3 Questions Wednesday ~ Sarah Van Diest

Good morning! It is my pleasure to welcome Sarah Van Diest to Inspired Prompt. Sarah’s new book is God In the Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In. She wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. Letters can be an amazing gift when you are hurting. I’m eager to learn more about Sarah. How about you?

Sarah back cover pic

Good morning, Sarah.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Creative, compassionate and philosophical.

Someone who takes the time to write letters to hurting friends is definitely compassionate. 🙂

Philosophical: having a calm attitude toward a difficult or unpleasant situation. Next question . . .

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

A trip to Ireland would fill me. One of my favorite authors lived, worked and wrote there: John O’Donahue. I would love to see the places he wrote about in books like Conamara Blues and Beauty.

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Ireland is a beautiful place. Now for your last question.

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

“You Are My Hiding Place”

I fell in love with this song back in the 90s. It is still a great worship song. Readers, to hear “You Are My Hiding Place” click on the song title above.

Click to Tweet: Sarah Van Diest is with us today on Inspired Prompt @InspiredPrompt #interview #giveaway

Readers, Sarah is offering a print copy of God In The Dark to one commenter.

U. S. addresses only.


God In The Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In

GITD cover-1

When you are in the dark places of your life, Sarah Van Diest offers a companion for the path you are walking. You will find a voice of comfort and truth to call you back to the light, to help you see that you are never alone, never too far gone, and never unloved. This collection of 31 devotions doesn’t minimize the reality of your struggles, but rather points you to where God is—walking right alongside you. Receive this hope in the pain, God in the Dark.

To find out more about the book visit God In The Dark


Sarah back cover pic

Sarah Van Diest is a writer and editor. She’s the mother of two boys, stepmother to three more, and wife to David. Sarah wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. She’s done this for years for numerous friends and will continue to, Lord willing. It’s her gift to them. It’s hope written down.

 

5 Strategies to Grow Your Readership

 

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Marketing is important to any business

 

by Bonita Y. McCoy

When you think about word-of-mouth marketing, you might envision the office water cooler where everyone stands around catching up on the latest shows or current events. A place where someone might say, “Hey, have you read Ted Dekker’s book? It’s great.”

Though this is word of mouth, it’s not exactly what is meant by word-of-mouth marketing. At the water cooler, you don’t have any control over the topic. People might talk about your book, or they might talk about what’s for lunch in the cafeteria.

So, I’d like to take the ‘might’ out of the equation.

Here are five tactics that will help grow your readership and create your network of influencers to spread the word about your next book.

  • Direct Mailing: There is a lot to be said for the personal touch. Deb Haggerty in her workshop at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference pointed out the importance of thank you notes and nice to meet you notes, to people you connect with at networking events.

A mailed note to the person is best, but if all you have is their email, then send a message that way. The point is to keep the connection alive, and the door open for future contact. In doing this, you will add to your list of influencers, beta readers, and writing buddies.

Postcards with the book cover on the front are also an effective way to use direct mailing. These are great to announce to friends and family that your book is out.  A colorful card addressed to the individual will make a bigger impression than a post to no one in particular on Facebook.

With Direct Mailing, start with the those you know and build from there. It does take more time, but the personal touch will turn the fans on your mailing list into super fans.

IMG_loved your work

  • Reviews: Set aside a number of books to give to readers in return for an honest review. The key here is an honest review. Never pay for a review. If you’re just starting out, remember to get reviews from those outside your family circle. They will carry more weight.

In business terms, a review is a referral, so make it a habit to ask readers to write one. It will influence future customers who are trying to decide between your book and the one next to it.

  • Create an Author Partnership: The idea here is to gather a group of authors who write in your genre and pool your influence and readership.

Several writers have done this with blogs, but another way to use a group like this is to add excerpts from one writer’s novel in the back of another’s.

Traditional publishers use to do this all the time. They would market the author’s upcoming release in the back of the current work and then have an excerpt from a new or lesser known author there as well. By doing this, you’ve given another author a chance with your readership, and you’ve given your vote of confidence. My only warning: be familiar with the other author’s work.

Then when that author’s book comes out, it’s their turn to host your excerpt from an upcoming title.

  • Street Teams: This is a team of friends, family, and fans who are willing to read your book, share about it on social media once a week for a month or so, and give an honest review. Some authors hold book launches with their street teams. Others provide their teams with swag like bookmarks, postcards, or even tee-shirts with the book’s title and cover on it.

These teams can be set up locally or the author may choose to set several up in different cities to widen the sphere of influence.

Street teams are a great way to involve others in the behind the scenes activities of your writing life. They are extremely valuable, so treat them with respect and a great deal of generosity. The more you give; the more you get.

  • Share and Share Alike: Social Media runs on likes, shares, and comments. If you want social media to work for you, create real connections.

We have all seen the posts where the only time you hear from that friend is when he or she has something to sell you. In author circles, that something is their book. Don’t be that friend.

Share other people’s work, pictures, funny comments, and they will share yours. Like those shots of the pig in the tutu and pass them on. Make real connections with real people, and when you announce that your book is coming out, they will be the first to congratulate you and share it.

Word-of-mouth marketing is all about people. As professionals, we should treat others with respect and try to be others-oriented. It’s not about what others can do for us, but rather, what we can do for them. If you use these strategies with others in mind, you’ll not only find success; you’ll find satisfaction. And who knows maybe it’ll be your book being discussed at the water cooler.

Click to Tweet: In business terms, a review is a referral, so make it a habit to ask readers to write one. @InspiredPrompt #marketing #writetip

Writing Prompt: Make a list of potential Street Team members, then construct an upbeat email to send to them, or write three thank you notes to friends and family who support your writing.

Book Launch Party

Book Launch header picby Shirley Crowder

You have just hit send, and your galley edits are on the way to your publisher. Whew! You have about three seconds to relish the feeling of completion before you need to get back to the work of planning how to launch your new book once it is published.

While planning all the things you can do to help publicize the launch of your new book, consider planning a Launch Party aka Book Signing.

I felt a little awkward about throwing myself a Launch Party.

A wise friend told me to make it a time of praising the Lord for His leadership and the gifts, talents, and experience that enabled you to bring the study guide to publication. That, I could do!

Here’s what I did for the Launch Party. Hopefully these will get you thinking about things you can do for your Launch Party.

It is important here to tell you that the Lord has blessed me with so many very dear Prayer Warrior friends on whom I can call to help me accomplish so a myriad of things—including a Launch Party!

1.   Order Book Copies

Once you know when you will have the books in-hand, you can check venue dates and print your invitations. Remember to also have copies of other books you wrote on-hand. Consider offering a discounted price for those who purchase the book at the Launch Party.

2.    Venue

There is a wonderful chapel in our area that a dear friend owns and rents out for weddings, receptions, parties, etc. It was perfect for my Launch Party.

3.    Invitations

LuanchPartyINVI have a dear friend whose print shop is well-known in our area for producing wonderful invitations of all sorts. I kept mine simple as you see in the picture. I mailed some, hand-delivered others, and secured the jpg of the invitation to email to some folks and put on social media.

4.    Food & Drinks

sjc-cake-food tableI emailed some of my closest friends and asked if they would bring food items. I didn’t want a lot of different things, just a lot of a few things. We had sweet and salty and even healthy. Since I live in the south, sweet tea was a must. We served unsweet tea, lemonade, water, and coffee. Nothing fancy. A crew of friends came early to get everything laid out and ready to serve.

5.    Cake

If you are blessed to have a wonderfully talented baker/artist friend, you can have an awesome cake made! I wanted a Bible as the foundation of the cake as it is the foundation of our books. And, I asked that the Bible look tattered and well-used which you can see below.

Cake cu

On top of the Bible I wanted Harriet’s book on prayer and then Study Guide on Prayer (new book) on top.

Be sure to note the purple bookmark in the Bible, as well as the purple quill pen and inkwell.

6.    Decorations

White lattice and a little lace (as you saw in the picture above) made a great backdrop for the food/drink tables. Each table where people would sit had a centerpiece comprised of candles (the venue had on-hand) and purple paper flowers. A crew of friends came early to get everything decorated.

7.    Giveaways / Door Prizes

Each person was given a number for the door prize drawing. I gave away copies of all of my books and Harriet’s and a few other things. Before the drawings (we drew several numbers every half hour), I welcomed everyone and talked about the book or read excerpts.

As each person left, they took home a book cookie with the study guide title on it, These were made by another dear friend.

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8.    Book Table

A friend manned the table and sales for me. I discounted all the prices. And, if someone brought their copy of Harriet’s book on prayer that the new study guide goes with, they received an additional discount on the study guide.

9.    Book Signing

A podium made a great place for signing books and having pics made with my friends.

signing podium

10.   Pictures

Ask several people to take candid pictures throughout the event. You may also consider purchasing some disposable cameras, placing them on the tables, and encouraging your guests to take pics.

 11.  Enjoy yourself!

With the right planning, you can spend your time visiting with your friends, signing books, and having your picture made a gazillion times!

Writing Prompt: Include Launch Party plans as part of your total plan for your new book. It will bless you and all those who are able to attend.

Click to Tweet: Make the Launch Party a time to thank the Lord for His grace that enables you to write, for a publisher who is willing to publish your book, for all the Prayer Warriors who have consistently prayed for you during the process.

3 Questions with Cynthia Roemer

 

IMG_3623This morning we welcome author Cynthia Roemer.  Readers, be sure to leave Cynthia a comment for a chance to win a  copy of her book Under Prairie Skies. Good morning, Cynthia.

Describe yourself in 3 words: 

Cynthia: Faithful, Quiet, Outdoorsy

I love the outdoors too.

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Cynthia: Well, since I write historical fiction, rather than be sent somewhere, I would wish to be transported into the past. It would be so wonderful to take a trip back to the 1850’s to experience life as it was during the setting of my novels. And just think how much time I would save in research. LOL!

LOL! That would be a fantastic trip.

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song? 

Cynthia: I would have to say, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from the animated version of Cinderella. Since I was a teenager I dreamed of being a published novelist. It’s been a long journey, but the Lord is faithful. Though it took thirty years, He allowed the dream in my heart to come to fruition. For that I’m truly grateful and give Him the praise!

I agree, Cynthia. God is truly faithful. Thank you for joining us on Inspired Prompt and allowing us to know you better.

Click to Tweet: Though it took thirty years, He allowed the dream in my heart to come to fruition. For that I’m truly grateful and give Him the praise!

Readers, don’t forget to leave Cynthia a comment for a chance to win a copy of Under Prairie Skies.
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UNDER PRAIRIE SKIES

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Book Cover ~ Under Prairie Skies (Final)Illinois prairie ~1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths are destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

AUTHOR BIO: 

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under Prairie Skies is Book Two in her Prairie Sky Series.

Contact Info:

IMG_3623Cynthia Roemer can be contacted at:

Website:  http://cynthiaroemer.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com@cynthiaroemer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaRoemer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16785237.Cynthia_Roemer

Author Newsletter Sign-up: http://cynthiaroemer.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Where is Your Tribe?

 

By Tammy Trail

For the purpose of this article, I chose to research Facebook as a marketing tool. One source called Facebook obsolete, an unreliable venue to reach readers. Unless you have a fan base that likes and shares your post to garner interest, the news feeds in Facebook algorithms will not promote your posts unless you pay for it. Therefore, you must continuously engage your community to be noticed.

I have seen many author friends use Facebook to have virtual parties to promote new releases of their just-published work. Some parties are hosted by one author; other parties are hosted by several authors coming together to promote their work and to reach a new community of followers.

I polled a few of my author friends and asked the following questions.

  1. Were your expectations met by the number of participants who attended your Facebook party?
  2. Did it help with the sale of your book?
  3. Were you able to gather names for an email list or obtain more followers interested in your work?

Most authors felt that it was well worth the time to host a Facebook party. The authors who choose to join a group effort had more people attend their parties. Therefore, they had more folks to participate in the fun. These authors were able to reach new prospects by introducing themselves to an audience that may not have sought out their work simply because the author was unknown to the individual.

I was surprised to learn from my author poll that the purpose of having the Facebook party was not to sell books. Say what? I thought your main focus once you are published is to sell books. I realized that most of these well-loved authors care about their readers and choose to create a community or a tribe if you will. They enjoy the connection with those who love to read their books. Facebook parties can include raffles, giveaways, or teasers for the next book in a series. Some authors ask for input from their readers. For example, naming a character in their new work in progress. Others like giving a spoiler and letting the reader provide the rest of the plot for a scene in a new story.

The authors I polled didn’t gather names during their Facebook parties, they told me they have an author website for that purpose. Most felt they did garner more followers either on Facebook or their websites from participating in Facebook parties. The primary mission for the Facebook parties is for an author to introduce themselves to a possible readership, and to have fun! One author told me that after a book is published, it’s all about the reader. As an author, your job is to build a relationship with your reader, not to focus on yourself.

I also learned that I have my work cut out for me. I don’t have an author website or an author page on Facebook. I love to have fun. I love meeting people who are as passionate about history as I am and reading the same kind of books that I do. I guess without those folks, we would be the only one to read our beloved works of art. So, the next time you get an invite to a Facebook party, join in, have fun, meet new people. You already have something in common: the love of reading.

Click to Tweet: You already have something in common: the love of reading. @InspiredPrompt #marketing #writetip

Writing Prompt: Which famous author would you love to have stop by your Facebook party to launch your new book?