Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Friday, October 31, 2008

How do I get stuff done?

Many people ask how I motivate myself to write ... and to get stuff done:

1. I set priorities. "What are the three top things I need to get done today?"

2. I do the hardest thing first. It gets it out of my mind and makes the rest of the day better.

3. I set impossible goals and then tell someone about them. For example, this week I told my wonderful agent I'd have three chapters written for a new proposal. This was in the middle of traveling to our Books & Such Retreat. I told a few other people too. I worked before I left. I worked on my flights. I worked in Starbucks at the airport yesterday for five hours! And I sent the rough drafts last night.

4. I offer myself small rewards throughout the day. For example, "If you write 500 words you can check your email." Sometimes I pour myself a BIG cup of coffee and tell myself, "I can't get up to use the restroom until I have 400 words written."

5. After a BIG project I reward my family. After finishing one book I bought Wii Fit. For another Dance Praise. I'm already picking out board games I want to get after my next deadline. I reward my family with fun for the days I have to say, "Not today ..."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

...And the 15 Things the Media HATES!

Yesterday I posted Rick's Frishman's Fifteen Things the Media Loves so here is some sage advice on what NOT to do!

Fifteen Things the Media Hates
By Rick Frishman

Now that you know what to do in order to solicit a positive response--here's what to avoid:

1. Not Taking "No" for an Answer

Persistence is an admirable trait, but there comes a point when you must accept defeat. Most people won't build relationships with insistent callers who phone 500 times after they're told "No." When someone says "No," accept it. Walk away before you destroy a potentially valuable connection.

2. Long Press Releases

One killer page is all you need. If the media wants more, they'll ask for it. Come up with a great headline, state the major points in a strong first paragraph, and bullet everything you want to stress. Include secondary information in a background or follow-up release.

3. Lying, Misrepresentation, and Hype

Don't be dishonest or unreasonable. The truth will always emerge, and when stories aren't based on facts, the media usually ends up holding the bag. Most people, especially those in the medi a, won't forget who got them burned and will not give you the chance to do it again. Media pros know a good story when they see one and they can cut through the hype.

4. Pitches That Don't Fit

Know exactly what the specific contact wants. Don't approach reporters or producers with stories that fall outside their areas of interest. Pitching a story to the wrong outlet shows that you haven't done your research. It wastes everyone's time.

5. Small Talk

Get right to the point--be clear and brief. Don't confuse chitchat with courtesy. Assume that the people you contact are busy and don't have time for small talk. Needless chatting borders on rudeness, it holds people hostage and keeps them from attending to business. It's thinly veiled manipulation that rarely works.

6. Links That Don't Work

Little is more frustrating than to click on a link that doesn't work. When people go to your site or blog, they don't have time to waste on dead links. If they can't easily access the information they want, they will probably exit your site and move on to something else.

7. Overkill

Media kits that weigh as much as your cocker spaniel are a turnoff. Less is more. When in doubt, leave it out. Most recipients resent bulging kits, consider them wasteful, and won't read them. The last thing they want is more stuff. If you must send tomes, bound them securely because it's maddening to watch papers falling out and scattering in every direction when an envelope is opened.

8. Cold Calls

Unsolicited phone calls are intrusions--verbal spam. They interrupt busy people while they're working. E-mail first to warn them that you plan on calling. Similarly, don't send unrequested attachments--they won't be opened--and unsolicited videotapes won't be watched. Unless you receive express permission, never call the media at home!

9. Bribes

Avoid offering free tickets to events and other bribes. Many media outlets prohibit gifts altogether, some bar presents over a fixed dollar amount (often $25) and others require gifts to be shared or donated to charity. Generally, the media wants good stories, not free T-shirts or coffee mugs.

10. Name-dropping

Nobody likes name-droppers. Name-dropping often indicates that a story is weak. In most cases, if connections to celebrated names are tenuous at best, they seldom change the story's value. While name-dropping may work with friends, it will hurt you with media professionals.

11. Lack of Appeal

Your discovery of a foolproof method of pickling pimentos may be the biggest thing in your life, but it's probably of little or no interest to the rest of the world. If you want your story covered by the media, it must have audience appeal.

12. Unnecessary Confirmation Calls

Unrequested calls made simply to check on whether faxes or packages have arrived draw mixed responses at best. Some media pros see them as helpful reminders for keeping track of items on their plates. Others resent them as pestering. Your best bet is to send a quick e-mail, rather than call, to check on the delivery of faxes and packages.

13. Gimmicks

If you use a gimmick, it better be sensational and the reason you're using it must be clear. That said, the vast majority falls flat. Never assume that the media will get the point you're trying to make. Most media people prefer conventional approaches. A reporter for a big-city newspaper told us that a woman who appeared outside his office clad in a bikini and blowing a trumpet provided a good laugh, but she didn't get the publicity she wanted because she never mentioned why she was there.

14. Not Following Up on Requests

Everybody hates people who send press releases, call, or fax, but then don't follow up with additional information when it is requested. If you say, or even imply, that you're going to do something, do it and do it promptly. Otherwise, you will be considered unreliable and unprofessional. If you don't respond promptly it may be too late. You can't expect folks to wait for you.

15. Recycling Ideas

Don't repeatedly send the same idea no matter how cleverly you repackage it. Writers, producers, and bloggers recognize and resent old dogs dolled up in new duds. "A lump of coal is still a lump of coal and no matter how you package it, it's not a diamond," a producer once explained.


Stay on the media's good side. When you're aware of what the media loves and what it hates, it will give you a great shot at staying in the media's good graces. Feed the media what it wants because the more the media likes you, the more publicity it can generate for your product or service.

Reprinted from "Rick Frishman's Author 101 Newsletter"
Subscribe at http://www.author101.com and receive Rick's "Million Dollar Rolodex"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And while we're on the subject of marketing...

Fifteen Things the Media Loves
By Rick Frishman

"Reporters are like alligators. You don't have to love them, you don't necessarily have to like them. But you do have to feed them."

1. News

Above all else, the media wants newsworthy items. The first thing they ask is, "Will our audience care about this?" News is what affects people's lives, what they discuss at the dinner table and around the water cooler. For the media, news is not just about delivering information; it's about entertaining first and educating or selling second. So, provide your information in an entertaining fashion.

2. The Big Three: Sex, Money, and Health

Stories that involve sex, money, or health attract attention. The media believes that the public is obsessed with sex, money, and health, and if you link your story to one or more of them, it will increase its media appeal.

3. Brevity

Save everyone time and effort by sending short, concise messages, preferably by e-mail. Cut to the ch ase--be direct and without subterfuge. State what you're pitching and how it will help the intended audience. Long missives often go unread.


Faxes can be unreliable. Some newsrooms, stations, and offices have only one fax machine, or one per floor, and it may be operated by an intern or a clerk. In large organizations, faxes are often undelivered or delivered to the wrong person. If you send a fax, follow up with an e-mail to be sure it is received.

4. Targeted Pitches

Every story isn't for every outlet. Research the audience you wish to reach and identify which outlets best target that audience. Before making your pitch, study each media outlet: read its articles, watch and listen to its programs, and visit its Web sites. Customize your pitch to stress how it will benefit each outlet's specific audience. Send business stories to business reporters, not to lifestyle reporters, unless the story has a lifestyle angle.

5. Relationships

Media people like to deal with people who build relationships rather than merely try to sell a story. Although individual stories are important, people in the media know that careers are built by forging strong relationships. To the media, professionals build relationships and they prefer to work with professionals in their network rather than one-shot wonders.

6. Preparation

Do your homework. The media likes to work with people who have their acts together and can deliver what is needed. Focus on making the media's job easier. Know your subject inside and out and have written materials completed and on hand to send upon request. With products, send three copies of the product to the media. Being prepared shows commitment and that you're a dedicated professional.

7. Broad Appeal

The story behind your product or service should be able to reach a wide variety of individuals. You want something that makes audiences say, "I know someone who could use that." The media looks for stories that people will identify with. Search for broad themes that deliver some punch.

8. Tie-ins

The media wants stories that feed into larger items such as breaking news or trends. It looks for topics that will spawn families of stories. For example, during mining disasters they go for stories about safety, corporate greed, the closeness and tradition of mining communities, handling grief, treating trauma, technical and scientific advances, and the environment.

9. Experience

Reporters, editors, and bloggers like to see how others have covered your story; send articles that others have written about you or your product or service. Producers and podcasters want to know how you came off on camera or radio; give them a list of shows you've appeared on and offer to supply tapes for their review.

10. Visualization

The media loves stories that they can picture. In your written materials, use visual terms to create images and tell stories that illustrate your main points. The better the media can visualize your story, the better it can visualize its audience visualizing your story.

11. Celebrity Connections

Explain how your product or service is linked to well-known personalities. The public craves information about celebrities and products related to them get plenty of ink.

12. Prompt Response

Since the media works tight deadlines, time is always of the essence. Respond promptly to requests. Send requested material by the fastest route: hand delivery or overnight express. Delays can cause postponements or cancellations. You're always in a race with the clock.

13. Courtesy

Be respectful to everyone you come in contact with, especially those who answer the phones. Before speaking with media contacts, learn the proper pronunciation of their names. Butchering a media contact's name will get you off to a rocky start; it will put you in a hole before you begin.

14. Visual Aids

A picture is worth 10,000 words. Send charts, graphs, photographs, illustrations, and other graphic aids that reporters can stick under their editors' noses to show why your story merits telling.

15. Send Warnings

Before sending unsolicited material, you should notify your media contacts that it is coming with a quick call or e-mail. If they tell you not to send it, respect their wishes.


Reprinted from "Rick Frishman's Author 101 Newsletter"
Subscribe at http://www.author101.com and receive Rick's "Million Dollar Rolodex"

Reprinted from "Rick Frishman's Author 101 Newsletter"Subscribe at http://www.author101.com/ and receive Rick's "Million Dollar Rolodex"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No Time For Envy in Marketing

written by Karen Whiting

Sometimes we seem to be in a never-ending circle to market so we can write.

We write from a calling and passion and then must market so sales justify getting more contracts to write. If sales are low we try marketing harder and watch what others do to boost their sales.

Oops! Once we watch sales of others we can easily start to be jealous of those numbers. That can get us caught up in the ‘keeping up with the latest and greatest ways to promote’ and move us from passion for writing to stresses of selling.

Let’s talk about balancing marketing without envy and keeping up the passion of writing. Jealousy makes it a vicious circle.

John and Peter sometimes struggled with checking out each other and competing for the attention and favor of Jesus. Paul appeared more focused on his mission. Let’s look at each for insights into our own attitudes and reactions.

John in Mark 10:35-41 John and his brother asked to sit at Christ’s side and Christ rebuked them. He showed a competitive edge there. This vying for favor made the other disciples, including Peter, feel indignant and Jesus calmed them with words about putting service and humility above pride. He stated that He [Jesus] had come to serve and not be served. He worked at redirecting their focus outward.

At the resurrection in the gospel he wrote we see a little more. In John 20:1-8 John calls himself the disciple whom Jesus loved (and Peter was there too). The writers at that time did not normally call themselves by name, but this choice may not have made Peter happy. He describes how he got to the tomb first (he ran faster than Peter) and he saw and believed with no mention of whether Peter believed or not. Peter is not without fault. In John 21:21-22 after the discourse on “Peter, do you love me?” and “Feed my sheep.” Jesus describes Peter’s tough future. Then Peter asks what will happen to John. He wanted to know John's fate and what Jesus planned for him. Jesus responded, “What is that to you? YOU follow ME.” He pleaded with Peter to keep his focus on his task of following Jesus and off his neighbor.

Paul defended his calling as an apostle but considered himself so wretched due to his past persecution of Jesus (he realized from Christ’s own words that when he persecuted Christians he persecuted Jesus in 1Corinthians 15:9) that he kept his focus on following Christ. Paul continued to work as a tentmaker and didn’t expect people to cater to his needs (Acts 18:1,3). He so avoided competition that he declared relief that he baptized so few people (1 Corinthians 1:12-17; 3:3-6) and identified his calling as preaching and not baptizing.

We need to examine our motives for writing. Let’s check out a few:
Is it for money (we do need to eat and have a roof over our heads). If so, we may need other ways to supplement the income besides a particular book or two (articles, speaking, business writing, editing).

Is it for fame (alas only 2% of writers ever get this and even then only within the circles of the readers of that genre).

Is it because I want to help people avoid pain I’ve had? Then focus on reaching that reader and know the measure of success is not in great sales but in the responses of readers you have helped.

Do I simply love to write/tell a story? Then make sure you give yourself writing time and even in marketing use ways that let you tell a story (blogging and even media appearances can be opportunities to share stories).

We need to keep our eyes on what we can do and not the success of others.
Post your mission and what God has called you to do and read that each day.

Keep letters/emails from people who have been touched by your writing and reread those notes.

Remember that we build the audience little by little so don’t despise the small victories.

Do rejoice when others succeed
They are part of our network and we understand their struggles.

Each success is a time to be happy that God’s message has touched someone’s life.

Each success shows us that God opens doors and makes it easier for us to follow.

Market with passion and not envy

Market because you believe in your book

Market because you want to reach people with hope offered in your book

Market to your audience, even if it is a small one

Persist at marketing
Not for fame, power, or money, but because of the great commission, the calling of Christ to touch lives of others

Because anything worth doing is worth doing well

Be fruitful with love, peace, patience, etc and weed out the envy, strife, and bitterness

I pray that the Lord will bless your marketing efforts one-hundedfold!

Karen's website

Monday, October 27, 2008


My post from The Writer's View...

I started Twitter a month ago after Terry mentioned it on the view. After a month I have 1,060 "followers." These are friends, their friends, and friends of their friends.

1) People DO enjoy hearing about everyday lives. This is the Reality TV Generation, remember?
2) 75% of the people I've connected with are those who I haven't connected with before. Score!
3) My Facebook account is also connected with Twitter. When I update the status of one, the other is updated.

Personally, I follow 1900 people on Twitter. NO I do not keep updated with this many people all day long. Rather, I have a select few that I follow via my cellphone. The rest (those I don't follow on my cellphone) I scan on the web 4-5 times a day and comment on their status as I feel led. The people I follow closely are writer friends and professionals in our industries, such as Michael Hyatt CEO of Thomas Nelson, Sheila Walsh, and Ed Stetzer CEO of Lifeway. And I can honestly say I know more about what's happening in the publishing industry today than I did a month ago.

I also follow a few "unfamous" people on my cellphone. One is Kristen a farm mom. Since I'm writing a series of books set on a farm. Free research!

I'm sure I'll include more thoughts later! I love Twitter!

Tricia Goyer
Freelance Panelist

Friday, October 24, 2008

Query letter advice from Debora M. Coty

This is some helpful advice I found over at Grit For the Oyster blog!

I received a letter from an aspiring writer this week. She had heard me speak about publishers' interest in a writer's "platform" and wondered what I meant by that. She had completed a children's book and in consulting Sally Stuart's Christian Writers' Market Guide, had learned that her targeted publisher first wanted a query, and then a request for the manuscript would follow if their interest was piqued. What was my advice?

Since the purpose of this blog is to assist aspiring writers on their journeys, I some of you might benefit from my answer:

That's terrific that you're to the point of shopping your manuscript around. I think you'll find the vast majority, if not all, publishers will want a query unless you attend a writers conference where you can meet them face to face (I highly recommend this approach if you're ready to pitch your proposal/manuscript). It's not cheap ($500 - $700) but well worth it to bypass the query step (often the queries are answered by "underlings" and the real editors never even see them).

You can Google "Christian Writers Conferences" to find one that emphasizes inspirational childrens publishing.

You should be able to click on a list of the publishers/editors scheduled to attend - do a little research and see if any of those are a good match for your book. Most conferences allow you to officially meet with 3-4 but you can also sit by them at meals and pick their brain or woo them while they eat. I'll be teaching a few workshops there as faculty.

I sold two of my books via this method (conferences) and I know countless other writers who have done the same. You have a much better chance if they meet you and hear your pitch in person. Plus, you get instant invaluable feedback if something needs tweaking so you can work on it before pitching it to another publisher.

If you decide not to go the conference route, I'd focus all your attention on crafting a killer query (one-page, single-spaced pitch letter). I spend almost as much time on my queries as I do on my manuscripts. Editors spend an average of 9 seconds reading them (because they receive thousands per week) so yours had better be good! Start with an attention-grabbing hook - no "throat clearing" introduction, just jump right into meat of your story.

In your query, Include a short synopsis, marketing plan, and bio paragraph explaining your platform. Your "platform" is how people will know about you and your book - are you a speaker? Expert on some topic related to your book? Do you hold public office? With my first book, The Distant Shore, I really had no platform (except my freelance magazine articles) and my only qualification was that I was a life-long Floridian and the book was set in old Florida. So I played that up. When I began shopping around Mom Needs Chocolate (to be released 3/09), I built my platform around my expertise as a mother (hey, I know whence I speaketh!) and connection with mom's groups.

Read the rest here!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 50)

C.J. Darlington, co-founder of TitleTrakk, is running a great series on her blog: She started a series of blog posts in which industry professionals (editors, agents, publicists, authors, etc.) share their responses to this question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

So many great answers have rolled in thus far, and today we hear from best-selling novelist Beverly Lewis. This is from a recent interview CJ did with her.

Even though she didn't ask her the above question verbatim, I think this fits and we can all learn something from her thoughts.

C.J.: In a recent interview you gave advice to aspiring authors and said, “As I see it, it’s more a willingness to work hard and persevere” rather than pure talent. How important is it for an aspiring fiction writer to never give up?

Beverly: There comes a time, of course, when a determined writer who may not have either the talent or the drive to become published might simply channel his or her efforts into another avenue of writing. Wisdom comes from being open to professional input. I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone whatsoever, but after a long period of trial and error, one might redirect goals. There are many writers, of course, who WILL achieve their aspirations after much perseverance (just as I did), viewing rejections as stepping stones to eventual success.

--Beverly Lewis, author of The Shunning, The Parting, The Redemption of Sarah Cain, and many more. Visit her online at her website here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

His holy experiments ALWAYS succeed

Many people tend to think of me only as a novelist, but that is far from the truth. I still write articles when editors contact me. (I have a hard time saying "no"!) And I write for publications that I write monthly columns for. I write parenting material, mostly because I'm dealing with that on a daily basis and have this crazy obsession to write about every part of my life. I also blog, which is like therapy. (Hey, thanks for saving me the $150/hr. a therapist would charge!)

(photo courtesy of flickr)

Sometimes, people feel bad if they're not publishing novels or other types of books. For many years, God didn't make writing books part of His plan for me. Yet during that time God used me in other types of writing ministry.

This morning's My Utmost for His Highest reading is one of my favorites. Here's a quote from it:

"We have the idea that we can dedicate our gifts to God. However, you cannot dedicate what is not yours. There is actually only one thing you can dedicate to God, and that is your right to yourself (see Romans 12:1). If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you—and His experiments always succeed. The one true mark of a saint of God is the inner creativity that flows from being totally surrendered to Jesus Christ." (Oswald Chambers, June 13.)

For YEARS God gave me many other writing assignments that had nothing to do with fiction. You can read about them on my website (Under "For Writers.")

What about you? Yes, do whatever God lays on you're heart. After all, His holy experiments ALWAYS succeed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To compare or not to compare...

Today, do you feel discouraged? Do you see others having success at all levels and wonder when it will be your turn?

We all know we are special creations, unique and precious to God. Yet why do we struggle with comparing our lives, our bodies, our kids, our talents (or lack of talents) with others?

I do this with my writing. I look at the best-seller's list with longing. I consider the "big" advances and media fan-fare that some authors receive, and sigh.

I do this with myself. How come my friend can eat anything she wants and stay slim? Why do I have to walk and watch what I eat just to maintain?

I do this with so many areas of my life, "How come?" "What if?" "Why?" In reality, we (me included) need to look past who we "dream" to be and consider God's dreams instead.

In God’s word, we read: “God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks: ‘Exactly as I planned, it will happen. Following my blueprints, it will take shape,” says Isaiah 14:24 (The Message).

The word “planned” here is translated “compare.” It’s as if God has weighed the different possibilities, looked at them from all angles, and then chose the best way. He makes the blueprints . . . then He constructs them into our reality.

The life we have is the one constructed for us. It's not the life, body, health, or circumstances we wished we’d had. Or the perfect life we can never attain. But the blueprints and the form He is transforming into reality.

“Remember your history, your long and rich history. I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have—from the beginning telling you what the ending will be, all along letting you in on what is going to happen, amazing you,” we read in Isaiah 46:10-11. “I’m in this for the long haul, I’ll do exactly what I set out to do.” (The Message)

It’s okay to have longings. But even before we worry about what we desire for our lives, the first step is to not let our dreams motivate us, but instead let His.

God has longings for us even greater than we imagine, and He’s willing to tell us these things as we seek Him out.

Will you seek Him today? Pray. Open your heart. And dare to listen to God's dreams for you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mount Hermon

I'm so excited! I just found out that I've been chosen to be a mentor at the 1st annual Mount Hermon Christian Headstart Mentoring Clinic
April 1-3, 2009

The Mount Hermon Writing Conference has done so much for me...if you go to one conference next year. Make it this one! More info, here!

Headstart Mentoring Clinic Combines with Mount Hermon's 40th Annual Writers ConferenceFor 39 years, Mount Hermon has created an exhilarating laboratory for training writers, whether unpublished or professional and this year has become the only place that offers help to writers at three stages:

Now we Offer You:
1) The Headstart Mentoring Clinic immediately before the spring Writers Conference for the beginning writer (application required), providing 100 percent takeaway through small group critiquing and one-on-one mentoring.

2) The Spring Writers Conference for all levels of writing proficiency, providing a wonderful overview to writing, editing and publishing (including a mentoring track with personalized attention to the intermediate writer who knows where he/she wants to go--application required).

3) The Professional Track during Spring Writers Conference providing seasoned veterans with new motivation and challenges.

Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center
PO Box 413
Mount Hermon, CA 95041

Friday, October 17, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 49)

C.J. Darlington, co-founder of TitleTrakk, is running a great series on her blog: She started a series of blog posts in which industry professionals (editors, agents, publicists, authors, etc.) share their responses to this question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Sigmund Brouwer's to-the-point response:

Never, ever, ever, ever quit.

--Sigmund Brouwer, author of Broken Angel and over a dozen other novels for adults plus many more for teens and kids. Visit his website here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You've Got Books!

Did you know…you can receive excerpts of the books featured on You’ve Got Books! directly in your inbox? When you subscribe to Feedblitz, each time a new book is added to the book club, the update will be sent to you in an email.

Sign up through the Feedblitz box on the You’ve Got Books! websites.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Great Advice from Terry Whalin

Branding Or Waste of Time
By W. Terry Whalin

Each of us have one commodity that we can't renew called time. For each additional task we add to our lives, we have to remove or let go of something else. I understand that's not very profound but I have people ask me these questions about whether to launch a website or not. Or they wonder if they should blog or not. Some of them have tried a blog and given up after a short amount of time.

Into this sphere of thinking comes something called Twitter. You have 140 characters to answer the simple question, "What are you doing now?" And you may wonder, "Does anyone care?" The answer may surprise you.
I've been reading about Twit ter for several months. Mike Hyatt at Thomas Nelson wrote an excellent post, The Beginner's Guide to Twitter. Earlier he wrote 12 reasons to Start Twittering. Also notice what he wrote in this post about experiencing a social media that almost a million people are using and it's free. Admittedly it is down from time to time but that's what happens when you are using these free tools (so be aware of it and while you can complain, it does little good).

In the last week, I've started to use Twitter and >here's my profile. I'm still learning how to use it (and I'm spending minimal amount of time on it).
Like blogging and other public forums, you have to use Twitter with an intention. For example, if you look at my profile, you will notice that I've changed the settings and template to highlight my Book Proposals That Sell. It was simple to change. I've been following several people and the people who are using it effectively have "branded" their appearance. These same people are using twitter as a way to inform people about something specific.

I do not have it figured out and it might be something to experiment with for a season then let go--like some people have let go of their blog. I do not have a large following on Twitter but I have a growing following and it's been fun to watch.

I was fascinated with the response of Internet Marketing Expert Joel Comm. When I started to "follow" Joel (something you do in Twitter), he wrote that because I was following him, he would follow me. His twitter posts have been interesting to read.

I've been following Michael Hyatt on Twitter and it was fascinating that he went through airport security this week with Vice President Al Gore. Mike introduced himself to the former Vice President. It was an exchange that I would not have been able to know about except through Mike's Twitters.
While many people think that I'm high tech, I do not read my email on my cell phone or have it connected to the Internet. It means if I'm going to Twitter, it will have to be when I am sitting at my computer--and no other time.

Here's a couple of other links to read about Twitter. David Hobson suggests that one of the ways you build a following on Twitter is to consistently deliver good content. That makes sense. Here's an analysis of the people on Twitter with large followings and they have built their following other places. Here's another good post about growing a Twitter following--and once again they are building value in their content.

I suggest you try Twitter and see what you can learn from it as another communication tool. Follow a few people and see how they use twitter and note what you can learn from it. Twitter can be one more tool in your marketing arsenal so you extend your brand or it could be a complete waste of time. The use and control is in your hands.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 48)

C.J. Darlington, co-founder of TitleTrakk, is running a great series on her blog: She started a series of blog posts in which industry professionals (editors, agents, publicists, authors, etc.) share their responses to this question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Randy Singer's response: Write for the audience of one. It sounds cliche, but the challenge comes when we start thinking "What does the market want?", "What does my editor want?", "What are people going to say about this book?" If we write the story we think God’s given us, that’s our best story.

The story you can’t stop thinking about, the one you daydream about, that’s the story God’s given you. It’s the characters you love, the story that just flows out of you. Our best writing occurs when we aren’t under contract deadline, we don’t have to produce, we’re just producing because we love the story and we love the characters. My whole life is boiled down to this issue of enthusiasm and passion and loving what you’re doing, working hard in that sweet spot of where your gifts and your interests intersect.

--Randy Singer, novelist, lawyer, pastor. His latest novel By Reason of Insanity has just released. Visit him online at his website.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Writing Spa

Great new Writing Mentoring website by author Mary DeMuth!

Need help along the publishing journey?

Need a book mentor?

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Help an author out!

Author Christy Barritt needs your help! She's the author of fun and well-written Squeaky Clean Mystery Series!

Check them out here!

A message from Christy:

Hey influencers, friends, and readers!

I just got word from my publisher that better sales numbers are needed if the Squeaky Clean Mystery Series is to continue. The thought of not being able to finish Gabby's story with the third and final book in the series, Organized Grime, makes me incredibly sad. Most of us know that the publishing world can be tough, and apparently the Christian publishing world hasn't quite embraced Christian mysteries yet (that's what the sources tell me, at least!). My only hope of finishing this series is if sales numbers of Hazardous Duty and Suspicious Minds increase by Spring.

That's why I'm writing you! I'm sponsoring a contest called "Help Save the Squeaky Clean Mystery Series."

The premise is easy: send me an email, using the contest name as the subject, and tell me what you've been doing to spread the word about Hazardous Duty and Suspicious Minds. The first place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to christianbook.com. Second-place winner will receive a snazzy musical Elvis Christmas ornament and some incredibly cute crime-scene tape bandaids. Third place winner will receive either the ornament or bandaids. Contest deadline is October 15.

I'll be looking for entries that demonstrate you're really trying to spread the word--either through book clubs, blogs, word of mouth, visiting bookstores, etc. If you can tell me about any direct sales due to your efforts, your entry will get special notice. Winners will be announced the first week of November. If anyone is interested, I still have some postage-paid postcards about the books, as well as bookmarks, that I can send you. Just let me know!

Thanks in advance for all you're doing to spread the word about the series.


Christy BarrittReporter ~ Chesapeake Clipper/Virginian-Pilot
Mysteries that play havoc on the nerves and the funny boneSuspicious Minds: JUST RELEASED Hazardous Duty: Now on shelves!

So help an author out and spread the word and/or pick up a copy of Suspicious Minds for yourself!

Leave a comment telling me what your favorite mystery novel is and I'll enter your name into a drawing for a copy of Suspicious Minds!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


When my kids were young I took care of them, homeschooled them, and kept a clean house ... then came life. When they got older (and busier) and I started getting book contracts I couldn't keep up with it all. I started with delegating some of the chores. Even though they didn't do them as I did at least they would get done! Later, I hired a teen girl to clean my house. After that I've hired people for other things--paperwork/assistant stuff, accounting, and sometimes even cooking! (Yes, I've paid friends to make meals for me!) I think as moms we try to do it all ... and we miss out time with our kids and our family. When I'm thinking about whether or not to delegate I consider what I can do and what someone else can do. I need to write the books I'm contracted to write. I need to be the wife and the mom. So if I'm able to hire people to help with the other stuff then I have more time for only what I can do.

What are some areas you delegate in your own life?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 47)

C.J. Darlington, co-founder of TitleTrakk, is running a great series on her blog: She started a series of blog posts in which industry professionals (editors, agents, publicists, authors, etc.) share their responses to this question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Linda Leigh Hargrove's response:Don’t let our past failures determine our future failures. In other words, if we know your manuscript was rejected because your dialogue is weak. Work on dialogue. Don’t let that be why it gets rejected the next time.

We all fail. Even the so called gifted ones. The key is to learn from our failures, to let them guide us toward success. Even a small success is still a success.

--Linda Leigh Hargrove, author of The Making of Isaac Hunt and the upcoming Loving Cee Cee Johnson. Visit her online at her website!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Promotion...

...even your family can help!

Check out this video that Robin Jones Gunn's son made to promote "mom's" teen books!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dare to Dream—Part 4

Part one, two, three!

How Dreamers Have Changed Our World:
The following people have shown us that social status, race, and lack of time are not excuses for ignoring our dreams.

Dare to Dream—Part 4

Josephine Cochrane – The Socialite Who Traded High Tea for a Hammer: “If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I’ll do it myself.”

With that determined proclamation, Josephine Cochrane, wife of an Illinois politician in the 1880s, set out to invent a major kitchen appliance—though not because Mrs. Cochrane was fed up with the humdrum chore of dirty dishes . . . she was fed up with dishwashing servants breaking her expensive china. Every party ended with more shattered dishes, which took months to replace by mail. A machine seemed like the ideal solution.

In a woodshed adjoining her home, Josephine Cochrane measured her dinnerware, then fashioned individual wire compartments for plates, saucers, and cups. The compartments fastened around the circumference of a wheel that rested in a large copper boiler. As a motor turned the wheel, hot soapy water squirted up from the bottom of the boiler and rained down on the dinnerware. The design was crude by effective, and it so impressed her circle of friends that they dubbed the invention the “Cochrane Dishwasher,” and placed orders for machines for their kitchens. They too viewed the device as a solution to the vexing problem of irresponsible help.
Word spread. Soon Josphine Cochrane was receiving orders from Illinois hotels and restaurants, where the volume of dishwashing—and breakage—was a continual and costly problem. Realizing she had hit a timely invention, Mrs. Cochrane patented her design in December 1886; her washer went on to win the highest award at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair for, as the citation read, “the best mechanical construction, durability, and adaptation to its line of work.”
(Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Charles Panati, 1987, pg. 103)

Benjamin Banneker – The Boy Who Wasn’t Allowed in Most Schools Saved the Nations Capitol.

Benjamin Banneker was a freeborn African-American born in 1731. Brilliant with numbers and learning, Benjamin was sent to a Quaker school to study—one of the few schools Blacks could attend. At 24, Benjamin built a clock constructed of wood that not only told time, but also chimed on the hour. It is believed to be the first one made in the United States.

Following the Revolutionary War, Benjamin was appointed as one of the men to serve as a surveyor and mathematician to plan the nation’s capitol. Following a dispute with government officials, the chief architect ran off with the plans for the new city’s layout. Benjamin’s brilliant mind saved the day. He had memorized the complete set of plans and was able to duplicate them--and the new city of Washington, DC, was built.

Benjamin’s last dream was realized when his first almanac was published in 1792. It was the first scientific book to be published by a Black man, and it is said, one of Benjamin’s biggest fans was Thomas Jefferson.

Harriet Beecher Stowe – The Mother Who Made the Time to Follow Her Heart

For Harriet Beecher Stowe, having a writing career was not easy. In January 1836 she married Calvin E. Stowe, a professor, and supplemented their meager income by writing stories and sketches through periodicals. Through most of her married years, Harriet combined the roles of wife and mother to seven children, with that of a writer. She managed a complex family life, juggling household duties and community relationships. Harriet was also known to throw herself into periods of total creative reverie during which her "disorderliness" was sometimes the despair of her husband.

Harriet’s baby son, Charles, died in 1849 and despite the heartaches and challenges of life—or perhaps because she knew deep pain first hand—Harriet wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was published in book form in 1852.

Years later, Harriet was greeted by Abraham Lincoln with the words, “So you’re the little woman who made the book that made this Great War.” The president’s words were hardly an exaggeration. Uncle Tom’s cabin did much to rally popular support for Lincoln’s cause. With sales of 300,000 in the first year, the book’s influence was equaled by few other novels in history.

“Each of us listens to a different drummer or, more precisely, a different drumbeat, because each of us is designed to pursue a unique calling. God had specific things in mind for you and only you, and He will put His dreams in your heart to move you toward those specific things.”
(Bill & Kathy Peel, Discover Your Destiny, pg. 114)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Dare to Dream—Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

GRANTING OURSELVES FREEDOM – How Can the Impossible Become Possible?

Dare to Dream—Part 3

Once we have given ourselves permission to dream the next step is granting ourselves freedom to follow through in fulfilling those desires. This acronym can help you:

Find time to spend with God. Ask Him to show you how to make the most of your potential.

Research the area you want to pursue. For example if you desire to develop your talent in art, discover what’s available at your local community college, or call art supply shops for information about classes.

Expect to make adjustments to your schedule. Focusing on God’s calling for your life will not be easy. Make a list of your daily responsibilities and decide which are important and which ones are simply time consumers. Also, decide which duties follow the path God has called you to. Sometimes even good things are not the right things. You may teach Sunday School and run the food ministry, but perhaps that leaves you unable to follow a deeper desire which is to work with the elderly.

Enjoy the process of striving toward your dream. Oswald Chambers says, “We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. . . . What we call the process, God calls the end." [i] Delight in each step you take toward your dream. Just as your to-do list is never complete, you will never “arrive.”

Develop relationships with others who share the same talents and goals. Be available for encouragement and prayer.

Openly communicate your dreams to your family, and ask them to do the same. Brainstorm ways to help each other reach toward God’s best.

Make daily appointments with God to insure you are on the right track. Many of us have the tendency to take our dreams and run toward a direction God never intended. Spend time in Bible study and prayer to make sure you are fulfilling God’s purposes. It is in His presence that your dreams combine with His to find that “. . . he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) NIV. After all, completing God’s plan should be our greatest goal and the best reason to dare to dream.

[i] Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How to balance writing and cleaning!

I work from home, which means I SEE what needs to be done all hours of day and night. When I clean I see the writing stuff I need to do. When I write I see the house stuff. Yet when it comes to writing, life, kids I have to make priorities:

1. Food. I shop big at Costco and have enough extra stuff around to throw together a nice meal at 5:45 p.m.

2. Order. My kids have had chores since they were preschoolers. At 19, 16, and 14 they still have daily chores AND know how to sprint through the house in a cleaning frenzy when I call home in desperation. "Company's coming!"

3. Peace. In my heart, not always in my schedule. When I have peace and go with the flow the family follows. They'd rather have a happy mom than a perfect house.

4. Understanding. For myself mostly. If God has called me to write books and articles and be an attentive mom and wife then I CAN'T keep a perfect house too. It's impossible.

5. Help. I do have a housecleaner once a week for three hours who does the deep cleaning. Huge help!

I do something called "The 27." I'll time myself and spend 27 minutes answering email, cleaning my desk, cleaning the house, putting away laundry, packaging books to send out ... you name it. 30 minutes sounds like it's a big chunk of time but for some reason 27 minutes seems doable! And I'm always amazed how much I can get done in that time.

Also, I only have one small corner in my kitchen where stuff accumulates, and I clean that off every other day. And I don't let kids drop stuff as they go. They must put it away. So if you show up at my house it looks (mostly) uncluttered ... just don't look at the dog hair on the floors or the dust on ... everything!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sweet September Contest WINNER!

I plugged the numbers into random.org...and here is what I got!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-10-01 17:04:31 UTC

So that means blueviolet is our winner!

blueviolet said...
My sister is my touchstone, my best friend, my confidante. She is the person who will drop everything and be at my side whenever I need her She accepts me completely for who I am and is totally nonjudgmental. I can tell her absolutely everything and know it stays with her alone. She has a fun, bubbly personality and she is like sunshine to me. I adore her.doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
12:42 PM

CONGRATS Elizabeth, send my assistant Amy (amy@triciagoyer.com) your mailing address and your pumpkin yumminess will be on the way!