Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Did you enjoy the gift?

Hello everyone,

For those of you who are members of my blog [by that I mean you've filled out the box to the right to have my blog sent to you via Feedblitz every time I post] I have sent your Christmas gift to you. Check your spam folder.

I told you it would retail for $20!!

For those of you who do NOT subscribe to my blog, I sent everyone a complete copy of my writing career coach program. It actually retails for $35.

I hope you all love it and that it will help you get you ready for a wonderful 2008. I'd love to hear how you plan to use it to take your writing to the next level. Please post in the comments.

I am very excited because, as I told the others when I emailed them their gift, I will be expanding and releasing a whole new line of products over the next few weeks to help you start 2008 as the best one of your writing career.

So thank you for the joy all of you have given me and if you aren't already a member, sign up to get each of my posts delivered to you. It's easy and I don't resell your names.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anyone write Romances?

For today's marketing blog we are going to take the example of a romance.

If you wrote a Sweet Romance [contemporary] what are some things you'd do to market it? Think of a marketing plan and answer these specific questions to get your creative juices flowing:

1. What are some possible NON-Fiction subjects you discovered in research that could become articles?

2. What are some creative give aways you could have that tie in to the theme of your book? [Yes, I didn't give the theme so you supply that, then creative give aways.]

If you write this genre, share what you've done in the past. We'd love to learn from you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blogs of Note for 12/14/2007

Here are the blogs of note for this week:

You don't have to be a suspense novelist to learn from this blog. Goal setting without fear will liberate you to set goals without having to be a perfectionist.

This is a must read if you'd like to know how to write a 300 page novel in 30 days. This is the first installment of a series of posts that will help you speed up your writing. I was excited to realize that once I really understand my story I can write it in a month typing only 4 hours a day. I did that on two other books without realizing why. Go read this blog to help write better books, faster. And NO, it isn't all about outlining.

These are the blogs of note for this week. Be sure to tell us about blogs you've read that you think we should look at. You only need to email me the link at and put "Blogs of Note" in the subject line.

And tell us what you thought of these blogs. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No Guesses?Okay, here are some answers.

No one wanted to give ideas on the Tuesday marketing question? Okay, here are a few of mine.

First, who is the target audience for this story? I'd say you could go fairly wide. Younger readers would relate to the daughter being pursued and older readers would relate to the mom.

Definitely blog. This is sweeping across the age brackets and is a great way to reach the audience. Blog on your own sites but also hit a blog tour. If you write CBA Glass Roads PR is a good one. I spoke to the president about a month ago and I was really impressed with what they do for the authors they work with. For a fee they can set you up on a blog tour.

I'd also suggest creating some kind of video and posting it on my space and you tube. You can offer the links to these trailers on your website. People want an audio and visual experience. I'd discourage putting the actual trailers on your site because it will REALLY annoy people on dial up.

What kind of non-fiction themes could you pull from a book like this? How would that translate to possible radio interviews? Ideas???

Could you buy radio time to play an audio book trailer? If so, what stations would you target? Why?

What is the back story of the mother? What is her sin? Do you have experience with this area? Could this lead to a NF article? If so, what subject.

C'mon, we're all writers here. Be creative tell me whether or not you think my ideas will work. Tell me some of your own.

And also share a premise [couple of sentences] of a story you'd like us to banter around. Could be your WIP, one you're thinking of doing, or one you've heard of. Maybe it will be next weeks topic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Brainstorming: Who wants to get THAT??

Who is your target?

That is what we'll talk about today. But you're not going to just sit back and think about it, we're going to think outloud. Brainstorm really.

Here is the scenario:

Say you have a contemporary thriller where a teenage girl is targeted because of mom's past "sins".

How would you market this book?

Who is the target reader?

What are they doing right now?

What don't they like?

Okay, so everyone chime in on this. Tell me some ways that would be effective to market and some ways that would not be. We're brainstorming.

Write your answers on the comments page and let's talk about it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Leaving the information age

We are moving from the information age to the recommendation age.

We are so inundated with information that it can be overwhelming. I recently googled my name and found 49,600 items returned. Of course, not all of them were me but many were.

With all this information flying at us it is difficult to make informed decisions on what really works.

That is why word of mouth advertising, as well as endorsements, have become so important.

This has a huge impact on your marketing plan as you prepare to market your business [whether your business is selling books or anything else]. You need to have a strong idea of who your consumer is, what they're doing, what does interest them...and what does not.

I can be honest here, post cards don't really get my attention. But gadgets do. When I'm looking at a freebie at an author's table I will walk past a post card but I'll grab a highlighter pen. I have one that I got at a writer's conference about a year ago. I've used it so much that I could tell you the name of the business. [but I won't]. If I ever have need of the service that business provides who do you think I'll contact first?

By contrast, I have NO idea where the pretty post card was made that I picked up at the same conference [or which pile I threw it in].

So who is your market? Who are their decisions influenced by? How does that affect your marketing.

You'll find out tomorrow. See you then.

Friday, December 7, 2007

blogs of note for 12/07/07

This week I have two blogs of note:

This last week I have printed off every single one of his blogs to reread and share with others. I have learned so much from this site and I'd encourage you to go. It's tough love so if you want to feel all might want someone to go with you for moral support BUT if you'd like to really learn how to take it to the next level this site is worth checking out.

Carla Stewart suggested I check out Myra Johnson's blog. I saw today's post and it's a real good one!!

So go check these out and grow your business. And leave me a comment or fire me an email if you've seen blogs that you have found helpful.

Finally, if you link to my blog [by selecting the title you can get the direct URL to paste in your blog] leave me a comment telling us that so we can support each other's blogs.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Caitie's Corner: book picks for kids, by a kid

Flying High by Katy Pistole

Hi, it’s me, Caitie again.

This story takes place after the Palomino and Stollen Gold. Jenny’s at Mr. Wright’s. That day she gets to take home Sunny, not furry her colt. When they go home Jenny realizes that she’s going to have to move to Northern Virginia. Kathy knows where she’s going to move but she’s just keeping it a secret.

Mr. Wright told them about his son five years ago. When he had a very bad injury and Mr. Wright’s wife died. Jenny said when she saw him she said a month ago he was going to die and now he’s waiting for pizza.

I wanted to tell you more but mommy said I can’t tell you the whole story.

I liked the book. I think you should really read it.

Bye, from Caitie.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Building small groups

I have been really looking forward to featuring this interview, however I've had a number of problems with my internet connection lately. I hope you will enjoy this interview as much as I did.

Successful Small Groups: From Concept to Practice

By Teena M. Stewart

ISBN-13: 978-0-8341-2337-3

ISBN:-10: 0-8341-2337-1

Retail $15.99

1. Why would a church need this book?

A. Some churches already have small groups in place, but most could benefit from more coaching tips in order to improve how their groups are managed. Many want to know how to launch more groups but aren’t necessarily aware of what they are doing well and what needs to improve.

Other churches may have only one or two Bible studies and they desperately want to provide more but they just don’t know how. Sometimes churches are unaware they need small groups. My hope is that this book makes leaders more aware how important they are. Small groups are an indicator of a church’s health. Groups act as a sort of surrogate family and way for Christians to support each other. But they also provide a means of growing more leads and equipping people for ministry plus providing a strong Biblical foundation.

2. How does this book differ from, say, a book that tells how to lead a Bible study?

A. It’s much more comprehensive. A book on how to lead a Bible study would focus more on the ins and out of the lesson, how to teach scripture, the materials. That’s all very important. But it might not address additional information that will help their groups stay healthy and develop leaders. Groups that focus on Bible study alone, often miss areas where they could be supporting members and helping them grow. The subjects I cover concentrate on helping groups stay well-rounded.

3. Why did you write this book? What do you hope readers will take away from it?

A. I’ve been in church ministry for years and have worked shoulder to shoulder with my husband, Jeff, who is an ordained minister. We’ve lead a number of small groups and I have done several on my own. It has been a sort of learn-as-you-go process. And, like many leaders, we’ve made mistakes. I think people often write books as a way to encourage other leaders and equip them and that is why I wrote this one.

God has made me an equipper and so it’s only natural that I want to help people succeed and grow to maturity. As a matter of fact, I write a regular equipping column through called Purpose-filled Ministry.

But, to get back to the book, the book starts out talking about how parents share info and give advice to their kids because they want to spare the hurts of making costly mistakes. I went through the same thing while working on this book. If I can help leaders get there sooner and avoid certain pitfalls, if I can help equip them so that they equip other leaders and develop more groups, then together we can bring more people into God’s kingdom and that’s what it’s really all about.

4. I’ve heard people say that this book is very different from other books they’ve read on small groups. What sets it apart?

Sometimes I think I should have been born in Missouri, the “show me” state. I’m a very visual person. I learn by seeing. I have graphic art training along with writing training. So I tend to gravitate toward showing people how something is done so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel when trying to learn something new. I haven’t seen any small groups books that include the visual examples I have. I’ve included flyers based on real materials small groups I know of have used to state their purpose and core values and to promote their groups. I’ve included samples of group names to show the importance of having a good group name and stress the creative factor. I also have forms and questionnaires that help people determine where they and their groups are at and what work areas they might have.

It’s all very practical and can be adapted to suit their needs. It’s not meant to be a one-size-fits all, but it does help give them the visuals and really reduces the amount of work they have to do.

5. What are three benefits of participating in a small group.

A. Well, there are a lot more than three but some of the key ones are that we are not designed to try to make it through life on our own. We need some sort of support network. Though we may attend church, most of us at a Sunday service don’t really have time to connect and share our deep needs. So small groups provide that caring community.

They also provide a training ground for people to learn God’s Word. We might think that people really know their Bibles, especially if they attend church, but the truth is, people are less and less familiar with scripture. So small groups provide a great learning environment where they can study together, ask questions, even tough questions and go out into their every day lives with some Biblical foundations to use as guidelines for raising families, responding to work situations and interacting with other people.

Finally, small groups provide a safe environment where people can share needs and hurts and pray for each other. Again, there just isn’t time at a weekend service. People barely connect. And the larger the congregation, the more isolated they will feel, so small groups are crucial for providing that sense of belonging. If people feel they belong and they matter, they will be more likely to linger and make the church their home for the long-haul. It’s usually the people who aren’t connect who become what I call members who are missing in action, who come for a while and then disappear.

6. What advice would you give a church that is seeking to launch small groups or may have a small group program that is struggling?

A. If you don’t already have small groups, it’s really important to get your core leadership to understand and buy into the concept. Launching groups without preparing the soil will make it more difficult your small group program to be successful. I’m not saying it won’t be, but having your core leadership behind you is crucial. People need to see the benefits of the groups and you have to get everyone on the same page. It needs to be a campaign. I cover this in the book.

If a church already has groups but they only have a few and those are struggling, again, it is probably because the congregation doesn’t understand the value of them. Before people will commit to something like a small group they have to see successes and what is in it for them. Having existing group members share some of their stories and how their groups have helped and impacted their lives is a great way to spur interest. I can’t go into all the details of how right now, but I cover it well in my book.

7. Your book contains examples of successes and struggles from real life groups. Can you talk a little about those?

Some of it is taken from my own person experience with groups and others examples are from groups from a variety of churches. The challenges a group faces depends on that particular group. Every group is different. But there are still some things the crop up that many groups have to deal with. I have examples of some of these common things. Such as how groups have had to multiply after growing to large, stories of how groups have decided when to close down, discussions about problem group members, samples of what affinity groups are. (Those are groups that are specifically tied into a topics, such as recovery groups, craft groups, sports groups, etc.

8. Your book includes a trouble shooting section. Why did you feel that was important?

As much as we want to believe that all groups are healthy, sometimes they aren’t or sometimes they might experience turmoil due to problems a specific group member has. Sometimes it is caused by needy group members who dominate a group. They can suck other group members dry to the point that the group members may even dread going. Or some members may talk too much. The more members you have, the more the chatty group members eat into the time that other might want to share.

There are a lot of other examples of group challenges that I cover. I suggest ways to deal with them.

9. Was there anything new you learned while writing this book?

Yes. I would have to say I have. I used enter into leading a group asking what I could give back to members. But now I have to say that I see that it is often reversed. Over the past few years I have benefited from group members who have blessed me and taught me, even though I was the group facilitator. So, it’s important to remember that just because we might be in a leadership position, there is still plenty we can learn from our members who pour out their care and their wisdom on us. It can truly be a surprise blessing and it can be humbling.

10. What experience do you have as a small group leader?

A. Let’s see. I have helped lead a young-marrieds group when we were newlyweds, a parenting teens group, several couples group. I helped multiply a couple’s group and launch a new group from that group when one group got too big. And, more recently, I have facilitated a women’s group. It was my first time doing a women’s group and I absolutely love the dynamics. We are very close. I have also worked along-side my husband, Jeff who served in a discipleship pastor role, developing groups as well as group leader workshops.

11. You and your husband have recently left traditional church ministry to start a new ministry that might involve small groups. Can you talk a little about that?

A. Sure. Over the past few years we’ve noticed how people gravitate to coffee shops and we wondered what the big deal was. Why would someone pay four bucks for a cup of coffee. But then we began to see that it wasn’t so much the coffee as it was the relaxed and intimate environment. People feel comfortable in coffee shops and you see them gathered informally in small groups. God kept speaking to us telling us that it is often easier to connect with people in the market place—such as coffee shops—than to try to bring them to church. Churches are knocking themselves out trying to come up with new ways to get people into their buildings. We felt that maybe it was time to shift and try to make the coffee shop the venue. So we’ve done something crazy.

We put our house on the market and sold it in order to start a coffee shop in Hickory, NC where we hope to connect with unchurched people and use it as a hub for launching small groups. We’ll also be using music for outreach as well. Again, it’s about the small, intimate environment where people feel safe to connect. We want to reach the people who would not come to church and we don’t expect them to come to church.

We are having to raise our support for the ministry aspect and to have a place to live because we don’t have enough after selling our house for both. Crazy. I know.

12. Where is Successful Small Groups: From Concept to Practice available to purchase?

A. Local Christian bookstores such as,,, or call Beacon Hill Press (816) 753-407.

13. Where can people learn more about your ministry, including your coffee shop ministry?

A. Thanks for asking. They can go to

Teena Stewart blog:


Friday, November 30, 2007

blogs of note for 11/30/07

Here are a few blogs to check out. Remember, if you've seen a great blog this week email it to me at with "Blogs of note" in the subject line.

I'd love to hear what you thought of these blogs and tell me about others!! Tiff

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Caitie's Corner: book picks for kids, by a kid

Hi, this is Caitie

I have some old books and new books that I like. Maybe some of you would like to read them too.

Pilgrim's Progress:
This is a story about survival.

Barbie: the mystery of the lost valentine. Mystery files #5
This is better than a plain mystery

In Jesse's shoes [by Beverly Lewis]
It tells what other kids are like [mom's note. She reviewed this book. Check archives]

Santa and the Christ child.
It's about Santa meeting Jesus.

The angel and the ring [by Sigmund Brower]
A boy goes to find his father

Loves Long Journey
A time of wonder. That's what I think it's like [mom's note. She's read the book and seen the movie and loves it.]

American Girl's "Addy Series"
It tells me what it was like in the past.

Green Eggs and Ham
It's a funny book.

I like other books. I'll write more next week.

Bye for now, caitie.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is the book dead?

I read an interesting post today on Michael Hyatt's blog. He had previously discussed the changing technology in the book industry. Here is the link to the blog.

What I found so interesting is the emotional attachment some people have to books. I suppose since I'm a visual learner that it would be assumed that I prefer reading books. But I don't. I love to be carried away by books on tape [or CD].

Maybe it hearkens back to when I was little and my dad would read to me from a picture Bible before bed.

Maybe it's because my life is so jammed that I have to multitask constantly.

Whatever the reason, I love the idea of books in various formats to reach a wider swath of readers.

I think as authors we should consider how various formats would affect our book marketing. Should we consider audio formats? According to Chip MacGregor on a recent blog, most publishing houses lose money on audio books and thus don't offer them to writers.

I wonder if it is the chicken or the egg. Do they lose money because audio books aren't profitable OR [as I believe] are audio books unprofitable because they aren't being effectively marketed.

I mean, we have music coming out of our PHONES for crying out loud. Is it that far fetched that somone would download a book on their ipod? If I could download books cheaper on an ipod I'd do it.

So, how should we, as authors, market our books? Should we work to build an audio platform or should we focus on what we know works?

That's the question I pose to you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Don't know what you've got, till you get it back.

When I thought about what to say the Monday after Thanksgiving [in the US] this phrase kept running through my mind:

Don't know what you've got, till you get it back.

This year has been a time of getting back most of the things I'd always taken for granted. The year started with the possibility that cancer had returned in my husband's body, followed only days later by the death of my husband's grandpa. From that first week of January until the middle of October we saw the loss of jobs, a blown engine in our only car, health issues, family strife, and nearly the loss of our house. It was a really rough time made bearable only because we had faith and my husband and I leaned on each other.

But this blog isn't about what ALMOST happened; it's about what did happen.

What did happen was I learned to be thankful for the things I'd always taken for granted. You don't realize how much you value family until you have to spend time away from them.

You don't realize how much you value your home, until you nearly lose it.

You don't realize how much you value your job, until you don't have one.

The main thing I realized is the value of a mom and dad to their children. I've been a SAHM [Stay at home mom] for almost nine years now and I felt like...well I didn't feel good about myself. I had a college degree and recruiters calling me straight out of college. I had Grad Assistanceships available for the asking. But my husband and I learned we were expecting in my last semester of college and I wanted to be a mom to the child I was carrying.

When things were tight I always thought "Well, if I get a job it will all be okay." When I had to get a job I realized the grass might be greener but it still had to be mowed.

I know this isn't the usual topic of my blog but for today consider what your goals and priorities are. No amount of writing success will be worth anything if you forget what is truly important.

You only truly know the value of something when you lose it, and then get it back.

I'll see you tomorrow with our usual fare. And sorry for my long absence, I haven't had internet for almost 5 days and right now am paying by the hour for dial up. :-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

What a great idea!

Wow, I have learned so much from people who run successful businesses these last few weeks. These are people who not only blog to share useful information but also run their business using their blog. One in particular has had a huge influence on me. One thing he does is give gifts to his blog subscribers.

So I decided that I am going to do what these people do and offer you gifts for your loyalty to my blog.

So here is the deal:

1. Every person who is subscribed to my Blog will receive a product worth $20. No this is not a coupon to be applied toward a purchase. This will be a FREE product with a retail of $20 that I will give you. Feel free to tell your friends about my offer, post my offer on your own blog [just link to my site] but this is FREE and it is my gift to you to thank you for your loyalty to my blog. I will send these gifts out all at once in December. [you can subscribe by putting your email address in the subscription box to the right of this blog]

2. I am going to offer a HUGE discount on my successful Writing Career Coach Course. People around the world have used this and told me what they've learned. [By around the world I mean the US, Canada, and Australia so if you're in another country let me know so I can add you to my list!!] This is regularly $35 but I am offering it for the next 58 hours for only $12. But to get this special offer you must go to paypal and send $12 to my acct greatcommission2 @ aol dot com [take out the spaced. That is so spammers don't take my address]. Next, email me at that same address to tell me you've taken advantage of my offer. For details on the course and the added mentorship go to I think you'll see it is WELL worth the $12.

3. I'm going on tour and I'd like to visit you. If you'd like to have me come visit your blog send me an email or post a comment. I will contact you to schedule a date. Then I'll post on my blog where I'll be each week.

4. Finally, I'm adding a post on Fridays called "Blogs of note". If you've seen a particularly good blog that deals with marketing, business development, &/or writing email me the link. I'll pick a few to feature each Friday [I will check out each blog and not "rubber stamp" them so I will have to limit them to about 5 each week at the most. And yes, you may submit ONE of your own blogs each week.

So there you have it. Something free, something cheap, something fun. Remember to subscribe. Now isn't that a GREAT idea??

Here is the direct link to this blog. Feel free to copy and paste this link on your own blog or website.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What about "Il changeait la vie"?

Don't worry, this blog is in English but last night this song by Jean-Jacques Goldman got me thinking. I think it will make you think too. I think you'll see how this can help not only your writing but your perspective as well.

The story in the song is a few different people who were ordinary but became extra-ordinary by changing the way people looked at things. Goldman presents this thought in a super clever way.

The title of the song is Il Changeait la vie which loosely translated means "He changed life/the world".

BUT when it is spoken [not written] it also sounds like Il changeait l'avis which translated means "He changed the way we look at things."

There is the craft and the art. In this song he evokes strong emotions in the mind of the listener. He uses just a sentence to create an entire picture in the listeners mind. Think about the implications for your writing. Think on how you could use just ONE sentence, only a few words, to paint an entire scene in a readers mind. What word choices would grab the reader and hold on to them?

Then there is the subtle under story. This song can be listened to in a couple of different ways. It has layers!! Are you layering your stories? That is how you'll have a reader mulling your story over and over in their head. When they realize that the assumptions they brought in to the story influenced the way they saw things but if they looked at the story with a different set of would be totally a different read.

Since many of you are loyal readers you know my thrust is marketing. I don't spend a great deal on craft and today is no exception.

It occurred to me that if I try to make my back cover copy a song...what would happen. If it suddenly become a short story with an unknown ending how would it grab a reader? Think about it yourself. There were a series of commercials about a year ago on TV and Radio where they started a story and then said for the ending visit this website...WOW. They always grabbed my attention.

What if your back cover copy and other promotional materials did the same. What if you created a short story and left it hanging with a question? Would your reader buy your book to find out the answer.

One line from this song repeats over and over in my head:

Les reves de sa vie les prisons de son coeur.

I don't know how the french ear hears this but to me it says "His life's dreams, the prison of his heart". And inside me I think "Am I so passionate about my dreams that they imprison my heart?" Are you so passionate about your goals that you pursue them with singular focus?

When you become so driven then maybe you too will "Changer la vie". [Change the world]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Caitie's Corner

Hello, this is Tiff rather than Caitie.

Caitie will not be posting a review for the next two weeks so she can finish up school projects before Thanksgiving. [And her birthday is November 17th and there is much partying to be done.]

But don't fear!!! We have a group of books that are being sent to Caitie for review and she will be back on November 28th with her weekly reviews to help you plan Christmas shopping for the children in your life.

Next Wednesday Caitie will tell her top 5 books for kids. These are books she loves and thinks other kids will love too. So check this space November 21st for Caitie's picks on Caitie's corner.

Bye for now, Mommy [aka Tiffany, the Writing Career Coach]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What is a helpful blog?

Today I planned to tell you about a couple of blogs/websites I visit regularly and how they help me as the owner of a writing business. I will still do that but first, I'd like us to talk about what makes a blog worth visiting. Because that is the most important step of this process.

I'd have to say first is regular new content.

We live in a microwave culture. We crave new information. Why else would we check email 17 times a day at work then twice at red lights on our cell? We always want to be the first to know anything. I did an experiment on my shoutlife page. For a few weeks I had my hubby spend two hours a day greeting friends of mine. Then I spent a few weeks not visiting anyone's blog and simply posting new content 4 times a week.

I found that my numbers jumped when I added new content but barely creeped up when I spent hours visiting all my friends. So content is key.

Know your audience

If you don't have content geared to your target audience even the readers you do have won't last long. My target audience is people who are serious about writing. Whether that is the aspiring author, multi-pubbed author, or the reader. I want to have content for each group. So Monday and Tuesday I teach, Wednesday Caitie does her book reviews, Thursday I have industry interviews. My doing this I can keep the amount of time required to maintain my blog manageable while providing new content to my readers. It is working because more and more of you are coming and staying.

In fact, some of you have even joined to have my blogs delivered to your email box. A great idea because it saves you time and will alert you to the special Christmas gift I'll be giving to my subscribers soon. If you'd like to subscribe now look to the right on my blog for the subscription box.

Be credible

Credibility is something I take VERY seriously which is why many times I won't tell you about something until I've done it myself and seen that it works. When I put my name on the line you are trusting me to have integrity. I respect that and do all I can to maintain that trust.

Now, having said that I'd like to direct you to a few blogs that I trust.
For those of you who don't know're missing out. He is a witty, funny guy who knows the industry inside and out. I subscribe to his blog and learn something with every post. Today he added an interview with Steve Laube. Go over there right now and check it out. It will be well worth your time.
What can I say. Read this entire website. There is so much to learn from Randy Ingermanson my brain explodes at his genius. He is also extremely kind and humble. I spent time talking with him at ACFW's conference this past September and was impressed by his sincere desire to help other writers. He gives away far more content then he ever sells in his courses. And his courses are so far under-priced I feel I should give him a percentage of my royalties. [But I won't Randy, so don't email]

So how about you? Do any of you visit these blogs? Are there others that you visit often? Tell us about them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Reaching more people with your blog

Today's blog has information I am super excited about sharing. These are things that I've been testing to help increase traffic to my blog. Now that the results are in I'm ready to help you drive more traffic to your site too.

First, why do you have a blog? Do you use it to keep in touch with family and friends? That is the case with many people who have blogs on adoption. When we were in the process of adopting our daughter 3 years ago many people talked about their blogs. At the time I didn't really visit blogs [big mistake] but I did visit forums [very wise] and learned a great deal from them.

Now that blogs can be delivered to my in-box it's even better.

But why do YOU have a blog? This blog is to help writers, and people who'd like to write, learn how to build their platform for the release of that first book. This post is to help you build your blog traffic, to help you build your platform for the release of that first book.

The first thing is not only easy to do but it takes almost NO time once it's set up and reaps huge rewards. It is blog rush. Go subscribe to blogrush right now using the link below and then I'll tell you why it's so awesome. It's okay, go now. We'll wait:

Here is why this is so awesome!! In just the last two days my blog has been advertised 800 times on blogs that are in my SAME TOPIC. That means my target audience [aspiring authors] can see my blog topic and come visit me. This not only drives traffic to my site but it benefits the people I seek to help!! That is so wonderful.

Next, my readers benefit because on my blog there is a posting that tells of other blogs in the "aspiring authors" category. So my readers can go to other blogs that will help them with other aspects of THEIR writing. Since my goal here is to help authors, and to help authors learn from each other, this is a win-win.

Even if your blog isn't about writing you can get in a loop with other topics and network with like-minded people.

And the more people who join the more we can learn from each other. So it doesn't become about competition, it's about learning from each other. Isn't that the purpose of the blogosphere?

Second, Blog Carnivals. Maybe you've heard of them. If you have, tell us about your experiences in the comments. I just started to post on them via blogcarnival []. I've had so much traffic that my marketing assistant [My super-handsome husband, Chris] goes in each week and submits posts to blog carnivals for me. This is a much more time consuming task but it will also drive traffic to your site and increase your readership.

So, share with us your experience with Blog Carnival and go sign up for the BlogRush right now.
Here is the link again: On Friday come back and post a comment telling me how many times you've been syndicated. I think you'll be SHOCKED at your exposure!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Caitie's Interview with Katy Pistole

Online Interview

What gave you the idea for the titles to your books?

I had a friend who desperately wanted a palomino horse. I helped her find one and that search caused me to think of The Palomino as a title for a book. Stolen Gold came during a brainstorming session with my editor. I wanted to call it The Golden Colt but my publisher thought it would be confusing. Flying High was named after I finished the manuscript and Morning Glory had its name from the moment I thought about Sunny’s filly and her name.

In the middle of writing did you stop and think about a time when you were a kid?

I thought about being a kid the whole time I wrote the books. I am Jenny or I was Jenny. I was a horse-sick girl until my parents bought my first horse. Then I was hooked. I still am horse crazy some 35 years later.

What gave you the idea for the main character's name?

Jenny is one of my favorite names. I had a horse-back friend when I was about 13 whose name was Jenny and her sister was Tessa. As an adult I had a student who was riding one of my school ponies. She trotted past me and her blond pony tail and the pony’s blond tail moved the same way. It was very cute and made a picture of a girl with a palomino pop into my head. It seemed natural to call her Jenny.

Why was the vet in Stolen Gold so mean?

The vet in Stolen Gold was motivated by greed and money. Greed can make people mean.

Why did Vanessa want to kill Sunny?

Vanessa wanted to kill Sunny because she couldn’t figure out any other way to control her. Control is very important to Vanessa, you’ll find out why later. Vanessa represents what can happen to anybody who tries to be in charge of their own lives. It is a sad, lonely place and it makes people do things they should not.

Caitie's Corner

Stollen Gold

By. Katy Pistole

First I want to apologize that I didn’t get this put up yesterday.

Now, to the story. This story continues from the Palomino but it’s a year later. When Kathy and Jenny were riding horses a girl name Vanessa [I can’t say her last name] comes up and says Sunny the horse is really a different horse that’s worth over a million dollars.

Jenny and her two friends are trying to get Sunny back. Once when Jenny finds Sunny in Vanessa’s barn she meets Danny, Vanessa’s nephew and they talk together for a little bit. But one day Danny calls Jenny and says that Vanessa is going to try to kill Sunny.

What is Jenny going to do?

Will she be able to save Sunny in time?

Or will Vanessa kill Sunny?

That’s all for now.

Bye, Caitie.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

When do you give up on a project?

I was given a great piece of advice about four years ago by a multi-published author.

Know when to put a project away.

At the time I was writing articles fairly regularly. I had created a system to writing a list of magazines that published the kind of writing I was doing. Then I'd submit an article to one place, then the next, then the next, until I'd reached all five-and been rejected at all five.

But while I was submitting those articles, I was also working on a novel. It was a masterpiece. There was a perfect heroine who was dealt a great injustice but she overcame it without breaking a sweat.

So, in a word, it was annoying.

But I executed it fairly well because it made the top twenty of a national writing contest of full novel MSs.

So I kept polishing it, editing it, tweaking it. And after TWENTY rewrites [yes, I said twenty] I finally put it away. I knew I'd never be a great writer. I was stuck writing articles for eternity. And shouldn't that be enough? I'd invested nearly two years of my life to this one book, and all for nothing.

That was when my mentor told me "You have to know when to put something aside."

Of course, at the time I had no idea that most published authors aren't published until the third or fourth manuscript. [Yeah, I'm on number four now!! Any day I'll get that call :-) ]

So you have to know when to put a project aside. But when is that? For me, it is the moment I pitch it.

Yep, if you know me for any length of time you'll learn that about a month after a project, sometimes less, I'm on to the next one. While a partial, query, or requested full is sitting in a slush pile somewhere I'm pecking away at my next project.

There are a few reasons for this:
1. You have SO much more confidence in your writing when you can say "I have a project sitting on an agent's desk right now under review." [That is my usual answer when someone in the family asks "How is that writing thing going?"]
2. If I'm writing something else I don't stare at the in box or mailbox. I am focused on the next project, improving my craft, and living the writing life.
3. If someone DOES like what they see and they say "What else do you have?" I like to be able to say "I'm outlining book x and I'm 10k in to writing book y. Which would you like to see first?"
4. Honesty. See, honestly your first few MS are practice. In all likelihood they'll never see the light of day. Yep, those masterpieces of literary genius will sit on a shelf for eternity. This isn't always the case. Sometimes you'll pull them down and completely rework them-but in their current form they won't.

The best way to live as a writer, a productive writer, is to see it as a cycle. You write, edit, query/pitch, send off partials and fulls. But as project 'A' is off making the rounds you're working on project 'B' and researching project 'C'.

It's like spinning plates. And if you ask any successful author you'll learn that IS the writer's life.

I'd love to hear where you are in the journey.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Selling your project

So you've done it. You've completed your first project.

Now you need to sell it.

Whether a book, article, column, or concept-you need to know how to sell it.

Depending on your project the way to sell it will be different.

For articles you want to pick up a Market Writing Guide. For people in the CBA I have Sally Stuart's guide available to the right of my blog. It is a MUST HAVE resource for CBA writers.

Most places will want a query letter. You can find many resources for query letters or I will offer an evaluation service for $8 [email me at with "query letter Eval" in the subject line for details.]

If you'd like to write Fiction proposals [for books] then don't submit until:
1. You have the novel completed and revised.
2. You have a current copy of the submission guidelines
3. You have done revisions and it is polished. [yes, I meant to say that twice]
4. You have your marketing plan, synopsis, biography, etc. ready and polishes
5. Make sure they publish in your genre.

For Non-fiction:
1. Again, know the requirements and what the publishing house does.
2. Have a detailed outline written out
3. Have the first few chapters written [expect to rewrite them later] so they can see the quality of your work.
4. Have a marketing plan, biography, etc.

By far, the easiest way to publish is through networking at conferences. This is almost to the point of necessity anymore. [although a close second is fiction writing contests. I had an agent request a full from a writing contest win]

If you'd like help with creating proposals I also offer these and content editing. Email me if you'd like details.

This writing business is about craft [writing] and marketing [business]. Once you are able to understand that, and excel at both, you are on your way to success you never imagined.

See you soon! Tiffany Colter

Thursday, November 1, 2007

That Blasted First Draft by Sharlene MacLaren

I'd like to welcome author Shar MacLaren to our blog today. She is the author of three novels, the most recent is Sarah, My Beloved released by Whitaker House.

An author friend wrote to me nearly in tears, speaking of her utter frustration with writing/completing the first draft of her chick-lit novel. She was “stuck” and couldn’t seem to work her way out of the mire and muck of non-flowing ideas, pointless paragraphs that weren’t leading to a conclusion, and downright fear that perhaps she’d never finish it. At a recent writing class she’d attended, the well-meaning instructor had told her students they should write EVERY day, even if it meant sitting at their computers and keying in a line of question marks. At least they’ve written something and helped to keep the river flowing, she’d told them. My question to that is…WHAT?

Okay, here’s what I wrote in response to my dear friend’s plea for help.


I feel your pain, I honestly do. I don't know how many actual mss I've written, but I'm about to see my fifth pubbed book and sign a contract for another three-book series (all praise and honor to God, my Father, by the way!). I'm rewriting, reworking a couple of older mss trying to get them ready for publication, but the others may just sit in a "kettle" on a back burner and rot, never again to see the light of day, since they're not worthy of my even lifting the lid on them right now! But that’s okay. I wrote them in “the early days” and maybe I didn’t know quite as much then as I do now.

I'm probably in the minority here, and might get "the boot", but I no longer ascribe to the theory that a writer should just write for the sake of writing, even if it's a line of “????”. Huh? That keeps the flow going? What it does in my opinion, is make more work for me, the writer, when I have to go back and hit the delete key! Yes, I try as hard as I can to write something every day, but I try my darnedest to make it something relevant to my story. THAT might get deleted later, but not a bunch of blather that I knew right from the start was never going to fly because all I was doing was filling in space for the sake of saying I was writing.

Okay, when I get "stuck", the best thing for me to do is let my writing rest. I take a day or two or five. After that, I'm refreshed, my mind feels "alive" again, I've got new ideas flowing, I don't feel as frustrated, my brain is literally singing. Why? I've given it a chance to "reboot". Even computers need to be shut down once in a while (I think) just to clear their "heads" and start anew.

This third book in my series, "Courting Emma", was the first book I ever had to write under deadline. Granted, I had about 9 months to complete it b/c when I signed the contract, I'd already finished the first two--and those at my leisure. But even with nine months, believe me, I had moments of total panic! What if I couldn't do it? What if my mind dried up? What if my river of ideas stopped flowing? What if I couldn't come up with enough scenarios to keep the story interesting? TONS OF PRAYERS flew past my lips as some nights I lay trying to sleep--or perhaps while I sat in front of my computer and stared at that stupid sentence that hadn't changed in three days.
I learned a couple of things throughout this nine-month stop-and-go process of completing the third book in my series. I CAN finish something I start. (It just takes charging through thick walls.) Aren't you glad I shared that?

It's okay to take some time off when you feel blaahh and kind of dead inside. If you're a true writer (and YOU ARE or you wouldn’t be so frustrated), the energy and fire will rekindle itself. Don't beat yourself up over it.

If you've written something, say an entire paragraph, or even a couple of pages, and your first instinct tells you you're going in the wrong direction, make no doubt about it, you're going in the wrong direction. (That's God's still, small voice giving you fair warning.) If you don't delete it now, you will delete it later. Why wait?

I'm not saying you need to try to make everything perfect the first time around. All authors have to edit, edit, edit once they've completed the first draft, but try to make it as "right as possible" the first time, even if that means giving it a few days rest. It will come back to you, this burning desire to write, to grow your baby into an adult. You will bring it to completion. It's a process. It takes time and patience. If you don’t bring it to completion then maybe it’s one of those that will have to sit in a kettle on a back burner for a while. That’s okay. It’s not going anywhere.

And most important,If you're a true writer, GOD PLANTED THAT SEED OF PASSION! He will help you nurture it. It is by His might and power that you’re able to write--even on those days when it's not quite so fun or energizing.

Don't give up, because, whether you realize it every day of your life or not, GOD HAS PLANS FOR YOU! I didn’t start writing until I’d passed the mid-life point (age 52) and I’m experiencing more fulfillment today than ever before.

He is a good and faithful God, generous to a fault, forever and fanatically chasing us down! Slow down and let Him catch you. Listen to His words. Don’t fear, don’t panic.


He will guide you in the “write” direction.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Caitie's Corner

Meet Addy
An American Girl book

Back in the Civil War there was a mom, dad and their children: Sam, addy and Ester. She was the baby and was only one. They lived in North Carolina. They’ve been slaves their whole lives. One night Addy woke up, she heard her mom talking about running away. The mom thought Addy was sleeping but she was playing possum when her dad checked on her.

The next day Sam and Dad got sold. Addy was whipped because she was holding on to daddy so tight. She almost got whipped again but mom caught her in her arms. That made me sad that they did that.

They ran away but left Ester behind with Aunt Lula and Uncle Solomon.

Will Addy and her mom ever make it? Will they ever be a family again? Find out when you read more American girl books. Bye for now. Caitie.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guaranteeing success

How would you define success?

Would you define it as getting everything you want? Would you define it as publication? Would you define it as a certain amount of money? A certain readership?

Think about it for a moment.

Once you have that definition I want you to really think about what you're doing to ensure that success.

Notice my word choice: Ensure!

I'll tell you the way to ensure your own someone else accomplish what you yourself want to accomplish.

Christians call it sowing and reaping. Society calls it the golden rule. Others call it Karma. But whatever you call it, the meaning is the same.

That is why on my writing career development course I offer a spot for people to scholarship other writers. I encourage people to buy books that will help other writers. I personally mentor writers [for free] to help them move further down the path.

It may seems simplistic to some, even stupid to others, but it is completely true.

Randy Ingermanson became the number one internet teacher of fiction [google fiction writing and you'll see that] by offering FREE content that is more than an infomercial. By reading his blogs, websites, or his e-zines you will learn how to improve.

That is the model I follow. For pepole who don't have the money to purchase my development course I offer free meaningful content to develop their business.

So what are YOU doing to help other writers? What are you doing for up and coming writers? How are you building the dreams of others?

That is the key to success, no matter how you define it.

Because when you put others before yourself word does get out. And soon you find a sphere of influence that you can lead to the next level. And that is success by ANY definition.

So even if you don't comment [I know there are GOBS of you out there from now TEN countries] think about this question and answer it for yourself.

But if you'd like to comment, I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Making a living as a writer and a CONTEST

So you like to write?

Most people who think of making money as a writer think of best selling novelists making six, or even seven, figures on best-selling books.

In reality there are many ways to make money as a writer. In fact, for many people writing a full-length book pays far less per hour than most other forms of writing. This is double true when you factor in the portion of the cash advance an author spends to buy marketing materials, travel to promotional appearances, etc.

So today we are going to look at other ways to earn money as a writer. The best part of this is that you can do these things to earn steady income as you work your way up to published novelist. [And if you are a published novelist, you can do this to supplement your income.]

I couldn't possibly list every way to earn money writing but I'd like to point you to two books that do just that. The Well-Fed Writer and Back for Seconds. I have both of these books on my shelf and they are highlighted, dog-eared, and worn.

Not only do they give great ideas of ways to earn a steady income writing, but many of the lessons can be applied to your novel marketing!!

Writing is about marketing, pitching, submitting, getting rejected, improving, and doing it some more. This book helps you do this. The best part is doing this in one area will help you in others.

So I urge you to buy these books. I've put the links to the right of the blog.

Go do it!

Here is the contest. Buy the books and email me to tell me you bought them. Then use some of the principles and email me results. The most "Successful" candidate will receive a gift pack from me including: One hour phone consultation with me, help with creating a platform, and a book to help you build your writing business even more.

You have until November 10th to register [you register by emailing me at and telling me you bought one or both of the books]

Then you have until January 31st to get results to me [you'll get instructions when you register]

So are you serious about building your writing. It all starts with the decision you make now, today. You can choose to move forward...or stagnate.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Freelance Editor speaks Part 2

For our special Friday edition of the Writing Career Coach we continue with our interview of Kathy Ide, learn what PUGS are and how they can help your writing.

You’ve written some great resources for writers. Tell us about those.

Over the years I’ve been editing, I noticed that writers all tend to struggle with the same mechanical issues. I didn’t want to rely on what seemed right to me, or what I remembered from high school English. And different books had different answers. So when I was working with the commercial publishers, I learned which style guides and dictionaries the publishers use, and I started making a list of the rules and spellings I was looking up on a regular basis. After a while, that list grew to book length!

So I wrote a book highlighting the most common mistakes writers make. Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling Tips for Writers (UpWrite Books, 2007) contains definitive answers based on the publishing industry’s standard references, including punctuation from The Chicago Manual of Style (for books) and The Associated Press Stylebook (for articles), plus spelling and usage from the dictionaries recommended by both style guides. There are also rules from The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style.

In this book, I point out ten reasons writers need to polish their “PUGS.” One is that simple mechanical errors can change the meaning of a sentence. For example, if you wrote, “My husband Derek and I went camping last week,” without commas around Derek, you’d be implying that the man you vacationed with was only one of your husbands! If you had in your contract “The royalties will be divided equally between Mary, Ruth and Geraldine,” you might figure that each of you would receive a third of the money. But the absence of a comma before and, along with the use of the word between, would indicate that Mary gets one half while Ruth and Geraldine each receive a quarter of the money.

Many of the writers who’ve bought this book have told me that 95% of the questions they have are covered in Polishing the PUGS. Because it’s a small paperback (as opposed to The Chicago Manual of Style, which is a thousand-page hardback), it’s a lot easier to find what you’re looking for. And since it’s written by an average person rather than by a team of university professors, it’s easier to understand the explanations and examples. And, as one person told me, it hurts a lot less when you drop it on your toe!

I’ve also written two other books for authors: Christian Drama Publishing and Typing without Pain: How to Avoid (or Recover from) Computer-Related Injuries.

You teach and speak at writers’ conferences, too, right?

About eight a year. I’ve taught at the ACFW conference, Glorieta, Inspirational Writers Alive in Houston, Christian Writers Fellowship in Kansas, and several local conferences. I’m on the manuscript critique team at Mount Hermon, and last spring I taught a fiction mentoring clinic there. Last summer I taught at the North Texas Christian writers’ conference and have already been invited back for next year. One of my favorite conferences is in Montrose, Pennsylvania, just two miles down the road from my sister-in-law’s house. My husband goes there with me every other year, and he hangs out with his family while I teach. And we always make time to go sight-seeing the weekend before and after.

You sure sound like a busy woman!

I am. And I love it. I can hardly believe I get to make a living doing something I enjoy so much.

But a couple of years ago, I realized I was so busy helping other writers get published, I wasn’t spending much time working on the novel manuscript God had called me to write. When one of my clients saw me passing out business cards at Mount Hermon, she said, “Kathy, if you get more editing work, you’re not going to have time for me!” She asked me if I knew other editors I could pass some of these new jobs off to. I told her I didn’t, but I should.

On the five-hour drive home from Mount Hermon, God poured ideas into my head for a Christian editors’ network. The next day, I asked some of the editors I knew if they were aware of such an organization. They all said, “No, but what a great idea. You should start one.” A few months later, I founded The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( That was two years ago, and we now have 250 members, a Web site with great tips and articles and tools for editorial freelancers, an e-mail loop (and a prayer subloop), online courses, and a quarterly e-newsletter. I pass jobs on to the network on a regular basis. When authors come to me looking for editing, if I’m too busy or too expensive for their budget or if I don’t specialize in the kind of writing they do, I can match them up with the right editor for them. New editors get job leads they wouldn’t have known about otherwise. And established editorial freelancers can pass jobs on to the network if they get too busy too.

About six months ago I started a second organization called the Christian Editor Network ( It’s a “matchmaking service” for putting authors together with screened, professional, qualified editorial freelancers. Publishers and agents can refer authors to this Web site when they get manuscripts that have potential but need polishing.

So in addition to my own editing and speaking, I’ve become an “editor services coordinator.” And I love that too!

Where do you sense God leading you next?

A couple of years ago, my dear friend and prolifically published author Cecil Murphey mentored me, and he suggested I get into ghostwriting. Though I’d collaborated with clients on about a dozen books, I hadn’t thought of focusing on that. However, since then, I’ve had numerous requests for ghostwriting and coauthoring. So, between Cec and God, I’m getting the feeling that this is the next step for me. I have several collaboration projects in various stages right now, and I’m very excited about this venture.

I’ve also been getting numerous indications that the time has come for me to get serious about my novel manuscript, which has been sitting on a back burner, mostly, for the past several years while I’ve been establishing and maintaining my editorial services and networks. I’m nearly finished with the manuscript (although, being a rather perfectionistic editor, I’m not sure I will ever feel that it’s truly “done”), and I have serious interest from some of the top Christian publishers and agents. So, Lord willing, I will soon be a published novelist!

What do you do when you’re not writing, editing, or speaking?

I love spending time with my wonderful husband, Richard, who is an avid reader and movie-goer (like me). We enjoy taking road trips together and going house-boating and Jet Ski riding on Lake Powell.

I have two grown sons. The older one, Tom, and his wife, Ronit, live in Austin, so I try to visit them when I can. The younger one, Mike, lives with me . . . technically. He’s so busy with school (automotive college) and work (as a mechanic), he’s not home much. But when he is, I like hanging out with him.

I worship at Richfield Community Church (previously the Evangelical Free Church of Yorba Linda).

Since I live in Southern California, close friends and relatives love to come visit me! When folks stay at the “Ide Hotel,” I sometimes take a day or two off to play “tour guide” at Disneyland, Sea World, the beach, the mountains, San Diego, San Francisco, etc.

How can people order your books or find out more about your services?

They can visit my Web site at Or e-mail me at

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Freelance Editor speaks Part 1

I’ve known Kathy for years through the American Christian Fiction Writers, and we’ve met in person at ACFW’s annual conferences. After chatting with her at the conference in Dallas last month, I asked her to share a little bit about herself and all the things she does in the Christian publishing industry.

Thanks for joining my blog, Kathy!

My pleasure, Tiff. Thanks for inviting me.

Tell us how you got started as a writer.

I’ve been making up stories my whole life. (Just ask my mom, who caught me in plenty of “fabrications,” bless her heart.) But it never occurred to me that this could be a good thing! (On the contrary, it usually got me in trouble.)

In 1988, a friend of mine told me she was putting together a Christian writers’ conference at Biola University, near where I lived, and she needed some administrative help (stuffing envelopes and binders and such). So I helped her out. She asked if I’d like to attend the conference. I didn’t have anything better to do at the time, so I said, “Sure, why not?”

That conference opened up a whole new world to me. I learned that the names on the covers of the books I loved to read represented real people, normal folks who weren’t all that different from me. They sat on the grass and ate hot dogs and potato chips, just like the rest of us! And they hadn’t all majored in creative writing or journalism in college and went on to work for a publisher 9 to 5, seven days a week. They fit writing into their “free time.” Well, I thought, I could do that.

What was your first published writing?

After that Biola conference, I wrote an article and mailed it to a magazine I’d found on the freebie table. It got accepted by the first publisher I sent it to (little realizing at the time how unusual that was). The next year, I sent out some play scripts I’d written for my church drama teams, and almost every one of them got accepted. I was on a roll! I wrote more, got more acceptances . . . and plenty of rejections, of course.

In addition to play scripts, I wrote magazine articles, devotionals, short stories, and Sunday school curriculum (before work, during lunch, after work, and occasional weekends) and getting them published. I even wrote a screenplay that was optioned by a Hollywood director. I’m now working on a near-future speculative novel and a couple of compilations.

In addition to writing, you’re also a freelance editor. How did that happen?

About ten years ago, I got tendonitis in both thumbs, both wrists, both forefingers, and my right shoulder. My boss decided I couldn’t do my job anymore, so he let me go. My physical therapist told me I had to find work that didn’t require using a computer keyboard or any other type of repetitive motion. Yeah, right!

My workers’ compensation coordinator got me a professional-edition voice-recognition software program. But I couldn’t find an office job that would allow me to sit around and talk to my computer all day.

After a few months of wondering what God had in mind for me, my husband asked me what I would do for a living if I could do anything in the world. I answered without a moment’s hesitation, “Writing!” But we’d just bought our first house, based on my income in a career I’d been pursuing for thirty years. And I knew I couldn’t make that kind of money writing, at least not right away. So he asked what my second choice would be. Well, I’d been in a writers’ critique group for a while, and my crit partners really liked my suggestions. And I’d done a few jobs for a friend’s manuscript critique service and really enjoyed that. So I told my husband that I liked helping other people improve their writing. He encouraged me to see if I could build that into a full-time career.

I told my workers’ comp coordinator the idea, and she asked if I had a degree in writing or editing. When I told her I didn’t, she told me my plan was “impossible.” When I heard her say that word, I heard God say, “Impossible is My specialty!”

So I pursued it. I started working at home, editing and critiquing and proofreading manuscripts, and I loved it! My clients consistently told me they liked my suggestions and appreciated my corrections. And with a little research on my own, I figured out how to type without exacerbating my tendon injuries.

Over the past ten years, I’ve worked for new writers, established authors, commercial book publishers (including Moody, Thomas Nelson, and Barbour), subsidy publishers (including WinePress and VMI), magazines, and organizations such as CLASServices. I edit both fiction and nonfiction book-length manuscripts, short stories, articles, devotionals, and play scripts. I mentor aspiring writers, taking them from “I’ve never had anything published, so I don’t even know if I have what it takes” to winning literary awards, landing agents, getting book contracts, seeing their work in print, and becoming best-selling authors. What a treat! (And I’m actually making a better income with my editing business than I ever made at my full-time day job. So much for “impossible”!)

Writing is my passion, and helping others improve their writing is my delight.

Thanks Kathy, and come back tomorrow for a special Friday edition of Writing Career Coach to learn about resources for writer’s Kathy has created to help us all write better!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Caitie's Corner

Walking in Jesse’s Shoes

By Beverly Lewis

Illustrated by Laura Nikiel

ISBN 978-0-7642-0313-8

Help your child understand those with special needs

What parent hasn’t urged son or daughter not to stare at or tease a child who is “different” or disabled in some way?

In this sensitive yet realistic story, Jesse’s sister struggles to understand her brother—and the kids who make fun of him. This endearing book will encourage families everywhere to appreciate and befriend children with special needs.

There was a little girl named Allie. Every time her and her brother go to school he wanders around so they always miss the school bus. One day when Allie came home she says “I’ll never understand you.” and her father says “Of course you don’t because you’ve never walked in Jesse’s shoes.”

The next day Jesse took off his shoes and Allie put them on. But you’ll have to read the book to know what happens next.

I liked this book because it taught me that when you learn about somebody you get to know them really well. Then you’ll understand why they do weird stuff.

The pictures are very great. [Tiff's note: We are a family with a special needs child. I loved this book and think it is a great way to help parents of special needs kids talk with their non-special needs kids]

Bye for now, Caitie.

Books for kids, reviewed by a kid every Wednesday

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Writing that first full manuscript

As I said yesterday the only way to write a book is to start writing.

My first full length book was born when I was in the 8th grade. At that time it was 22 typed pages [quite a feat for someone in Jr. high] and had a cast of characters who still talk to me. It would be 14 years later when I'd pick that story back up and expand it to an over 55k manuscript. It took me just over 7 weeks to finish the first draft and a full year to get it to the full 55k. I entered it in a contest and was in the top 20 of a national, full-length novel writing contest.

My second book was written in 21 days, my third-which was much longer at 76,500 words, took two months to write and three weeks to edit. The second was requested by two publishing houses [although it is yet, unpublished] and the third won the Daphne du Maurier Award in the inspy unpubbed division. It is also being read by two agents right now.

Now I'm gearing up with NaNoWriMo to start work on my fourth. It is by far the most intense story I've written to date. To call the plot twisty is an understatement. And I can tell you five years ago I would never have attempted this book. Too much depth, too many balls to keep in the air, too many red herrings, to fast-paced.

But writing is a process and the only way you're going to get on your way is by starting. The only way you get there is by moving. The only way you'll ever get closer to your dreams is by doing.

So go out, start with the first chapter, write the first draft, get the words on paper.

Then keep coming back here. In November I will post every day. Friday-Sunday will be committed to helping you develop your writing as I move through NaNo.

So if you're NaNoing add me to your friends list. My screen name in NaNo is WritingCareerCoach you can watch my progress and I can watch yours. Together we'll do something most people dream of but few do...write a novel.

Monday, October 22, 2007

If not now, when?

Many of you would like to write a book. In fact, most people who say they'd like to write, even if they study journalism, say they'd like to eventually write a book.

So where do you start?

Of course you need an idea, but then what? I suggest jumping in to NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] in November. Once a year people try to write a 50,000 word novel during NaNo.

It may seem like a huge undertaking, and it is, but anytime you set out to write a book it is huge. The thing that makes NaNoWriMo so special is you have the support and comradery to help push you forward. You have accountability to others and you have a date certain.

This is my second year of NaNo. I'm going to be accountable to all of you by posting my progress up on my blog. I'll update it a couple of times a week starting on November 1st.

You can sign up for NaNo at

And if you are either going to try it this month or have before leave a comment. Let us know how you are doing and stop back on Fridays-Sundays for my ALL NANO blog starting November 1st.

This will be a time for all of you to brag, build community, and talk about what you're writing. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Caitie's Corner

Today I am going to talk about Fiona finds the Son by Andrea Beyers.

Fiona is a little girl that’s a flower and is only two inches tall. She has a nice bedroom and has a teacher. One day she climbed up a stem with her ballet shoes which she’s not supposed to do and she goes in the dew pool by accident.

On the way to find a new home she meets some very nice friends. A cricket, flower and a tigerlily. And someone with purple hair and pink hair. They tell her God will forgive your sins.

I liked this book. I thought the pictures were pretty cool. I think my little sisters would like to read this book too.

Tomorrow the author, Andrea Beyers, is going to be on the blog. I asked her some questions. I hope you’ll come read the interview.

That’s all for now. Bye, Caitie.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Important Warning before you build your website

Agent Steve Laube shared some important advice
with members of ACFW last week.
With his permission I have copied it below to help
all of you. Think about this before you
build your website.

NEVER let someone else control the details of your domain name.
Today. Right now. Immediately. Make sure you have access to your domain
This has nothing to do with who hosts your site. That is something else
Get the account ID and password for whatever company controls your domain.
It could be Network Solutions, it could be virtually anyone. But as soon as
you get that info...change the contact info (e-mail address) to an e-mail
address you control (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, if you must).
I once bought a domain name at a bargain and set up a small business around
that name. I didn't know that the company was in Australia and that they
sold their business. When I wanted to switch hosts (to someone cheaper and
better) it took nearly a month of wrangling and research to find out who
controlled my domain registration. A nightmare.
I switched everything to and I now control the whole thing.
Another example. Big publisher creates web site for author, secured domain
and hosted the site. Very switches publishers. Old
publisher will no longer do site updates. So author gets the site hosted
elsewhere where he can make changes himself. BUT he forgets that the domain
name was registered and controlled by his former publisher. So when it came
time to renew the subscription to his domain name, the publisher let it
expire. Because the e-mail address for the domain registration renewal was
sent to the old publisher, the author did not know that his domain name
expired. Guess what happened?
A porn site grabbed his domain name and linked it to their "date older
women" web site. Overnight his entire ministry was linked to something less
than ideal. (an understatement if there ever was one) He had to get a
different domain name and start over. Unfortunately his first six books and
all search engines were linked to his old domain name.
A year later he now has regained control of his domain name by using a
service called that grabs abandoned domain names. Fortunately
the porn site did not renew the subscription.
Bottom line? Control everything about your own web site. Hire someone to
help if you must, but never let control of your Internet presence out of
your hands.
Hope that helps,
The Steve Laube Agency

Thanks for the advice Steve, and thank you for your willingness
to share it with all of us. You can visit
Steve's website and find out about helpful resources for writers