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Books

Dear Neglected Blog Readers

Dear neglected blog readers,

I’ve not forgotten you. I love you. I’m thankful for your patience. I’m hitting the final stages for the launch of my new book, Tuning In: Six Ways to Reclaim Your Life from Technology.

It’s a book five years in the making, I love it and I think you will, too. It’s based on research and introspection and– to sound like a Presbyterian preacher for a second– I think the timing of its release couldn’t come at a better time as we, as Christians, wrestle with sorting out what it means to live a life online.

There are two parts: 

  • The book, Tuning In: Six Ways to Reclaim Your Life from Technology
  • The free companion, Technology Tune Up: Six Steps to Reclaiming Your Life from Technology 

More soon.

Adam

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Books

New stuff from the Cartel Publishing Line

It’s been a wild two-weeks for our Cartel publishing line as we get into 2017.

We’re continuing to gain traction for our two lines of downloadable curriculum, Viva and Next. That’s fun to see.

Earlier this month we announced that after several years of seeing diminishing returns from Amazon.com we’ve now broken up. You can still get our books via Amazon Kindle but we’re no longer distributing our books directly through them because we lost a bunch of money.

One of the awesome things this means is that we’re going to offer better shipping rates, including months like January where we’re offering free shipping on every single order.

And this month we’re launching three new physical books.

Mission Tripping by Danny Kwon

This is a book and companion interactive journal

Here’s what I like about Mission Tripping. Tons of youth ministries do mission trips. Tens of thousands of them each year. Over the years I’ve been on and lead a whole bunch of them.

I’m here to tell you: There are really great mission trips. And there are really crappy ones who do more harm than good.

What’s the difference? The youth worker. Mission Tripping is truly comprehensive in that it helps you ground your mission trip in solid theology, theory, and practice. You need to know how to find the right trip for your group, you need to know how to manage all aspects of that trip, you need to know how to have a great trip, and you need to know how to help cement learning with follow-up.

You can save $3 on Mission Tripping if you order today with the pre-release coupon code of MTBLOGGING

Leading Without Power by Mark Oestreicher

It’s about time, right? Marko created the Cartel publishing line five or so years ago but hadn’t, until now, published a full-blown book on his own line! (We did publish a curriculum, Every Picture Tells a Story: 2013 Edition) He and I both took some time in 2016 to go on a writing retreat and hammer our new titles. (More on my new book another day) And I’m really excited about what he’s come up with. It’s super useful for people who aren’t the #1 leader on a church staff but as definitely still leaders.

Here’s a snippet of the description:

Hierarchical, coercive leadership should have no place in the church.

But if we move away from those unbiblical (and ineffective) forms of power-based leadership, we still need to lead. In Leading Without Power, Mark Oestreicher explores—in very pragmatic ways—what it might look like for us to replace power-based leadership modalities with other approaches.

Leading Without Power unpacks nine metaphorical job titles, with stories and examples of what it looks like to embody these mindsets and practices.

You can read the rest of the description, see the crazy good endorsements, or place your pre-order at this link. You can save $2 per copy if you pre-order Leading Without Power by January 31st with coupon code: getlwp

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Books

Disrupting Amazon Book Sales

Yesterday, I read this article about how Amazon has small publishers like us by the neck:

Amazon Advantage, which I’ve written about before, is the alpha method of selling our books. It puts us squarely in the limelight so that when someone types in the title, we are the first and most visible seller. Click on the cover image and the book on offer is the one sold by us. But the cost for this clarity and publicity is high, and can be met only by the big publishers, who print thousands of copies of a title and keep the cost-per-copy to less than a pound. But if you are a small press, the sums don’t add up. Linen Press welcomes writers with no track record and writers from minority groups. We read the 20, mostly unsolicited submissions that arrive each week. Having signed up an emergent writer (emergent is a polite way of saying unknown), we usually do a first run of 400 copies, which works out at a basic production price of £3 per copy.

Then there will be other expenses in the process, such as £200 for a cover image, £200 for artwork, £500 for typesetting and the creation of digital files, £200 for flyers and publicity materials, perhaps 10 copies of the book to enter an award such as the Baileys women’s prize for fiction. The final cost per copy for us is nearer £4. Amazon Advantage takes 55% of the recommended retail price, so on a £7.99 novel, it takes £4.40 and we get £3.60. We have to post books individually, as they are ordered, at £3 postage plus the cost of an envelope. We’re down to a profit of 60p. Out of that comes the author’s royalty of 80p, so we’re in minus figures.

Source

While I understand what she’s talking about, we don’t experience quite the same costs that she does… our business model is different… so I see what she is saying but disagree with her conclusion.

Where she is 100% correct is that there aren’t a lot of options out there for publishers. Every publisher, big and small, are willing to hear new ideas for selling their books outside of Amazon.

Here was my thought when I read this: Book sales are ripe for disruption.

  • More people are buying more books than ever in the history of the world.
  • The cost of entry into publishing is lower than at any time in history.
  • Digital sales are on the decline.
  • Amazon has billions in marketshare, but they have also have billions in costs/overhead.
  • The cost of entry to starting your own physical or online bookstore is shockingly low.
  • Outside of Amazon, no one is really innovating in this space, everyone seems focused on competing with Amazon instead of delighting book buyers.
  • Publishers (like us) are eager to take on new retailers.
  • While it’s nearly impossible to compete with Amazon on price or speed of shipping, there’s TONS of room for other ways to beat them.
  • Just because big box bookstores failed doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to do well at book retail. There are segments of booksellers doing very, very well.

Did this peak your interest? Leave me a comment or drop me a note via my contact form. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking. 

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Books Friday is For Friends

Hopecasting by Mark Oestreicher

My partner in crime at the Cartel has a new book coming out. He has something like 70 titles in the youth ministry genre, been the general editor of a couple Bible projects, and is the general editor of our Cartel publishing line.

But this is Marko’s very first general audience Christian book.

So it stands out that the audience isn’t limited to people who are working in local churches with teenagers, it’s for everybody.

Here’s the truth: I haven’t read it yet. So I can’t recommend it from that perspective.

However, I can recommend it wholeheartedly as a friend who has born witness to the process of creating the book… and the life altering stuff that happened which lead to the creation of the book.

This book kicked Marko’s butt.

It made him uncomfortable. It made him work harder than he wanted to. It interrupted him. I think it drove him crazy and pushed him to places he didn’t really want to go. And, in the end, he’s really proud of it.

Here’s the description:

Why are some people full of hope, while many of us struggle to get past the snooze alarm? Hope often seems elusive—both to explain and to experience. So we find ourselves instead clinging to lesser substitutes. From self-medication to lazy clichés, we apply these balms to our pain and experience little to no comfort. But we know, in our guts, that these replacements aren’t the hope-filled lives we long for, the lives we were made for. Mark Oestreicher gets it. Through hard-wrought experience and robust-bordering-on-desperate theological reflection, he offers here a fresh perspective on Hope, that virtue that God carries to us even as God carries us. Read Hopecasting and discover a good God casting hope your way.

And here’s what Scot McKnight has to say, he’s way smarter than me:

Hopecasting takes us through the joy of holy week, into the exile of darkness and hopelessness, and to the empty tomb of hope. In this book Marko teaches each of us how he has learned to practice a life of hope through the resurrection. What a gift of God this book is. May you discover the reality of a biblical hope that reshapes life today.

So that’s the scoop. Give it a shot.

You can buy it from Amazon or at The Youth Cartel store.

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Books

Review: Our Last Option

Option 1: I’m right and you’re wrong and that’s that.

Option 2: We’re all right in our own opinion and that’s that, let’s just get along anyway.

These are the two options most of us see when engaging in our society. You’re either pro-choice or pro-life. You’re either anti-gun or pro-gun ownership. You’re for gay marriage or you’re against it. You’re either FoxNews or HufffPo.

It’s exhausting and most people seem to teeter-totter between engaging in the topic du jour and ignoring it. They are exhausted by it because it lacks productivity. Few people can argue another person into change. But we seem to live in an age where winning is more important than virtue.