Thursday, January 31, 2008

Submission Tip

Most unsolicited manuscripts end up in the slush pile. Publishing houses and agents recieve hundreds of these a week and usually only resort to the slush pile when desperate.

To increase the chances of your query letter being read, meet the editor or agent face to face first. How? By attending writing and book festivals where publishers and agents will be present. Take a quick moment to introduce yourself, pitch your idea, and trade business cards. When you send your query letter & synopsis, state in the letter than you met them at the festival and you are sending this per their request. (And make sure they did indeed request it - lying will get you nowhere!) Author Catherine Coulter suggests having your photo taken with the editor and including that as well. Anything to get them to spend a few extra minutes reviewing your submission!
The owner of Echelon Press says she will not work with an author she has not met face to face, so you can see how important it becomes to put yourself physically in front of these people!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Author Julie Lessman

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
A Passion Most Pure (Revell January 1, 2008)
by Julie Lessman
Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.
She's found the love of her life. Unfortunately, he loves her sister ...
As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith's proper Boston family apart.Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. Collin is trying to win her sister Charity's hand, and Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure is Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fact Or Fiction?

Just a couple myths concerning publishing, promoting & authors!

“If I could just get my book into a bookstore, it would sell!”
Fiction – The author must drive traffic to the store to buy the book.

“Traditional publishers take care of all the promotions!”
Fiction – They do very little promoting, especially for new authors. They might set up a few interviews and book signings, but you will be expected to drive traffic to your book.

"I just finished writing the book this summer, so I need to hurry if I want it out before Christmas."
Fiction - Maybe Christmas of the following year! A book needs at least a year before publishing for editing, printing & promoting - whether you are self-publishing or seeking traditional publishing.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sending Out ARCs

How many ARCs or Galley copies should be sent out for reviews? That depends on the book's topic and the publisher. How so?
Well, a non-fiction book on a particular topic will have options unique to its subject matter - specialized magazines and such. Some reviewers may not review certain genres of books either.
The large reviewers will not accept self-published titles, thus limiting the ARCs required as well. They might accept all larger publisher titles but not books from smaller, independent companies.
So how many should be sent?
Make a list of all the conceivable places you WANT to send a copy.
Then narrow that list down to the ones that will ACCEPT your book.
Then budget how many copies you can afford to send - the cost of your book plus postage. ($2.50 or so for media mail.)
Your budget may not quite match your review list! Just send to the best options on that list.
And realize that if you had sent a book to everyone on your first list, you would've wasted many books and spent a lot of money! Good reviews can really boost sales, but blindlessly sending out hundreds of books and really hurt the rest of your promotion budget!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Things You Can Control

As with most things in life, you can only control your attitude and actions.

The publishing industry is no different. It is your persistence and determination that will make the difference. You cannot control outside factors, only you. And whatever your goals, whatever you want to accomplish with your writing, only you can make it happen.

So do something every single day to further promote yourself as an author!

Friday, January 25, 2008

How Authors Really Make Money

Most people believe authors make a lot of money from book sales.
While this is true of many best-selling authors, the bulk of the money most likely comes from other sources. J.K. Rowling makes a fortune from the Harry Potter tie-in products.
Many authors make money by becoming a paid speaker. They are an expert in their field and can earn a six-figure income from one speaking engagement alone!
To learn more about getting paid as a speaker, read Lilly Waters' book "1001 Ways to Make More Money as a Speaker, Consultant, or Trainer".

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Writing Clubs

Joining a writing club can be so beneficial!

They can help improve your writing skills by making suggestions, critiquing and giving feedback.

Make sure your writer's group is a positive experience, though! No need to get extra discouraged for nothing.

I manage an online group here called The Writer's Meow. You can also receive very honest assesments of your work at Or join a local group - check your local library of book store!

Happy writing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Author Mattew Raley

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Fallen (Kregel Publications February 29, 2008)
by Matthew Raley
Matthew Raley is senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California, where he lives with his wife and two young children. For fun, he enjoys playing chamber music with friends, giving occasional solo recitals, and playing first violin in the North State Symphony. This is his first book.
Jim was at work when his eyes drifted to the coffee shop visible from his office window. An attractive woman driving a Mercedes pulled up to the curb . . . and Jim’s married pastor emerged from the car. When Jim delves deeper into his pastor’s world, will he be able to handle what he discovers? Is he right to suspect that Dave is having an affair? In the behind-the-scenes church battle that ensues, Jim is torn between duty to his church and a desire to show grace. A ripped-from-the-headlines drama of suspense that keeps you engaged to the last page. Fallen is the story about Jim’s relationship with Dave—how Jim tries to do the right thing to keep Dave accountable, but finds the situation getting worse and worse. It’s also about Jim’s other relationships. Just as he discovers hypocrisy in Dave, Jim discovers his own sins against his wife and daughter.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Book Tour

In addition to listing appearances and tour dates on your own author website, be sure to list them on Book Tour as well.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rejections Got You Down?

If you've been submitting your work and getting rejected, it can eventually get you down!
For a good laugh, and to know you are NOT alone, got to this site and read some really funny rejection stories & letters:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Writing Tip

Today's tips come from "The Chicago Manual of Style:

They are commonly misued words.

Word Usage:
ALL RIGHT - Two words. Avoid alright.
ALREADY, ALL READY - The first refers to time (The movie had already started.); the second refers to people's preparation (Are the actors all ready?)
ALTOGETHER, ALL TOGETHER - Altogether means "wholly" or "entirely" (that story is altogether false.); All together refers to a unity of time or place (we were all together at Thanksgiving.)

- The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, published by The University of Chicago Press

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Never send out your work without first copyrighting it.

The link below gives all the details on what to send. Unpublished works require one copy; published two. Cost is $45.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Special Speaking Engagement

Speaking engagements are what really foot the bill for authors!

And I have to mention my speaking engagement from last night. This wasn't a seminar or anything - I had to talk for a whole on hour on myself! So in designing my talk, I'd decided to relate my books to the five keys of overcoming that I teach in my "Overcoming Obstacles With Spunk!" seminar. And I realized that I had unintentionally written each one with a definite key to overcoming theme! Usually I am my own worst critic, but I felt it really came together last night.
The attendees really seemed to enjoy themselves and I sold a lot of books. I kept hearing that these kinds of books - ones that have a positive storyline and good morals - are needed, especially for younger people. That reinforces the belief that I am on the right path! (Now if everyone out there who felt that way would just come out of the woodwork and buy a book, I'd be better positioned financially to continue, if you know what I mean!!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008 WaterBrook Press (January 15, 2008)
Sally Stuart

Sally Stuart has been writing for the last 40+ years, and has been putting out the annual "Christian Writers' Market Guide" for the last 23 years. Her other writing includes several Christian education resources books, a children's picture book, a basic writing text, writing resources, and a western novel--plus hundreds of articles and marketing columns. She writes marketing columns for the "Christian Communicator," "Advanced Christian Writer," and the Oregon Christian Writers' Newsletter. She speaks and teaches at Christian Writers' Conferences nationwide. Sally is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 8. She and her husband, Norm, spend their free time vacationing on the Oregon coast.
Check out her

The essential reference tool for the Christian writer, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide is now in its 23rd annual edition!
Check out the section on Blogging on page 69...the CFBA is listed!
Writers’ Conference listings, Book Publishers, Magazine Publishers, and a Bookstore filled with the resources you need to be successful in this business. Get a Book Contract or Manuscript Evaluation, and check out the Writer’s Resource links. This book has all you need to connect to all these valuable helps for the beginning, intermediate, or professional writer.
To keep you up to date with the latest marketing news, visit Sally Stuart’s new marketing blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace, at
A new, updated version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide is available about January 15 each year.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Interesting Internet Marketing Ideas

Joan Stewart of The Publicity Hound sent out an email regarding a site that offers coaching on Internet marketing.

It's a paid course, offered only until the 21st of this month, but they have a video and free report available. Video is a little cheesy, but it had some great tips on there regarding social networking sites.

So I'd say it's worth a look!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Email Groups

A great way to learn & share as a writer, author or publisher is to join one or more Email groups.
There are many listed over at Yahoo Groups.
You can receive individual emails or in larger batches if yuor box tends to fill up quickly.
But you can learn so much from others about the industry, how to publish, how to submit, improving your work, etc.!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Oodles of Publishing & Promoting Information

("Oodles" is just a funny word!)
Some sites are better than others - this one is in the top five:
Dan has so many free downloads, tips, books, websites, etc...
It is just incredible what he has to offer. If you are thinking of publishing your work and have not visited his site and read most of the literature ... well, I just don't know how you could possibly succeed!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Saying Goodbye

I just finished the last line in my fifth and final book in The Circle of Friends series.

It is with great relief, great joy, and great sorrow that I meet this moment.

These characters have been a part of my life for years. I began writing Book I back in the summer of 2002. LORI was inspired by a dream, just a wisp of a dream, and has culminated in the completion of a fifth book this evening. I have cried with these characters, loved with them, and viewed them as real people. Every time I have moved on to a new book, I have mourned the previous two main characters as the chapter closes on their lives.

Now they are all gone...

But they taught me so much about life! Lori taught me to chase after my dreams and the power of a positive attitude. Sarah taught me to believe in myself and have faith. James taught me to let go of past hurts and abuse. Mike taught me to forgive and have peace with the decisions in my life. Heather just taught me consideration and to wield carefully the power one can have over others.

I will miss all of you so much...

Writing Articles

Articles are a good first step for most authors, both before they are published and to promote their work.

Articles can help you to build a reputation and gets your name out there in the world as a writer. It adds to one's credentials and can lead traffic back to the author's website. If you are an expert in any field, write an article on the subject. You can write on any subject - your hobbies, your professional work & knowledge, your experience, a local event, and your book or future book's topic.

Magazines, websites, newspapers, books - all are good places to submit your article. Some will pay you for your articles, particularly magazines, while others will simply be a source of free publicity & resume building. has a list of places that accept articles. (Plus a whole lot more!)
Other websites that accept articles are, and, plus there are thousands of sites that would accept an article that appeals to their audience.

So get your name out there!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Promotion Tip

Keep track of all promotions - the cost, duration, what was required, and the success rate.

This will assist you in the future when selecting promotions for your next book or further promotion of your current one.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results - don't be crazy with your promotions!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Author Marilynn Griffith

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Happily Even After (#3 - Sassy Sistahood Series)
(Steeple Hill January 1, 2008)
by Marilynn Griffith

Marilynn Griffith is mom to a tribe, wife to a deacon and proof that God gives second chances. While best known for her colorful novels about friendship, family and faith, Marilynn is also a speaker and nonfiction writer.Her nonfiction has been included in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN'S SOUL and several other devotionals and magazines. Currently, Marilynn is editor of the SISTAHFAITH:BELIEVING BEYOND SHAME anthology. She is also the founder of, a blog for faith fiction readers.Marilynn is the author of six novels dealing with issues such as teen pregnancy, AIDS, abstinence, stress relief, single parenting and marriage. Her recent fiction titles include TANGERINE and IF THE SHOE FITS.Marilynn has served as Vice President and Publicity Officer of American Christian Fiction Writers. She speaks to youth, women and writers about believing beyond boundaries and daring to reach dreams.Marilynn lives in Florida with her husband and seven children whom she taught at home for seven years. When not chasing toddlers, helping with homework or trying to find her husband a clean shirt, she can be found scribbling furiously on her next novel.To book Marilynn for media interviews, speaking engagements, Serious Fun fiction parties or book club call-ins, please contact her thru her WEBSITE.

Superwoman doesn't live here!I marry a gorgeous executive, have a baby, lose all the weight (most of it), and move to a fine house in the suburbs with a welcoming new church. Wait...did I say welcoming?One teeny waaah! and new mothers and their crying babies are exiled to a separate room. At least there's some enlightening conversation. Like about my husband and issues I didn't even know about!And then there's my aptly named mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, who can't stand me.I'm about to lose my mind! So it's high time for a visit to the Sassy Sistahood for some much-needed advice about men, marriage and motherhood!
The Sassy Sistahood: They get by with a little help from their friends.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Character Traits

There are several books I use for developing my characters.

One is Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. It covers the four basic personality types - Choleric, Phlegmatic, Sanguine, and Melancholy. It is easier to determine a character's reaction to life when you know his or her personality type.

I also use The New Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman for the same reason. The four birth orders line up with the four personalities, enabling me to properly place a character with the correct amount of siblings.

I also rely on Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages. There are five means by which to express affection to family, friends and loved ones. If a character's love language is acts of service, I know they will not be a touchy-feely kind of person!

All three of these help me develop my characters!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Promotion Begins With the First Word

Promoting one’s work is the toughest challenge writers face. They are passionate about expressing themselves through words, but a lack of marketing knowledge can dampen their enthusiasm. If this is you, then continue reading – there is hope! The success of your work is influenced by that very first word.

You must consider the marketability of your work before pouring your heart and soul into your efforts. Explore your local bookstore to determine if your niche is too small or genre too large. Make sure your book will fill a real need. No one book appeals to all people, so know your target audience. Examine the competition in depth. Most book purchases are determined by either subject matter or the author’s reputation. Do you have enough status to be considered an expert in your field? If writing fiction, will the hook of your story be powerful enough to make you stand out from all the other authors in your genre? Take all of this into account before passionately writing a book you cannot sell.

Tie-ins play a key role in the success of a book as well. Start asking yourself now – who would endorse my book? Mentioning specific products, companies, individuals and locations may garner endorsements if you do so favorably. A celebrity endorsement, whether from an actor, an athlete or another author, will greatly increase the credibility of your work. Do not forget organizations, non-profit groups or even political parties that might recommend your book or even use it for a fundraiser. The setting of your story might be of great interest to the people who reside there and in fact could be your target audience. Consider all of these aspects as you create your work.

You must also be aware of the length of your book. When exploring the bookstore, look at the average length of books in your genre. Will yours be too long or too short? Page sizes and fonts will vary, so think in terms of word count. Research your genre thoroughly and be aware of the maximum and minimum word counts. If you have set a deadline for yourself, be sure you will be able to complete the book within that time frame. A 200,000-word novel cannot be finished in just two months! Be sure to allow time for research as well.

The promotion process begins with the writing phase. If you do not prepare during this time, you may find it more difficult to properly market your book. Do not miss any opportunity. Write success into your book right now!

- Author & Speaker, L. Diane Wolfe,

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Author Websites

Some tips for your website from author p.m. terrell's book, "Take the Mystery Out of Promoting Your Book":

"A professional website is cruicial. Do your homework and then get on the web!"

"Don't let your website become outdated."

"A professional looking website can get you book signings, reviews, and publicity."

"Your fan base will want to know something about you. Two rules: always give them some background, and never give them more than you'd want a complete stranger to know."

For more tips from p.m. terrell, visit her website:

Friday, January 04, 2008

Essential Books For Writing

Just a couple books that are essential while you are composing your novel or other work:

A dictionary - do NOT rely on Spell Check!

A thesaurus - there's always more than one way to say it and redundancy is annoying

A style book - I use The Chicago Manual of Style

There's a lot of books on the shelf for writers, but you better have those three on hand first!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Publicity Hound

This website has many great tips for publicity - be sure to subscribe to the newsletter!
You are who you are in life because of the books you have read and the people you have associated with. (And if you are not where you want to be, then you need to change something!)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Writing Phase

Some thoughts from "The Writing Phase" portion of my publishing & promoting seminars:

Research today’s book market – the current trends, other publishers & books already on the shelves. Determine your editorial niche and the competition. Consider the marketability of your work – are there many other books like it in the stores already? Is your niche too small or is the genre too big? Do you have the expertise? Does the subject matter interest others & can your reach them? (Understand that most purchases are determined by subject matter or the author's reputation.)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Recommended Books

This comes from "The Jim Cox Report" from Midwest Book Review.

A list of new recommended books for writers, authors & publishers:

The Portable Writer's Conference, by Stephen Blake MetteeYou Are Next In Line, by Armiger JagoeUndoing The Silence, by Louise DunlapThe Portable Writer's Conference, by Stephen Blake Mettee, editorThe Screenwriting Formula, by Rob TobinThe Mind's Eye, by Kevin Clark
Seniorwriting, by Marlys Marshall Styne
Ron Carlson Writes a Story, by Ron Carlson
Write For Life, by Sheppard B. Kominars
One Year To A Writing Life, by Susan M. Tiberghien
Open Your Heart With Writing, by Neil M. Rosen
How To Publish Your Novel, by Ken Atchity, et al.
Release Your Writing, by Helen Gallagher

These books cover a variety of subjects, from social commentary writing to poetry!

Visit Midwest Book Review for details on these and other books and don't forget to sign up for the free newsletter, "The Jim Cox Report"!