Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What If Christmas Returned...?

Nativity scene at Sacred Heart Catholic Church...Image via Wikipedia
I've been thinking about the problems of church and state issues regarding Christmas. They create a mixed array of conflicting motives: business wants the "holiday" that is the most profitable of the year. Others want to argue about where creches may or may not be placed.

Yet, should Christmas be a holiday, as in a day off work and school, or as in a holy day? The day Christians celebrate and remember with thankfulness as the first Advent is a holy day, and we await the Second Advent, when Christ returns at a time only known by God, the Father.

Christians through the centuries have celebrated Jesus' birth. First, the others also born as Jews, honoring the word of God, worshiped daily, however, in the temple and synagogues with Jesus. After His resurrection, it was they who went forth into more of the Gentile world. They all gave gifts to the poor among them year 'round, and to others of any faith...anyone in need. Daily, they sang psalms and spiritual songs together to honor the Lord.

From the Gospel according to Luke
When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: 
“a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. 

When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,  
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
   you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
   and the glory of your people Israel.” 

Luke 2: 22-32*

*The New International Version of the Bible
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 20, 2010

Self-Publishing...or Not?

1001 Ways to Market Your Books, Sixth Edition (1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers)Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self Publishing Manual)
John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of FameTen years ago. The founder of SPAN was on the car radio. My husband rushed home to tell me. We were new to publishing, had one book to publish, available in the UK and ready for its first US edition. What next? How to publish it?

SPAN is about self-publishing, and in those days, the professional publishing world did not think well of self-publishing, called vanity publishing. That needed to change. 

We knew that the main problems was that self-published books too often had poor, unprofessional, editing. A change in that direction, for the better, was essential.

Since those years, a multimillion-dollar industry has grown, to capture the self-marketing writer or group. You will see ads everywhere offering to "publish your book." Is that a good thing? You need to find out.

Here are some key things to look for:
  • Does the offer include professional editing?
  • If the offer includes book formatting, does it also include professional marketing, including placement on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and other book-selling web sites? Most do this, by the way.
  • If the offer includes marketing, will it cost you too much to buy your own copies, for your own book signings and other public appearances?
  • If you seriously consider going this way, it is essential that you not rush into a decision with the first offer that looks spectacular. There are lots of "spectacular" offers. 
  • Three things to do, taking the time, before you decide: (1) Study the most appealing offer, and (2) compare all of it, line by line, with at least five other businesses offering similar services, and (3) see if recommendations from other offers include praise that their books are doing well, or only praise that their books look good and the service was excellent.
Your book was important enough that you spent time writing and rewriting it. Make sure your book gets the right help for sales!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Get Your Book Noticed"-KR

Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. ...Image via Wikipedia
 Kirkus Reviews says, "Get Your Book Noticed"
Not so long ago, the traditional publishing and marketing world shrugged off (or worse)  self-published books. That has changed, and not just because John Grisham published the first edition of A Time to Kill, or that people learned why Charles Dickens self-published A Christmas Carol. His own publisher would not touch it-"not profitable; too short."

Today, more than ever, self-published authors trend toward a professional view, different from their predecessors even five or ten years ago. The smartest of them focus on improved writing, book production, marketing,the bottom line, and expectations. Yes, there remain schemers making money off writers not learning the self-publishing trade. And it is, friends, a demanding profession. There are still over-confident writers that imagine buyers rushing to their books by the thousands, or millions. But those types or stages you find in almost any profession or trade. Especially true of work meant to go public in a highly competitive market.

It is hard work (examine closely any claims to the contrary), and usually with slow, if any, remarkable money profits (ditto).

If you are an author, you can investigate Kirkus Reviews, one of the biggest book reviewers, as well as others. Learn how they propose to help books like yours. They want you to do it, and I'm glad to encourage investigation. Be wise about what they promise to do, and don't blame them if you don't do your part. What they want to do is this: Help. Authors. Promote. Their self-published books.

Self-publishing authors able to cooperate with the specifics behind the help and what is needed on their part, for that to work, need eyes wide open and willingness to try. That would be, I opine, a far, far better thing to do than to pay anyone to promote a book, or to take no special action to help one's own book. It's good there are those willing to help, depending on their own advertisers and not authors' money.

There are ways to shine a spotlight on outstanding, professional, and author-ready self-published books!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Author Support Blog: Advent Writing

Author Support Blog: Advent Writing: "Writers, there is time to participate in poetry, articles, essays, or short dramas of Advent.

Advent Writing

Writers, there is time to participate in poetry, articles, essays, or short dramas of Advent. Today is the second Sunday of Advent. There are two more, before Christmas Sunday. Perhaps your first step will be to learn more. For example, how and when did Advent come to be a special time in many churches, Catholic and Protestant?

Fulfillment of Scripture prophecies of a Messiah to come began to unfold when Gabriel appeared to the father of John the Baptist and to Mary, a virgin of Nazareth. Later, when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to be dedicated in the temple, God rewarded the faith of Simeon, who had been looking for the coming of the Messiah for many years. (See Luke 2: 25-40.)
When the church began to incorporate this anticipation, it chose a Latin word, adventus, for it. Adventus means coming. Advent, the Coming of the Lord to dwell among us, to preach good tidings unto the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, declare liberty to the captives and the opening of prisons to those who are bound, as written by Isaiah (60: 1-3) and fulfilled by the Lord in the synagogue when he stood to read Isaiah's words (Luke 4).

To begin study or writing along these lines, Aquinas & More website has information, some of which I share below. Thomas Aquinas of the 13th Century and Protestants and Catholics today share emphasis on salvation, or justification before God, "by faith alone," through Jesus Christ.  O, Come all ye faithful...O come, let us Adore Him.

What is Advent?

"...Advent is a preparatory season. It has significance because it is a season of looking forward and waiting for something greater; both for the annual celebration of the event of Christ's birth, and for the time when Christ will come again.

"As noted in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, during Advent, the faithful are asked:
  • to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
  • thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
  • thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.

Origin and History of Advent

"The exact time when the season of Advent came to be celebrated is not precisely known. Of course, it was not in practice before the celebration of the Nativity and Christmastide began; the earliest evidence shows that the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord was established within the later part of the 4th century. There are homilies from the 5th century that discuss preparation in a general sense, but do not indicate an official liturgical season....

"...it seems the liturgical season was established around the latter part of the 6th century and first half of the 7th century. For the next couple of centuries, Advent was celebrated for five Sundays; Pope Gregory VII, who was pope from 1073-85, reduced the number to four Sundays.

Advent Today

Since the latter 6th century or early 7th century  "...the themes and traditions of the Advent season have evolved....Today a penitential theme ... is blended with the theme of prayerful, spiritual preparation for the second and final coming of the Lord, as well as the joyful preparation for the annual festive remembrance of the Incarnation and Christ's birth.

Advent Traditions

"Advent celebration and traditions can vary from place to place, influenced by culture."
Source/Reference: http://www.aquinasandmore.com/catholic-articles/The-History-and-Meaning-of-Advent/article/173

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Prayer Team for These Writing Times

 "Intercessors for These Times" is part of the free Opinari Quarterly writers, publishing professionals, book lovers and reviewers newsletter. Nine committed intercessors pray without always knowing names, but always knowing requests sent by subscribers.
 Songs & Prayers from TaizeJesus taught us to pray faithfully and often. We carry on this faith and prayer connection to help others in Christ. Subscribers request anonymously or by name.

From the Bible/Philippians 1/NIV-as the apostle Paul wrote: "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving and Christmas Comfort

Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are full of joy for many people and for regrets or sorrows for others. They can be times of companionship and fellowship, or of loneliness, even in a crowd. Once again, I think of the soul comfort that we need again and again, whether alone or happily with others. I return to a book that I can open at any page and find something of comfort and faith there. In that way, it is like the Bible, for it is full of God's words. 

The Mourner's Comforter is an unusual, remarkable book, number five, chronologically, on my list of important books. This book landed on my path at just the right time. I believe that God sent Charles H. Spurgeon and C. S. Lewis to walk me into the kingdom through their books-The Mourner's Comforter (CHS) and Surprised by Joy (CSL). The Mourner's Comforter convincingly shows God's call to us, to give us extraordinary strength and hope in every circumstance. 
My older brother, Gerald, gave me my first copy of this book, which he put back into circulation. To see The Mourner's Comforter available again fulfilled a dream my brother and I later shared. Now, it helps me face my brother's present illness and weakness. God helps his family every day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Christian Authors, Different Stories, Draw Together to Help

Children of Dreams
A Lever Long Enough Fiction writer Amy Deardon is the author of A Lever Long Enough and she wrote: "I recently joined the John 3:16 Network," a marketing network put together by Lorilyn Roberts..."I am pleased to announce the book launch of KNOWING GOD by one of the John 3:16 members, Sana Edoja."
Knowing God (Volume 0)
Author Sana Edoja was born in France of French and Moroccan parents. In 1995, she moved to the UK to improve her English. "Struggling to make a living while in the UK, my life turned around when I believed and was baptized into Christ Jesus, confessing Him as my Lord and Saviour. I saw the power of God at work in my life. It was this experience that motivated me to write my first book “Knowing God”, which I believe will help those who are seeking God to get a better understanding of the riches of the Kingdom of God."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Children's Book Authors - Gifts, News, Recommendations

Exhausted Rapunzel: Tales of Modern Castle LifeA Child's Garden of VersesBooks Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children's LiteratureHoney for a Child's Heart

If you are the author of a children's book, is it an e-book yet? More and more children are reading on gadgets and gizmos, though I don't see the attraction. They do, however, and it's up to us to be ready. Keep this in mind, whether you take action now or later, to offer your book or books as electronic reading.

One of my favorite books for my pre-schoolers was A Child's Garden of Verses (Robert Louis Stevenson). Now, a companion coloring book is also available.
A favorite for my choices was formatted by ages, Honey for a Child's Heart. Now, there's Exhausted Rapunzel: Tales of Modern Castle Life-my favorite for family laughs by adults and children.

Children's e-book news from TGDaily.com: 

"...Barnes & Noble has turned its attention to a group of consumers with ...a strong place in the world of literature - children.
"The #1 brick-and-mortar bookseller has launched a new version of its Nook software and online Nook store, called Nook Kids. There will soon be a special "Nook Kids" app for the iPad, iPhone, and other Nook-enabled devices. Additionally, Barnes & Noble will launch NookKids.com early next week.
 "The new kid-centric marketing approach will bring more than 12,000 children's books, aimed at the 3- to 8-year-old market, to the digital scene. Much like how children today are growing up alongside computers, it seems logical they should start using e-readers from an early age as well...." Click here to read it all.

(c) Jean Purcell

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Screenwriters Do Not Always Flee, "Like Some ...People": SECRETARIAT, the movie

 Screenplay By: Mike Rich
I live not far from the Preakness racetrack, where Secretariat won the second race of his historic 1973 Triple Crown. I just saw the movie. It's terrific! 

Later, I read a Secretariat review by :
"Randall Wallace’s Secretariat opens with a voice-over by the movie’s star, Diane Lane, quoting from the Book of Job. If, like most sane people, you’re inclined to flee movies that open with biblical quotes..." [ital. added]. *(from Job 39)

"Have you given the horse its strength or clothed its neck with a flowing mane? Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust? Its majestic snorting is terrifying! It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength when it charges out to battle. It laughs at fear and is unafraid. It does not run from the sword. The arrows rattle against it, and the spear and javelin flash. It paws the ground fiercely and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows. It snorts at the sound of the horn. It senses the battle in the distance. It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle" (Job 39: 19-24).

The movie is fun, exciting, wondrous, and tells a true story..well, see it for yourself.

The script was based on a book about Secretariat by Bill Nack.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Predictions, News, Rumors about Books and E-books

Whew! Think about this!
"...Kindle’s domination of e-book readers seems to be at an end. Credit Suisse predicts that over the next five years Amazon’s 90 percent of e-book market share will drop to 35 percent. That’s because Apple and Google are muscling in with snappier readers (the iPad) and the easy-to-access, direct e-book downloader, Google Editions. Assuming Apple and Google are successful, these three powerhouses will soon be splitting the market roughly evenly. Should Amazon be worried? Should publishers?" - Source: National Book Network/Book Sense. 

What does this have to do with us? Many authors are going with POD through Amazon.com. Maybe that's a good idea, if done after lots of research and strategies about advantages and use, now and into the future. What to believe? Rumor, news,  hope...predictions of downfall and uprising. We'll wait actively and try to stay informed. Check out ForeWord, Book Sense, Publishers Weekly and other sources of publishing and book-selling news-regularly.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


What better job is there for a book lover?
I love what I do to develop books, which means working with authors. Every product has a person behind it, and I get to analyze authors' work, respectfully. I analyze, edit, and help shape the writing as a concept. What more could I ask for, as a writing mentor, than to help shape the writer's concept so that it reaches readers in a form that is accessible, interesting, entertaining, and meaningful?

Here are the basics I recommend, and see if these apply to you: You need, of course, outstanding grammar and composition skills of the language. BUT...you also need something indefinable, something you are almost born with or have developed unintentionally. It is the something that helps you "judge" the writing, the feel of it, the voice of the writer, and what to strengthen in all of that, to reach readers that will love and appreciate the work. This analytical set of skills tells you what works and what does not. If you have this "sense," then by all means treasure, develop, and refine it. Above all, use it.  

And, Wow! What is "dumped" can be "recycled." It is not "trash," but is material better used somewhere else. I want always to help writers save all of their work that is good, whether or not it works for the book they send to me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Marketing Network for Authors Excited to Launch I'M A KEEPER Parenting Book

Click here to read more about Lorilyn Roberts
Lorilyn Roberts is a parent and the founder of John 3:16 Author Group. Lorilyn says:  "Whether you goal is to correct bad behavior or to take your relationship with your child to a new level, THIS parenting book WILL give you the tools you need and the explanations to apply your new knowledge that will MAKE AN EXTRAORDINARY DIFFERENCE. For a Limited Time I’M A KEEPER comes with some extraordinary GIFTS. Get them here: http://tinyurl.com/23rrxt6"

I'm a Keeper, by Ray W. Lincoln 
Buy, Read, Share, Discuss in Groups. We recommend.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I think you need to think strategically about who publishes your book. Strategy requires much thought and care. Decisions about publishing are among the most important a writer ever makes. Shall I publish myself? Shall I submit book queries and proposals to a list of established publishing houses? What publishing houses whould I consider, the ones publishing the kind of books I write? If I decide to aim for an established publishing house, should I submit query and proposal only to them, or to more? If I self-publish, is that the same as "vanity publishing"?

Whatever your decision, be glad to take credit for it. Hey, we've all been there as authors. Some authors are "over the moon" happy about their decisions about publishing, while others end up "in the dumps" about it. Read as much as you can about others' experiences. All the best to you in researching and carrying through on this! 
Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 Proposals That Sold and WhyDan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, &)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Have You Lost Your Mind - er, Focus?

"Why do I keep butting my head against the writing wall???!!!" Does this sound like you? It sounds like me, sometimes. We need to keep going back to basics of why we write. Why do we do this? It helps, believe me, to use two kinds of mission statements. I know, sounds crazy. "Can words solve my problem?" you may wonder. I'm serious here: There is something good about mission statments. They do work to calm us down and help us get on with what we want to do, no matter what.
The first kind of statement is general. It covers why you write, what, and to what readers. Maybe you write fiction. Or, maybe nonfiction. I don't know. Maybe you write both, and also are a poet. Whatever, you need a mission statement for what you do or want to do,
Trust me on this, and go to the second kind: You need a focus, or mission, statement for every writing project you do.
For both kinds of statements, start with lots of expressive words that speak for what the work intends to be about and do. Then, narrow it down in stages until there is one sentence of 14 words. No more than 14 words. Less, yes; more, no. This word limit works. Can't explain it, but it does, and I've had lots of feedback from writers. There's no fluff. No fanciness. Just the core of the mission. Then, assess the work of the project by the mission statement. If a mission statement is weak or incorrect, correct it. But whatever you do, make sure the writing and the mission statement (no more than 14 words) are in harmony.
In the Company of Others: A Father Tim NovelMitford Series by Jan Karon Books 1-9These High, Green Hills (The Mitford Years #3)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Need to Know Your Strengths

'Had an interesting conversation at a reception today in DC. Someone told me about Gallup Press's Now, Discover Your Strengths book. It has a quick assessment tool, developed by the people who do stats and poll designs. The tool identifies five or more key strengths, such as analytical thinking, communication, and strategic thinking. It takes under 30 seconds to do the assessment. Then, a report is given. (Not yet sure how that works, but will find out.) Then, one can get information and ideas about how to develop weaker strengths.
As well as creative thinking and writing skills, we need to develop skills related to organization, planning, plotting, managing, strategies, analysis, Search Amazon.com. I'm going to order a copy and do the assessment. More later about this.

The Gift The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesClapton

What is "the thing"?

The professional requirements of publishing, by others or self, are as much "the thing" as the book or script. Hamlet knew his goal - to catch the conscience of the king:
"I'll have grounds
More relative than this—the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King."
The author's "thing" is to earn the interest of editors, reviewers, readers....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's Your Genre?

You're writing something. Is it a book, play, film script? What is the genre, or category?
Choose from the list below.  You can have more than one; for example, the book Les Miserables is fiction/history.
Genre takes into account subject matter/topic and audience

You're Writing Your First Book

First time authors assume that "the book is the thing," to borrow from Shakespeare. Publishing basics are as much "the thing" as the book in progress.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Are You in Partnership as a Christian Writer?

The apostle Paul wrote about being "in partnership with the gospel." Those were the ones he prayed for without ceasing. What does it mean to be in this kind of partnership? Have we thought much about this?

As writers, we are free to write about anything that can help others. That is my view. As lights in this world, when we give a cup of kindness, we give in the name of Jesus Christ, whom we follow and love. When we give a gallon of forgiveness, we give in the same Spirit.

To me, this is a mini-picture of what it means to be "in partnership with the gospel." We have learned kindness over reciprocity for hurt to us, and forgiveness over those who would seek our worst. Similarly, we hope for kindness and forgiveness from one another, for all of us "fall short of the gospel."

Does our writing reflect these principles that the Lord teaches us today?