Wednesday, July 26, 2017

10 Easy Ways to Promote Others

by Alycia W. Morales     @AlyciaMorales

If you've been in the writing industry for any amount of time, you know you need to be building a platform for your books to stand on. Most publishing houses and agents won't look at your book (or you) if you don't have the numbers to show you have a following to show you have buyers for the books they'd be spending their time and money on producing.

But you've also heard that a platform can't be solely about promoting yourself and your product. It has to be about others. For every single Twitter or Facebook post about you or your book or product, you need to have five posts about, well, not you or your book or product. That's a lot of posting. It can take a lot of time. But it doesn't have to.

How do we promote others in this #writing industry? Find out 10 easy ways here. {Click to Tweet}

Ten easy, non-time-consuming ways to promote others are:

1. Share your favorite thoughts from their books. I keep a highlighter with me when I'm reading. If I read a sentence that stands out in a novel or non-fiction book, I highlight it. That makes it easy to find if I want to share about it in a blog post, on Facebook, or anywhere else. When sharing, be sure to give credit where credit is due and name the author with their quote.

If you have more time, you can always share the quote on a picture by creating a meme.

2. Find a few things to retweet. Then you're not spending time creating new posts and are still sharing something you find valuable. Just be sure your followers will find value in it too.

3. Share when your favorite authors' books are on sale. All you need is a link to the bookseller. I get BookBub offers in my inbox on a daily basis. Every once in a while I'll see my favorite books on sale for 99 cents up to $2.99. I make it a point to share the information with my friends so they can get a good read at a discounted price.

4. Keep your favorite articles/blog posts in a file in your email folder or on your computer. When I read a post and find its information valuable or find an email with a title I love, I file them away for future sharing. That way, I have the article at my fingertips when I want to return to it and can share the link easily.

5. Post a picture of yourself with their book. Word of mouth is the best seller. Oftentimes, I'll take a picture of myself with my newest read (I'm such a fangirl) and tell everyone how excited I am and that I can't wait to read it. This is particularly helpful if it's a new release.

6. Go to the bookstore and hang out near your favorites. If I find myself browsing the shelves near another book lover, I'll ask what they enjoy reading. If they appear to need some help making their next selection, I've been known to point out a few of my faves. It takes a few minutes, but your favorite author may gain a new fan.

7. Read at the doctor's office. Any other public place works as well. My kids' pediatrician noted I was reading DiAnn Mills' newest release and started a conversation with me about our favorite authors. I was able to tell her, "If you like DiAnn Mills, you'll like Lynette Eason too." And then I gifted her with a couple of books the next time we visited.

8. Make your Facebook picture the cover of your favorite author's newest release. Then all your friends and family members will see the book and consider buying it because you're reading it.

9. Set up a board of your favorite authors, sites, and books on Pinterest.

10. Promote what they are doing. Several authors have something going on. Whether they teach at conferences, teach online courses, sell crafts on Etsy, or any other number of things. Share whatever they're doing. It takes a couple of seconds to click the share button on a Facebook post and add your own thoughts as to why you would participate in their endeavors. Click away!

What other types of promotion take little time? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, July 10, 2017

So You Want to Write for God

Today's guest is editor, novelist, and speaker Jennifer Slattery.

By Jennifer Slattery

It’s one thing to sense the call to write; it’s another to follow through and follow through well. And while it’s true one doesn’t need a theological degree in order to write quality material, be it fiction, Christian living, or devotionals, we must take care to represent Christ well. This is true for any believer in any field but exponentially so for one entrusted with the written word.

Books have the power to change the culture, for good or bad, and regardless of what we write, our theology comes through. For this reason, it’s imperative that we “Do [our] best to present [ourselves] to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the truth of God” (2 Timothy 2:15).

All truth is God’s truth. In other words, Scripture speaks to every situation, every theme—absolutely every word we pen, and God’s purpose in all creation is to point humanity to Him.

“The Word of God reveals the God of the Word; and servants must know the Master if we are to serve Him acceptably.” ~Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God.

To put it simply, we must know someone fully in order to represent Him well.

Laziness is not an excuse for ignorance. As writers, we spend a great deal of time learning the craft. We read books on story development and marketing, take classes on blogging, but often approach the Word of God as if we’ve already mastered it. Worse, as if our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions have precedence over God’s intent.

We do this whenever we rely more on our feelings on a subject, verse, or passage than the context with which it’s written. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “cherry picking” in relation to Scripture. This is when someone lands on a verse, has an instant reaction, and then uses that reaction as their source of truth rather than taking the time to prayerfully evaluate what they’re reading.

I think most of us would agree, God is the author of Scripture, and He preserved each Word with an intended message in mind. We will likely never be able to discern God’s intended meaning perfectly every time this side of heaven, but we should do our best to try.

To put it simply, when dealing with Scripture, we must ask ourselves some key questions:

What precisely is this verse talking about?

The only way we’ll know this is to read the verse in context, interpreting it in light of the entire passage, the entire chapter, the entire book, and the Bible as a whole.

What does this verse actually say?

There are countless Bible translations out there, and each differ in their approach. Some lean towards paraphrases and others toward direct word-for-word translations. When writing, it’s tempting to choose the translation that best fits our argument, but when we do that, we aren’t acting as Christ’s ambassadors. Rather, we’re representing ourselves while misrepresenting Christ.

We can use a concordance or an online Lexicon to discover, then read the definitions of the original Hebrew or Greek words used. Note, the word used in the verse won’t mean everything in its definition. Just as numerous English words have multiple meanings depending on context, so it is with Greek and Hebrew words.

If we’re still unsure, we can click on “commentaries” and read what biblical scholars have to say about the verse and passage.


These tools are readily available to everyone, and it doesn’t take an advanced degree to read and apply Scripture in this way. But by taking a few moments to interpret Scripture as it was intended, to the best of our ability, we will be better able to represent the God we serve, and lives will necessarily be impacted.

(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/surasakiStock/pazham.)

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Editor, novelist, and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She writes Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and is the managing and acquisitions editor of Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit with Jennifer at www.JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte.
Check out Jennifer's book available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble:

Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She's almost his worst nightmare, and she s also working on restoring something herself. As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common, a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband's incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?


Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Release and Giveaway

By Andrea Merrell

As you know, Alycia and I don’t normally post about our own projects, but today I want to take the opportunity to let you know about my book, Marriage: Make It or Break It, which was just released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Writing a book on marriage was not something I had ever considered until my daughter asked me about it one day in a random text. After that, God abundantly supplied the words, inspiration, resources, and encouragement needed.

Whether you’re a newlywed or someone who has been married for years, this book has something for everyone. Many have told me they plan to give the book as a wedding or anniversary gift. I hope you will take the time to check out my book on Amazon or at LPCbooks.com. Here's the back-cover blurb:

Some say marriage is a dying institution. Others say, “Stop the bus and let me get off.” But Andrea Merrell—after forty-plus years of marriage—believes this God-ordained institution is one of His greatest gifts to men and women. Marriage: Make It or Break It is a result of keen observation, years of studying God's Word, and a lifetime of trial and error. With her signature dash of humor, she takes a candid look at attitudes and behavior that can make or break a relationship, the difference in how men and women think and approach life, and the importance of honest communication. You’ll find danger signs, roadblocks to bypass, and Scriptures to personalize and pray on a daily basis.

This journey won’t be perfect, and the road is guaranteed to be full of potholes. But if you’re ready to learn a few truths that will make marriage strong—and a lot of things that will destroy it—buckle your seat belt and let’s get this bus moving.

To celebrate, I’m having a contest with several giveaways: two copies of the book, one $10 Amazon gift card, and one $35 Visa gift card. There are ten ways you can enter:
In order to be entered for the contest, shoot me an e-mail (andreamerrell 7 @ gmail.com) and let me know which items listed above you completed, or use the comment section below. The more you do, the more chances you have to win.

Winners will be announced on June 10th.

Thanks for being part of the Write Editing family. We appreciate you and wish you abundant blessings on your writing journey.

TWEETABLE

Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript, Praying for the Prodigal, and Marriage: Make It or Break It. For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com








Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ten Seeds a Writer Should Sow

By Andrea Merrell

Every farmer and gardener knows that in order to harvest a certain crop, he or she must plant the right seeds. Planting the wrong seeds would be foolish, but not planting any seeds at all would be a disaster.

You might be wondering what this has to do with being a writer.  Just like there are natural laws in effect—like the law of gravity—there are spiritual laws that govern our Christian walk, determining how we fulfill our purpose and God-given destiny. One of the most important is the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7).

I’ve heard it said that what you are today is a result of what you’ve been believing and confessing (sowing) for the past five years. If this is true, then what you want to become in five years will depend on the seeds you sow now.

To make it more practical, if I want love, friendship, and encouragement from others, those are the seeds I must plant. When I plant seeds of hate, indifference, and criticism, those are the things I will harvest. Not only do we reap what we sow, the Bible says we receive the same portion, whether it’s a spoonful or a bushel basket.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38 NIV).’’

As we talked about in my last post, I just recently returned from a large conference where I met a multitude of new writers, bringing back memories from my own first experience. I can vividly remember the seeds I tried to sow before I was ready. My pitch was not polished and my proposal not ready. My one-sheet looked like my ten-year-old granddaughter designed it, and I made my own business cards. My three-inch notebook was so organized I couldn’t find anything. Being focused on making a good impression and getting a contract created missed opportunities to network, make new friends, learn the craft, and encourage others who were just as nervous as I was.

The Bible tells us to sow seeds of kindness. This is easy to forget when we’re focused on our own agenda. The best way to achieve our goals is by pouring into the lives of others. To live generously. To tithe our time and our talents, as well as our finances.

When we “delight in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4), He promises to give us the “desires of our heart.” He abundantly grants those desires when we invest our time in helping others. Everyone needs approval and acceptance, and that’s a gift we can freely give.

Here are ten seeds we can regularly sow:

  • Develop a relationship with other writers either face to face or through social media.
  • Pray for others when needs arise, and let them know you’re praying for them.
  • Encourage others when they’re struggling with a project or just received a rejection.
  • Rejoice with others when they win a contest, sign a contract, acquire an agent, receive an award, or have a five-star review on Amazon. 
  • Share your talents. You might be a graphic artist, have an eye for detail, or love marketing. If someone can benefit from your expertise, don’t hesitate to bless them.
  • Find someone to mentor. We’re all at different stages in our writing career, and we all had to start somewhere. Everyone needs others to help them succeed (just like we did). The Bible says that “two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 KJV). The Message translation puts it this way: “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps. But if there’s no one to help, tough!
  • Look for the best in others. Encourage them. Don’t offer shallow flattery; give them genuine, heartfelt praise.
  • Be a trustworthy friend and confidant.
  • Don’t just sow query letters, proposals, and contest entries. Sow love and kindness into the lives of others, and watch what God will do.  
  • When you do sow query letters, proposals, and contest entries, make sure they are as clean and professional as possible. 

I’m much further ahead now than five years ago, but I’m still on that journey with a long way to go. The seeds I sow from this point forward will not only determine my destination, but the joy and fulfillment I experience along the way.

What seeds are you planting? We would love to hear your suggestions.



(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/koko-tewan.)

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Ten Things You Should Never Say to an Editor

By Denise Loock



Hiring an editor is wise. But you’ll waste the money you’ve invested if you’re unwilling to accept an editor’s advice. Here are ten things you may want to say to an editor but shouldn’t.

1. No one will notice. No one cares. If you’ve ever noticed a misspelled word or a misplaced comma in a newspaper or on a billboard, you care about accuracy. More than that, though, God cares. He loves excellence. In fact, He demands excellence. Colossians 3:23-25 says, “Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God. … The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work” (MSG). Ouch. God never excuses “shoddy work.”

2. My friend, an English teacher, told me this was correct. I taught English for 29 years before I became an editor. The differences between English-teacher style and publication style are many. Get the right resources. Here are three: The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, fourth edition (CWMS); Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors; The Associated Press Stylebook.

3. How will readers get my point if I don’t use italics, all-caps, and exclamation points? Make your words work. Don’t glitz them up with fancy fonts and superfluous punctuation. “The craft of writing involves arranging words and phrases in such a way as to emphasize the important points without depending on typographic peculiarities” (CWMS 77).“Typographic peculiarities” attempt to mask mediocrity with gaudiness. Don’t insult your reader with such shenanigans.

4. Max Lucado does it that way. According to his website, Lucado has sold 92 million books. Yes, he’s successful. But if God wanted another Max Lucado, He would clone him. Be your best self. Find your voice.

5. This is God’s message. I can’t change it. Yes the Holy Spirit impresses on us a message. He reveals fresh meanings and applications in Scripture. But He also uses traditional means of education. Paul’s letters are filled with post-resurrection connections to Old Testament Scriptures. Revealed by the Holy Spirit, yes. But Paul had studied the Hebrew Scriptures thoroughly. He learned under Gamaliel, the most respected rabbi of that era (Acts 5:34; 22:3). Messages need refinement. So do messengers. Just ask Paul.

6. That’s the way I talk (or blog.)  The CWMS devotes three pages to the difference between blog style and book style. It covers topics such as tone, structure, transitions, repetition, and references. Learn the rules of good writing and practice them in everything you write.

7. I like it the way it is.  Stubbornness is the twin of arrogance. Everyone makes mistakes—writers and editors. But wait at least 24 hours before insisting, “I won’t change it.” Pray about it. In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer says of the student: “And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.” Wise words.

8. But I love that song (book, speaker). We all have favorite books, speakers, and songs. But that doesn’t mean we insert lyrics, paragraphs, and illustrations from those sources in our books or blogs. Find a fresher way to say it that reflects your experiences, your environment, your interests.

9. I saw it somewhere on the Internet (heard it at church, at a conference, on TV).
Documentation is essential. If you don’t know the source, don’t use it. Misquotes and wrong attributions permeate the Internet. Avoid using brainyquote.com and goodreads.com/quotes. And never depend on Wikipedia. Respect the sources you admire enough to read the original version of their words.



10. It could mean that, couldn’t it? Use Scripture accurately and appropriately. Context is everything. Don’t mix fiction with fact. Even if you’re using only one verse, study the context, read a few commentaries, and pray about it.  Research Scriptures as thoroughly as other citations. Plant 2 Timothy 2:15 in your heart and “correctly handle the word of truth” (NIV).

Remember, an editor is your friend. Editors want your manuscript to be the best it can be. Editing is a humbling career. Writing is a humbling career. Neither writers nor editors are infallible. But we both can strive for excellence and make our heavenly Father proud.

(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Master Isolated Images, Denise Loock, and Google Photos.)

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Denise Loock is a writer, editor, and speaker. She is the former editor for The Journey Christian Newspaper, which reaches over 60,000 online and print readers. As an assistant editor, she helps Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas produce high quality, engaging inspirational books. She accepts freelance editing projects too. Contact her at info@digdeeperdevotions.com.