Pinterest: Your Neighborhood Billboard

I find Pinterest an ideal place to goof off when I have some extra time on my hands. I found through some research that it’s also a great place to promote as an author.

Now that I have a novella finished I need to start building a platform to showcase my work. I’m not comfortable with the idea that I might make a big, hairy deal out of myself. However, I want people to get to know me and my writing, so I will need to learn how to entice folks to read my story.

One way I used Pinterest was to create a storyboard of my novella, Patriot Hearts. In fact, I used the same title of my novella for that Pinterest  board. I selected pictures from the internet of my hero, Major John Tennant, and my heroine, Miss Elaine Henderson, to represent them as my characters.  I also have elements of the story pinned to that board as well, such as images of a primitive church that may have existed during the American Revolution, or  colonial homes, fashion, and kites.

Pinterest can also be used as a marketing tool. I plan to create a new board to promote my book using the cover,  and a link where it can be found. I would also like to compare it to other published books during the same time period, and subject. I can also link a Twitter account or a Facebook author page to that promotion.There is still a lot of work to do even with a finished book. That book has now become a product. I am now the main promoter of that product, and need to find consumers who want to be entertained by a good story. Hopefully, after they are engaged with my work, a consumer will tell others about how much they enjoyed it.  I don’t know if my Mother counts, but she likes my story. On my Pinterest page you can also find boards for Colonial Trivia, Logos Sisters; which are writer helps. Books worth reading (of course I do need to add mine there), and Words that inspire.

In my spare time I also like to make jewelry and I have found wonderful examples through Pinterest to pin to my Jewelry board. With the popularity of Pinterest for recipe searches, and consumer goods, I see an opportunity to use it to promote my book also. It’s my hope that it will be a great tool to showcase my story.

Writing Prompt: Have you used Pinterest to showcase your work? If so, share your experience using Pinterest as a social media tool.

Click to Tweet: #Pinterest: Your Neighborhood Billboard via #InspiredPrompt –#how-to of self-promo and book marketing.

Is God Real? Prove it! A Child’s Defense by Pam Antoun

Today we’d like to welcome author, Pam Antoun, to the Inspired Prompt blog and introduce her new book. After her daughter was confronted on the playground because she was Christian, Pam wrote a children’s book, Is God Real? Prove It! A Child’s Defense to help children defend their faith.

Glad you could join us, Pam! Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

Pam:  For the past four years, my car has been my portable office as I chauffeur my daughters to and from school, martial arts and music lessons. There were many productive writing sessions in school car lines and during my daughters’ after school activities.

What is your book about?

Pam: How do you know God is real? Is it a mere feeling or a hope? Or is there something more you can point to that proves you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of a loving and majestic God?

In Is God Real? Prove It! A Child’s Defense, two middle grade children, Amanda and Josiah are confronted with this very challenge. Nine-year-old Gavin has a difficult past that fuels his cynical attitude toward God and church; he craves love, acceptance, and meaning, but he struggles with distrust. When he sees Amanda and Josiah excited about an upcoming church event, Gavin is shocked anyone can happily attend church or believe in God. As Amanda and Josiah answer Gavin, another quick witted schoolmate, Sophia, joins in questioning, and sees something different in Josiah and Amanda – a warmth and peace she desires for herself.

Both Gavin and Sophia believe they are fine living without God.  Can Amanda and Josiah stand their ground without shaking their faith in God? Even more, can they share their faith and help their friends embrace the good news?

What is your favorite part of the book?

Pam: The way children speak honestly and directly about what they believe, the obstacles many children face to establishing a relationship with God, and how children can help others overcome their obstacles. This book could be read individually and can also be used in discussion settings. It includes questions and answers for each chapter along with Bible references explaining the answer source.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp?

Pam: 

  • God commands us to know the reason for our hope in Him and be prepared to explain it to others when asked. Over 70% of children are falling away from the Christian faith after entering high school and college. Children need to be equipped to defend their faith before entering high school.
  • God created us because He wants a loving relationship with us. The most important decision in life is whether we choose to establish a relationship with Him. The only way we can have a relationship with God is through Jesus Christ.
  • Certainty that God is real and increased confidence in speaking about why the reader is certain. God gives everyone clear evidence of His existence.

Where can readers find you online?

Pam: Here’s where you can connect with me on social media.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PamAntounAuthor

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/PamAntounAuthor

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/pam-antoun-author

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PamAntounAuthor

Website: pamantoun.com (coming soon)

Click to tweet: Pam Antoun’s book asks: How do you know God is real? Is it a mere feeling or a hope? Or is there something more you can point to that proves you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of a loving and majestic God?  #amwriting #children


Is God Real? Prove It! A Child’s Defense

Gavin, with a difficult past, and Sophia’s quick witted curiosity challenge Amanda and Josiah’s faith in God. Can Amanda and Josiah stand their ground without shaking their faith?

“Is God Real? Prove It!”:

– answers tough questions about God

– defends the Christian faith

– helps establish a relationship with God

– encourages spiritual growth

– includes discussion and reflection questions.


Pam Antoun

Author/Editor/Teacher

Pam Antoun has over 20 years of experience teaching children in Sunday school and Bible camp environments. After her daughter was confronted on the playground because she was Christian, Pam wrote a children’s book, “Is God Real? Prove It! A Child’s Defense” to help children defend their faith. She strives to draw people closer to God and equip them to defend their faith. In addition to writing, she enjoys raising her daughters, swimming, trips to the beach, and painting.

Prior to starting a family, Pam worked extensively in software engineering, quality assurance, and process improvement.

Favorite Bible verse: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (New American Standard Bible)

Professional Affiliations: Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Word Weavers International, Toastmasters International

Education: Master of Science/Systems Engineering, Bachelor of Science/Computer Science

Instagram Your Life

Snap a photo, send it to Instagram—instant sharing!

Instagram’s motto is: Strengthening relationships through shared experiences.

This was the premise for the original version of Instagram, and the younger set loved it! These days, everyone’s getting involved. As a result, Instagram is evolving.

With Instagram’s newest feature called “stories,” you can create a series of photos somewhat like a slideshow. So you can showcase those wedding pics or vacation snapshots in a quick story that will disappear … at the end of the day. Wait a minute—isn’t that kind of like that other platform—Snapchat?

Exactly!

You can snap photos throughout the day and add them to your story. Best vacation ever? Share it with your friends.

Researching your next novel set in Ireland? By all means, share the highlights with your readers. That’s an attention-getter! You may glean a harvest of followers with that one.

Disappearing what? You can shoot a photo and send it to a particular friend. As soon as they look at the photo, it disappears. There’s something a little sneaky about that, but if you’re interested, you’ll find the directions here: How to send disappearing photos in Instagram. Take care what you send, though. Just because it disappears doesn’t mean it’s not out there somewhere…seen by someone.

Instagram is another great way to connect with readers. And let me just say, it’s not another way to advertise your books. It’s a chance to engage readers, and gain their interest and attention by sharing your interests.

Are you a bird watcher? Share your beautiful photos of birds. Love hiking or early morning walks? Snap photos along the way.

Need suggestions? Look up one of your favorite authors and study what they share. One of my favorites inspires me daily with her morning walks in the country (she lives on a farm). Another posts what she’s cooking that day. Two very good suggestions, but don’t just mimic them, make them your own.

So far, I’ve talked about ways to connect with readers in a personal way, which I believe is the best way to make friends. But, what if you want to share your latest and greatest book release? Or a book that’s on sale?

Honestly, I hate to see Instagram go the way of the overstuffed Facebook profiles chock-full of ads. But, there are tasteful ways to get your message out there. I’ve seen some very high-end brands doing this, and if it’s artfully done, you can make a positive impression.

For instance, snap a photo of someone reading your book. Tell a story. Some companies hire storytellers to craft ads and marketing campaigns. Put your writer’s brain to work finding unique ways to market yourself and your books.

Remember the ad, “What’s in your wallet?” Involve friends and family members, and have them show what’s in their book bag, purse, briefcase, suitcase, or on their E-reader. Your latest release is there, of course.

Take the book along on your travels. Post a shot of a beautiful landscape or building with your book in the foreground. Just imagine it!

These are only a few suggestions. I hope you’ll be inspired to create some truly unique scenes. But don’t make it all about your books. Remember, social media is for connecting with people. Most of us are uncomfortable with an in-your-face salesperson pressuring you to buy their product. Don’t be that person. Have fun with Instagram, and don’t forget to visit your friends there.

A few helpful hints about Instagram:

  • Double-click on a friend’s picture to “love” it. You can also click the heart beneath the pic.
  • Click the little speech balloon emblem to comment on the photo (keep it short).
  • Click the paper airplane emblem to send the photo, or share it with a friend.
  • Click the ribbon emblem on the far right to save the photo. You’ll see “Save to collection”—click on that to save. You can also choose to view saved photos.
  • Instagram has some pretty cool filters for your photos, but don’t overdo. Less is definitely more.
  • Same with hashtags. Instagram has its own unique set of hashtags. Google “Instagram hashtags” to find the most popular ones. Just don’t overdo it.
  • Post often. You can post the photos from your phone on both Instagram and Facebook in a single move.
  • Super-simple icons at the bottom of your phone screen make moving around in Instagram easy.
    • Home
    • Search (easy way to find interesting stories)
    • Add photo (from your files)
    • Heart (who has liked your photos)
    • Profile

There are so many more things you can do in Instagram. You’ll find helpful tutorials and articles on the internet if you’re ready to get serious with your Instagram account. The best way to learn is to jump in and start posting. Just remember to add value with what you post. Your friends will ❤ you for it. 🙂

Click to Tweet: #Instagram is a great way to connect with readers. It’s a chance to engage with others, gain their interest and attention by sharing your interests. Instagram Your Life via @InspiredPrompt from @batowens. #socialmedia #marketing

Writing Prompt: Selfies from Marcella’s latest dog-walk adventure made a great story for Instagram, especially when Don Juan, the Great Dane, caught sight of…

3 Questions Wednesday with Jennifer Slattery

Good morning! It is a great pleasure to welcome back my friend, Jennifer Slattery, to Inspired Prompt. Jennifer has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. She does this through speaking, blogging, and writing novels. I’m eager to learn even more about Jennifer. How about you?

Good morning, Jennifer.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Jennifer: This is hard–largely because I’m not sure I can do anything in three words. ha! I had to ask my husband. He said energetic, talkative, communicator.

I totally agree. I’d add in loyal friend. But that’s two words. 🙂 Next Question:

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

Jennifer: Hmm … I think one of the beach towns in northern Washington, like LaConner or Cooperville, because I love the west coast and small, unique towns pregnant with history.

Washington is a beautiful state. Now…

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

Jennifer: “Never Once” by Matt Redman. God’s never, not once, has God forsaken me. 🙂

A great choice. Here’s a sample…

 

Click to Tweet: Jennifer Slattery is with us today on Inspired Prompt @InspiredPrompt #interview #giveaway

Readers, Jennifer is offering to giveaway a book to one reader, Kindle (Mobi or PDF, readers choice), so please leave a comment to be entered.


 Dancing in the Rain

On the verge of college graduation, Loni Parker seeks employment as a music teacher, but no one will hire her since she’s blind. Or so she thinks. To take her mind off her troubles, her roommate invites her to spring retreat at Camp Hope in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains.

Unbeknownst to Loni, Michael Ackerman, the director, is an ex-con responsible for the accident that caused her blindness. When Loni warms up to camp and wants to return as a summer counselor, Michael opposes the idea, which only makes Loni want to prove herself all the more. Though she doesn’t expect to fall for the guy. Still, her need for independence and dream of teaching win out, taking her far away from her beloved Camp Hope . . . and a certain director.

Camp director Michael Ackerman recognizes Lonie instantly and wants to avoid her at all costs. Yet, despite the guilt pushing him from her, a growing attraction draws him to the determined woman. She sees more with her heart than the average person does with his eyes. But her presence also dredges up a long-buried anger toward his alcoholic father that he’d just as soon keep hidden. When circumstances spin out of control, Michael is forced to face a past that may destroy his present.

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CSH8F97


 Jennifer Slattery is a writer and international speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels maintains a devotional blog found at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.

She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

 

 

Authors and Facebook

by Shirley Crowder

I was very late joining the Facebook (FB) bandwagon. I had to have some of the youth in my church help me set up my account and teach me how to use it! So, I am by no means a FB expert, yet I know a few things that may help you, and thankfully, I have great friends who are willing to share their knowledge with you via me!

I love the way so many Christian writers are eager to help each other, which points to disciple-making—but that’s a topic for a different article!

Help your author friends publicize their books and blogs and they will do the same for you!

technology-2847357_1280After deciding whether you want to create a FB account, you need to determine if you want to use one account for personal and writing author posts, or, if you want to separate those. I only have one FB account. My friend, Harriet E. Michael, with whom I do a lot of co-writing, has both personal and author accounts. Everything you find online says an author needs an author account. If you are uncertain, contact some of the authors you know and talk through why they do or do not have an author account. The foundation you must remember as a Christian author—non-fiction or fiction—is that everything you say in books, blogs, social media reflects on Jesus Christ.

Click to Tweet: As a Christian author—non-fiction or fiction—glorifying God in and through everything you say in books, blogs, and social media is imperative. @InspiredPrompt #socialmedia #author

Prayerfully consider everything you post through the lens of God’s Word so that you do not reflect Him badly.

Prayerfully consider what image you want to portray and design your FB page and posts in line with that image.

Don’t forget to ask your friends and followers to pray for you as you write!

Here are some things I hope will be helpful—not that I do all of them!

For Consideration

Friends and Followers and Reactions. Be careful that you know those whom you friend on FB. In the same way, be careful about whom you follow or what posts to which you react.

What is the best day/time to post? You can do research online, however, my friends and followers don’t react and comment when the “experts” say they will. Do some tests and discover your own best time-slot.

Guests posts/bloggers. Ask fellow authors to write a post for your blog and share it through your social media. Use this as a way to introduce their followers to you.

Enlist a couple of friends who follow you on FB and ask them to let you know immediately if they find any typos, etc. I have many friends who help me with this! Sometimes we are so familiar with what we type or are doing it so quickly we do not catch our errors.

Ask your FB friends to share your posts. Don’t be afraid to study and write about a subject on which you are clueless (i.e. me writing this article).

Try to keep up with how FB changes will affect you as an author. This is where joining Christian writers’ groups will help. There are always some who understand these things better than me and are able to give me the “bottom line” of what I need to know.

FB Live. I have several friends who use FB Live. Author Ruth Buchanan attended a “social media” workshop and was told, “Just do it!” Ruth learned to schedule the FB live event in advance and advertise, and ask people to leave comments. And, to keep it short (2-3 minutes).

FB Ads. I suggest you look at other FB ads to glean some good ideas. The results for those whom I have heard from who have used FB ads are mixed—everything from “total waste of time and money” to “excellent results, will definitely be posting more ads.” Harriet and I have used FB ads with limited results, and we will likely use them again. Author friend Lisa Mayer has used them in the past and commented that she’s had “some mild success, but they did not get many reviews.” Another friend was very frustrated because “there was very little guidance” on how to set up the ads and how they work. Consider earmarking money for advertising through various venues.

Writing Prompt: Outline a plan for announcing a new book on Facebook. Begin writing FB posts to fit into that plan.

Click to Tweet: As a Christian author—non-fiction or fiction—glorifying God in and through everything you say in books, blogs, and social media is imperative.