Writer’s resources

Blog Tour for John 3:16 Marketing Network

Writing a book isn’t easy. You spend hours, months, maybe even years culling through and refining ideas, researching information, and writing draft after draft after draft. Many people tend to think that the author’s job is finished once she signs a contract with a publisher – that editors at the publishing house make every sentence sparkle, marketers plan and implement national publicity campaigns, and book store managers automatically purchase multiple copies to feature in their front window display.

Granted, some of those things can come true to a certain degree. But for the average author – especially one who isn’t a household name – handing off the manuscript to her editor is just the first step on a whole new leg of the journey.

One of the biggest jobs that falls to an author these days is marketing. Literary agents, editors, and publishing houses want to know up front what kind of marketing plan or potential reach an author has. Yes, they’ll still help with marketing to a certain extent. But they want to know who the author knows or who the author has access to that can help spread the word about a book. They want to know how many people follow the author’s blog, how many hits her website gets each month, how many friends or contacts she has on social networks, how people she knows through organizations or groups can help create a following for her.

In other words, they want to know how the author plans to create buzz for her book and help get it noticed. And the better potential she has to reach her target audience, the better her chances at getting attention.

I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I was a new member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network. J316 is a network of Christian authors who help increase awareness of each other’s books and create some of that momentum an author needs to get noticed. An author in the network schedules a release date for her book and invites others in the network to participate in the launch. She helps them prepare by providing information on the book, potential interview questions, photos, etc. I don’t know that I’ll be able to participate in everyone’s launches, but I hope to help however I can. And the cool thing is, with so many authors coming together on the same day, the author with the launch can offer some pretty nifty prizes on that specific day. I’ll have all the details here on those days.

The network is still fairly new and we’re still letting people know about it and trying to connect with other authors who want to participate. We actually kicked off a promotional campaign yesterday and have several of our authors hosting a blog tour over the next few days.

Click here to learn more about the blog tour and where each day’s stop will be. You might even be able to stock up on some free e-books or other gifts from the authors who are participating. I hope you’ll check it out!

Categories: Christian fiction, Christian non-fiction, John 3:16 marketing network, Writer's resources | Leave a comment

EMACW conference wrap-up

My local writers group, East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers, hosted its annual conference last weekend. It’s so fun to look back over the past few years since we started ‘conferencing’ and see where God has taken us. We plan, we pray, and He comes through for us in a big way. We’re worn out when it’s over, but it’s a good kind of exhaustion because we’ve been with God and other writers.

Our faculty featured international author and speaker Rusty Wright; American Christian Writers founder Reg Forder; and Josh Talkington and Ben Rigsby of SnapShot Interactive. EMACW members Alicia Stunkel and Joyce Fincher started us with devotional and praise and worship time each morning. Both days were packed with good info, but here are a few nuggets I mined along the way …

  • The words we wright might not only have an effect on people who are REborn as Christians; they can someday have an effect on people who aren’t even born yet. Wow, that’ll make a writer stop and think.
  • No matter how many writing books I have, there are always more to add to the collection. 🙂 And there are definitely always more things for me to learn!
  • Want to start building relationships with the media so they’ll see you as a valuable resource? Start by contacting the reporter and pitching a story idea that has nothing to do with you and your ministry or book. Share a few good stories, start building that connection, and then when you’re ready to pitch your own things you won’t be a stranger.
  • I finally learned how to set up a separate Facebook page for my writing. Then I actually came home and did it!

A special congratulations to Beverly Varnado, whose entry won the WestBow Press self publishing contest! Bev’s novel is Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees. EMACW members Terri Webster and Patricia Manns were the other finalists, so congrats to them too! Beverly has some potentially exciting things in the works for her books and screenplays, so hop over to her website and blog for more info.

Laughter, learning, praise, and prayer. What a great time together.

If you live in metro Atlanta, we meet the second Saturday of each month. Check us out online and enjoy the slideshow here of a few shots from the weekend!

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Categories: Conferences, Wednesday Writings, Writer's resources, Writing life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resource: Seekerville

One of my favorite writing blogs to visit is Seekerville. It was started by a group of ladies who met — and kept running up against each other — in multiple writing contests. They banded together as a way to support each other, grow in their writing craft, and just have fun. And they let the rest of us join in! Most of those ladies have since moved from “Unpubbed Island” to the published mainland, but they’re generous enough to share advice (and some scrumptious cyber food) with whoever stops by.

Need advice on writing query letters or proposals? Check.

Want to read interviews with some of the top literary agents to help decide who to target (in a nice way, of course!)? Plenty to browse through.

Wondering how to improve your novel’s plot structure or keep track of all those characters and their goals? They’ve got you covered.  

Hoping to start your day with some laughs, encouragement, and motivation to tackle whatever problem your manuscript has thrown your way? This is your place.

But — disclaimer time — I wouldn’t be a responsible blogger without issuing a warning: visiting Seekerville can be addictive. Stock up on sunscreen for all the hot-of-the-press tips you’ll collect, bring water to help cure those hiccups you’ll get from laughing so much, and pack your walking shoes for all those brainstorming walks on the beach. This is one little island you’ll want to visit again and again. 🙂

Categories: Writer's resources | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Resource: Conference CDs

If I had unlimited vacation time, a bottomless bank account, and no family obligations, I could easily become a writers’ conference junkie. I’m involved with a conference my local writers group hosts each summer and try to attend one other conference during the year. But there are so many to choose from and it can be so hard to decide which one is best! Since I can’t go to nearly as many as I’d like, I’ve found the next best thing — CDs or MP3 downloads of the conference sessions.

No, it’s not the same as being there, but most are really high quality and it’s nice to be able to listen to them again in case I missed something the first time (and I always miss something the first time!). They’re also pretty inexpensive and most speakers are happy to email you copies of the handouts if you can track down their email address. Just think — if you were a speaker, wouldn’t you love to get an email months after your talk saying, “I bought the CD from your class at ____ conference and am really enjoying it. Is there any way you could send me the handouts you used?”? Personally, a note like that would make my day! So even if I don’t need handouts sometimes I’ll send a quick note to the speaker just to let her know I learned something.

So far, I’ve bought CDs or have downloaded MP3s from sessions at 4 conferences. Here are some links for you to check out the next time you’re looking for a conference-on-the-go or need a quick fix before your next one:

I’m sure there are other conference that have class CDs available. If you know of any, send me a note and I’ll add it to the list. Happy learning!

Categories: Conferences, Writer's resources | Tags: , , | Leave a comment
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