidence before and during customer meetings. If you do not prepare, you will usually be lost for words!

The costs of the book –Be clear ahead of time what financial terms you are able to offer the customer. For example, what is the normal discount they require and what can you offer on a bulk purchase?

Customer background – Have they bought from you before? If so, on what terms?  Look up previous customer records, invoices, etc. If you lack such records, start keeping them. They will be invaluable to your publishing house. If the customer ordered from you before, what sort of books did they buy and when? This will help enable you to inquire how those books sold and what books they are looking for now.

Make a definite appointment whenever possible –Ensure that you and your customer have an agreed time and place to meet. Otherwise, you can waste a lot of your time and theirs!

Arrive 10 minutes early – Use your extra time to observe the shop, church or office, and assess local needs before you see the customer. You may meet another staff member and pick up some useful information. This preparation can often be a valuable part of the learning process before you have even met the customer.

In summary, the more you understand your authors and books, and the more you know of your customer’s history and requirements, the more you will be able to successfully match your books to their needs. This is the first step to successful selling.

Next time, we will look at another great principle of selling:
“Selling the Benefits Rather Than the Features of Our Books.”

 Tony Wales is a board member and trainer for MAI based in the UK.

Do you love to read?

Then pray for writers.

By Beng Alba

If you are passionate about the written word, why not carve out a space to pray for writers?  Here are a few points to help you get started:

Growing relationship with God.  Pray that Christian writers continue to increase in their knowledge and love for God.  More than anything, a writer’s love for God should be what moves him or her to write.  In the same way that the Holy Spirit inspired the words of Moses, David, and Paul, pray that writers today recognize their complete dependence on God.

Love for people.  Pray that the writers become sensitive to the needs and interests of their readers.  This should spur them toward producing literature that will validate those needs and point the readers to God, the Ultimate Source of help.

Strength and wisdom.  While there are those who can afford to retreat to a log cabin to write, such is not always the case.  For many, writing is what they do on top of meeting the demands of their families, full-time jobs, and church.  Pray that writers learn to manage their time wisely as they cope with life’s daily demands.

Protection from the enemy’s attacks.  Writers get sick, tired or discouraged.   Many grow weary and lose heart when they don’t see tangible results from their months of toil.  At such times, Satan’s whispers can sound more convincing:  “Give up.  There’s no use spending another day writing another page nobody is going to read.”  Bathe writers in prayer to wash away these negative thoughts of the enemy.  Satan and his minions will do everything possible to keep God’s message of love and salvation from being published.