Working with the Industry: Editor Interview with Karin Beery

This month’s “Working with the Industry” posts are a real eye opener for me. I just love to learn. And when the lesson has anything to do with improving my writing skills, I’m all ears.

All of us need a helping hand every once in a while. Your critique partners and Beta readers may think your story is the next best thing to hit the market. However, once you expose it to someone who is working in the writing industry it may still need work.

For my editor interview, I asked a few questions of my editor friend Karin Beery. I first met Karin while we commiserated in the same critique group for about a year. She is a champion of helping others achieve a quality product they can be proud to present for publication.

Be teachable. If you’re unwilling to take an editor’s advice, there’s no point in hiring an editor.

What is the best advice you can give to an established writer and newbie alike on the writing craft?
Be teachable. Even if you’ve been in the industry for a while, things change. Editors should be aware of those changes. If you’re unwilling to take an editor’s advice, there’s no point in hiring an editor.

What book have you read that you would have loved to edit, and how would you have changed it to your liking?
I don’t necessarily want to name the book because I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but several years ago I read a fantasy book that “everyone” was talking about. It was simultaneously the most interesting and most boring book I’ve ever read! Since then I’ve ready many books with the same three common issues:

  • stereotypical characters
  • spending too much time describing unnecessary details (such as exactly what each character is wearing in every scene) while failing to describe necessary components (like establishing scene setting)
  • not enough conflict.

How does an author know when the time is right to engage an editor before publication?
Ask! Almost every editor I know will provide a free sample edit/review of at least the first few pages. I’ve told several authors that they aren’t ready for editing yet, then offered suggestions for how they can strengthen their writing. If you’re afraid to ask an editor, then find someone in the publishing industry for their honest input (and be ready for honesty!).

What should a writer expect when entering into a contract with an editor?
 Regardless of what kind of an edit a writer needs, there are a few things they should expect from any competent, professional editor:

  • Edits/Comments – if you get a clean manuscript back, that’s not actually a good sign. No one’s perfect (even published books have typos!). If your editor can’t find anything wrong with your story, he/she might not know what to be looking for.
  • Proper Edits/Comments – proofreads are the last step in the editorial process. If your proofread includes rewrites and restructuring, that’s not really a proofread. Make sure you know the difference between the services so you’re getting the right edit.
  • Industry Standards – an editor’s job is to help you clean up your manuscript, not to rewrite it to his/her personal beliefs or preferences.
About Karin Beery

Editor. Teacher. Novelist.

A passionate lover of fiction, Karin doesn’t just write novels, she helps others write their best stories! A certified substantive editor with the Christian Editor Connection, her goal is to help authors to put her out of business by equipping them with the tools they need to become better writers.

Want to know more about Karin?

Connect with her at: KarinBerry.com, FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Despite Your Kicking and Screaming Protests … You ARE a Brilliant Marketer!

To work successfully within the writing industry, you need to know how to market. Judy shares some of her wisdom on that topic…

By Judy Ransom

I met Jennifer Hallmark at a Christian writers’ conference several months ago and shared my passion for marketing with her. She asked if I’d like to be a guest writer here, and never one to shy away from a new opportunity, I said, “Yes!”

After a while, it sunk in what I committed to. I agreed to teach writers how to market themselves and their work … while still a novice in the world of self-publishing! I wrote to Jennifer, asking if she really wanted me, a business marketer, to share marketing tips with writers. She assured me that you would enjoy learning more about the principles of marketing, and would be savvy enough to apply it to your industry—writing and publishing.

My Background

I’ve been a business owner with my husband for over thirty-five years in the cleaning and restoration industry. After ten years of flying by the seat of our pants and stumbling through dark hallways in the school of hard knocks, we finally found mentors in a business marketing coaching program. Over the next ten years we invested over $100,000.00 in our marketing and business education, attending quarterly conferences where we sat at the feet of highly successful entrepreneurs, such as WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg and Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, to name a few.

I am now wired for marketing and love to share it with people. And thanks to Jennifer’s encouragement, I can share with you a little about marketing in the world of writing.

Tell People About It!

As writers, we can be perfectly content introverts, seeking times of solitude to pour forth our souls in the written word. We later find out that writing isn’t enough … we also need to be marketers. “Oh no, that’s not me,” we cry. “If my writing is truly great, it will sell itself!”

We repeat the Field of Dreams mantra in our minds, “If I build it, they will come!” Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. An old myth has convinced us, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a pathway to your door.” The reality is, “Build a better mousetrap … and if you don’t know how to tell people about it, you’ll wind up with a warehouse full of mousetraps.”

The good news is that you’re already a better marketer than you’ve probably given yourself credit for. Think about how many times you’ve persuaded others to see a great movie, to eat at a memorable restaurant, or to read one of your favorite books. You struck an emotional chord within them, plucking at their heartstrings in the way only you can, and won them over. Yes, you are a marketer!

God filled you with unique gifts and perception and inspired you to write and impart life to others. But it doesn’t end there. He will also work within you to tell others about your work. We have not because we ask not, and conversely, we have because we ask. So ask for his help in telling people about the work He inspired you to write. And while you’re at it, ask Him for the boldness and confidence to jump all the hurdles in your mind shouting, “No!” and sprint to the triumphant cry of, “Yes, I can!” The Lord wants you to finish the work in what He called you to write, by getting it into the hands of those He inspired it to be written for. He wants you to tell people about it.

Sell Yourself

Set your sights higher than simply wanting to sell your book. If you look deeper, you’ll realize that you’re really selling yourself. There’s a group of people out there who want and need exactly what you’ve written. They are your tribe … and they want you.

How often have you loved what a book did for you, and you wanted more? I read a book last year which reverberated within my soul, and I knew I had to meet the author. So I contacted her, made travel arrangements, and now we’re dear friends. God brought us together through what He inspired her to write, and we found a kindred spirit in each other.

Through your writing, God will bring you your tribe—those who will be deeply touched, inspired, and even healed by what you’ve written. Make it easy for them to stay in touch with you. Let your book be a stepping stone to you. Have your website and contact information in your book. Offer them something free—a monthly newsletter with prizes, previews of what you’ve got in the works, etc. Let your book direct them to come into contact with you, so you can keep in touch with them, and develop a tribe of raving fans who will tell their friends about you.

The best website URL you can have is YourName.com, which makes it easy for people to find you. You don’t need a catchy name other than your own. As one highly successful entrepreneur taught me, “Go with your name, go with your name, go with your name!” Your passion and direction sometimes change, but you will always be you, and you can take your tribe with you.

Keep in Touch

Once you establish a way of communicating with your people, whether it’s a newsletter or blog—hopefully both—don’t be afraid of “bothering” them, which is a fear I hear expressed by many writers. If someone gave you their name and email address, it’s because they want to hear from you. Wipe out any false notions in your mind that you’re bothering them, and write to them and for them regularly.

Be the brilliant marketer you already are. Tell people about your work, sell yourself, and keep in touch with your people. God will open doors as you pour out the words He gives you!

Click to tweet: God filled you with unique gifts and perception and inspired you to write and impart life to others. But it doesn’t end there. He will also work within you to tell others about your work. #marketing #IndieAuthor


Judy Ransom has been a business owner with her husband, Steve, since 1983 in the cleaning and restoration industry, with thirty employees. Through the years she learned the art of delegation and weaned herself from the roles of dispatcher, bookkeeper, manager, and personnel director, but held onto her one role of passion in the business as marketing director.

Now semi-retired, she is entering the world of self-publishing with her upcoming book, Thank Your Way to Wholeness … Gratitude Journaling for Greater Happiness, Health and Intimacy with God.

Judy is a freelance writer, copy editor, and speaker. For over forty years she has been teaching people in small groups and conferences how to understand the Bible and develop their relationship with God.

You can find Judy at: http://judyransom.com

https://twitter.com/judyransom

What’s the Best Way for an Indie Author to Promote Their Book?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Maybe we should start with why authors want to sell their books.

Don’t give me that blank stare. I know it seems like a given but many writers go to all the trouble to put a book together then only do a little marketing. Either they are fearful of what people will think or they lack the skills to market, or maybe they wonder if they even should laud the praises of their own work.

Authors should not skimp on marketing.

If a person goes to the trouble of completing a book and then publishing it, whether traditional or Indie, it seems they should get it in front of readers. And at least that gives people a chance to decide whether they want to read it or not.  

Now that the why is settled, let’s look at what ways are best. Here are some positive steps to take in the promotion of your work:

  • Start by building a blog or website or having one built for you. You need a landing page for your readers to find you. Yes, it’s good to create an author page on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and other places but make sure if a reader Googles your name, they can find you.
  • Email list. You need to have an email list of your readers and potential readers so you can reach them with news. Not spam them with constant bombardment. My favorite way to accomplish this is with my email newsletter. And people love presents so be sure to include a gift for the sign-up: a recipe, chapter of a book, short story, etc.  (You can subscribe to mine here for an example plus get a gift of ten of my favorite recipes. 😊Just look for the pop-up.)
  • Social media. There are all kinds of social media you can market your book through. I’d pick two or three and build a presence. Remember to build relationships with people and your books will sell. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as my main three. Experiement and find what works for you.
  • Speaking/book signings. You’ll want to have a few events to allow the people in your area or areas you’re visiting to meet with the author. You can arrange to speak at a church, social club, library, or school. Make sure to set up a book table and sign books. Also have something set up to show people how to order the e-book if they’d rather read on the Kindle or Nook. Book stores are great places to have a book signing since your potential readers are already there.

Here’s our own Betty Thomason Owens at a book signing.

I also have four tips to speed up marketing:

    1. Be reliable and ready. Set up a pattern in the beginning and keep your name out there. You want people to know that you’re serious.
    2. Book links. Make sure you have book links on your blog/website, all social media, your signature in emails, and any guest posting you may do. If someone is curious, you want them to have a link to click on.
    3. Everyone loves a sale. I once bought a mystery e-book for 99 cents and liked it so much that I paid regular price for the next five just to see what happened. It really works.
    4. And finally, the most important tip of all: The Golden Rule. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NLT) Be good to people. Sow seeds of kindness and I believe at some point you will reap a return. Build a network with other authors and promote them the way you would like to be promoted. It will bring a positive investment before it’s all over and you’re sure to make some lifelong friends.

Start today to put some of these principles in practice. Find what works best for you, then be consistent. The readers are out there and waiting for the next author to follow.

Show them where you are.


Writing Prompt: Jillian reached into the mail box and snatched the book-shaped package, clutching it tightly as she ran toward the house. She’d finally get to see…

Click to tweet: What’s the best way for an Indie author to promote their book? You might be surprised. #marketing #IndieAuthors

Social Media: What Do Authors Say About its Usefulness?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Authors, do you ever wonder if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other modes of social media really make a difference in the marketing of your book?

I do. With the June 2019 release of my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, only a year away, I’m asking this question and many more. So I thought I’d take a few minutes and go to one of my favorite sources, Facebook, to see what others would say. The question I asked was “Which, in your own experience, sells more books. (1) Email newsletter (2) word of mouth or (3) social media? Or something else?” Here’s some answers by authors and readers…

Author Mary Watson Hamilton: At this point in my experience, online ads (Amazon, Bookbub, etc) have shown the biggest sales. Next to that, probably word of mouth.

Author Steve Watkins:  Felt need and discoverability sell books. It’s all about what happens on Amazon search engines. Social media will sell a few hundred books at best only if you’ve worked very hard and very smart with your marketing in the months leading to your launch. Sales over the long haul are all about what people are looking for in their searches. Speaking events will sell books if you’re with the right audience. Everything, of course, begins with solid, compelling text that has a voice.

Reader Rose Zemit: Word of mouth. When some one tell you about a book, I remember it and will likely buy it.

Reader Alaina Bryant Bowers: I’m not a writer but personally I buy more books if I hear someone talking about them, but also from social media.

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Author Sandra Backstrom Godfrey: Blitz. All of the above as opportunity comes across your path. Prayer for guidance.  I have a marketing coach. He believes strongly in attending conferences and conventions.

Author Bonita McCoy: Word of mouth. I’ve bought more books because they were recommended by a friend.

Author Shirley Crowder: Recommendation from a friend by either word of mouth, email, newsletter, or social media.

Author and Publisher Tracy Ruckman: Has to be—must be—a combination. One without the others isn’t as effective. But 2, 1, 3 in order of most effective.

Author Kathy Terry Houser: Word of mouth, social media, advertising. Go to local paper and get them to do a article on you and your book.

And the kicker is, as mentioned by Cathe Swanson, most word of mouth IS social media.

I believe social media is here to stay and as authors, we should make use of it in whatever way we see fit. Whether a little or a lot, it can make a difference in getting your name and book in front of a lot of people at once.

So get social!

Click to tweet: The question I asked was “Which, in your own experience, sells more books. (1) Email newsletter (2) word of mouth or (3) social media? Or something else?” Here’s some answers by authors and readers. #amwriting #socialmedia

Writing Prompt: It’s your turn. Tell us in the comments what sells books to you personally. Is it one of the ways mentioned above? Or do you have another answer? We want to know…

Where Should I Spend My Book Marketing Dollars?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Hmm. That’s an interesting question. For the past 12 years, I’ve worked on perfecting the craft of writing, making connections, growing my blogs, and finishing my novel. The time for marketing is drawing near. My debut novel will release in June of 2019, so marketing is foremost on my mind at this time. (Besides my edits)

How should I invest money for the greatest return? Here’s a few of my ideas:

(1) Talk to my already-published author friends, especially those in my genre. People that have been there, done that, can share expertise to help me make decisions. Here’s what three authors have already told me . . .

Betty Thomason OwensOne way I will use to market a new release is through a paid blog tour. By paying for the service, the heavy work is already handled for you. The blogs will be scheduled and you’ll have help when the time comes for the tour.

  • What you get for your money: (1) A blog tour to generate publicity for your newly-released book. (2) Guaranteed reviews, though the reviews are honest, and not always positive.
  • What it requires from you: This is a 14-day tour, so it requires a lot of planning and work. You’ll need to supply books up front for the reviews, either Ebooks, or print, as specified by the bloggers. Total cost can run several hundred dollars, weighed against whatever sales are generated by the blog tours. For more information, contact: Celebratelit  
  • I also seek out venues like conferences, craft fairs, and other functions in the area. There is usually a cost to rent a table or booth, but the personal exposure is well worth the money. I almost always earn the cost back in sales. One thing to remember about these, always have takeaways, like business cards, postcards and/or bookmarks, and chocolate.

Suzy Parish-My favorite way to spend marketing dollars involves little to zero investment dollar-wise. Research charities to see if one has a mission that falls within the parameters of the theme of your novel. Develop a relationship with the CEOs of that charity, send them a cover letter explaining how your novel dovetails with their mission statement. Offer to promote their charity alongside your book, after sending them an ARC for their approval, of course! This can develop into a beautifully mutual relationship with Christ, the ultimate benefactor. Sales might benefit also!

Janie Winsell-There are wonderful marketing ideas for authors, but narrowing it down to my favorite is hard. I had to ponder this question and really look at all of my marketing research to come up with an answer, but I have finally come to the conclusion that giveaways are the best way to get attention for your book. You can give away a five-dollar Starbucks card or even a fifty-dollar Amazon card. You dictate how little or how much you spend, which is great. People respond better to marketing that gets them something for free.

Let’s say you want twenty people to like and share your post with the link to your new release, what better way to achieve your goal than by promising a giveaway of your book once you reach your target. Then, you have twenty people see your book, share your book, and twenty more of their friends do the same. Selling books is all about visibility. People have to see it to want to buy it!

(2) Read multiple blog posts and listen to podcasts. There are great sources of information out there. Here are three of my favorites:
(3) Make a plan. I’ll take the ideas I think I can work with, the ones that feel right and put together a strategy.  What do you think of these?
  • Local launch party
  • Blog tour
  • Book signings
  • Conferences
  • A social media blitz
  • Giveaways
  • Research charities
(4) Follow through. When the time comes, I’ll schedule my plan into my calendar and see what works. I’ll save all my information of how each marketing idea worked or didn’t so I’ll have it for my next book launch. It’s never too early to plan ahead.

Click to tweet: Where should I spend my book marketing dollars? Here’s a few ideas. #marketing #amwriting

Writing prompt: Please share (in the comment section) what your favorite way to spend marketing dollars, the one that works best for you.