We are a group of writers who belong to CAN, the Christian Authors Network, who are passionate about writing. As published authors, we long to share our victories and struggles with regards to marketing and promotion. No one really ever told us about this part of the business of writing, so, like you, we are learners. Won't you learn alongside us?
It's amazing to me that compiled books are still being published. Even what is most likely the longest running series, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is still taking submssions and printing books. Years ago, a publisher invited me to start a compiled series called God's Vitamin "C" for the Spirit and I caught the fever. I ended up compiling and editing about a dozen books in the series. Every once in a while someone contacts me with an idea for a compiled book and I still contribute to those as I can. Because of the successful books in my series, I could call myself "a best-selling author" and those books helped put my two children through college.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing someone I consider a good friend—even though we haven’t met in person! Bonnie Leon and I have been critique partners for several years, and I’ve enjoyed learning from this extremely talented, experienced, and generous multi-published author.
Bonnie, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I’ve published twenty books—nineteen novels and one memoir.
My most recent title is Where Eagles Soar, it is a memoir I wrote for a woman who grew up in the Alaskan wilderness. The series, Alaskan Skies, released prior to the memoir. The titles in the series are Touching the Clouds, Wings of Promise, and Joy Takes Flight.
Golden Parsons here, writing from Central Texas where the weather is beginning to feel a bit like fall. Believe me, that is unusual for this part of the country. Football games begin this next week -- from Little League to major college events. This is Friday Night Lights country, and there is excitement in the air. Fall is a popular time for retreats, so I thought we might spend a little time discussing that.
Snowflake Tiara Releasing Sep 1, 2014 2 Christmas romance books in 1 set in Helena, MT against the backdrop of MT's new statehood in 1889 & MT's 125th anniversary in 2014...What if you were caught doing good, but the man you loved didn't see it that way.
Angela Breidenbachis a captivating speaker, coach, and author. Some of Angie’s books include A Healing Heart, from Abingdon Press in the Quilts of Love series, Charm Chats for Teens: The secret of awesome! (teen Bible study from Choose Now Ministries, Aug. 2014),Snowflake Tiara (Christmas historical romantic fiction from Choose Now Ministries.
Hello, Davalynn Spencer here, from Colorado sharing some great tips from award-winning actor, screenwriter, comedian, and author, Torry Martin, who currently resides in Sparta, Tennessee.
Welcome Torry. Please tell us how you got into writing and give us some of your latest titles.
My desire to be an actor has always come first. I fell into the writing thing completely by accident. The two skills certainly complement each other however. Knowing how to bring a character and story to life on the stage helps me to do the same on the page.
I have nine books published and have contributed to at least a dozen others including Inspired by Tozer by Lauren Barlow, and Writing with Banana Peels by my dear friend James Watkins. I’ve also written nine screenplays with my writing partner, Marshal Younger, and numerous humor columns for a variety of Christian periodicals including Clubhouse and On Course. What I am most known for is my work with “Adventures in Odyssey” which is produced by Focus on the Family. I created the popular character of Wooton Bassett for the audio series and it is my proudest accomplishment.
Shameless Self-Promotion for the Christian Creative is my most recent book and it is getting some great reviews. I’m also excited that the screenplay I co-write with the incredibly talented Marshal Younger and Michelle Cox has been turned into a book by the amazing Rene Gutteridge and Michelle Cox. They did a tremendous job with the novelization and I hear it is selling very well. I’m hoping that book sales will translate to getting a movie sale so Marshal and I can partake in some of the financial rewards. Pray!!!
How did you get your first book contract?
I was approached by a publisher at the GMA Seminar in the Rockies after winning the grand prize in the scriptwriting category. I think one of the best ways to get a contract though is to build a relationship with publishers and editors by attending a Christian writer’s conference. That has helped open a LOT of doors for me. It truly is all about networking.
What has helped you promote your books the most?
The fact that I’m an actor, comedian and speaker has helped provide me with some good opportunities for press which in turn increases the ability to promote my books. I know that a lot of the questions most writers have are about promotion, but the best promotional thing you can do for yourself is to learn the art of networking and start building relationships in the industry.
Below I’ve included a few of my favorite quotes about networking, along with a few tips for networking successfully to help equip my fellow CAN members.
TORRY’S FAVORITE QUOTES ON NETWORKING
"The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person's needs ahead of their own." Bob Burg
"The way of the world is meeting people through other people." -Robert Kerrigan
"More business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than at any other time, yet no MBA courses are given on the subject." - Peter Drucker
"You can use your business card to get the other person's business card. As far as I'm concerned, this is the one truly legitimate benefit of business cards."- Bob Burg
"Strangers are just friends who haven't yet met!"- Peter Rosen
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”- Keith Ferrazzi
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit; but in humility consider others better than yourself!" -Philippians 2:3
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” -Romans 12:3-5
"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12
TORRY’S TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL NETWORKING
As you start your writing career, keep the following tips in mind:
Ask for advice. When you meet professionals in the publishing industry, don't be afraid to ask for their advice. It's good to be respectful of their busy schedules, but you'll never know if they have a few minutes to talk unless you ask.
Help others. Put in a good word for someone else when you have a chance. They'll remember you, and perhaps someday they'll be in a position to return the favor. The publishing industry is tough. It's good to have allies.
Keep in touch. Don't let a good contact go. Networking is not just about making friends—it's also about keeping them. That takes a little work. But it's worth it.
Have your book proposal. All the networking in the world may do little good if you don't have something to show for yourself. Your book proposal or a writing sample should always be at the ready. It should advertise your skills to potential employers.
THE CARE AND FEEDING OF YOUR NETWORK
Making contacts is only the first step in networking. The challenge is cultivating and maintaining those relationships.
Record your contacts.
You can’t stay in touch with someone if you don’t have them in your system. Immediately after a writers conference or event, go through the contacts you’ve made and enter them into your contact database. Make notes about the person and what you discussed. And remember who introduced you—it’s important that you be able to trace and maintain the results of that connection.
Nothing beats face-to-face contact for strengthening relationships. Call and invite your colleague for lunch, coffee, a book-reading or event, or even a round of golf. This kind of social interaction can help boost the business relationship and also create an opportunity for true friendship, which is personally what I like best.
Educate each other.
Take time to understand the businesses and abilities of those in your network. And make sure you educate them about what you do and what your goals are. The more you understand the intricacies of each other's businesses, the better able you are to share ideas and contacts, and to contribute to each other's growth.
Remember, you’re not going to be able to network with everyone you know. Prioritize your contacts. Get in touch often with those you can help the most and those that can be most helpful to you—they’re your inner circle. Offer them advice or call them for advice; you’ll alert them to a potential opportunity and they’ll alert you; pass along an article of interest to them and they will be doing the same in return. But no matter what happens, don’t burn bridges—even if you are no longer a useful business connection to them or they to you. You should still be able to maintain a personal relationship and pray for each other or share the latest news with someone and offer encouragement and support. Of course you can’t stop a person from burning a bridge to you. That hurts when it happens, but it happens.
Proposals are important even if you plan to self-publish. They layout a plan for the book and help you define the purpose, competition, and marketing plans. The marketing section of a proposal is becoming more important all the time, so let’s focus on that!
Sometimes in our writing career, we get blindsided by an unexpected event that temporarily throws us off course. It could be a family situation, a medical diagnosis, or a job loss. Whatever the situation, we suddenly find ourselves facing a circumstance that diverts our full attention from our writing. What can we do?