Inspired Prompt: Abundance in 2020

By Jennifer Hallmark

You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.” Psalm 65: 11-13 ESV

Hello, friends of Inspired Prompt! It’s hard to believe that 2019 has almost come to an end. And we’re going to begin a new decade…2020.

It’ll be a year of an abundance of great articles, guest posts, and interviews to help you along your writing journey with Betty, Gail, Shirley, Tammy, Fay, Harriet, Carlton, Bonita, Karen, Cammi, Kristy, and myself. We want to help YOU be all you can be when it comes to putting words on paper.

2020 is going to be our best year yet. We will explore such topics as:

  1. Staying fit for the long run.
  2. Classic love stories.
  3. Writing nonfiction.
  4. Short interviews with people in the industry.
  5. Historical fiction.
  6. Marketing

And so much more! Join us for our Monday and Friday posts on the topic of the month and our fun Wednesday interviews.

Maybe you’d like to be interviewed or be a guest blogger. If so, go to our guest guidelines page to learn more.  We’d love to showcase your book, blog, or yourself. 🙂

We’ll see you soon!

Happy New Year from Betty, Jennifer, and the entire Inspired Prompt Crew!

Writers, It’s Party Time!

By Tammy Trail

If you plan to publish a new book in 2020, why not consider a Facebook Launch party?

Of course, you will need to create a Facebook author page. This page is specifically for the public to learn about your new book, and about you as the author. It’s your place to shine.

A great header on your page can help to advertise your book. Include the title, and a little bit about your book. Perhaps tease your audience with a bit of backstory or the world you have created for your characters. For instance, the setting for my new story is New Mexico. I plan to use hot air balloons as a backdrop for my setting. So, I could possibly use hot air balloons in my header to entice my reader into finding out more. Just remember to make it stand out to catch the eye. It’s also a good idea to create and post a book trailer on your page to engage your guests.

As your potential reader, I will need to know where I can find your book, and when will it be available? Maybe do a cover reveal during your launch party, and get your readers involved by guessing from the cover where your story takes place. You could garner some enthusiasm with a giveaway. A copy of your book, a gift card, or an item that may go along with the theme of your story.

Next, you will want to create an event for your Facebook Launch party. Go to Facebook options for full instructions on setup. Make sure you invite all of your friends. Encourage your friends to tell their friends about your new book that will be available soon. Allow your page to be public so that it may be shared in the Facebook world.

Guests will want to get to know you better. Share yourself with them, provide a bio, your social media links, and an opportunity to sign up for your newsletter, follow your new author page on Facebook, share your blog information and how they can follow you there. Ask them to follow you on Goodreads and encourage them to post comments about your book.

  • Post writing prompts for your guest to finish in order to win a prize.
  • Have your guests pick who wrote the best prompt to determine the winner.
  • Keep your attendees engaged by using games of trivia, or sharing what they like best about a movie character, story settings, or favorite heroes or heroines from books they have read.
  • Food is also a great topic to share.

The possibilities are only as endless as your imagination. Just remember to have fun!

Writing is hard work, but that is just the beginning of your journey. You are set to make wonderful new friends who are writers like yourself and want to encourage you, or readers who will fall in love with your story. Promoting yourself and the product you have worked so hard on should be fun and engaging. So, get creative.

Writing Prompt: Helen has a  novel coming out, and needs ideas for a cover. What do some of your favorite book covers include? Help Helen out be giving her some great advice.

Click to Tweet:  Let the good times roll #Facebook launch party.

Marketing Ideas for Your Book Release

By Jennifer Hallmark

June 17th, 2019.

The time had arrived. My debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, would be released into the world. A book baby that was years in the making. Was I totally prepared for the marketing that would follow?

Uh, no.

Now before you say anything negative, I had prepared somewhat. But when it’s a brand-new, never-done-before, kind of something, preparation is scattered at best.

What do I mean?

Marketing seems to change every day. One day, an idea may help, the next day, it may not. I thought I’d share five resources/ideas I tried and my thoughts on how they helped me.

(1) Blog tour-I started with a two-week blog tour on release day, then two months later had a week-long review tour set up by Paige Boggs. I’m also planning a one-week tour the first week of December to hopefully add Christmas sales.

  • My thoughts: It helped my sales somewhat, but being on seventeen blogs in fourteen days was too many. I survived, but emerged worn out. The review tour was helpful in that it reached a lot of different people.

(2) Facebook party-I shared a Facebook party (set up by Paige Boggs) with another Lighthouse author Hope Bolinger a week after the release. Hope and I both enjoyed it and I sold several books, mostly e-books. Plus made some new friends…

  • My thoughts: I would definitely do this again.  It was a high-energy, fun party. And sharing it with Hope made it even more fun…

(3) Jessie’s Hope Book Launch Celebration-I held a celebration at our church fellowship hall and invited all my friends and family to share the joy with me.

  • My thoughts: I really had a blast. Over fifty people dropped by, and I sold quite a few paperback books. Worth every penny I spent on it for the encouragement I received that day.

(4) Book signings and speaking engagements-I had a library book signing, spoke at two book clubs, and addressed a women’s church group. I also had a book signing at Coldwater Books during the Helen Keller Festival. I have another bookstore signing planned in a few weeks.

  • My thoughts: Speaking is nerve-wracking, but I made it through okay. I sold over forty books at these events and it was a good experience.

(5) Ads-I purchased Book Bub ads and Facebook ads. I also tried Goodreads ads.

  • My thoughts: I had a lot of looks on Book Bub and really moved my book when it was offered for free for a week. I would have done better if I’d had another book to sell with it. I had several clicks on my ad on Facebook and sold a few. Goodreads had a lot of views, but no clicks. They’re in the process of redoing their ads so maybe it will be for the better. I changed my ad often as an experiment and moved more books with a quote from my book than with the tagline.

I would suggest you try all of these (maybe in moderation) and see what you think. I’m learning new things every day about marketing and tweaking my social media and email newsletter also. Spending money on an email newsletter has been a good investment for me also. I’d highly suggest it before your book finds its way into the world. Try some of these ideas and see your book release go to another level…

Click to tweet: Marketing ideas for your book release. Are you ready to launch a book? #marketing #bookrelease

Writing Prompt: Go to Pinterest and check out book release party ideas. There are so many. Here’s my board.

The Craft of Writing: Resources for the Journey

By Jennifer Hallmark

Learning the craft, or making our work readable, is one of the more important ways to sell books, gain a readership, and be taken seriously in the writing world. But how do we do that?

College, online courses, or conferences can be a great place to start. But maybe they’re not in your budget or timeframe at the moment. Where else can we find resources for our author journey?

I’m so glad you asked. 🙂 The Crew and I want to share our personal favorites:

 Gail Johnson

Bonita Y. McCoy

Tammy Trail

Kristy Robinson Horine

  • Anything by KM Weiland is useful. Not only is there a blog, and books, she has a podcast that she transcribes so readers can listen or read.

    Brandilyn Collins has some great books out on characters, plot twists, why stories work, etc.  Steven James has a podcast called The Story Blender. It’s pretty good.

Jennifer Hallmark: I’ve read tons of books on craft in the past, but now I tend to read more blogs and listen to podcasts. Here are some of the best (IMHO):

And don’t forget about Inspired Prompt and our resources. Here are three links:

We want to see you become the best writer that you possibly can be. There’s no magic formula. As you study, learn, read, and write, your voice will emerge and your skills will increase. It has worked for our Inspired Prompt Crew and it will work for you.

Click to tweet: Learning the craft, or making our work readable, is one of the more important ways to sell books, gain a readership, and be taken seriously in the #writing world.  #pubtip

Writing Prompt: Commit to either reading a writing craft book, one blog post a week, or listen to a podcast a week to strengthen your writing.

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.