“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” (Effie Jones) Have you made plans for success in your life? Sounds like a no brainer question; however, if you’re planning to pave the way for yourself down the road of success, you need a plan. 

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Of course there are no absolutes in life—except for death and taxes. Some may then say, what’s the use in making plans if there are no absolutes…well, those who plan, do increase their chances of success. Don’t you want to be counted in those statistics? I know I do.

For an author, how can you plan for success? You first need to assess the current situation. What are your goals? What do you need in terms of marketing strategies? It doesn’t make sense to start planning your strategy if you don’t know exactly what you need in your own situation.

For example, I have two books published already and my third book is due to be published in March or April of this year. What is my present need in terms of planning and goals? I -need to continually market my brand (name) and increase my readership base so that my platform increases—compared to where I was at last year and where I’ll be when my book is released in the next few months.

Are you a new author just starting out or a seasoned one with several books already published? You need to take your current situation into consideration before you make further plans. One point to interject here—if you don’t have a press kit, you should create one; having it available online is a good idea. I have mine available on my website. Especially with the advent of technology, interested parties (like reporters and agents and publishers etc.) want to have easy access to your pertinent information.

If you need exposure to new marketing opportunities, have you tried to schedule yourself for guest appearances on other blogs and online magazines? You should also have a blog that is active and not stagnant. It’s good for you to post interesting articles pertinent to your field and expertise; however, you should also spice things up a bit by having guest authors visit your blog. You always want new traffic coming to your blog, but getting regular traffic from people revisiting your blog is also important. If you have repeat traffic, you know you are doing well in your promotion.

I like to save my personal information sharing with readers, for online resources like my facebook page and my twitter page. Yes, readers do want to find out information about you and your daily life and your thoughts—but, if you want to seriously promote you and your work, you need to offer serious content on your blog as well. So, what are you doing to plan for success?


If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

 
 
Staring at a mountain in your life can become pretty daunting.  If you are not careful, you’ll get discouraged and think you can never ever climb that mountain and then cross to the next valley.  That’s when; digging deep inside yourself to find the courage to continue to the valley of your dreams is the answer.  For me, faith is the first step to getting at the answer of how to traverse the mountain pass.  If I don’t have faith that God is watching out for me and has a plan, then I’m walking in my own strength.  

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My mom used to always tell me that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I truly believe she was right in drilling that into my mind and heart.  If I don’t have a desire to succeed and strive for success, how will I ever cross that mountain? 

However, willpower is not the only ingredient needed to trek through that mountain pass.  You need climbing gear and food and to basically be prepared for the unexpected.  In your writing life, you need the same thing.  Have you studied and learned your craft?  Are you keeping current on all the best marketing strategies?  What about your emotional needs for encouragement ~ have you linked up with other authors who can provide that encouragement to you? 

If you are prepared with your power pack and have the will power to succeed, your trek through the mountain won’t be easy, but you will make it to the valley of your dreams.  Even if you don't see results right away, keep going; because if you don't, you'll surely never see any results at all.

~~~~

I really want to encourage other authors to keep going to achieve their dreams, even when the going gets tough. I’d like to share inspiring stories from other authors who have been successful and achieved success making it over the hurdles in their way. 

If you are an author who would like to share an encouraging story about your writing career, please contact me.  I would love to schedule you for a guest post on my blog.  Have a blessed day!  


If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

 
 
Recently in church, the pastor’s sermon was entitled True Humility and he spoke about David’s interactions with King Saul and how he did not try to steal the crown away from the king, because Saul was God’s anointed. Even though at one point God’s spirit left Saul and came upon David—the young man and future king, did not rush God’s plan through his own devices; but rather waited patiently for the Lord’s perfect timing. Talk about an awe-inspiring moment! That sermon hit me in the gut. 

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As authors we love to write and that means if we want to continue to write—and get paid for it—we need to have an audience. How do we get that audience? In a nutshell: we need to continue to write books, brand our name and market and market and market. Sounds like loads of fun, right! So, what is a Christian author supposed to do?

We’re taught by God’s Word that humility as a believer is a high priority on God’s list. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (I Peter 5:5 NIV) Okay, so God wants me to be humble, but that is the antithesis of what I’ve been taught to do as an author in promoting myself and my books. Is it possible to be both humble and proud at the same time? How can a Christian author market his or her books in a way that glorifies God and doesn’t bring glory to him or herself?  This is a question that has plagued my mind for some time now and this recent sermon at church brought it squarely into focus again.

I’ve learned that God wants us to be in step with Him—not two steps in front and not two steps behind. Of course this is not always easy and we’re human so we (me included) falter many times. However, God never said we had to do this life journey alone. He has provided His Holy Spirit to be our guide and His Word is a light unto our path. Once we realize that following God’s plan will benefit us in the end, it’s easier to let go of our own desires and follow after Him. If you’d like to find out more about my own personal journey and why I almost gave up writing, please check out this post: What's Your Reason to Write?

Now, humility for the Christian means we are giving credit to God for all of our accomplishments and acknowledge Him as Lord over our lives. Sounds simple, but our pride many times gets in the way and this is especially tricky for an author or someone else who needs to promote self for career advancement. When you start to believe in your own power towards achieving success, you are heading down the wrong road. Pride goes before a fall. However, that’s where God comes into the picture as mentioned in I Peter 5:5—when walking in humility, God won’t oppose you, but He’ll shower you with His grace and favor. Now who wouldn’t want that? I know I’d prefer God’s umbrella over me rather than His opposition.

David was content to leave both promotion and demotion to God. He didn’t worry about when he was going to advance to be king. He was at peace leaving his advancement to God’s timing. Yes, David was human, so I’m sure he had his moments of doubt and indecision—like when he snuck up behind King Saul in the cave and cut off a piece of his royal robe. True, he denied his men the many chances to kill Saul, but even cutting off the piece of his robe caused him pain because he knew Saul was still God’s anointed. If only we all could experience such a check in conscience when we walk in offense towards God—but each day is a new day and God is a God of second chances. Amen to that!

In God’s perspective, we only get to the top of the ladder by helping others up before ourselves. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Usually I prefer reading the New King James Version of the Bible, but this verse pastor read from The Message version really hit home. “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” (Phil. 2:3) Since 2010 when I really started promoting my books, I started out with a perspective of doing unto others as I would have done to me. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back, but just to share part of my journey.

To me it made sense to help other authors get promotion because one day, maybe they’d help me when I needed it. I started my website and blog about 6 – 8 months before my second book came out. My first was published years ago and then I got sidetracked with life and did not writing anything new and slacked off majorly in the promotion department. So, while I was trying to build up my platform and gain followers—again, I hate saying this word because it goes against the grain of trying to live in humility!!—I figured no one wanted to hear about little ol’ me. That’s when the brainstorm came that if I promote other authors it would be a win-win situation. I’d get FREE content for my blog and they’d get FREE publicity.

It’s been wonderful because the situation worked out beautifully for all involved and I’ve made some good friends alone the way—many who have reciprocated with free publicity for me. I truly believe that two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. (Ecc. 4:9-10)

I believe it is possible to live in the limelight without becoming a glory hog—but you can only accomplish this with God’s daily help. If you think you can remain humble in the limelight on your own terms, you’ll be mistaken and will take a hard fall.

Wouldn’t you rather trust God to open up doors of opportunity for you that are exceedingly abundantly above all that [you] ask or imagine according to the power [Christ] that works in [you] (Eph. 3:20)? Isn’t it better to walk in step with God’s perfect timing and specific plan for your life? Don’t you think a God promotion is so much better than a God demotion? Can you imagine living under the umbrella of God’s unfailing favor and grace every day?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this subject and how you’ve dealt with it…


If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

 
 
I write romantic suspense novels and my most recent release is entitled, Bella Lucia. It is a story unlike my other suspense books, but I felt compelled to write it. My hope was that other women like me might find some hope and encouragement that they are not alone. 

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My husband, John and I, met back in 2001 and we quickly became good friends. Three years later we were married. This July, we’ll be celebrating our 8th anniversary. We’ve gone through the normal married stuff—you know, adjusting to life as a couple and all the issues that come with that—but one issue has left us feeling isolated in our little section of the universe. After 8 years together, we still have not been able to get pregnant.

It’s been a difficult road, but we have grown so much together as a couple and we’ve gotten stronger, but that hasn’t made the inherent pain of being a childless couple any easier to deal with. My husband comes from a big, traditional, Italian family. Of his cousins, we were the second couple to get married. In the ensuing years, his other cousins and brother have gotten married and they’ve all been able to conceive and have children. On my side, my two brothers and their wives also have been able to get pregnant, as have two of my cousins.

Needless to say, being around everyone who seemed so naturally to get pregnant hasn’t been easy; especially as we near year 8 in our marriage. Others, who have been married for less time, already have children. Although, God has been good and He’s brought friends into our lives in similar situations and we’ve been able to support each other through the ups and downs of trying to get pregnant. 

Living with this ache in my heart, always feeling the call of motherhood, but never being able to have a child, led me to write Bella Lucia. As I mentioned, I write fiction and I felt God leading me to create a story dealing with the subject of infertility and all the painful struggles involved, yet weave His hope into the plot. Even though this story is fiction, it’s a very personal story for me and I wanted to share how when you invite God into the midst of your circumstances, He always turns everything out for your good…even during the hard times.

When I wrote about the main character, Gwen, looking longingly at the empty chairs surrounding her dining room table—that was familiar to me, because I’ve done that, and felt the longing. When I wrote about Gwen being in pain when her best friend so easily got pregnant after only a short time married, I went through that pain as well with other family members conceiving so easily. When Gwen’s heart was broken every time she would pass by the local playground on her daily jog and see the children playing and mother’s sitting watching their children, I felt her pain…wondering if I’d ever become a mother.

I know what it feels like to desperately want to be a mother and have a family. Yet, I know the peace that passes all understanding as God is guiding me and my husband through this rough time in our lives. He has a plan and I may not understand it, but I know He has our best in mind. Of course, it’s not always easy to believe that, but our faith is what has gotten us through and will continue to guide us.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my heart today and explain what Bella Lucia means to me. You can connect with me online on Facebook or on Twitter.


If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush


 
 
I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of pushy salespeople—I know what I want when I’m going shopping and I don’t like to be bothered. I try to bring this mindset into my book marketing. The question remains—do you think readers like a hard sell or not?

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"To sell a product you must inform the world of its existence." (Roger Scruton)

I saw this quote today and thought it hit squarely on the mark of the catch 22 situation all authors find themselves in. If no one knows about your book, how can they purchase it? However, doing a blitzkrieg marketing assault will most certainly turn off readers to your book. So, how can you maneuver through this situation and find the middle ground?

I truly believe that starts with name recognition. Do you want to be a one hit wonder or make a big splash with your name in the book industry? Obviously, if we want to continue on towards a successful writing career, then we want the latter. When you find an author that you like and you’ve enjoyed one or two books he or she wrote, then it stands to reason that you’ll be going back for more books. That should give hope to new authors. Even if your first or second book doesn’t sell well, keep on writing more books. Eventually with discipline and perseverance, your efforts will pay off and readers will know your name. Once they read your newer works, they’ll check out your backlist. Your fans are not going to always be able to spout off the titles of all your books, but if they like your work and if you’ve become popular, they will remember your name.  If they know your name, they can easily find you online or in the bookstores.  When they find your website, then they can look up your books.  When they go to the bookstores, they can find your specific titles. 

As you work on building your platform—your online hub and name recognition—you always need to be mindful of how to keep your readers and fans interested in you and your work and that they continually return to your online hub for more content. The hard sell would be to constantly be talking about your book and where readers can purchase it and how many good reviews you’ve gotten. Yes, I’m an author, but I am also a fellow (avid) reader and I don’t want to constantly be thrown this book info. I like to get to know the authors who wrote the books that I enjoy. What is their daily life like? What are their interests? Whom do they follow? Do they like to know about current events?

The opposite sell that works, is to share the answers to these questions with your readers. You don’t have to be an open book per se—however, share important snippets of your life with your readers. Don’t always shove down their throats the purchase info for your books. Interact with readers. Show them that you really do care and know that without an audience, you don’t have a career. Always be appreciative of your readers—that will bring true loyalty and increase your fan base.

Don’t be afraid to network with other authors. Helping another author will definitely come around to help you out in the future. Create an online hub that is bigger than you. For example, just last year I was praying about naming my blog. I got the name of The Mustard Seed Blog with the tagline of It only takes a mustard seed to make a dream grow. In the Bible when Jesus says we should have faith as a mustard seed, that’s very important. A mustard seed is small, yet grows into something big. In order to accomplish great things, we don’t need an enormous faith—God only asks us to take that one step forward with Him and He will accomplish those miracles in our lives. So, the name of my blog and the tagline mean a great deal to me. It’s my perspective on life—that without God I can do nothing…only in Him will great things be done in my life.

One day I would love for The Mustard Seed Blog to become even bigger than it is—currently in its infancy. I truly want my blog to be a place for readers and authors to interact and grow together in their love of books. I want to help new authors get free publicity and help more accomplished authors as well. This is why I say think of the big picture and all that God can accomplish in and through your life. Don’t put God in a box.


 
 
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)  The way we speak to each other and the tone of our voices is powerful ~ life and death is in the tongue.  How does this apply to the words we, as authors, write?

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I believe the same principle applies ~ there is power in our words. 

As authors, we take great pains to make certain that the words we write and the stories that take shape are our best work.  We edit those words and reread them and then edit them again.  We want our finished product to exemplify the story that our imagination birthed.  Does this process apply to everything we write?

It should apply, at least to a lesser degree.  Even when we write emails or texts or post comments on facebook and twitter and when we write our blogs, we need to remember the principle that life and death is in our words.  When you send an email, you can’t take it back.  Are you sure you were happy with the email you sent?  It may not seem like a big deal, but everything we write will come around ~ do you want it to haunt you or bless you?

When you write a blog, try to keep it professional but find the balance with a sense of your personality ~ make your blog inviting to those who follow you.  Remember that you are not only writing to your readers and fellow authors, but also to those publishers and book reviewers who may happen to find your blog.  If you are writing with a negative attitude and bashing other authors or giving a tirade about your noisy neighbors, that won’t seem very professional to them and could turn them off.  Your words could lead to a lost awesome book deal or lost great book review. 

When you do an author interview, if you’re speaking on the radio, be professional, but share your own personality and give the sense that you are a friendly person.  When you are answering interview questions to be posted online on a blog or magazine, remember the same principle ~ there is power in our words.  Just remember that at any point in time, someone out there in the world is or could be soon looking at your interview.  Don’t be negative, but keep that positive tone. 

If you are at a book signing, keep to the same principle.  You don’t want to let a bad day negatively affect how you speak to your fans.  Always keep the filter on your mouth and think before you speak.  This is a lesson we all need to continually learn day by day.  Of course, I’m not telling you to act fake and not who you really are.  It’s just that as an author, you do have a higher responsibility to be careful with your words, if you’re looking to be a blessing to others and not a negative force in this world. 

There are so many instances where we, as authors, will need to write words and speak words.  When you are writing a letter or email to a prospective publisher or agent, keep the tone professional, yet friendly.  Always remain cognizant of the power of life and death in your words.


 
 
Staring at a mountain in your life can become pretty daunting.  If you are not careful, you’ll get discouraged and think you can never ever climb that mountain and then cross to the next valley.  That’s when; digging deep inside yourself to find the courage to continue to the valley of your dreams is the answer.  For me, faith is the first step to getting at the answer of how to traverse the mountain pass.  If I don’t have faith that God is watching out for me and has a plan, then I’m walking in my own strength.  

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My mom used to always tell me that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I truly believe she was right in drilling that into my mind and heart.  If I don’t have a desire to succeed and strive for success, how will I ever cross that mountain? 

However, willpower is not the only ingredient needed to trek through that mountain pass.  You need climbing gear and food and to basically be prepared for the unexpected.  In your writing life, you need the same thing.  Have you studied and learned your craft?  Are you keeping current on all the best marketing strategies?  What about your emotional needs for encouragement ~ have you linked up with other authors who can provide that encouragement to you? 

If you are prepared with your power pack and have the will power to succeed, your trek through the mountain won’t be easy, but you will make it to the valley of your dreams.  Even if you don't see results right away, keep going; because if you don't, you'll surely never see any results at all.


 
 
What’s the missing link that you need in order to succeed in your marketing mission for your work as an author—it’s a deep-seated need to succeed at all costs…it’s not giving up when things get tough…it’s believing in yourself even if no one else does…it’s keeping the end goal in sight.

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So many times we lose sight of the end goal and get bogged down with the daily grind so we don’t focus on where we need to be but instead focus on where we are and get discouraged. Discouragement is normal, but allowing yourself to live there is not good and does not advance your plan towards success.

Things don’t always go as planned—that’s a given in this life, but you need to learn to roll with the punches and reformulate your action plan as you go. Change is good, even though we don’t always want to embrace that change. If you are able to keep the end goal in sight even when change is happening, you’ll be better able to deal with the changing circumstances and move forward towards success.

When things are going well, we sometimes slack off a bit and let go of the reigns—we need to continue riding forward no matter what the circumstances. In both good times and bad, it’s important to maintain a solid mental focus that reminds you that perseverance is needed and in order to succeed, you need to take chances.

Not everyone is a risk taker. Now I’m not talking about parachuting out of planes type of risk-taking, but every now and then stepping outside your comfort zone and doing something for your marketing that you’ve never thought you’d ever do. For starters, I did a radio interview several months ago and I was so nervous to do that, but it went well. I was offered the opportunity to do an interview on an internet TV station for the same radio company, but I’ve been too nervous to accept. I need to practice what I preach and get going on that opportunity.

Make sure you stay true to yourself. No matter what marketing opportunities come into your life, only accept those that allow you to remain true to yourself. Stay true to yourself in your writing as well. Write from your heart and your readers will love what you want to share with them. If they know that you’re writing from their heart, they’ll come back for more of your work.

If writing is a dream of yours and is your passion, then don’t give up. Those who give up will never succeed. True success is reserved for those who make a consistent effort and never let up.


 
 
_Staring at a mountain in your life can become pretty daunting.  If you are not careful, you’ll get discouraged and think you can never ever climb that mountain and then cross to the next valley.  That’s when; digging deep inside yourself to find the courage to continue to the valley of your dreams is the answer.  For me, faith is the first step to getting at the answer of how to traverse the mountain pass.  If I don’t have faith that God is watching out for me and has a plan, then I’m walking in my own strength. 

Picture
_My mom used to always tell me that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I truly believe she was right in drilling that into my mind and heart.  If I don’t have a desire to succeed and strive for success, how will I ever cross that mountain? 

However, willpower is not the only ingredient needed to trek through that mountain pass.  You need climbing gear and food and to basically be prepared for the unexpected.  In your writing life, you need the same thing.  Have you studied and learned your craft?  Are you keeping current on all the best marketing strategies?  What about your emotional needs for encouragement ~ have you linked up with other authors who can provide that encouragement to you? 

If you are prepared with your power pack and have the will power to succeed, your trek through the mountain won’t be easy, but you will make it to the valley of your dreams.  Even if you don't see results right away, keep going; because if you don't, you'll surely never see any results at all.

I really want to encourage other authors to keep going to achieve their dreams, even when the going gets tough. I’d like to share inspiring stories from other authors who have been successful and achieved success making it over the hurdles in their way. 

If you are an author who would like to share an encouraging story about your writing career, please contact me.  I would love to schedule you for a guest post on my blog.  Have a blessed day! 


 
 
The mustard seed is as small as a kernel of corn or a grain of wheat and yet that one seed (of the black seed variety) can grow into a shrub / tree that is 12 feet tall.  This variety is found in Israel.  

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I’ve read those scriptures in the Bible where Jesus told a parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.” (Matt. 13:31)  The other scripture is found in Matt. 17:20, “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as a small mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.’”

The first scripture references the kingdom of God which starts out small but grows very large.  From 12 disciples, Jesus reached a world.    

The second scripture utilizes the image of the mustard seed and its small size and then immense growth to show us that even if we only have a little bit of faith, our belief in God can move mountains in our lives. 

After learning about mustard seeds and how they relate to the message of faith—and that such a tiny seed could grow to great height—that was how the title for my blog was born:  It Only Takes a Mustard Seed to make a Dream Grow

With a child-like faith, we need to trust in God and know that He does hear all of our prayers and will answer.  The answer may not be what we’d like to hear, but He will respond and He has the best in mind for us. 

Have you had any experiences in your life where you needed to trust God completely and felt that you learned the valuable lesson of the mustard seed? It’s vital to our walk with the Lord to keep our faith alive and well. Please share with us your stories of faith—I know we’d all be encouraged by them when you do. 


 
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    It only takes a mustard seed to make a dream grow