Saturday, July 24, 2021

Using Concrete versus Abstract Character Objectives for Your Story


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

One of the most important things for your story is to have an active (not passive) main character who has a clear, objective goal to pursue throughout the entire story. And yet, one of the most common problems that I see are stories with passive main characters who don’t drive the action of the story because they have no clear objective. To that end, I thought it might be helpful to clarify the differences between concrete and abstract objectives. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

5 Tips for Reusing Old Blog Posts


By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

 

If you’ve been blogging for years like I have, you probably have a cache of posts on your site. While some may have gone viral or remained popular, most probably appeared in your subscriber’s inbox and on your blog for a week or so, then got buried under other content. Since only a portion of your subscribers actually opened your email (sorry folks, this is the sad reality), you may wonder, is it okay to repost old blog posts?

Thursday, July 22, 2021

You Are Never Too Old


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

“You are never too old to set another goal or to 
dream a new dream.” C. S. Lewis

Many times, I’ve met someone who has retired, and they sit like a gnome in the garden, gathering dirt and bugs and mold. They’re not thrilled, but don’t seem to have a clue what to do about it.

That isn’t what God wants for us. Yes, we’ve worked hard all our lives and we’ve earned the reward of being able to sit back and take it easy. For many of us, however, the reward seems fragile because our financial resources don’t allow us to live as we dreamed. But that’s for another blog.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Find Writing Peace


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Why can’t I fall asleep on the nights when I need sleep the most? Lightning flashed through the closed curtains, and thunder cracked right outside my window. I pulled my curtains open to watch the light show, and then quickly shut them so I wouldn’t go blind. God, please protect us, I prayed, and then lay down to rest. I am grateful for the heavenly Sentry who stands watch through the thunderstorms of life. God never sleeps (Psalm 4:8, 121:4), and I know I can count on Him to be alert and at work when writing exhaustion overtakes me. Or when I am scared and need relief. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Why You Need Writer Friends


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

I recently spoke on a conference panel about the importance of being a writer (and speaker) in community. Reflecting back over a lifetime in this calling, I realized how passionate I am about not going it alone. So, today I’d love to share with you some reasons why you need writer friends.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Traditional Publishing and Getting More Marketing Help


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Authors may complain that publishers don’t do enough, but traditional publishers really want to come alongside their authors to help with marketing. It needs to be a team effort. The biggest key to success is communication. For authors, that means to connect with the publicist or marketing department and let them know about your promotional activities. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

I Took My Character to Coffee


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

No really, I did. I got the idea from when my daughter was in Junior High. Some days she’d return from school and I could tell something was on her mind. Of course when I’d asked, the answer was nothing or I dunno. 

Frustrated and I’d wonder how to get it out of her, I tried all sorts of things. One day, I had an idea and waited to try it. I knew she loved to get a taco over at The Bell, so on a day she came in sad, I asked if she’d like to go for supper there. And she did. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Writer’s Block—When the Words Won’t Come


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

Nothing was working. I’d paced, took a long walk, sat in the garden and daydreamed, even succumbed to a soothing cup of tea. Words still eluded me. Fear leaped into my heart and I wondered if this was it. Had my writing finally dried up and my years of weaving words into stories come to an end? A drab end, to be sure. Never accomplishing all I had dreamed of, hoped for, or imagined. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

How to Have More than Three People at Your Book Signings


By Crystal Bowman

Now that we are emerging from pandemic isolation, it won’t be long before author book signings return to encourage face-to-face marketing. Book signings sound like fun, right? People actually get to meet a real-live author and purchase an autographed copy of their book—maybe even with a personal message written on the inside cover. So exciting! But here’s the reality—book signings can be the most humbling experience of an author’s life.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Improve Book Sales by Enhancing Public Relations Through Media, Retailers, & Consumers


Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS @SusanNealYoga

Authors want to get higher book sales. To gain that traction, we can market our books through media, retailers, and consumers. Media coverage spreads the word about a book. When retailers carry a book, it becomes available for readers to purchase. When more readers know a book exists, book sales rise. Taking a comprehensive marketing approach to media, retailers, and consumers will stretch your book’s visibility.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Publishing as a Second Language - One Sheets vs. Book Proposals


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

This year as I was preparing for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference One of the top questions I received from those I mentored was—“What’s the difference between a book proposal and a one sheet?” Most had heard of a book proposal but the concept of a one sheet was new and they were not sure where to even begin to create one.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Basics of Plot for Writers


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

Some say I’m a pantser, writing by the seat of my pants and never knowing where the next turn in the story will be. I’ve never liked that title. None of us are truly pantsers. Few, if any, just sit down at the computer and begin to write without any thought of direction. I don’t outline every plot point but I do have a clear idea of where I want my story to go and how I want it to end. We all have to know where we want to go and what road to follow, otherwise, the possibility of becoming lost is great.

Monday, July 12, 2021

How Writers Can Get Speaking Engagements


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

Texts, phone calls, and emails fill my “in box” with the same concern: “I’m an author. How can I get speaking engagements?” I will start with one step that many believers include as their last, rather than their initial one. 

First, pray for speaking engagements.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Misunderstandings & Faith That God Will Guide Us Through


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

What she got wasn’t what she wanted. 

My wife and a couple of her lady friends love to visit a local restaurant for breakfast once or twice a week. I don’t care for the establishment. In fact, my bad experiences became so numerous that the only way I could ever visit was to do so with “no expectations.” After all, if I don’t expect anything, I can’t be disappointed. Going with this attitude also prevented me from getting a bad attitude when things didn’t go my way—which happened on every visit. 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Writers, Let's Remove the Words “I Quit” From Our Vocabulary


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

Anyone else have a rough writing week? Show of hands, please. Anyone?

Monday and Tuesday were frustrating days for me. Doubt got me in a headlock and tried to take me down and pin me to the mat. Thanks to an honest conversation with a trusted writer-friend—and a healthy dose of prayer—doubt didn’t win. 

By Tuesday afternoon, I got up off the mat as the victor. Worn out, yes, but I won the wrestling match. I also came away with a pivotal realization. There are two words that should be removed from every writer’s vocabulary: 

Friday, July 9, 2021

When a Writer is Stressed, A List of What NOT to Do



by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I don’t know about you, but life is a little stressful and my To Do list is full to overflowing. I sat down the other morning to take an honest look at all the things on my plate and I discovered that just like piling on too much at a summer potluck, I was overloaded.

 

It’s funny, but the worst offenders turned out to be the things I really shouldn’t have added in the first place. So today I’m sharing what I discovered. And by the way, discovering these was painful for me too!

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Offering Hope with Each Stroke: How One Person’s Story Can Inspire Others


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

My newspaper editor gave me the assignment and contact information, and I made arrangements to meet the high-schooler and her mom at the library for an interview. Then-fifteen-year-old Tazmerria Wilson had quite the story to tell about playing on the high school’s golf team.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Mastering the Art of of Writing Dialog


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

We basically have four ways to allow a character to express: 
  • through action
  • through body language
  • through thoughts (in the POV character)
  • through what they say
So, what do they say?

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

How to Create Characters Your Reader Cares About


by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

You know your idea. You locked in your audience, and the take-home value you will provide in your work in progress. Your manuscript format is set. The next step is to understand the essentials found in every compelling story.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Let Our Words Fall Like Rain


By Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @khogrefeparnell

My husband James and I live on a lake, so every time storm clouds darken the sky, we have a front row seat to the rain event. The lake water reveals the faintest sprinkles as well as the force of pelting rain.

Most of the time, though, the droplets are somewhere in the middle: not hesitant or angry, but constant. One night after dinner, as I stared through our glass French doors toward the water, the thought struck me: Our words should be like rain.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Eyes On Me, In Writing & In Life!


by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

For you shall go out with joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12).

Quivering like jello on a cafeteria plate, the boy with the shocking red hair shot me a look of terror.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Why Long Lines Are Good for Writers & Everyone Else


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

My dad never met a stranger. He loved running into and meeting new people. When we would go on vacations, or take a day trip to the mountains, he always ended up talking to people he’d just met.

As a child, I was so embarrassed. I wasn’t like that at all. Meeting new people paralyzed me. My brain turned to mush and gaga was the extent of my vocabulary.

I was twenty-three.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Can Your Writing Change The World?


by A.C. Williams @ACW_Author

When I was young, I wanted to change the world. I dreamed about revolutionizing the entertainment industry. I wanted to write a novel that would turn the culture inside out. Everyone would read it and come their senses about life, the universe, and everything. 

Isn’t youthful idealism nauseating? 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

In Writing & Publishing We Must Remember God is Greater


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Several years ago, I participated in a Whole30. During a Whole30 you avoid a host of foods including alcohol, gluten, sugar, dairy, etc. One of the big rules is that there is to be zero cheating. There are no excuses, no exceptions. But as I studied the FAQ, one question stopped me in my tracks. “What about communion?”

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

15 Foundational Truths of a Resilient Writer


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

There is only one constant in the publishing industry—constant change. 

As soon as we think we’ve hit on the formula for success, the variables shift and we’re back to square one. It can set us up for a life of frustration if we’re not ready for it. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Mini Memoir Moment: Writing About the Relatives


by Marcia Moston @MarciaMoston

If you shake your family tree, you may be surprised at the nuts that fall out. People—both present and past—in your life are a rich source for your personal stories. Even if you are writing a straight genealogical account, try to find an incident, a particular characteristic, gesture, habit, or saying that captures some essence of a person and contributes to the heart, as well as the fact, of your story.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Baking a Novel


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

When baking a novel, don't forget the important ingredient: experience. To draw your readers into your story, you want to create an experience for them. But that experience is filtered through your POV character. You know that already? Good. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Vital Tool of Observation for the Writer


by Craig von Buseck @CraigvonBuseck

Since journalism school, I have carried a notebook with me to make observations. In the early days, it was a small, spiral bound paper notebook that fit in my shirt pocket. Today, it’s a series of files in my smart phone. Whatever form it takes, a writer should have a place where she or he is taking notes of what is observed as life goes by.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Number One Way to Alienate Your Readers


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

I recently received a private message from a writer friend who said she needed my help. Keep in mind, this gal is already a competent writer. She’s put in the time. She’s learned the tools of her trade. Nevertheless, people just aren’t resonating with her material on an emotional level. She wanted to know why. What’s the root problem? More importantly, can it be fixed?

Friday, June 25, 2021

5 Important Elements to Include in Your Next Blog Post


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Blogging continues to be one of the best ways to connect with your audience, build a platform, and refine your writing. Whenever I coach new writers who are serious about growing as a writer, I always recommend blogging.

Whether you’re a new blogger or an experienced one, you want to create posts that engage your readers and accomplish your writing goals.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Writing Dreams & Plans


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

2021. 

A year many of us longed for as 2020 dragged on and on and on. Now it’s here, and I suspect some of us are not all that thrilled with the way it’s started out. And it’s too late to reboot. We’re stuck with it.

But that doesn’t mean we’re stuck with our lives. Yes, things seem just as uncertain as they did last year or last month.

We have dreams, and we don’t have to give up or compromise on them. If we’ve been in relationship with God, he has dreams for us. They may be better than what we have in mind. In fact, they are better than anything we could think of. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Taking the Struggle Out of Writing Deep POV


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Every writer wants to take the struggle out of Deep Point of View (POV). The technique allows the reader to step easily into the viewpoint character’s shoes by experiencing every action and reaction through the character’s senses. The reader wants to be that character. He/she has stepped into the protagonist’s or antagonist’s head and emerged as the POV character. Every word is filtered through the POV character.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Dipping the Quill Deeper: The Stories That Shaped A Childhood


by Eva Marie Everson

In the past couple of years, I have given a keynote address at three writers conferences titled “The Three—Make That Four—Books That Changed My Life.” In the presentation, I talk about three books I read in my younger years, one as a young child of about ten, and the other two as a young-to-mid teen. The first book I only recall by its title, Renee. I cannot recall the author’s name or what the book was about, but what I do remember is that this was the first book I found impossible to put down. Renee was what we call a “page-turner.”

Monday, June 21, 2021

Excellence in Marketing Awards for Authors Open Aug. 1-31, 2021

By Angela Breidenbach 
@AngBreidenbach

The Christian Authors Network is delighted to announce the Excellence in Marketing Awards. Formerly known as the CAN Crown Awards, the name change better represents the purpose of this special, one-of-a-kind contest to recognize, educate, and encourage excellence in marketing and promotion skills of all Christian authors.


One area Christian authors struggle with in the publishing world is figuring out what to do with marketing? Think about marketing as engaging, shareable, effective communication about your book, book series, or brand to readers, retailers, and/or librarians. How else would people find the book you struggled over for months to years? Don’t hide your light under a bushel! Shine light on that beautiful work of art through some simple marketing techniques.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

How Writing Conferences Compare to Carrots


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

You’ve read the title of this post and are convinced this writer has truly lost her mind. While there may be some truth to that—hear her out. And by her, I mean me.

On the two-hour drive home from a recent large conference, I had plenty of quiet time to think and process what I’d encountered the week there. Thoughts about how conferences as a whole have had to change during this past year due to, well, you know­—Covid. Most chose to do an online option, which at least connected us with opportunities to continue to learn more of the craft. As an extreme extrovert, this option was difficult at times, but I still took part as either a conferee or as faculty, grateful to see writers and speak to each other in real time even if throughout computer screens. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Recharge, Replenish, Renew for a Better You


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I move to a different beat. The effects of isolation and lack of human connection brought on by lockdown bit deep. I became inflicted with a self-centered concern about keeping myself safe—of preventing dark shadowy plagues from coming near. My world was now absent of hugs, obsessed with hand sanitizers, and filled with face-masked people devoid of facial expressions. As a result, a new me slowly emerged. Without even realizing the dark cloud had descended, it began to suffocate my life.

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Benefits of Co-Authoring


by Crystal Bowman

No matter what publishing path you choose, it’s a long and bumpy road. And whether you’re an introvert who writes from a quiet corner in your home or an extrovert who writes at a noisy coffee shop, writing can be lonely. One of the rewards of the writing journey is to hold that hot-off-the press copy in your hands while you stare at your name on the front cover. But maybe there is space for one more name. The idea of co-authoring a book may not appeal to everyone, but it has some benefits worth considering. 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

How to Get More Book Reviews


by Susan U. Neal
@SusanNealYoga

Book reviews show readers that your book is worth their investment of money and time. The more reviews your book has, the more books you will sell because people believe what consumers say about products. In fact, ninety percent of consumers read online reviews. One of the most critical things you can do for your book’s salability is obtain at least fifty Amazon reviews.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

What Can a Writer Use Canva For?


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I needed a time saver, and Canva became it. More than once. 

Do you need to make a meme or a One Sheet? How about a picture slideshow or video about your book? Canva can do all of these. Even the free version. As writers, we can choose from Canva’s templates, stock photos, and video clips to create beautiful graphics and videos to promote our message and our writing. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

When God’s Ways with My Writing are Not My Ways


Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Here is what I had hoped would happen after I hit “send” on my latest book proposal. The editor would almost immediately respond by email: 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Speaking Tips for Authors at Hybrid Events


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

This article provides three speaking tips for authors at hybrid events. The hybrid is one in which people can attend in-person or online.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Saying Goodbye


by Martin Wiles @LinesFrom God

We fought to swallow the lumps in our throat, and we blinked away the tears. Then, we said goodbye.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Understanding How Our Emotions Fuel Writing Procrastination


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

Procrastination seems to be a common problem among writers.

If I could, I’d ask you to raise your hands if you procrastinate about writing. I’ll assume the majority of you would admit to ignoring your various deadlines, choosing instead to clean out your junk drawer or to organize your sea glass collection or to read another author’s book that’s languished too long on your to-be-read pile.

I’ll also admit writing this post is an act of procrastination. Don’t get me wrong, I had a deadline to meet for this blog, but I also have a novella deadline. Right now? I put off that project by focusing on writing today’s post.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Book Marketing Secrets Every Author MUST Know!


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Over the course of my career I have published through big publishers and through smaller, traditional presses. Of course there are differences between what support a big and small publisher provides. But—and we all need to wrap our brains around this one truth—our responsibility as the author is fairly consistent. Today I’m going to share 7 book marketing secrets I’ve learned from experience, and some I’ve learned by watching other authors.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The ABC’s of Newspaper Writing, Part One


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

A wealth of sayings about “old news” abounds, but the truth is, newspaper outlets need fresh content on a daily basis. Or, at least as often as the newspaper comes out in your neck of the woods. 

And that means, as a freelancer, you have many opportunities to gain writing credits by contributing news articles, lifestyle stories, and much more to your local newspaper publication. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

8 Ways to Equip Yourself for the Writing Journey


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Stephen King once said, “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

 

I'd like to go one step further and add that choosing the writing life isn’t a choice for the faint of heart. If you’re serious about having a career in publishing, you’re going to need some tools to equip yourself for the writing journey. Beyond that, you’re going to have to make some decisions about how you spend your time.  I did. And I haven’t regretted a moment of it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

5 Things to Make Your Story Sing


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

Most everyone has a story and believe it or not, the majority can tell their story beautifully. The problem comes when the translation of the story hits the page. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

3 Media Tools for Writers Working Smarter, Not Harder


By Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @khogrefeparnell

We know that the writing life isn’t just about writing. Regardless of the publishing route we choose, we writers are largely responsible for marketing and sharing our books with others.

 

Most of you aren’t graphic designers or degree-holding marketers, and neither am I. Today, I want to share three tools that can help you work smarter, not harder—so you have more time to do what you love: writing.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Overcoming Writer’s Dread


by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster (Proverbs 1:33).

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Staying On the Trail As a Writer


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

For many of us, this has been an exciting week as we have gathered at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Whether we were there personally, or attending the virtual conference, we were able to attend classes taught by caring and knowledgeable instructors, renew relationships with friends, and make new friends and acquaintances.

 

Just being able to get out and do something ‘normal’ was a great feeling for many of us.