Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Guest Blogger...Jeanette Hanscome

Just Keep Writing
(Tricia here...I hear Dori from Finding Nemo in my head when I read this title...just keep writing, just keep writing...)

Hello from Jeanette’s house in freezing cold Reno, Nevada. Christmas is a week away and I’m a little bummed out. Or at least I was. As the year winds down, I see that I have made very little progress in my writing career. With money tight and medical bills rolling in faster than we care to discuss, writing has been limited to projects that generate income. I’ve written a lot of press releases, book reviews, and promo material singing the praises of other people’s books but sadly, I have no new titles of my own to brag about. This morning as I whined to God about it (I won’t try to be spiritual and say I laid my career at Jesus’ feet; it was a whine fest plain and simple) one phrase started replaying in my mind—just keep writing. Somehow that comforted me. Here is why.

I realized that . . .

· I may not be writing what I want to communicate with the world, but I’m still writing. I’m still using my gift and practicing my craft. In fact, I may be developing skills that will benefit my career in the future. Each day I sit in front of the computer and write or edit something, which keeps me disciplined and creative. These days “creative” usually equals reworking another author’s words or finding a newsy twist for a press release about a book that I had a hard time getting through but I consider it a healthy challenge.

· I’m meeting my family’s needs. Right now my husband and sons don’t need a new book with Mom’s name on it, they need paychecks so we can buy groceries and have little luxuries like electricity and heat. God continually reminds me that dedicating my hours to earning these things honors Him and that’s more important than meeting my personal writing goals. Since He has allowed me to earn an income by doing what I love how can I complain?

· This won’t last forever. I have to believe that God will eventually turn our situation around. Is it possible that He will reward my efforts with an exciting new opportunity when I least expect it? I’m not really a believer in telling God what He ought to do or “claiming” my desires as done deals (in my book that’s just a fancy way of telling God that He owes me). But I do know that He rewards faithfulness so who knows what He has planned. Whatever that is I am hanging on to the now trendy Christian phrase—this is only for a season.

Maybe you are struggling in the same way. Maybe it'll help you to know that you're not the only writer who needs to shift focus from books to articles, promotional material, editing and other assignments that keep the bank account filled and the kids out of the workhouse (oops, wrong century). If you see yourself in this post, be encouraged. It’s not forever. And as I have told a few friends, “I think I’m living material for future projects.” Maybe you are too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Need Hope For Christmas?

Check out my friend Cindy's promotion for her new book.

From Cindy's website...

Christmas is coming fast, do you need more hope?

Hope for Christmas shares traditions, humor, gift ideas, planning helps, recipes, heartaches insights, culture and personal stories from bestselling novelist Cindy Martinusen Coloma (Orchid House) and freelance writer Julie Marsh.

During these especially hard times, Hope for Christmas will help you create wonderful Christmas memories whatever your current economic state.

Why $5.50? The price is our gift to you. We KNOW how hard it is, and we want to help each other. Because that’s what America and Christmas are all about.

By ordering Hope for Christmas, you’ll be automatically entered to win a set of Cindy Martinusen books ($100 value) and a session with Cindy for her writer’s coach service or freelance writing consultation ($100 value).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Book Marketing 101: What Works and What Doesn’t

by Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson.

Part 1: Start with Great Content
This is the beginning of a series of posts I am calling, “Book Marketing 101: What Works and What Doesn’t.” I have wanted to write this series for a long time. There are so many opinions when it comes to marketing books. I certainly don’t have the last word on this topic, but I do have some experience.

I have been involved in the book publishing industry for 30 years. My career has included working at three different publishers, serving as a marketing director, marketing VP, acquisitions editor, editor-in-chief, publisher, chief operating officer, and now, of course, chief executive officer. I was also a literary agent for six years and have written four books, including one that was on the New York Times bestsellers list for 28 weeks. I am currently writing a new book called, The How of Wow.

I’ve been able to experience first and second-hand what works and, mostly, what doesn’t. But before I give my perspective on the various marketing tools and vehicles, I would like to set forth a few basic principles based on my own experience. These are generalizations and there are definitely exceptions to every rule. But I think these apply 95% of the time.
Let’s start with content. What does content have to do with marketing books? Everything.

Several years ago, when I was the publisher of Nelson Books, I had a button made for my staff. It said, “It’s the product, stupid.” I am still convinced that this is the most fundamental truth about publishing. It all starts by acquiring great manuscripts.

Read the rest here!

Advice for Novelists (Part 57)

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?"

I'm honored to feature today a favorite author of mine, Sibella Giorello. Here's her response:

Ask yourself: "What do I love to do, besides write?" Then kill it.Seriously, if you're going to write, sacrifices have to be made. For instance, I really enjoy visiting with friends. But I can't write novels, home school my kids and chat with friends. Although it was torture doing so, I pared down my social time in a serious way. I rarely go to parties, I don't talk on the phone. This means I miss some friends, and bow out of events that sound wonderful, but my writing output has soared.

--Sibella Giorello, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Stones Cry Out (Revell) as well as the forthcoming The Rivers Run Dry (Feb. '09 from Nelson).

Monday, December 15, 2008

How do economic woes affect writers?

Read this insightful guest blog from my agent, Janet Grant. http://www.janetgrant.com/

As an agent, I realize that, with publishers tightening their belts, I need to stay the course. That might sound strange at first, but our agency has always had the philosophy that we wouldn't just be about getting the contract and then disappearing from the scene. Thinking long-term with our clients and working to build a career rather than just thinking about one book at a time helps in times of economic downturns. Part of that long-term thinking is shaping messages that make each author the go-to person on a topic or in a certain genre, which increases publishers' interest in producing books with that client. And making certain the marketing contributions the author makes to each project help to build a sense of identity for that author rather than creating what looks like a haphazard bunch of books.

In a risk-averse environment, what every writer needs to do is to think about how to become a necessity at a publishing house, not a luxury. That means that the author is helping to keep the publisher operating in the black. So offering original ideas on perennial topics, sticking to writing what you're known for, and being creative in the ways you can offer to publicize your book, all add up to the likelihood that you will make it through this recession in tact. That, plus a firm faith that God holds our personal universes together along with the big world we inhabit.

Literary Agent
Books & Such
"Discerning Literature"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Have you entered to win yet?

What are you waiting for? You could win a few of those gifts you've been meaning to buy.

In celebration of Blue Like Play Dough (coming Summer 2009!) having a cover I'm hosting the BIGGEST Book Give-away EVER! (Watch the sneak peak video here! )

A bit about the book...I've never worked this hard on a book! What I thought would be a snap (well, maybe not THAT easy) to write turned out to be a long process of deep soul searching. Blue Like Play Dough contains reflections on things I thought I'd gotten over, gotten past and just plain forgotten!

What finally emerged on these pages is proof of what God can do with a mom who dared to say YES! to Him.

So in celebration of Moms everywhere who are up to their necks in the momminess of life, I'm hosting The Biggest Book Give-away EVER! (Props to Waterbrook/Multnomah for their generosity!)

Included in the basket will be these books:

~Generation NeXt Parenting

~Generation NeXt Marriage

~The entire set of the Shaunti Feldhahn books
For Women Only
For Men Only
For Parent's Only
For Young Women Only
For Young Men Only

~Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World (gift edition) and With This Ring by Joanna Weaver

~My Mother's Wish by Jerry Camery-Hoggart

~Bon Appetit by Sandra Byrd

~Me, Myself, & I Am

~Also included in the basket will be some AWESOME body products by J.R. Watkins and a little something for your sweet tooth!

The contest ends Dec. 16th so I can get the loot to the winner before Christmas! A gift from me to you...or from me to you and some of your friends and family! (wink, wink!)

To enter the contest, go to my contact page and leave me a note telling me one way motherhood has shaped YOU!

I'll be sharing your answers (with your permission, of course) on my blog in January!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Faith & Writing

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I don't know about you, but this verse is easy to quote concerning things like heaven, and salvation, and God-with-us. Yet, I have a harder time with more pressing items such as deadlines, plot points, and thought like "with-this-book-my-editor-will-know-I'm-a-poser. "

Just as I sometimes wish I knew that triumph always prevails at the end of my trials, I also wish I could understand every plot point, character growth arch, and story resolution before I wrote the first word. Yes, as a girl who gets way too involved in historical research, I have a lot figured out before I start. I know which war battles my characters will be involved in, and I have a basic idea of how the book will end. It's the character growth and spiritual truth stuff that leaves me scratching my head.

But sometimes, as George Michael sang, "You just gotta have faith."

Like manna for the Israelites, God gives us what we need, when we need it. Yesterday, He dropped a plot twist on my lap. "Oh, God that's good," I said as my fingers began typing as fast as they could.

Then tears streamed down my face as I led my character through another heartbreaking trial! (Of course, this heartbreak will make the story even sweeter at the end!)

Yet, having that idea pop in my head reminded me of what Faith is all about--being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see . . . even in the case of fictional stories that bring us to our knees as we write them.

Especially in that case.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 56)

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?"

Molly Noble Bull's advice: If I could say one thing to aspiring novelists, it would be this. Never give up. Keep writing and keep trying. God willing, you will sell--in God's own time.

--Molly Noble Bull, author of Sanctuary & The Winter Pearl. Visit her at her website here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Here is my story . . .

When did you first start reading Christian fiction? What kept you reading? Here is my story . . .

I was a very rebellious kid in highschool. A Christian friend of my mom's loaned her some novels by Jeanette Oke. I was a big reader. I usually read stuff like Stephen King, but I LOVED those Jeanette Oke books. I read them over and over.

When I was 17 and pregnant out of wedlock, I gave my heart to the Lord. A few years later, when I was first married, I remember going to a Christian bookstore and glancing at their fiction section. We didn't have much money, and I only had enough for one novel. I was looking through a few and someone pointed me to Bodie Thoene. I picked up Vienna Prelude and LOVED it! (And amazingly, people often tell me that my books remind them of Bodie's.)

After that, I started reading more Christian fiction. And then I started writing it. (Although it took about nine years for me to have a novel published from the time I first started writing.)

To me Christian Fiction became light, hope, and peace to my soul. There was tension, intrigue, and conflict, but I felt good after reading those stories--unlike the agnst I felt after books like Pet Cementary!

Christian fiction shared good news to me when I wasn't looking for it or wanting it. Recently, I received an email from someone who said she read my novel, Night Song, and it was the first Christian novel she'd ever read. She was surprised she liked it!

It's my goal to share the hope I found.

So how about you?

AND...Don't forget to scoot on over and enter the The Biggest Book Give-away EVER!

Monday, December 8, 2008

More on Creative Book Launches

by Christy Barritt!

There's one thing I've learned recently about marketing--you can't make it all about you and your book. Well, you can, but it won't be as effective.
Last week I talked about my Writing Mysteries Can Be Murder mystery dinner theater that I've been doing in conjunction with the release of my novel Suspicious Minds. Today, I'm going to talk about some ideas you can also use when planning your own creative book launch.

The first concept I was to talk about is thinking outside of yourself when planning your event.

Each of my mystery dinner theaters has gone to benefit a cause in the community. We never take the proceeds for ourselves. We've given to youth camps, church ministries, libraries, retirement homes, etc. This is a win-win because not only are you helping out a great cause, but, in doing so, you can feel good about your promotions. After all, you aren't promoting just yourself. You're trying to help someone else.

Having a cause behind your event can also generate some media attention. An author creatively launching a book while helping a needy family in the area? Who wouldn't want to cover that story? It has all the elements a reporter is looking for (I'm a reporter, so I should know!).

You don't have to do this just at a launch party, either. You could donate the proceeds from a book signings to a cause. It's especially relevant if what you're donating to ties in with your book. Does your book have a protagonist battling breast cancer? Then give the proceeds to the American Cancer Society. Does your book features a homeless family? Give the proceeds to a local shelter.

You can also apply this concept when writing articles or doing speeches. Don't make the article or speech all about your book. Talk about elements mentioned in your book and then use your book as an example.

(previously published on CAN)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 55)

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?"

Today multi-published novelist Creston Mapes responds: For me, although I feel "called" to be one of God's story-tellers, writing fiction is the most difficult kind of writing I do. For 25 years I've made my living writing marketing materials, news, and magazine stories—projects that I'm "in-and-out" in anywhere from a day to a week. That work comes easy for me. Writing books is a whole different monster. It zaps my energy and leaves me feeling spent. It drains me physically and somewhat mentally, because it does not pay hardly anything, unless you develop quite a large following of readers. I guess I thought that when I got my first 3-book contract I was "on my way." But the truth is, that contract was only the beginning of the challenges. This business—oh and remember that, it IS a business—is not for the faint hearted. However, if God has sewn that hunger in your heart to deliver his message through story, you will not be able to deny it. You will write without contracts. You will get hit with rejections and shake them off, knowing you were called for this. You will read and go to conferences and improve your craft.

I would also say this...don't write to gain glory for yourself. That is an easy trap in which to fall (especially once published). Instead, write to gain glory for God, while you learn to take a quiet, humble, meek back seat. That, too, I have had to learn the hard way—and am still learning.

--Creston Mapes, author of Nobody and the Dark Star Chronicles. Visit him online at his website here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Words that sell!

If you're getting ready to send out your Christmas newsletter, read this post Gaymer Martin wrote over at Christian Authors Network.

Last week I discussed an interesting idea that certain words help to draw interest in a product. People like bargains, getting in on something good, finding results or solutions and more. I present the 10 top words that sell, according to one marketing analysis. This week, I’m adding another set of words to consider.

As I searched for information on "words that sell" your product—in our case books—I found another list of additional words that followed the first ten I sent last week. Again, these words work for any product, but we can see how they may work for your new release. Keep the key word as close to the front of your sentence as you can.

1. Love: You’ll love THE NAME OF YOUR BOOK

2. Results: This book offers results if you have trouble keeping friends.

3. Safe: Spend a safe and cozy evening reading my latest release BOOK TITLE

4. New: A new book from YOUR NAME in stores now.

5. Save: Save time and energy. Order my latest release BOOK TITLE from Amazon.com or ?

6. Now: On sale now. BOOK TITLE

7. How-to: Ever wonder how to spend a lonely evening? Read BOOK TITLE

8. Solution: The solution to Christmas shopping is books. Buy BOOK TITLE today.

9. More: You’ll get more than you bargained for when you read BOOK TITLE

These ideas popped into my head as I looked at the words. I’m sure you can make them relate to your novels or non-fiction books with even greater meaning. Try using some of these words that sell and see if they make a difference in your marketing plan.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Join me for a live chat at Abunga.com!


Goyer gives practical tips on how to lay a firm foundation while raising up the next generation. Knowing that marriages today also face challenges that no other generation has experienced, she wrote “Generation NeXt Marriage: The Couple’s Guide to Keeping it Together,” in which she offers insightful truths for Generation X marriages and those who minister to them. She also talks about marriage role models, and what “Gen X” is doing right. She will chat about both “Generation NeXt” books on Dec. 3. For more information, go here.

Login in today to submit a question...or wait until tomorrow. I'm looking forward to some GREAT conversation!

Abunga.com, the family-friendly online bookstore, continues its weekly “Authors at Abunga” chats in December with award-winning authors offering a Christian perspective on Godly parenting and strong marriages and engaging stories with themes of love and redemption.

The one-hour chats, held at 2 p.m. EST on the first three Wednesdays next month at Abunga.com, will feature family and parenting writer Tricia Goyer, New York Times best-selling novelist Beverly Lewis and Christian fiction author Robin Jones Gunn, respectively.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Guest post by Jennifer Devlin

This was previously published on the CAN blog. Good advice!

Last week’s question asked: How can my marketing help my reader become more passionate about Christ, as well as my book? Did you think it thru?

Notice the question is two-fold. We have the primary goal of helping the reader become more passionate about Christ. They need to know how God has transformed us. We have written testimonies tucked in our book’s pages that will help readers understand the God we serve. We have a message worth reading.

But we also want to be good stewards of talent, time, and effort, and pray that our customers will read and share our book. We need to commit to doing everything we can do to make our effort successful. After all, no publisher is going to have the time or money to do all the marketing for us, so we’ve got to get out there and share the news about our new book release!

The most basic way we instill enthusiasm in others is to have zeal ourselves. We’ve got to focus on being our own best salesperson. Though we enlist many helpers, we’ve got to take the lead.

We are our best salespeople because:
We know our material better than anyone else.

We know why God pressed us to write the thing in the first place, and we know the core message we were trying to convey.

We understand our target audience, and even wrote a proposal that told an editor why it needed to be written, and who we wanted as our reader base.
We spent hours in front of a computer unraveling our heart’s message on a monitor’s screen one keystroke at a time.

We believe in our idea and book.

Let’s face it – our name is on the cover, and our reputation is on the line.

So, as we promote and share our marketing materials, we’ve got to convey our passion for Christ and our project. Sadly, this can be a tough thing to do. Why? Maybe we don’t want to be pushy. Or, perhaps we don’t want to get rejected by those who aren’t interested in the project we’ve invested so much of our lives into. Possibly we're already discouraged because our “baby” didn’t get the end cap placement in every book superstore like we’d dreamed. Whatever the case, if we don't seem thrilled about the book we wrote, why on earth should anyone else be excited to buy it?

What marketing goals do you have for your upcoming book release? Are you excited about the project and the possibilities?