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: