BobHostetlerBob Hostetler here, offering another prayer for writers:

I use too many adjectives
and adverbs as I write;
I want the lift a good noun gives
to help a phrase take flight,
like dandelion, balustrade,
and cricket, poppy, trough,
and foghorn, meadow, cannonade,
assassin, scythe, and toff,
and more, I pray, from You who gave
each item, object, thing,
and every single noun I have
to make my writing sing.

_________________

Bob’s latest book is The Bard and the Bible, available via www.bardandbible.com or at fine Christian retailers everywhere.

Marti Pieper

January greetings from warm, windy, but not-so-wintry Florida! Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview with bestselling author and speaker Pam Farrel, a writer who also happens to be a friend. My husband and I have some fun memories of kayaking around Mission Bay in San Diego with the Farrels one sunny August afternoon. But I admired the Farrels first as writers and speakers who share heart-warming, life-changing truth. I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Pam today.

Welcome, sweet friend! It’s good to “see” you again. How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

Bill & Pam Farrel

Bill & Pam Farrel

I write with my husband, Bill. We have 45 books published in English; many of these have been translated into 15+ languages.

Our latest titles:

Pam: 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together

Bill 7 Simple Skills for Every Man: Success in Relationships, Work, and Your Walk with God

Pam and Bill: Expanded, updated anniversary edition of best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti

Congratulations on all of these! You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?

Know your core message, then seek to get that message across through every channel and method available: books, blogs, social media, video, radio, podcasts, TV, courses, and curriculums—and even T-shirts, coffee, mugs and bumper stickers! In a world noisy with untruths, lies, and misinformation, we all should seek to give our full dedication and focused persistence in getting God’s message (the one entrusted to our voice) out to those who most need that message of hope and help from God. Be prepared to spend more time writing, speaking, and promoting the message than you ever did writing it originally. The book is only one small piece, a first step to a long journey of faithfulness to your message. Read More →

On a Sunday afternoon, I moaned about my writing career to my best friend Nancy. While we washed dishes, I complained, “I’ve worked hard and published a lot, but I’m not well-known and am financially challenged. I love what I do, but sometimes I feel like a failure.”
      Nancy turned to me, a dish in hand, and said, “That’s totally beside the point. You’re using your gifting. It’s not about the fame or money. It’s about doing the work.”
      Nancy knows. She’s a lifetime pianist and her husband works as a composer. To keep afloat, they both teach part time, but the couple’s chief passion is their own musicianship. They live among creatives in their city: actors, dancers, musicians, writers, and others. Most of them work in obscurity, compared to our culture’s definition of success.
      From that conversation I evaluated: As a writer, what is my definition of success? How do I look at failure? Should I keep taking risks?
Typically, during January we dream dreams, create goals, and plan schedules. We hope for, pray for, and expect success. It’s natural to want our best efforts to succeed. But what if we don’t reach those goals? Keep those schedules? Fail to publish a manuscript? Or market a book that doesn’t sell? What if our writing career doesn’t progress as planned?
      Maybe Nancy’s insistent belief can help. A writing ministry is about the work God gifted us to do. For Christians, success is following His calling, not the world’s definition of accomplishment. Whatever happens, we’re successful if we follow God’s path for us. Failure doesn’t exist. How much income we earn isn’t a measure of obedience. Risk isn’t as scary as it seems. We’re in the hands of a Father who delights in our desire to serve Him, to gratefully enjoy the gifts He gave us.
       The teacher Oswald Chambers wrote, “Our spiritual life cannot be measured by success as the world measures it, but only by what God pours through usand we cannot measure that at all.” That includes our writing, too.
 
As a writer, Judith Couchman has traditionally published 44 works. She also works as a writing coach and an adjunct university professor, teaching art history. Learn more about her at www.judithcouchman.com.

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#FunnyAirportFail

Oops, Wrong Man!

Being blind never stopped me from traveling alone across the country or abroad to speaking engagements.

But in one of those rare occasions that my hubby accompanied me, a funny thing happened to me as we headed back home. At the airport, we crossed the security point. So far, so good.

As I usually do, after I put my belt back on and hung my purse on my shoulder, I extended my arm and looped it around my husband’s arm. We began to walk away.

Suddenly, someone gripped my other arm from behind.

How rude, I thought. Who could that be?

The one pulling me back was my husband because I was walking away with another man.

Oops, Wrong Man!


International speaker and author, Janet Perez Eckles finds humor in all situations. She exerts courage in all challenges and displays passion in each opportunity to serve God.

President of JC Empowerment Ministries

http://www.janetperezeckles.com

Igniting in you a passion to conquer fear and bring back joy.

For you: a two-minute VIDEO.

Jackie M. Johnson
C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

Hello from Kevin Thompson in the abnormally warm south! A temperature of 81 in January is hot, even by Floridian standards. Something about high pressure blocking cold fronts from getting here…. Yay! The mosquitoes will be spared!

Ugh.

Well, it’s time for another edition of Tips from the Pros! And this go ’round, let’s welcome Jackie M. Johnson to the front porch.

Hi, Jackie! Glad you could make it. So, tell us, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

Jackie M. Johnson

Jackie M. Johnson

As an author and blogger, I write books and blog posts (mostly for women) that offer hope and encouragement to readers worldwide. Women today seem more stressed and discouraged, overworked and overwhelmed than ever. I want to offer godly wisdom and biblical advice—in a way that’s easy to understand and apply to everyday life. My books include:

  • Power Prayers for Women (a topical book with practical, biblical inspiration and prayers for every area of a woman’s life)
  • When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty (a helpful resource for healing a relationship breakup)
  • Praying with Power When Life Gets Tough – releases January 17, 2017 (a topical book with hope-filled, encouraging stories and dynamic prayers when life is hard)

You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?

Praying With Power When Life Gets Tough by Jackie M Johnson

Praying With Power When Life Gets Tough by Jackie M Johnson

The writing life can be rewarding, but it’s not always easy. You need to have tenacity and perseverance—and a lot of passion for your writing. You will get tired and discouraged at times, but passion will fuel you with the energy you need to complete that next chapter or get that next book proposal out to your agent.

I’ve also learned how interactive the writing life can be since social media allows authors two-way communication to convey a message to an audience, grow that audience and receive feedback from readers in unprecedented ways.

What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?

Know your audience. Target your audience. Interact with your audience. Find out how to promote your books and author brand. There are a lot of resources out there. Being a member of CAN has been a helpful resource. Try different media and see what works most effectively for your readers. Bottom line: You are not only an author you are also a marketing person. So you need to learn how to promote your books or hire someone to do that for you.

What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?

For my readers, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have proved to be the most popular social media outlets. I’ve discovered that Facebook ads are great and low cost way to grow your audience.

What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?

Years, ago I sent postcards to bookstores (with a cover of the book on one side and promotional text on the other side). I didn’t have much success with that promotional effort at the time.

What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?

Mostly, I connect with readers through my author Facebook page or on Twitter. I know a lot of people talk about building an email list, but I have not yet done that. One thing that keeps me from doing so is that I get so many emails from other companies and I don’t want to annoy others with emails I send. I think if it’s done right, and you don’t “bombard” people with email, it can be effective.

Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?

Yes. When my first book was released in 2007, the publisher had some wonderful distribution opportunities for Power Prayers for Women with Walmart and with Choice Books (who distribute to airports, grocery stores and other places). I had friends from around the country—many of whom I had not heard from for years—call to let me know that they had seen my new book in a Walmart in Michigan, or a store in Pennsylvania, or at an airport bookstore in Tampa or at a grocery store in Colorado. As a new author, I was so amazed that my first book had national appeal—and then I discovered that I also had an international audience.

I began to get letters, emails, Facebook messages and tweets from readers around the world—India, Brazil, England, Australia and other places.

I was very excited when I learned that my books would be translated into other languages. Some of them are available in Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese and soon Spanish.  It is a blessing and a joy to know that men and women all over our planet can find hope and encouragement through the books I’ve written.

What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?

Start early. Don’t wait until your book is published before starting to build your author platform. Consider your author brand. How do you want to be perceived as an author? Create a website. Build social media and interact regularly. Tell your website and social media audience that you have a new book “Coming Soon” (include the book cover image once you have it). Ask your publisher’s publicity staff about their plan is for promoting your book. Do a book blog tour. Guest post on blogs related to your book’s topic. Attend conferences for writers since they’re a great place to learn about marketing and promoting your book. Have a book release party in your home, at a friend’s home or a local coffeehouse. It’s a great way let your close friends, family and others be a part of the celebration (and become “word of mouth” ambassadors for your book).

Jackie, thank you so much for stopping by and telling your story.

If you wish to connect with Jackie, you can find her here:

 

Take care and keep writing!

Kevin