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.
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.
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
. 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
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
Do you use Twitter in your book promotion and name branding? If you aren’t utilizing this awesome resource—you definitely should jump on the bandwagon and get ready for the ride.
I opened my Twitter profile last year and linked it to my Facebook Page so that all of my status updates from Facebook get posted to Twitter—as well as my daily blog posts. It wasn’t until this week that I’ve been doing more research and reading various articles on how to use Twitter the right way.
One thing I have been doing was following other Twitter profiles, and I have gotten followers in return. I reached a certain amount of followers and remained stagnant for a while—I would lose some followers, and gain more; but always remained at that stagnated number. Until this week…that’s when I began to put productive tools to work.
I’m sure this is a no-brainer for many people, but it’s been an exciting discovery for me. I learned that when you tweet about a topic, you should use the hashtag
(#) to mark those keywords
in your tweet. I found out that Twitter originally created the hashtag
as a way to sift tweets into various categories. You can insert the hastags
anywhere in the tweet. If people click on those tags, all the tweets in that specific category are shown. When you use the hastags
, your tweets are more easily available for others to locate—thus leading to possible new followers and people reading your tweeted content.
You use the “@” symbol in front of usernames if you are referring to a person with a profile on Twitter—and if you want to retweet something someone said, you use an “RT” (for retweeted) and use the “@” symbol plus the username and copy the tweet. This allows you to retweet something that you found interesting or profound or whatever it meant to you
and you also are giving credit where credit is due. Here’s an example of a tweet I posted where I utilized a hashtag and the “@” symbol
Watched premiere of #RealNews @theblaze
...great news show, loved the discussion style format. Will continue to watch! Follow my tweets on Twitter
Now, of course none of these are new ideas
about utilizing Twitter—however, if you are like me--sometimes a slow learner with new technology
—then this is a whole new territory for you. I feel like a kid who has just found a bowl of his or her favorite candy. I’m excited to continue to explore Twitter and utilize it as a great tool for social networking—book / name brand promotion—and a venue for the greatest right (and privilege of all)…FREE speech and the ability to vocalize my opinions. Speaking of opinions, I’d love to hear yours.If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush
Welcome back to another day at The Mustard Seed. Kendra LaLonde is a guest today. Let's find out more about her and then we'll chat.
Kendra LaLonde, using the pen name “Ken R. LaLonde”, is a pre-30s Christian woman who wants to write novels that are pleasing to the Lord.
She began at 16, but severe health problems—coming up when she was just 18 years old—have kept her from pursuing her writing endeavors until now.To connect with Kendra online, please check out her blog and facebook pages below:Blog: Writers and Readers Alike Find Kendra on Facebook
So let's chat. Kendra, what was your most favorite July 4th ever and why was it so special?
Hum. That’s a tough question to answer. I really enjoyed last year’s. We went to visit my brother in New Hampshire, and we had a great day with the church family there.Is July 4th really July 4th without going to a parade, having a BBQ and watching fireworks at night…if not, what other traditions does your family have?
Yes, it is! July 4th is so much more than fireworks displays and having fun! It’s more about family and friends!! We usually spend the day together doing something—as a family.I agree. It's a special time to remember our hard-won freedom and be with family and friends. Do you consider yourself patriotic and why?
I do think I am patriotic. I don’t like hearing anything against my country! I may live in Canada (we are missionaries) but I am American through and through—I don’t like hearing anyone
talking badly about my land of birth!Thank you for sharing that. Have you written any books with a patriotic or military theme…what was your inspiration to write it?
No, I have not. But I would like that. My inspiration for wanting
to write one is seeing and hearing about all those who are losing out for the sake of our country’s Freedom.That is definitely a great inspiration--the wonderful freedoms we have. Have you shared with your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews about the real meaning of July 4th so that they can learn about our country’s history?
So far, I have none with whom to share. LOLCan you tell us the top five random facts about yourself?
Why do you like being an author?
- I am one of the most dramatic/theatrical people I know
- I do not like to travel much
- The health problem I spoke of: TBI (Trauma Brain Injury)
- I look much younger than I really am
- I have never had a boyfriend—he must be Godly/a believer
I love the thought of sharing God’s Word with people in a way that is better understood—I do not articulate well when speaking.I can understand that feeling completely. I don't like public speaking, but I love writing. Who’s your favorite author of classic literature?
Hum. I enjoyed reading some Charles Dickens; Louisa May Alcott; and a couple of other lesser-known classic authors. But I'm not a huge fan of classic literature. I prefer more modern terminology.What’s your favorite novel?
Oh my! There’s no way I can choose just one; although I do love ‘Between Sundays’ by Karen Kingsbury. But there are just so many that I love—authors and
novels alike!Karen Kingsbury is my favorite author of fiction. Do you have a fond memory of interaction with a reader?
Well, whenever I get positive outlook on my attempts
for my first novel, it’s very encouraging.Positive feedback is awesome. What was the happiest moment in your childhood?
Hum. Since I can’t remember my past very well—in great detail—I'd have to say that, honestly, the Summer I became a Christian is my fondest memory. It was at a bilingual camp, and it was a wonderful week!A wonderful life changing event to remember. Kendra, thank you so much for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you. Hope you all can stay to chat with Kendra.
If you're a blogger and want to earn money blogging, take a look at Empower Network
. I did and love the opportunity!
What do readers want anyway? They want a spell-binding story that really draws them in and they devour each page—at the end they are left wanting to read more about your characters. Sounds like a tall order but it is possible. Think of some awesome books you’ve read that have kept your attention and you didn’t want the story to end.
Let’s break down what are some key ingredients to a spell-binding novel. First of all you need compelling, believable characters. Your readers need to relate to these characters and if they don’t get to know them, they can’t relate. How do readers get to know your characters well enough to relate to them? You need to write well rounded characters. Dive deep into their point of view as you write their story. Never head hop in scenes and make sure that you allow your readers to fully embrace who these characters are.
For example, stay away from passive voice and utilize active voice. What sounds better to you?
She was running away from him.
Her heart pounded rapidly and the hair on the nape of her neck stood up as she ran from the intruder.
When your characters are going through an emotional struggle, how do you portray that? You’ve heard the saying, show don’t tell
, well it is extremely important to let your readers in on what is going on in your character’s mind. When writing a scene, you must only write from his or her perspective. For example, what does your character see, hear, taste, smell or feel. In one scene, you cannot jump from two different characters’ points of view. It confuses readers and does not make for a complete picture of who your character really is.
What sounds better to you?
Someone approached his desk but he focused on the file in his hands. When he glanced up, he saw her standing in front of him.
Marc Abrams heard the clicking of heels approach his desk, but he ignored the intrusion and focused on the file in his hands—until he smelled the familiar scent of jasmine and roses. Not wanting to get his hopes up, he glanced over and there she stood. She looked like a tall drink of water in the desert, with her slender physique and shiny hair and piercing eyes.
The first section tells what happens but doesn’t let the reader experience what Marc experienced. When you read the second section, you are right there with Marc as he heard someone approach and then smelled her perfume. You feel his excitement, hoping it’s her
. Then you get to see how much this person affects him.
Telling a good story is also about writing compelling, believable dialogue. You need to write how the character would actually speak. Not everyone speaks in correct English. Make your dialogue become a work of art.
(This is an excerpt from, Bella Lucia.
She smiled. “You know, you always make me feel better.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Really, because that’s not the impression I’ve gotten from our last few encounters. I thought you couldn’t stand me.”
“You’ve grown on me.”
That brought uproarious laughter from him and his nervousness eased up a little. “Oh, like a fungus, easy to get and hard to get rid of
—those words hurt, you know.”
The way she scrunched up her nose, endeared her further to him. “You remembered that, huh?”
“It’s not every day that a woman calls me a fungus!”
“You’re not like a fungus, just a little annoying at first.”
They settled down on the rock wall in front of the police station. “Ok, I can deal with that. I know my partner thinks I’m annoying too, but he has his own issues.”
“Don’t we all?” The distracted look came over her face again and he took serious note of it. Before he could ask what was on her mind, she shared her concerns. “I think my boss is keeping something from me.”
Remember to also keep your facts straight. Do your research. Readers don’t like to read a book that is full of mistakes. Don’t repeat the same word a lot in your paragraphs. Just try to remember all of these rules to make your story come alive and have fun. Write and write and write and then don’t put editing on the backburner. Editing is essential to putting your best work out there.
What is one of the best books you’ve read lately?If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush
I’d like to begin by saying that in my short writing career, I have come to realize the answer is definitely—beyond a doubt—yes! “No man is an island, entire of itself.” (John Donne) We need each other and I’d like to share why.
The entire passage Donne wrote: No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.
I have been fortunate to find many new friendships online with great authors. I really appreciate this because I haven’t found any local author groups to attend, so finding communities of authors to network with and learn from and share encouraging words with has been—absolutely priceless! It’s something that has kept me going when setbacks came in my career and I needed advice and a friend to lean on.
This last year, I started an online yahoo group called Authors and Readers of Romance
. The purpose of this group is to provide an online setting where people—authors and readers—can connect and discuss books and accomplishments in their lives, offer advice and where readers can chat with authors. I am excited to see this group growing in members and if you’d like to join, please feel free to hop on over. We’d love to welcome you to our discussions.
If I was allergic
to networking with other authors, I wouldn’t be moving forward and taking the beginning steps to expand my platform—as I’ve been doing this last year. I’ve blogged about this before—in order to achieve a healthy following for your blog, you need
to provide interesting content. One way that I’ve accomplished that feat is that I host guest authors. They can blog about topics, which I provide (unless, of course, they have something more spectacular that they’d like to discuss); they can be interviewed and I also do book reviews.
However, I haven’t forgotten about readers. I am always looking for readers who are interested in guest blogging or being interviewed in my Reader’s Corner. It’s my philosophy that readers are the lifeblood of authors. If no one purchases and reads your book, then you’re not earning anything, except a chance to do what you love to do—write and tell stories.
Of course, as authors, we always need to work hard at promoting our work and branding our name; however, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need support along the way. The author who wants to stay closed in and thinks he or she can only succeed by climbing over someone else, will never make it to the top. There will be exceptions to this idea—but generally speaking; it’s been stated most aptly in Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are
better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.”
I truly believe that theory! When we work together, we have a greater chance of success. Yes, you will always be out for number one
—however, you need to find a way to marry this philosophy into your marketing perspective. Bring another author or two or three or four along with you as you climb the ladder of success. It will definitely be less lonely at the top if you’re not without author friends.
We really need each other. You may not believe me and maybe you want to try it your own way and claw your way to the summit, but I don’t believe you’ll be happy along the journey or when you look down and see the people that you trampled on, as you traipsed towards the pinnacle of success. We work better together. Find critique partners—find friends who can lend a listening ear—find authors who’ve traveled the road ahead of you and ask them for advice—then don’t be afraid to return the favor and help someone else on their journey towards success. You won’t be sorry you did…you’ll only eventually be sorry if you didn’t!If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush
Do you have a solid plan for promotion of your books—one that is not building a house of cards, which can fall down with the slightest negative wind blowing—or one that is building a stone house with a solid foundation. You need something indestructible to the negativity that will surround your writing career. So let’s break it down into key steps you can take to build that solid foundation.
The first step is branding your name, not your books. Of course you need to promote each book you write—but 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.
A second huge step towards building a solid foundation is to blog and be the best blogger you can be. How do you do that? Content is KEY. If you don’t have good content, then you won’t have return visitors and you won’t attract new visitors to your blog. Make sure you have a great title which explains what your blog is about—what your purpose is. When you write your own blog posts, try to make the titles, questions
rather than statements
. You want to pull readers in and questions (especially good ones) usually beg
to be answered. The other reason I use questions in the blog titles is because I used NetworkedBlogs and they get linked directly to Facebook and Twitter. For the purposes of Twitter, that works well because tweets are short and that question plus the link will really stand out and get people’s attention. If you don’t think that you have enough content to blog every day, invite guest authors to post or be interviewed for your blog. Have blog parties. Post reviews of books that you review. You can even connect with readers and encourage them to post guest blogs or be interviewed as well.
Social media has changed the way that authors are selling and promoting books. With the advent of Facebook and Twitter and before that, other sites like MySpace—authors have brand new opportunities opened to them. They can more easily communicate with readers now and “meet” new prospective readers online and have FREE ways to get their promotional information out there. My first book was published 8 years ago (not that long ago) and things were even drastically different then regarding using social media for marketing. For more information check out my post on Utilizing Twitter the Right Way
Networking with other authors is highly effective. We should not think that going it alone in our journey is going to get us very far in our careers. Authors do need other authors in their lives
. I’m a strong proponent of working together—especially if I want my blog to succeed—which helps promote my name—which will in turn increase my brand recognition—thus increasing book sales. Since I have always been open to having guest authors on my blog (which helped me with new content and helped them by giving exposure), it’s paid off. I have had many authors reciprocate and offer me guest spots on their blog.
Last but not least by any means, you need to get in touch with readers. Make yourself available to respond to all (or as many as possible) of the comments on your own blog posts which readers post. Also, when you guest on other blogs, keep to the same method of connecting with readers. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I have invited readers to guest on my blog and also be interviewed.
What are your thoughts? What promotional methods have you found to be useful? If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush