Thursday, March 22, 2018

Leaving a Legacy in Life & in Writing

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Have you ever wondered about what kind of legacy you’re leaving? I mean more than an estate or an inheritance we bequeath to our children or our church.

I’m thinking more along the lines of how will people remember us. Maybe a better phrasing is how do we want to be remembered? Have you ever thought of that?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

4 Ways to Start Your Nonfiction Book with Conflict

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

We all want a happy ending. But no life reaches a happy ending without some conflict. That’s why we need novels and nonfiction books. We want to see someone overcome the odds and win the victory, find their true love, or solve the crime. We want to find proven answers to real-life problems. And so we read. We investigate. We learn, and we grow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Writers Encourage Other Writers

by Lucinda Secret McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

“Cindy, God has given you a gift of writing and it is your duty to write for Him!” (Elisabeth Elliot in a personal conversation)

Imagine being only 26-years-old and hearing those words from such a respected mentor, international speaker and author of 30 books. I had already felt a nudging from God on this path, but Elisabeth’s words helped confirm and encourage me further. Needless to say, I was a bit daunted, but also energized to pursue more training and opportunity (this occurred when I was heading off to Wheaton Graduate School of Communication after graduating from Gordon-Conwell Seminary.)

No one is more amazed than I that today—many years later—I can look back at my published work, by God’s grace: 13 books authored, 30+ books as contributing author and articles published in more than 50 magazines.

Monday, March 19, 2018

When & How to use Your Social Media for Marketing

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMoJo68

You’ve heard me say it nine cajillion eight thousand okay, a lot of times: media is not the same as marketing. All the Pros will tell you the same thing: if the only thing you’re doing is pushing your product, just open an online store.

Media is where you connect with your Swarm. It’s the different hives you foster, the communities you help build.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Your Words Matter

by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee

 find one of the hardest parts of being a writer is the silence.

I’m not talking about the silent hours spent with only the tic-tock of the clock on my office wall and the pitter-patter of lap-top keys.  No, I’ve grown to love this silence, days with only my cat to keep me company.

It was not always this way. I’m an extrovert turned introvert by means of calling. When the Lord called me to write a book, I had no idea that it would become my ministry and career. Shifting from educator to full-time mom, to assistant pastor to all day writer, proved a challenge.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

When Our Dreams Collide with Life and Produce Writing

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

Love once blended with another. As one. Now fading as the mist of dawn. Dreams once pursued now silent. Like the still of a moonless night. Such is the exploding emotions when dreams fade.

Karen Blixen, who wrote by the pen name of Isak Dinesen, started her poignant biography, Out of Africa with, “I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” She went on to passionately describe scenes that had fixed themselves in her heart and mind during the seventeen years of her life there. The day came when it was time to pack up the life she’d known and loved, store it in her heart, and move away. In saying goodbye to Africa, she penned, “If I know a song of Africa, I thought of the Giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields, and the sweaty faces of the coffee-pickers. Does Africa know a song of me?” She never returned but her book, Out of Africa, forever sings her love song of when she had a farm “at the foot of the Ngong Hills.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

How Authors Can Build an Indie Empire—How You Release Books Matters

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

*disclaimer. This series is about following rules. I know that Indies don’t have to follow rules. That’s the whole point of being indie. But indies who pay attention to what rich and famous authors do, have a much better shot at fame and riches.*

Very few authors have a series of reader-satisfying books burning a hole in their pockets. These books have to be written and released successfully for the empire to be built. This is a particularly poignant article for me to write. I need to launch a new series. The series that has formed the foundation of my indie success has been completed. No new books are coming for it, and it has been around long enough now--almost 7 years since book 1 released!—that it has reached market saturation. So everything I write in this post is also for me. A prod to both do the job, and do it right.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Diversity - The Current State of the Publishing Industry

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

In the over politicized culture of today, these next few paragraphs will either excite you or frustrate you. And for some of you reading this, you may feel a little bit of both.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Writing Articles to Market Your Books

Edie here. I'm super excited about Linda's new book, I wanted to make sure you had a chance to pick up a copy. Articles, Articles, Articles has just released and it's absolutely full of the information writers need. 

Writing Articles to Market Your Books    
by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

I meet a lot of people who are either writers or want to learn how to write. And the majority of them will quickly start telling me about book they are working on. I don’t recall anyone ever saying, “Let me tell you about this great article I am working on. I am so excited about it!”

But I, for one, love to write articles. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Lord’s Prayer Rewritten for Writers

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

“This, then, is how you should pray…” Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

I rewrote the Lord’s Prayer and wondered if I’d done something sacrilegious. After all, it was Jesus’ prayer before it was mine, but I needed solstice. Sometimes we simply need to seek peace. Our minds and bodies grow weary.

It’s one year from my first brain surgery. One year ago, when I couldn’t walk a straight line or hear over the internal sounds of my heartbeat, blood pumping, and footsteps. My world was so noisy and I longed for peace and quiet.

Monday, March 12, 2018

12 Tips for the Best Writing Life Ever

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The writer’s life isn’t an easy one. So much of what we create comes from some place deep inside ourselves. Giving that way can be exhausting, not to mention frustrating, when we feel empty.

The good news is that there are things we can do to help ourselves. I’ve come to learn that we either set ourselves up for success or we set ourselves up for failure. Today I’ll share some of the writing and blogging hacks that every successful writer needs to know.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Blessing of the Book I Never Intended to Write

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

God in the Dark, the little devotional book I wrote, comes out on April 3rd and its launch team has been meeting together on social media for about six weeks already. I had no idea what to expect in launching a book, and I am in awe.

As if a door cracked open just ever so much, I have glimpsed how the Lord has begun using the book in the hearts of those who read it. Like I said, I am in awe.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

DO Sweat the Small Stuff When You Write

by Marcia Moston @MarciaMoston

Even if you’re a southern woman who “glistens” instead of sweats, when it comes to conveying emotion-evoking images, do sweat the small stuff. Like seeds in a shell, it’s the little details and rituals and routines of life that pack the power.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I've Stepped Outside My Writing Comfort Zone

Taken at Bear Lake, in the Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park Colorado.

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Publishing, even though it can be a tough dream to follow, is a familiar place for me. I know the lingo the etiquette, and what to expect. 

But God often calls us outside our comfort zone. And He's gifted me with more than just a love for words. He's given me a photographer's eye. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How to Write a Synopsis— Without Turning Homicidal, Part 2

by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Part Two

So, now we take our blueprint from last month.

Wait a minute. Have you bought Gracie O’Neil’s book, How toWrite a Synopsis—Without Turning Homicidal?  Have you written your 50-word high-concept pitch?

If not, go do it now. I’ll wait.

Got them? Good!

The ‘blueprint’ – that 50-word pitch – is the skeleton of both your synopsis AND your story. It gives you a yellow-brick-road to follow, so you won’t get distracted or even - horrors! - get lost.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Marketing for Writers—How to Learn from the Masters

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

Art students learn a great deal by studying and duplicating the works of celebrated artists. In class, students are encouraged to learn the techniques of renown creators, mimic their style, and even reproduce their famous works. However, the ultimate goal is not to become a devotee of a particular artist. It’s to tap into the skillsets and vision that made their art exceptional, then use these skills to make new, original creations.

These same methods can be used by writers to learn marketing. We can find people who are exceptional at marketing. Study their techniques. Practice mimicking their systems—and then create our own.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Identify Your Authentic Social Media Voice

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As authors we talk a lot about voice. In fiction, and even non-fiction, it’s defined as that certain something that makes an author unique. In everything—from the rhythm, cadence and flow—to the sentence structure. It conveys the author’s personality and attitude.

Although many may not realize it, there’s an advantage to developing a voice for your social media presence. If you think about it, it’s something that those most successful social media folks have done.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Write Fight

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14, NIV)

It was four a.m. and I could not get comfortable on the narrow, vinyl hospital bench beside my son’s bed. The heart monitors had blared their warnings all night long, doctors rushing in and out, their voices muted as they discussed my son’s life. His life. My mother-heart matched his in its erratic pace, rising and falling with every beep, fear lurching one moment, hope surging the next. I was in the middle of a nightmare no mother ever chooses.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Stay Safe Online While Building Your Author Platform

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As writers we know the importance of developing an online presence, but is there such a thing as putting too much information out there? 

How do we know when we've gone beyond platform building into an area that puts us and our families at risk?

Friday, March 2, 2018

Three Ways to Live Your Best Creative Life, Part 1 + A Journal Giveaway

by Cathy Baker @CathySBaker

Today, I share the first of a three-part series about specific ways to combat resistance and maximize the creative life to its fullest potential.

The word create is defined as bringing something into existence. And where creativity is at work, we usually find resistance.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Brainstorming Isn't Cheating, It's an Author's Secret Weapon

Edie here. I'm super excited about Lynn's newest series. I had the opportunity to be in on the very beginning of this book and I promise you it is AWESOME! Be sure and follow the links at the end of the post to grab a copy for yourself. 

Brainstorming Isn't Cheating, It's an Author's Secret Weapon!
by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Learn How to Set Default Formatting in Microsoft Word

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I do a lot of teaching around the country. And one of the things that newer writers often struggle with is how to change the default settings in Microsoft Word. We use this program for everything, so it's important to learn how to do this. 

Today I'm going to share some of the basic changes you need to make to the default settings.

Monday, February 26, 2018

3 Ways to Build a Social Media Audience that Loves You

by Bethany Jett @BetJett

We must think about our content from our audience’s point of view and focus on the results they want, not the products we offer (aka, our books). In Headlines that Make You Rich, David Garfinkel says “The O.M. Scott and Sons Company was founded in 1907 as a mail-order seller of grass seed. Mr. Scott once told his employees that their customers weren't buying grass seed from the company; ‘They're buying greener lawns.’”

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Messy Life

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

How can I keep from messing up? What happens when I mess up anyway?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

What No One Told You About Becoming an Author

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

You’re an author! Congratulations! You are now a part of an elite club, and there are some rules that you need to know now that you’re a member. Not that you have to follow all these rules; but some of these rules will allow you to boost sales and help you fully enjoy the benefits of membership.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Word Play for Writers—Marvelous Malaprops

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

“You can lead a horse to manure, but you can’t make him drink.”

“We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.”

Ahhh, the marvelous malaprop – defines it as “a verbal mistake in which a word is substituted with another word that sounds similar but means something entirely different, often to comedic effect.”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

An Author's Promise to His Readers

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

As writers, we’re constantly making promises to our readers. Often they start with our title and cover. A cover of a couple looking longingly at each other promises romance. How disconcerting it would be to discover a horror story on the pages. Even though some romances can end up horrible.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Make Each Blog Post as Good as a Book

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Don’t panic. This may sound daunting—to make each blog post as good as a book. What I mean is, does it have a main idea that gives the whole post value? Does it have an intriguing beginning and a powerful ending? Do the paragraphs stay on track and share just enough detail to make your point? Is the take away presented in such a way that it will affect the mind and heart of the reader? Is it as good as a book?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

When Writers Need to Rest

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

A whole week in a cottage by the sea. Sounds like a perfect time to write, doesn’t it?
Or not.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Be Fluid With Your Social Media Brand

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMoJo68

Who are you, really? Are you just a God-loving, cat-cuddling, coffee drinker? Or is there more to you, more to your writing? Maybe your manuscripts are full of prose you want to share with the world, but you also enjoy baking for your family and neighbors.

My point is, there’s not just one, two, or even three aspects of you. The many people in your world see the many facets of you. Like a diamond, shining in all your hard-pressed glory. The viewing angle determines the color and intensity reflecting what’s inside.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

When Writing Love Scenes—the Eyes Have It

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

Ah, February. Somewhere between January’s frigid days and March’s warming trend, nature stirs from her winter rest, and our hearts turn to love. Store windows lure us in with dangling red hearts. Men of all ages line up at grocery store check-outs waiting to purchase a bouquet of flowers. The pull of love is so irresistible that it has the power to compel a level-headed person to step out of the ordinary into it’s charming embrace.

Just how does a writer describe this phenomenon called love?  I contend, it has to start with the eyes.

Friday, February 16, 2018

How Authors Can Build An Indie Empire—How You Advertise Matters

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

*Disclaimer from Traci. This series is about following rules. I know that indies don’t have to follow rules. That’s the whole point of being indie. But indies who pay attention to what rich and famous authors do, have a much better shot at fame and riches.*

Have you ever heard of a loss leader? The grocery store has 18 eggs for just 75 cents! Limit 3! You would never pass up that deal, even though you are clever and know it’s just a trap to get you to come into the store and buy a bunch of stuff marked up enough to make up the difference in the cost of the eggs.

This is what you have to do with your books. But how do you do it?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

2018 Emerging Publishing Trends Aro/Ace

Edie here. This is a difficult post to share and was difficult for Cyle to write. However, we cannot hide our heads in the sand when it comes to these issues. How we choose to address them (or not) in our writing is a personal matter. But we must stay informed. Please read this post with this in mind and share your thanks to Cyle for being brave enough to address this issue. 

2018 Emerging Publishing Trends Aro/Ace
by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

Following the overall cultural sway of 2017, the publishing industry-at-large made a heavy push for LGBTQIA+ characters and authors. This trend was a continuation of 2015-2016 initiatives that began at a large number of publishing houses and imprints.

But every trend doesn’t last forever. Companies are still searching for diversity amongst their stories and authors, but 2018 has seen a significant foray in Aro/Ase characters, plots, and authors. This is not a new concept as some favorite characters in popular culture and media are generally recognized to be Aro/Ase.  Some of the more well-known characters associated with Aro/Ase are Queen Elsa (Frozen), Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory), and the doctors from Dr. Who. Many of J.K. Rowling’s character in Harry Potter also display some Aro/Ase characteristics.s

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

3 Tips for Faith-Based Writing

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

“12 Markets for Faith-based Writers.”

The title of the article drew me in. I am always looking for new markets to write for, particularly magazine markets.

I quickly followed the link, which took me to a site that, indeed, listed markets for faith-based writers. But it didn’t take me long to find that I was unqualified to write for any of them. Why?

Looking down the list I discovered opportunities to write for five different faiths. The problem was none of them were my faith.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tips to Keep Your Readers Reading

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

J. R. Ewing heard a noise outside his office door. He walked into the hallway and BOOM! Shot. Twice. This was the season ender for the 1980 television show, Dallas. America was taken back when they realized two things.   1) Was J. R. Ewing dead? 2) Who shot him?

That closing scene was every writers dream come true . . . having the viewer/reader hungry for more.

Fiction is the most read genre in the country. Not only do authors vie for a spot on the fiction shelves of a bookstore, bigger yet, they vie for the reader’s attention. Thanks to the world of technology and media bumping up a viewer’s expectations, writers must step up the pace to draw the reader in.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Use Social Media to Get More Value From a Writing Conference

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

That time of year is upon us. Writers everywhere are making plans to attend writing conferences. But in the midst of your preparation, not miss out on valuable connections that can more than double what you get out of these events.

Many writers have the mistaken idea that social networking is only beneficial online. Or that it only helps when you can’t be at an event. Not true.

While it’s true that social networking can help you plug in when you’re not at a conference or event—many miss the benefits of networking online before and during the conference.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

In the Shadow of Words

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

It’s been a while since I’ve written—since I followed words across the page as they made their way to wherever they were headed. I’ve missed their shadow and walking in it. They break ground for me, sheltering me from the hot, harsh wild of uncertain terrain. My place behind them is cool and smooth, a place of comfort and security.

Do you see your words this way? 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Beautiful Things and Joy

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

You’ve heard the saying just as often as I have: Stop and smell the roses.

This week I stopped and looked at the roses sitting on my kitchen counter … over and over and over again.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Self-Publishing—A Way to Preserve Those Family Stories

by Marcia Moston @MarciaMoston

For many of us, it’s not until after our parents, grandparents or elderly friends have died and taken their stories with them that we think of all the things we wished we’d asked about. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Enjoyment of Writing

by Del Duduit @DelDuduit

When I put my thoughts down on paper, it makes me appreciate any moment or situation better.

I can understand circumstances in a different way I never before considered. At times, I even change my mind on a few issues, or at least I see the other side from another perspective.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Reach Your Writing Goals Using Creativity

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

It’s February. The bubbly optimism of “This year I’m going to succeed at _________ because I have the perfect plan” has worn off. Whether it’s snow days with the kids, pressure from a job, family obligations, or one of a thousand other life happens moments, the road to our goals in never smooth. This is when we face a choice: give up or get creative.

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Different Perspective on Social Media for Writers

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all that’s involved in being a writer today. Not only do we have to write well, we’re also responsible for making sure we have an audience for what we write.

We’ve been told it's important to:
  • Have a platform
  • Keep the numbers growing
  • Build valuable connections
  • Schedule webinars
  • Share memes
  • Start podcasts
  • Blog every week
  • Stay active on social media

The list goes on and we get buried deeper under the weight of all our responsibilities—especially with social media and marketing.

Before we give in to weariness and discouragement we need to stop, and think about why we’re here.

Why do we do what we do? Yes, we want to earn a living, but money isn’t the main reason the majority of us have chosen to be a writer.

We do this because we heard God speak…maybe not in an audible voice…but we heard and answered His call.

Because of the avalanche of expectations, some of us are in danger of missing His voice. We want to honor His call, His willingness to issue an invitation to join Him in His work.

We find ourselves in a miserable no-mans-land between ministry and marketing.

But maybe we’re not as far from God’s call as we think we are.

I challenge you to take a look at social media from a different perspective.

I propose that we might have been looking at things upside down. We’re not doing social media to promote our message, or sell our books, or even build a following.

What if social media IS the call… or at least part of the call. What if this isn’t all about us, but about opening ourselves up, putting ourselves out there, taking chances and building bridges BECAUSE GOD HAS A PLAN?

What social media isn’t:
  • Mass marketing
  • A running commercial
  • A chance to toot my own horn

Instead, social media is a chance to connect with like-minded people WITHOUT the barrier of location.

It’s a chance to share value, spread truth, show love. It’s God’s way of building bridges, meeting needs, and changing the world…one glorious update at a time.

And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b

God is perfect with His Plan, Preparation, and Place
  • in His plan for us
  • in His preparation of us
  • where in time He has placed us

It’s no mistake that we were born in this place and time. We have a responsibility to learn how to use the tools that surround us.

Beyond that, God’s word is clear that we are called to be a light in the dark. There’s no place darker than social media. We know that, we’ve seen that through past few years.

He told us to go out into the world. Folks, that includes the World Wide Web.

He warned us that the world hated Him and it would hate us too. Is there any wonder that social media is hard?

The important thing for us to focus on the is the fact that for the first time ever, we can reach the world without leaving home. No wonder the enemy wants to convince us it’s too hard, too meaningless, too much work. He’s scared of what God can do with a few committed believers willing to make a difference through the tools He’s given us.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Beware How You Yourself

\by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

As a writer, I love words. In fiction, I love finding just the right words for my character to use when they speak to each other. 

But one thing I discovered.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

5 Things a Writer Can Dig Up in an Obituary

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

One morning, while I was in college, back in the day when phones hung on walls, I joined my father at the breakfast table for our daily ritual of reading the paper.

He looked over and gave me a smirk. “You’re still reading the comics?”

I looked at his section, the obituaries. I wanted to say, See your name? Instead, I said, “It’s better than being depressed from reading that.”

Oh, the folly of youth.

Friday, February 2, 2018

3 Ways to Put Creative Processes for Writing Into Practice

by Cathy Baker @CathySBaker

Yesterday, Lynn Blackburn reviewed Light the Dark…Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process. If you missed it, here's the link to A Book For Writers to Challenge & Inspire. 

As I read the book (I confess, I’m not quite finished), I considered ways to personally apply their wisdom to my own writing projects. Today, I’ll share some of those ideas along with practical ways to put them into practice.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Book for Writers to Challenge & Inspire

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I’m not sure where I first heard about Light the Dark - Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process. I do know that I thought it sounded great and I popped it into my Amazon cart without much more thought.