Friday Celebrations

It’s Friday, it’s summer, and it’s the perfect time for celebrations. Here are some things I’m tickled about today …

  • My writing friend Lynda Schab got word that her first novel will be published by Oak Tara Publishing. Woo-hoo! The book is Mind Over Madi and I had the chance to read a lot of it when Lynda and I were in an online critique group together a couple of years ago. Loved it, loved it, loved it! Lynda is the kind of writer who makes me laugh out loud, and that’s always a good thing in my book (um, no pun intended). I’m so happy for her and can hardly wait to get a copy of my own. Check out her story about “the call” at her blog.
  • I’m officially registered for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference in August. I went last year and had a great experience — learned so much in the classes, made some great new writing friends, and felt God everywhere I went. I registered early enough that I’ll automatically have appointments with 5 (!) of the faculty members. Those can be a bit nerve wracking, but they’re the best way to get your work in front of people who can really help you move to the next level. I won’t know who my appointments will be with until I’m there, but I’ve sent in my requests. Now it’s time to buckle down and get lots of work done on some projects so I can talk about them! 🙂
  • I’ve changed a few things on my website and added the book trailer for Divas in Disguise so you can see it right there instead of clicking over to YouTube (you can watch it here). I must admit, I was pretty proud of myself for figuring that one out.
  • I’ve just joined a new critique group through ACFW that focuses on middle grade writers. That’s where most of my focus is these days, so I’m excited about connecting with some other authors who “get” writing for kids in that age group. We officially kicked off things this week and I’m really looking forward to it. Maybe this will be the incentive I need to work on my stories on a regular basis instead of being so hit and miss with it all. And maybe they can help me brainstorm some ideas to get me past the “stuck” point in a new book I’m mapping out. I always learn so much about my own writing just by reading things from others — it’s a win/win.
  • And, last but definitely not least, I’m excited that vacation time is approaching! It’s never too soon to sink your toes in the sand …

OK, so what about you? What has you feeling good on this Friday?

 

Roaches and Writing

Yes, you read that title right — it’s about roaches and writing. Never thought they had anything in common, did you? Neither did I, until I read the post over at JD’s Writer’s Blog today. Those roaches can infest our dreams as writers, but can also scurry around making us steer clear of other things we want to do in life, too, because we don’t want to get too close to those nasty little creatures.

Check out the analogy at JD Holiday’s blog, and keep reading to the bottom for a glimpse into the writing life of Dr. Robert McGinnis. Dr. McGinnis writes for the young adult market; his latest book is Paradise Is Where You Find It. Isn’t that a lesson a lot of us need to learn even as adults? 🙂

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!

What I’ve Learned Lately … With Lisa Lickel

I’ve taken a couple of weeks off from the blogging world, thanks to work things and enjoying spring break with our kids. It’s nice to be back today, and especially nice to introduce you to author Lisa Lickel. Lisa and I met through American Christian Fiction Writers and are both posters over at the Favorite PASTimes historical blog. She’s also a regular contributor to other blogs that have great posts about writing and life in general. So, yes, she’s a busy lady!

Here’s the official short bio … Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and fifty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She has penned dozens of feature newspaper stories, short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin Magazine and loves to encourage new authors. Find her at LisaLickel.com.

And now here’s Lisa!

 

Learning Experiences in My Corner of Life

 

Thank you, Leigh, for having me.

 

A Matter of Perspective

 

I’m like a lot of you, I think — my mom calls fairly often. We live across the state from each other; in the winter, across the continent. I dread the question I know she’ll ask: “Anything new with your writing?”

Perspective, attitude, goals, discipline: these all change the same way we introduce ourselves to different people. When strangers ask me what I do, I sound glamorous; when my family asks, I can be more honest about the drearier side of being an author—the constant submission whether by me or my agent; the waiting and the hoping.

A recent message I wrote about attitude took a page from winning Super Bowl coach Mike McCarthy’s playbook: when do you get measured for your Super Bowl ring? The fact that the coach had his players measured the night before they played and won probably didn’t cause the players to win the game, but I’m sure it reminded them of the goal. Winning in this business means being read.

To reach that goal of establishing a readership, I employ discipline. And here’s where I tell you my other secret: I don’t put clean words on fresh paper every day. The act of writing takes a village of disciplines. The successful author knows that research in many forms, editing, reading and marketing actually take up the bulk of the process we call writing.

Being an author is always thrilling in one form or another: either we’re riding high or we’re on the down-swing of the bungee ride; the wind beneath our wings. The journey involves both trust and vulnerability. I write from my gut, spilling out my best words and phrases, sharing my dreams, my heart, in the hope of somebody (in the best Sally Field moment) will LIKE me! And tell all their friends.

What’s new with me? I’ve written two novellas and will start another batch soon. I’m so delighted by the direction my new group blogs are taking. Check out thebarndoor.net and reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com. I’ve sold some short stories to Harpstring Magazine (check out writtenworldcommunications.com). I became the editor-in-chief of a Wisconsin literary magazine, I’ll be leading two workshops in March and April; I’ll be teaching a course for ACFW online in May, and my sales are picking up.

Who else will bleed for you like an author? What’s new with your writing?

 

Great thoughts to leave us with, Lisa. Whether we’re writers, readers, or just trying to get through life, we need to work on perspective and discipline. Sounds like it’s definitely working for you, and it will be great to hear when some of your other projects find a publishing house. Thanks for stopping by today!