MAI Launches Webinars for Global Christian Publishers

MAI is expanding its global publisher training with the launch of free monthly webinars. “While MAI considers on-site face-to-face training as the most effective way to help grow words of life in the hearts and soil of readers worldwide, we also see webinars as a relatively inexpensive tool to broaden and multiply our reach,” said Ramon Rocha, Director of Publisher Development.

The interactive sessions will include polls, surveys and time for questions. Sessions will be recorded for on-demand access after the live webcast.

portraits of Dan Balow taken April 9, 2010

Dan Balow (US)

Dan Balow and Carlo Carrenho will co-lead the first webinar on December 12, “Thinking and Doing Digital Publishing: Should Christians publish ebooks and how can they publish them?” Dan is former publisher of eChristian—a digital online retail store of eBooks, audio, video and also a print book and audio book publisher. He recently joined the Steve Laube Agency as a publishing development consultant and also an author agent.


carlo carrenho

Carlo Carrenho (Brazil)

Carlo Carrenho is the founding partner of Publish News, based in São Paulo, Brazil. His experience includes being a publishing consultant, trade journalist, and digital future enthusiast.

Tony Wales (2)

Tony Wales (UK)

Tony Wales will cover “Bookselling Success for Publishers: Learn best practices in book selling on January 14th. He is a global publishing consultant based in Oxford, England, and retired international rights director for Lion Hudson.

Barine Kirimi will facilitate the February 18 webinar, “Leadership in Publishing: Be the Christian publishing leader who makes a difference in helping expand God’s Kingdom.”

Barine Kirimi

Barine Kirimi (Kenya)

He is a publishing consultant and the founding director of a nonprofit training agency, the Publishing Institute of Africa. Barine is the former CEO of Evangel Publishing House.

All webinars will start at 8 AM Central Time. Deadline for registration is 7 days before each webinar date. Register online now for the December 12 webinar, “Thinking and Doing Digital Publishing.”


A Writer’s Prayer

Pusonnam Yiri of Nigeria

Pusonnam Yiri

By Pusonnam Yiri of Nigeria

Lord, I thank you for creating me with potential to write. Help me to discover a problem disturbing humanity that needs to be addressed. Give me the wisdom to have the right motive and state of mind to develop the idea and structure to write. Lord, I know that I am too busy doing other things; help me to be focused, overcome distractions and have perseverance to finish writing the book.

I am aware that I cannot write the book alone. I ask for your leadership to send the right people that will help me.

Help the people that desperately need my attention for other things to understand my reason for having some time to write. When I finally finish, I plead that You will guide the right publisher to discover great values in the manuscript and publish it gladly so that our lives will be transformed as a result of reading it, in this generation and future generations for your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray.


Do you have a prayer for your publishing work that might encourage others? Tell us.

Albania: Magazine Still Captivates Kids after 20 Years

For the last two decades, Miracle children’s magazine has been captivating kids across Albania. Creative distribution and content have made it a remarkable evangelistic tool in this post-Communist society. In celebration Minolta DSCof Miracle’s 20th anniversary this year, MAI discussed the magazine’s journey and success with founder and editor Besa Shapllo of Mission Possible Albania.

Q: Less than 25 years ago, Albania was considered one of the most atheistic countries in the world. How did the magazine get started in this context?
Certainly, the situation in Albania has completely changed.  People are now free to believe and worship, but the growing evangelical community is still a minority compared to the Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox communities.

The first issue of Miracle was published in late 1993, with 5,000 copies printed. We offered it free through a TV advertisement.  The response was amazing.  Maybe that was not a surprise, given that we were one of the first, if not the first, magazines for children after the fall of Communism.

Q: What sort of content does Miracle print?
When the magazine began, about 30 percent of the content was biblical. In 1999, the Ministry of Education blocked distribution of magazines or books with religious content in the schools. Therefore, we made Miracle more of a tool for pre-evangelism in which the materials are less explicitly Christian but still based on Christian morals and ethics.

Miracle cover2

The November 2013 cover reads “Happy November Holidays,” celebrated the 28th and 29th.

Q: What was the initial response to the magazine?
We received some amazing letters. One man wrote, “At a time when we see all sorts of unpleasant things introduced with the opening of Albania to the world, your magazine is a real blessing to our kids.  I am an atheist, but I would like for my children to believe in God.”  One girl in the eighth grade wrote, “If growing up means that I have to stop receiving Miracle magazine, I’d rather not grow up.”

Q: What are Miracle Clubs?
We started the Miracle Clubs in 1996 three years after the magazine launched. They are Bible clubs for kids, and members receive a free subscription to the magazine.  Initially the Bible clubs were attached to a church. Now we run eight Bible clubs at our Hope Center in the poor community of Bathore, which has only a few churches for a population of about 30,000. Bathore is predominately Muslim background, so our Miracle Clubs are a good tool to spread the Good News amongst the children of Bathore.

Miracle magazine in the schools

School children enjoy a copy of “Miracle” magazine

Q: What have been keys to the magazine’s success?
One key was that our team received proper training right from the beginning in the workshops offered by Magazine Training International and in which MAI’s John Maust was one of the trainers. Later, in partnership with MAI, we organized two training seminars in Tirana, Albania, for Christian writers and editors. I have to stress that MAI has never stopped encouraging our team to keep on going.

Q: What are your future plans for Miracle magazine?
We want to continue to improve its quality and for the magazine to become a best friend to many more kids. We pray that God will remove all the barriers for Miracle to become a good tool to evangelize to the children of Albania.

By Debbie Pederson

<<Read about Mission Possible’s launch of the first library in the shantytown of Bathore.

New: LittWorld Photo Journal Benefits Training for Africans

Discover LittWorld in MAI’s newly published photo journal. PublishingLWbook cover for Global Impact: The Story of LittWorld 2012 in Pictures chronicles our most recent triennial global Christian publishing conference through the photography of Eric Gitonga. The book includes more than 120 color photos and various personal testimonies. Five dollars of each purchase will benefit training for African publishers and writers.

Cost: $19.99 plus shipping. Limited quantity. To order, please call 630.260.9063, email [email protected] or download the MAI book order form. 

Following Up (part 4 in bookselling success for publishers)

By Tony Wales

This is the final article in a four-part series to help publishers succeed in selling their books.

In my first three articles, we have looked at 1) Preparation, 2) Presentation and 3) Getting the Order. Without another part of the sales process, we may lose all the ground we have made thus far. Following Up is vital if we are to build on all the work we have done. Here are some key disciplines all sales people need to have.

1. Perhaps the most important single tool that every sales person can and should develop is THE CUSTOMER SALES REPORT.

This is a written record of the sales calls you make. It can be developed as an electronic file or spreadsheet. Or it can be a paper version. Whichever way you choose, it will record the details of each customer with:

– Their full contact details (not forgetting mailing address, delivery address if ID-10054844different) and all the phone and e-mail addresses).

– Who their main contact and/or decision maker is.

– Their credit limit (how much you can allow them to order) and credit terms (the discount and payment terms).

All these will be at the head of the page below which will be a record of the following:

– Date, place of meeting and who was there.

– What was ordered (record as much detail as possible, including any comments on why they may or may not have bought certain titles.) This will be vital information for all future contacts with this customer.

– You may pick up general information in the meeting such as comments about the market, the parent organization of the publisher, or particular personal information such as someone’s illness, or the fact that they are getting married (will that affect who you see next time?) and so on.

– Keep your ears open for any clues as to how the customer is doing. Prepare some sensitive questions such as ‘Is the business doing better this year?’ This may affect the relationship you are trying to build with them.

Whatever you learn during the visit, make sure to record on your CUSTOMER SALES REPORT. You may not be the next person from your organization to meet them. If so, your record will be vital. And, as you build up this record, it will be critical not only to you but to anyone else from your organization who deals with this customer in the future.

Every publisher can and should develop and constantly maintain a set of customer records. They need to be kept in a place which others in your organization can also refer to though you, as the sales person have the responsibility to keep it up to date.

2. Don’t forget to record the latest contact details of your customer while you are still with them. There’s no time like the present. Find time as soon as possible after your meeting to add any further details to your CUSTOMER SALES REPORT. Build time into that day, or at latest the following day, while your memory is still fresh.

3. Following up also means that after meeting your customer, put a date in your own diary, planner or calendar to call them or send an e-mail. At the very least, this will simply thank them for the meeting and assure them that the order they placed is now being processed. You can also take the opportunity to confirm any details—such as the delivery date or publication dates they may have asked for.

4. Sometimes you mID-10066407ay have to follow up with further material such as samples of the books you were unable to show them at the meeting. Or send advance material such as information sheets or covers of new unpublished titles, and so prepare the way for future business. In any case, send your new catalog or other advance information when it is available. Make sure you add them to your regular mailing list.

5. Have a regular review of this particular customer. I used to have a pending system consisting of a folder for every day of the month. I would then put a reminder (perhaps with a copy of the customer’s order or other reminders of my visit – often with a scribbled note of any necessary detail) and select a date the following month to refresh my mind of what needs to be done next. I found this invaluable not only to prompt me to act but also to renew my memory. This became more important with every additional customer. I would daily review what I had previously put in the file for that day of the month and take any action required.

The key with all this is to take all possible steps to stay in touch with your customers. FOLLOWING UP will repay your efforts many times over and, even if it takes time and many follow-up calls, e-mails or other mailings, it will lead to increasing sales. It will also lead to  better understanding of your market. Additionally, your publishing will benefit as you understand your customers better. Thus, FOLLOWING UP is vital not only for increased sales, but for the effectiveness of your whole publishing program.

May God bless you as you apply these proven principles.

If you have questions or contributions arising from these blogs, I would love to hear from you. Email tonywales[email protected]

Photos above courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos