Bonnie S. Calhoun

Bonnie S. Calhoun is the Founder and Publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine . She is also the Owner and Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance which is the parent organization for the magazine.

In addition to her passion for spreading the word about Christian fiction, Bonnie is also an author of snarky suspense. Her novel Cooking The Books (A Sloane Templeton Mystery) will release from Abingdon Press in April 2012. It is presently available for digital e-reader download if you are a book reviewer. Go to, Abingdon Press as the publisher.


Revisiting Self-Publishing with eBooks

Convert Backlist Titles into New Sales and New Readers

In the last year, the writing world has been buzzing about self-publishing—and the excitement has quickly spread from the writing community into the mainstream media spotlight. Stories of astounding self-publishing success followed by million-dollar book deals have created an ebook “gold rush,” and many writers are reconsidering self-publishing.

All She Ever WantedBut what does all this mean for the traditionally-published Christian novelist? It opens the door to new sales and new audiences. You can self-publish and find new fans and reviews, plus continue to work with your publisher.

PubIt! by Barnes & Noble offers authors and independent writers an easy, fast, and free way to convert their works to ebooks. Since PubIt! launched a year ago, more than twenty thousand publishers and authors have found success selling their works through the PubIt! platform. Many of their best-selling ebooks are backlist titles from traditionally published authors, now digitized, repackaged, and driving new revenue.

One of PubIt!’s most successful authors to date, Barbara Freethy, has translated her backlist into an ebook boon. Now she is at the top of the ebook best-seller list on both and at the New York Times! “I love seeing the sales in real-time!” says Freethy, best-selling author of women’s fiction and romance, including All She Ever Wanted and One True Love. Freethy was able to regainOne True Love her digital publishing rights, and she didn’t just reissue her past works, she re-envisioned them. They quickly skyrocketed to new success.

Regaining Rights, Reestablishing Control

Like many authors using PubIt!, in relaunching her older titles, Freethy had to create new covers, as the existing cover art from her print editions did not revert along with her digital rights. After being published at several different houses, Freethy saw new covers as a branding opportunity, and repackaged her work with a unified look and feel—one that struck her as more in line with her mix of romance and women’s fiction.

Total control of the publishing experience is an aspect of self-publishing that many traditionally published authors appreciate. From covers and descriptions to pricing and publication schedule, the author is in charge with PubIt!

That control also extends to marketing to readers. Authors get to select what categories best fit their work and can position their work in a way that truly matches their vision.

How PubIt! Works

It’s never been so easy to publish your work. With PubIt! an author creates an account and uploads her writing as a Word, HTML, .txt, or .rtf file that PubIt! automatically converts to ePub format, the standard e-reader format. Note: If your work is already converted, ePub files can also be easily uploaded!

Of course, the next step for an author is marketing. An author uploads a cover, adds the book description, author bio, quotes, categories, and editorial reviews. From file to NOOK Book, a PubIt! title can go on sale to the millions of customers at within seventy-two hours. Barnes & Noble customers can then browse, sample, purchase and read NOOK Books on NOOK Simple Touch and NOOK Color devices along with the free NOOK Reading App for iPhone, iPad, Android Smartphones, PC, and others. It’s just that fast and easy.

Reconnect with Readers While Finding New Ones

Traditionally published authors who embrace self-publishing have a major marketing asset: readers. Because you already have a following in your genre, you can simply let these readers know that your works are now available as ebooks. You’ll also have review quotes to reference in your description, blurbs from fellow authors, and social media marketing connections that you’ve made over the years.

But you’ll also find new readers. Many of our authors who relaunched their backlist found that their works were being introduced to a whole new audience on NOOK and in the NOOK Book store. And for authors of Christian fiction, this also translates into a chance to reach a wider audience in the secular market.

Fiction Is Selling

PubIt!’s strongest category is fiction, and the wonderful thing that traditionally published authors experience with this platform is the ability to uncover new revenue with their older works. While a traditional publishing model has a timeline based on moving inventory or vying for limited space, ebook self-publishing has a limitless window of opportunity for sales and promotions.

The Most Important Marketing Tool

Your cover is your most important selling tool. “I would encourage PubIt! publishers to focus on producing a good cover as well as a good book. The cover will entice the readers to buy and the quality of the writing will make them eager to buy another book,” says Freethy. The old adage that readers select books by their covers holds true in the digital bookstore, too. Some important factors to keep in mind when developing a cover:

• How the image will look in a thumbnail size
• The size of the title should be large enough to read at any size
• Including achievements such as “best-seller” or award nominations on the cover
• A professional design: hire a professional if you don’t have design experience


Julia Coblentz is the Senior Marketing Manager for PubIt! by Barnes & Noble and has over ten years of marketing experience in trade publishing working at Random House, Inc. and Abrams.