Saturday, June 25, 2016

Melanie Stiles: Life Coach in Blue Jeans

(Thanks to Anthea Kotlan for filling in for me this week.)

Dear friends, I've dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting - begging! - that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. (Jude 3)

Do you sometimes feel that you just have to write? Do you see your writing a gift that God has entrusted to you? Melanie Stiles, a life coach in blue jeans, brought a heaping helping of encouragement and scripture to her audience on Saturday at our June meeting. Stiles charged her audience to view God’s gift of writing as a ministry tool for each to share lavishly. After decades of working in the area of non-fiction writing, Stiles was quick to offer some extremely practical advice in the way of application for her message. “Walk through any other door the Lord opens!” Here are a few of Stiles suggestions:
  • Concoct plays for your church, family or group to act out.
  • Blog for your church or group (and create a team to include other writers).
  • Make and deliver a list of reasons you love or appreciate someone or his/her efforts.
  • Create and publish a family or group newsletter.
  • Write letters for those who don’t have physical or language abilities.
  • Walk through any other door the Lord opens!
Stiles went on to give us four steps to be taken:
  1. Don’t be tempted to hide your words.
  2. Practice boldness…we’ve all been scared sometimes when we say yes.
  3. Let the Lord know you are ready to be used by Him. He’s a gentleman and won’t force you.
  4. Be thankful for any gifts or opportunities God gives you.

She added that when doubts assail us, remember 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV) :

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Finally Stiles closed the meeting by asking to pray the writer’s prayer over us:

Lord, I come to you expressing gratitude for the gift You have bestowed upon me. I thank you for trusting me to use it to my full potential for Your glory. Open my eyes, my heart, my spirit and my mind, that I may see Your intentions. By the strength of Jesus Christ, I know I am able to overcome any insecurity or obstacle that would keep me from doing Your will! I surrender my gift to You and Your purposes. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, June 20, 2016

New Releases!

Several WOTS members new and upcoming releases. Actually, this active group of ours has had several releases all year, and I haven't been nearly as diligent as I should've been announcing them. I'm going to try to do better from now on (note I said "from now on," with apologies to those who had releases before June).

Murder Mezzo Forte: A Preston Barclay Mystery

Donn's mystery released June 9, and 
Linda's released June 12.

Donna's newest became available June 14,
and Martha is involved in this set which released June 19.

My sequel to Give the Lady a Ride releases July 5
(available for preorder), 
and the newest in Janice's Bella Series 
(also available for preorder) releases
July 15. 

If you have a release you want to announce, let me know!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Raise Your Book Above the Crowd

© 2015 Sharyn Kopf (reposted with permission from author. Originally posted in The Write Life.) 

You’re probably better off if you just don’t think about how many people you compete against when it comes to marketing your novel. We live in a world where everyone and his uncle can not only write a book but publish it. And they do.

Now we can start by disregarding the hacks—the truly awful writers who wouldn’t know a prepositional phrase from a hockey stick. They’re not your competition. But that still leaves quite a few—the writers who care and have a good story and hired an editor and quite possibly secured a publicist to get their work up and over the stacks of books clamoring for attention.

So … how do you stand out? Well, it helps to do everything I mentioned. But if you really want to be heard above the noise, stop trying to be heard above the noise. If you try to get attention the same way everyone else does, you’re just another cheap noisemaker in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Let’s say, for example, you’re in Times Square and across the way, you see your ideal reader. All these authors stand between you and her. If you could just get her attention, you know she’d pick you. You wave your book in the air. But everyone is waving his book in the air. You shout her name. As do thousands of other voices.

It’s time to look closer. Who is she? Why is she there? What does she need? More importantly, what does she need that only you can provide? Will your story offer her hope or give her direction or help her rest? If so, that’s what you tell her. But don’t make her come to you. You go to her.

The same holds true when you send out your media kit to a blogger or a radio host or a journalist. Do your research. Find out what they want. Go to them. If you can meet a need while at the same time nudging your book in their direction, you’ve done a good job.

What it comes down to is this: When someone opens your email, she's not wondering how she can help you. She's wondering how you can help her. It may sound selfish, but that’s Marketing 101.

Raise your book above the crowd, and your dream reader might forget it’s New Year’s Eve because she’s at home engrossed in your book.
Award-winning author Sharyn Kopf published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, then followed that up with a nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40. Besides writing and editing, she’s developing a speaking ministry to women. During her spare time, Sharyn plays the piano, makes the best fudge ever, and watches too much HGTV. She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world—her family. Visit her on Facebook.