FICTION WITH A TOUCH OF SOUTH!
I have always loved butterflies. They are so beautiful, yet they have struggled to obtain that beauty. All the time, effort and struggle that it takes to go from caterpillar to butterfly is well worth the end result. I feel I am still in my caterpillar phase and I'm looking forward to someday being a butterfly! In the meantime I want to enjoy the journey. FICTION WITH A TOUCH OF SOUTH!
1.Finish That Novel:Finish the book. Publishers are not really interested in ideas. They want to see that a would-be author has the skill, the stamina and the discipline to finish the job. After finishing your book set it aside for a couple of weeks then go back to it and start editing. Hire an editor if necessary. Two books I’ve found invaluable for my writing:
“Write in Style” by Bobbie Christmas and “Goal, Motivation and Conflict” by Debra Dixon.
2.Researching Publishers And Agents:Study books that are the same genre as your book and see who their agent/publisher is. It is usually listed in the front of their book. Look for publishers on-line and study their guidelines for submissions. Find out what they are looking for. There are also books that are helpful to find publishers such as: “Christian Writer’s Market Guide” by Sally Stuart and “2012 Writer’s Market” by Robert Lee Brewer. Note: It is necessary to have an agent for big name publishers. If you do not want to go this route please do not forget the small presses. Please do your homework and check out small publishers or self-publishing companies. If you go this route a book you will want to read is: “Stress-Free Marketing” by Renea Winchester.
3.Write A Synopsis And Query Letter: According to Kaye Dacus at www.kayedacus.comyou should first and foremost familiarize yourself with the kind of synopsis your targeted publishing house requests. Most will want a “normal” synopsis (about one doubled-spaced synopsis per 10,000 words of your novel.)- Your query letter is your introduction to an editor/agent. You do not want to immediately label yourself as a “newbie” or an amateur when they open the envelope. Spend time learning the correct way to write a query.
4.Prepare Your Proposal: The proposal is where you really brand yourself as a writer. It’s where you show the agent/editor that you’re so much more than just 100,000 words of a story written down on paper. It’s where you show them you understand the industry, you understand what they’re looking for, you know who your competitors are, and you realize that 80% + of the marketing for a published author is done by the author.
5.Send Out Queries:Be sure and follow the guidelines of the publishers you’ve researched. Send only what they’ve ask for – do not add anything unless they’ve requested it. It is important to not send any photographs or illustrations. Do not use fancy paper or elaborate fonts. These are the marks of an amateur, and will only hurt your chances. (www.mythicscribes.com)
6.Be Prepared For Rejections:You will receive them. Most of the rejection letters will be in form letter style. Do not let this get you down. Keep sending out the queries. Every author has a story to tell about the rejections letters they accumulated before being published. Consider a rejection letter as a sign you are writing. How many people can say they’ve even received a rejection letter? Keep writing and persevere. The writers who persevered are the ones who are now published.
7.Continue Writing:Don’t stop writing. The more you write the more you improve in the craft of writing. It will help you find out if you are able to write more than the “one hit wonder.” It might be that it will be your second or third book that gets published so don’t sit idle while waiting to hear from those publishers.
Deborah has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine“Georgia Backroads.”She has had many articles and photographs published during this time. Her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails” edited by Olin Jackson. She has also had a showing of her photographs at Floyd Medical Center Art Gallery as well as winning several awards. Her debut cozy mystery "Death in Dahlonega", a winner in the ACFW Category Five Writer's Contest, is now available. She is a current member of the Georgia Writers Association, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Deborah has been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year 2012. She has anestablished blog, Butterfly Journey, where she reviews Christian Fiction. You can also catch her at Sleuths and Suspects, where she reviews mysteries. She also contributes to the Cozy Mystery Magazine every other Tuesday.
I had a book signing this past weekend at Amicalola Falls State Lodge. It was the first time I'd been at a book signing other than my book launches that I was the only author present. I have to tell you that it was a new experience for me. I had my table set up with my big sign of the cover of my book and had a nice display. Not many people were coming to the table so I finally decided to get up and go around introducing myself to tourists in the lobby. I would introduce myself, hand them a card and tell them what I wrote. I was amazed at the difference that made. People began coming over to the table and buying books. Some said they didn't know what I had and others said they thought I was with the lodge selling something.
It was a lesson I learned well and the next day I made a poster to announcing "Meet the Author" and taped it to the front of the table. I didn't waste time I started off by going around and introducing myself. It was a much better day. As one of my friends said in a post he wrote that you must shamelessly self-promote. How true that is. At the lodge they gave wildlife talks and one day it was about snakes. Here is a picture of me with one of the snakes. Also, I've posted the article on marketing by my friend Bryan Powell.
So, you've written a book. Congratulations!
Putting in the time and effort to write your thoughts is a great accomplishment. Greater still is publication. Now you can sit back and watch the dollars come rolling in, right?
Besides the hard work of writing and editing, there is, The Business Side of Writing.
If you plan on selling your book there are several important aspects that must be taken into consideration: promotion, compensation and negotiation.
The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion
How do you get to be a New York best seller?
In a word—promotion; shameless, relentless, white-knuckled promotion.
It is a necessary part of the writing process. No matter how much you may hate public speaking, it is a necessary evil.
While much of today's focus is on cyber marketing, good old-fashioned public appearances are another important part of the mix.
Why do some writers succeed at this and some fail? The better question is; why do some of us persevere, and others give up? The answer is simple, there are those of us who will give anything to achieve our dreams, and there are others who will give anything to stay on the couch. Okay, so I’ve convinced you. Where do you begin?
Start With a Smart Strategy
The phone can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When I was in real-estate, my broker challenged me to make 100 calls a day and ask two simple questions: “Do you want to sell your house?” and “Do you know someone who wants to sell a house?”
I was chasing customers I know, but it worked. The last house I sold was a $400,000 home to a woman from Brazil.
I learned to get tough skin and make the calls, but in the book business, who do you call?
1. Start with your niche market. If your book is about gardening – call stores that deal with gardening. If it’s a cookbook – call restaurants and sandwich shops. Ask if you could set up a display and talk to the customers about your book.
Know your market – learn where your book sells best. Christian books sell better in Christian environments.
Talk to people – when you are at an event. Don’t just sit behind the table. Stand as much as possible, greet the customers and talk about your books.
Link up with a local pregnancy crisis center, or the local chapter of a Cancer Society and have an event together. This will take planning and advertising.
Have a nice display and buy push-cards. Vista Print and ColorFunmerch.com are two places where you can get quality promotional material.
Have a poster displaying your book cover and hook.
3. Libraries. They love authors. Ask about literary or local author events.
4. Christian book stores and big-box book stores are the last targeted phone calls for retail stores. Invariably, they will charge 40% to sell your books on consignment. We’ll discuss this in greater detail in my next blog.
5. Fairs, Festival and Literary Events.
There may be a cost involved in this, but it will be worth it. Try sharing the cost with other authors.
Have plenty of cash on hand and learn to make changes.
Also, you will need to have a way to process credit card payments. I use Square, but Pay-pal also has a card reader.
6. For the fun of it, call independent living facilities. (Those are the ones where the residents control their own money). Have the activities coordinator to promote you as a local author coming to do a reading.
7. Call schools and ask to speak with the English/Language Arts teacher and see if you could be scheduled to come and speak to their class.
8. Become your own competition.
You may even post your book on Ebay and Craig’s List in order to boost your sales on a national scale.
When your book is listed with Amazon, they will under-cut your price by a sizable percentage. I went to Amazon and found how much they were selling my book for and under cut them
The take away of this is simple. If you want more than the satisfaction of having your book published, and I hope you do, then you must establish goals and a marketing plan. Work within your time and finances. Step out of your comfort zone and let’s sell some books.
Our contributor, Novelist Bryan M. Powell is also a composer/arranger with over eighty choral works to his credit. He now enjoys pursuing a career as a full-time writer. Some of his fifteen Faith-based “G” rated mystery novels have found their way into publication by Tate Publishing, Kindle Direct and Vabella Publishing. His website is www.newlifepublicationsonline.com
One of the first things seasoned writers advise beginning writer's is to attend writer's conferences. I've been doing this for about ten years now. Long before I finished my first novel. This past weekend I believe I attended the best conference I've been to.
Georgia Christian Authors Guild sponsors the Catch The Wave Writer's Conference in Atlanta, GA once a year. This year a fellow author and friend Jennifer Hallmark rode to the conference with me. She was a great navigator. Thursday evening we arrived and settled in our rooms. Then we went to the evening meal and listened to a couple of speakers. After the speakers all of the staff was introduced. Terry Burns an agent from Texas was there along with his wife Sandra. (in picture below)
The next morning we gathered for a devotional and signing. Then the fun began. We had classes taught by some super authors: Fay Lamb, Terry Burns, Tracy Ruckman, and Lin Johnson just to name a few. Some of the topics were on Deep POV, Creating memorable characters, magazine writing and speaking. There were other topics I didn't have time to hear. When evening came I was tired, but in a good way. Several of us got together for a game of Banana Split (something like scrabble). When my eyes got to tired to stay open it was off to bed for me.
We got up Saturday morning and started all over again. What a day! On both days there were agents and publishers available for appointments and they were busy with authors pitching their writing projects. I didn't come prepared to pitch anything but wound up pitching an idea for a magazine article and it was excepted by Lin Johnson. So I've been busy writing a how to article for writing cozy mysteries. I'll be sure and let you know if and when it is published.
If you've never been to a conference and you are interested in writing then get yourself to one. I know some of them are very expensive, but there are many that are not so expensive and some that are only for one day that are affordable. I have gathered much information from these conferences. You don't have to go broke attending. There are also scholarships with some of the conferences. Check into these. Well I guess this week I'll spend coming back down to earth and getting back into the routine. I can't wait to write! Thank you Cynthia Simmons of the Christian Author's Guild for a great conference!
I'm thrilled to tell you about the wonderful book signing I was involved in at Fox Tales Book Shoppe located in historic downtown Woodstock, Georgia. There were eleven authors who brought books to sale and the customers could walk around and mingle with the authors. Fox Tales is an independent book store owned by three lovely ladies. I was told six years ago they met at a writer's conference and decided to open the store and it has been going strong ever since
I remember not so long ago when I was the one going to author signings, writer's conferences, anything that had to do with books or authors. It's been ten years since I started writing for the historical magazine "Georgia Backroads." I remember mentioning that someone should write about a historic building in Trion, GA. and my boyfriend said why didn't I write it. So I did! And that was the start of my writing journey. Not long after that I started on my first book "Death in Dahlonega", but life got in the way and the going was slow. I have a beautiful daughter, Niki, that is disabled and I needed to take care of her. When I was able to finally get caregivers to help it freed up some time for me to write and that's when I was able to finish "Death in Dahlonega."
The story of "Death in Dahlonega" is interesting in and of itself. I knew I wanted to write Christian Fiction, but didn't know what it was called at the time. So when I discovered American Christian Fiction Writer's and online group of Christian authors I signed up. It was the best thing I ever did. There is support from other authors, writing classes, critique partners, and much much more. I was able to study the craft of writing as well as writing Christian Fiction. I did have to go back and re-write "Death in Dahlonega" but it was well worth it. I found a floppy disc the other day with "Death in Dahlonega" written on it and it was dated 2002. It was actually published in 2011. So it took ten years from the beginning to the end. Of course, I wasn't writing the whole time. LOL I appreciate all of the people that follow my blog and all of my readers. Why write if there are no readers!
Let's welcome Rose Chandler Johnson along with her new devotional "God, Me and Sweet Iced Tea." Rose has graciously offered a free copy of her devotional to someone who leaves a comment. You must leave your email address and comment on the interview to be entered.
1.Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m from a tiny
Georgia town, in Burke County, GA.I
moved away right after high school graduation, first to Augusta, then all
across the U.S. for over a decade.I’ve
lived in Martinez, GA (a suburb of Augusta) for the past 28 years.I have six children—three boys and three
girls.I’ve been a French and English
teacher for the last 20 years.I enjoy
baking, gardening, reading and writing, and spending time with my family.
2.Tell us about your most recent book/or the
book we are focusing on.
journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea:
Experiencing God in the Midst of EverydayMoments released July 10, 2013 from Lighthouse Publishing of the
Carolinas.I also write regularly for my
devotional blog, Write Moments with God.
3.Why did you choose this particular genre?
When I decided to
make Jesus the Lord of my life, in 1977, I starting reading a devotional every
morning.It helped me focus and
structure my time. I’ve incorporated devotional reading in my quiet times with
God for decades. I think most people
could benefit from that format.I
transformed it into a journal because I am a journal keeper and I’ve
experienced its benefits. I think the journal component makes it more memorable
and allows readers an opportunity to go deeper and apply their faith.
4.What was your journey to publication like?
I mention that
briefly in the “Acknowledgements” for my devotional.Over a period of two years, the kind advice,
encouragement, and practical assistance of other Christian authors led me to
the Write to Publish conference in 2012 where I met my publisher Eddie
Jones.I signed the contract for this
5.What is a couple of your favorite books and
what are you reading now?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte might be
my all-time favorite.A Severe Mercy by Shelton Vanauken is
also beloved. Right now I’m reading Alice Wisler’s Rain Song.
you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside it?
I am writing a
novel about a young Southern woman’s journey to rediscover herself and by so
doing she finds her place in the world.
advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
and network with others.Learn how to
use social media and give yourself a year or more to have a real presence on
the web.Help other authors as much as
you can, and celebrate one another.I’ve
learned so much from other writers and people in the publishing business, that
was basically just friends helping friends.
have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you
could share with us?
My own blog has
helped me with my writing more than any other particular website.I’ve written for it consistently, usually
twice a week, for the last thirteen months.Because I’ve managed to do this, I’ve gained confidence in myself. I’ve
also read lots of other blogs which has helped me as well.
9.Is there anything you’d like to tell us we
I invite your
readers to take a look at my devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet IcedTea.
This devotional is
uniquely appropriate for working mothers, but it’s also for anyone who wants to
put their Christianity into practice in their everyday moments and go deeper
into God’s word. I think they will find
it refreshingly relevant and inspiring. God,
Me, and Sweet Iced Tea:Experiencing God
in the Midst of Everyday Moments is available at http://ow.ly/mJQtj
Amazon.com , as
well as Barnes & Noble.com.
10.Please let us know where we can find you on
WINNERS OF LEAVING LANCASTER AND PENNSYLVANIA PATCHWORK!
I'm thrilled to offer a two book giveaway this month. I've read these books and you won't be disappointed. The first one is "Leaving Lancaster" by Kate Lloyd and the second one is "Pennsylvania Patchwork" by Kate Lloyd. All you need to do is be a follower, leave your email address, and leave a comment about Amish Fiction to be entered into the drawing.
More than anything else, thirty-something Holly Fisher longs for family. Growing up on Seattle without a dad or grandparents, she wonders what it would be like to have a heritage, a place of belonging. Holly is furious when her mother, Esther, reveals a long-kept secret: Holly's grandmother and uncles are still alive and begging Esther to return. And Holly is shocked when she learns that the family she's never known lives on a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, farm - as part of an Amish community her mother once abandoned.
Guilt-ridden Esther, terrified to see her mother and siblings, begs Holly to accompany her on a visit to Esther's mother before she dies. But can their journey to a conflicting world heal their emotional wounds and finally bring them home?
When Holly Fisher finally meets the Amish family her mother had kept hidden from her, she come face-to-face with her real-life legacy - and it's very different from the life she led in suburban Seattle. She loves it.
And she loves Zach, a handsome Mennonite veterinarian who proposes marriage. He seems to be everything she's ever wanted in a husband. But her mother and Amish grandmother think she's rushing into a commitment with a man she barely knows and who harbors a dubious past. When Holly meets a charming Amish man and an old suitor shows up, so do a myriad of doubts. Will Holly figure out what - and who - truly matters before it's too late?
A native of Baltimore, Kate Lloyd spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the inspiration for Leaving Lancaster and Pennsylvania Patchwork. She is a member of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and has done extensive research on the Amish. Kate and her husband live in Seattle.
BAG OF BOOKS GIVEAWAY THE WINNER IS JANET E. CONGRATULATIONS
Springtime is here! Thank goodness. I'm so ready to discard the coats and get out in the sunshine. Every now and then I hold a bag/box of books giveaway. I feel now is a great time. Summer is around the corner and a great time for reading. All you need to do is leave a comment, your address, be a follower and email follower for a chance to win. I'm going to post a few pictures I've taken already this Spring. Hope you enjoy them. Oh, I appreciate all of my followers. As you can see I'm on my way to 400. I remember when I started out with one that that was me. LOL Below you'll see a few of the books.