Friday, May 31, 2013

Relationships Key in Social Media

Connections, Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers is a must read for writers wanting to understand and develop their online platform. Author Edie Melson emphasizes that “relationships” are key, no matter what form of social media you use.

This is an easy-to-read, 138 page handbook of sort, you will want to keep near your computer. The bulk is about blogging, Twitter, and Facebook, but, author Melson doesn’t stop there, as she also addresses You Tube, Pinterest, Google Plus and Klout.

As a writer herself, Edie, believes the writing should reign supreme, but once a writer is familiar with social networking, they need only spend 30 to 45 minutes working at it per day.

Melson has established herself as somewhat of an expert in social media for those in the publishing field. She serves as Social Media Coach for My Book Therapy and blogs at the The Write Conversation, where she guides writers through the many mysteries of the online world. In addition to numerous articles, she is also the author of Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, a devotional book for those with family members in the military.  

Read with a pen close by to highlight the many explanations and tips to help in your trek through social media. Check it out on Amazon.

Thanks, Edie for this gem of a book. I will be using and recommending it at my class, Blogging Made Easy for Beginners, Nontechies and Others at the Write-to-Publish Conference next week (June 5-8) in the Chicago area.

How about you? What is your biggest challenge as a writer in using social media?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Eddie Jones

We are less than two weeks away from the Write-to-Publish Conference, June 5-8, and I have another faculty member as my guest. Eddie Jones shares about Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, where he serves as Acquisitions Editor.

Welcome, Eddie. Please give us a snapshot of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

At Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas we embrace the new book publishing business model that favors Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook e-books over long press runs and warehouse inventories. We sell print books through traditional retail stores and offer standard industry discounts and support returns, but for our authors the real money is in e-book sales.
For example, in 2012 we sold over 50,000 copies of our books and paid over $25,000 in royalties. A large majority of our sales are from Kindle e-book sales.

Another aspect of our business model that sets us apart from other houses is our monthly payment schedule. We believe authors should be paid promptly for their work – not quarterly or semi-annually. For this reason we issue monthly royalty checks: often in the hundreds of dollars.

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with at Write-to-Publish?

Part of our mission is to launch new careers. That’s why I enjoy meeting with new authors who have great manuscripts. At conferences I’m looking for the unpublished author that probably will not land a 3-book deal with a large house but is ready to have their book published with a traditional, royalty-paying publisher. 

Our authors include Christy Award winners and new writers whose books found their first home with the small press. We are looking for nonfiction and fiction that reflects God’s truth. Recently, the American Christian Fiction Writers recognized LPC as an approved ACFW publisher and that has helped to expand our acquisition department.

Within fiction we have one standard for judging a work: Is it biblical? Not biblical as in preaching or teaching, but rather, could the story, scenes, and theme be overlaid with Old and New Testament narratives?

For example, does your novel deal with rape (Genesis 34: 1-7), incest (Genesis 19:30-38), or taking your family on a sailing trip (Genesis 9:20-23)? Does it show a man in high office seducing an office staffer (2 Samuel 11)? Provided the scene is organic to the story and does not seek to glorify the act, but rather shows its consequences, we will consider it for publication.

When our books project an agenda (and all stories have an agenda), they point to the goodness of God and his unfailing love, - a love that is expressed most often through the lives of characters in story-form. We believe there is a large market for these types of stories.

I know you attend many conferences. What do you see as the positive things for writers who attend conferences?

Backdoor opportunities. Without an agent, it is nearly impossible to make a connection with a traditional house. For this reason, a writers’ conference can serve as a backdoor into book publishing. Here you get to meet with editors and agents and pitch your story. 

A writers’ conference is like Cinderella’s Grand Ball. You’ll spend several hundred dollars and take time off from work and family, but those few hours may change your life.

Education is another key benefit. Due to appointments with conferees and my own teaching schedule, I no longer have the luxury of sitting in on writing classes, but I try to grab the class audio files from every conference I attend. On my iPod I have WTP class audio from Susan May Warren, Steven James, Doc Hensley, and many others. When I travel I listen to these classes and take notes in order to improve my writing. I would encourage every author that wants to improve their writing to attend a conference and purchase the class audio files.

Finally, the chance to worship and fellowship with other authors is a huge benefit. In some ways, these peer connections are the best part of a conference. I may only see them once a year but we share a kindred spirit and calling. I can honestly say that the individuals I have met at WTP are my church.

Thanks, Eddie.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In My Pocket to Read Later

You know how it goes. You find a blog, or an article on the internet and you just don’t have the time to read it. So, you either print it out, leave it in your inbox, or in another folder.

A few weeks ago, I began using a free app that allows me to, sort of save it in my pocket to read later. I now have these items in one place. I have found this very helpful and I simply call it, pocket. You can read about it at the website:

With this app, you place a button into the top bar of your browser, labeled “Pocket.”  When you open the blog, etc., in your browser and then hit the pocket button, a bar will drop down labeled “Page Saved” and then retract. The item is saved in the app and ready to be read later.

It will also sync to your mobile devices; marvelous. 

Try it out:


Do you use or have you heard of this app? Do you use something similar?

Friday, May 10, 2013

I welcome Terry Burns, Agent, with Hartline Literary Agency. He has graciously answered a few questions. He will be meeting with writers and teaching at the Write-to-Publish Conference, June 5-8.

Why are agents important in the life a writer?

It depends on the writer and where they are in their writing life. Most major presses require an agent for submissions, lots of writers are not comfortable dealing with publishing contracts or negotiating, nor can they keep up with the daily changes in the publishing industry or keep on top of what houses are looking at what type projects. In short a writer works with an agent in areas where they could use support. If they don't need the help, they don't need an agent.

How can a writer, who is unpublished, best prepare themselves to be a published author?

In two primary ways, continuing to improve their writing skills and to start building name identification that they can use for marketing purposes once they have a product to sell. Waiting to start doing that until the product is available is way too late to get started. And as to the writing skills, agents and editors get hundreds of good projects submitted to them, far more than they can handle. That means a good project is not good enough, it takes exceptional, it takes standing out from all of the other good projects to make that editor or agent connect with it and want to handle it.

How important is it for writers to invest in conferences?

This is one of the primary avenues a writer uses to improve those skills I was just talking about. It is a jumping off point for the networking that can help build the name identification I said was necessary, and it is a great place to connect with other people who understand the curious world of a writer and know what we are up against.

What type of writers are you looking for at Write-to-Publish?
I'm looking for that exceptional story that stands out from all the other good projects. The genre is not as important as the writing and whether I connect with it. The things we DON'T handle are spelled out in our submission guidelines at as are the things we like to see in a proposal and how we like to receive them. I have a solid client base, but there's always room there for that terrific project that I identify strongly with and want to help get it to market.

Thanks, Terry, great information. See you at Write-to-Publish.
How about you? Do you have a conference in your schedule this year?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Write-to-Publish Conference Faculty Interviews: Tiffany Colter, Writing Career Coach

I welcome Tiffany Colter to my blog. She is the owner of the Writing Career Coach and a freelance writer and speaker. She will be teaching the continuing class, Building Your Growing Writing Career, at the Write-to-Publish Conference, June 5-8.

Tiffany, give us a snapshot of your class, Building Your Growing Writing Career.

Tiffany Colter: I'd love to. Over the four days we will cover organization, craft, time management, and finding confidence in God's call. There are really so many things that go in to a writing career other than the actual writing. In my class, I will touch on a few of them. We'll have time for structured teaching, in-class activities, Q&A, and some take home activities.
I will also teach a piece of the organization class in my workshop: Getting Organized for Greater Efficiency.

What is the most important thing writers need to do to grow in their field?

Tiffany Colter: My answer is two-pronged. First, recognizing that writing is a business and second, that that isn't a bad thing. Once you recognize that the message of our heart will help someone and that marketing is nothing more than letting people know you have a solution for them, this starts to become easier. See, when we focus only on sales our craft will suffer. When we focus on craft, our sales will suffer. When we focus only on networking through social media...well, everything suffers! If we see it as a business and these various tasks as "departments" within that business we can create a plan for growth. Our writing, marketing, conferences, speaking, etc. then just become various to-do lists to executing that plan.

What is the hope you have for each of your students upon completion of the class?

Tiffany Colter: I genuinely hope that people leave my class with a plan for success and the confidence that they CAN execute that plan. Hope is confident expectation of good. I expect that everyone who completes my class [and my workshop] will leave with solid information that will help them. I also sincerely hope that when they leave they think, "Wow! That class was absolutely worth the time I spent!". I never want a person to leave one of my seminars or workshops thinking, "Well, that is an hour of my life I'll never get back."

How can conferees best prepare to attend a conference?
Tiffany Colter: I have a few free downloads on my website that talk about preparing for editor/agent appointments. You can download the pdf [no registration is required] by going to Beyond that I honestly think that the best thing a person can do is look at this as a professional event, not a job interview. All of your hopes and dreams are NOT tied up in a single class, editor/agent appointment, or award ceremony. When you go in with that attitude you are setting yourself up for high stress and a possible post-conference crash.
Go expecting to learn and with a clear action plan to use what you learned when you get home. Then no matter what happens in any meeting or appointment you have grown as a professional writer and made a positive step toward fulfillment of your long-term goals.
Thanks for allowing me to share. I will teach a continuing track, a workshop, sit on a panel and I will be accepting appointments at the conference. I hope some of you will come up and say hi.
Tiffany Colter,