Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Is Indie Right for You? by Kimberli Buffaloe

Kimberli Buffaloe
You settle in your writing spot day after day and type out the scenes playing in your head. It’s a compelling story—you know it and know someone will benefit from the character’s journey. Revisions are next, followed by final edits, contests, conferences, perhaps a request for full. And then...rejection, rejection, followed by more rejection.

You’re to the point where you hide your tears. You’ve been at this for years. What should you do? Is this really meant to be?

There are options, you remind yourself. In just a few minutes, you can have that story up on Amazon for the entire world to see. You can post a link to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and more. Thanks to a network of friends and handy little hashtags, you can extend your reach. You’ll finally be a published author. It’s tempting. So tempting....

But is it moving in the direction you should go, or, like Sarah with the promise of Abraham’s son, are you acting prematurely?

I played around with the idea of independent publishing for years, but began looking into it as a serious option last January. My writing is good; published crit partners had said as much, though there is always room for improvement. In the past few years, I’d won first, second, and third place awards in various contests and advanced to the semifinals in national contests three times. One multi-published author point blank asked what was holding me back.

So what was the problem?

I wasn’t writing to the market. The majority of my stories have a strong romantic element, but they’re Contemporary, not Romance (which often led to confusion with judges, who kept attempting to correct my technical elements.) They don’t have the happy-ever-after ending many readers want, though they do have the right ending for the story. And instead of the overall Christian worldview agents and publishers are looking for, most of my stories involve Christians struggling to figure out how their faith applies to a particular problem, and to their daily lives.

Indie publishing may have been right for my debut novel, but as it turns out, I was unprepared for the launch. There are so many aspects to publishing I didn’t know to know, even after ten years of writing for eventual publication, and even after I took a class on publishing through KDP. If not for assistance from others, the boat may have sunk before it cast off.

If you’re thinking of going indie, is it out of frustration or because your story doesn’t fit the market? If you’re writing genres with the worldview publishers want, I urge you to stick with it for a while longer. You may be on the verge of a breakthrough. If you do decide to go indie, step into the publisher role and make sure you’re prepared to publish a well-edited story with a professional cover and a marketing plan.

Click to Tweet
Is indie right for you? Kimberli Buffaloe tells her story on #SeriouslyWrite. Click to Tweet
You’ll finally be a published author. It’s tempting. So tempting...Click to Tweet
About the Author
Kimberli Buffaloe combines her passion for the faith and the Carolinas in her stories, which she calls Lessons from the Landscape. Her debut novel, Learning to Live Again (writing as Kimberli McKay) was released on Amazon in June, and her short stories have appeared on Christian Fiction Online Magazine. She is a member of Christian Writers Guild and American Christian Fiction Writers, where she has served as the Carolinas Area Coordinator and Genesis category coordinator. A pastor’s wife who enjoys photography, her photos have appeared on Carolina nature organization websites and Clash Entertainment's Verse of the Day, Kimberli and her husband live in North Carolina with their rescue dog, Gracie.

Connect with Kimberli
Twitter: @KimberliSMcKay, @CarolinaTrails 
Website: http://www.carolinatownsandtrails.com

Learning to Live Again
A year after a botched carjacking turned her into a widow at the age of twenty-five, Vicky Morgan
Learning to Live Again
by Kimberli McKay
meets a former police officer with connections to the crime that wrecked lives and sent her into hiding. She not only learns the fate of the officer injured in the attack, she has support from the only person who can understand what she suffered and lost that fateful night.

Clay Waters faces an uncertain future after his wife takes an extended vacation from their marriage. Unwilling to risk leaving their son without a parent, he quits his job at the police department. A decision that leaves him feeling useless until he meets the petite recluse who barely survived a face-off with a murderer.

Vicky gives Clay the sense of purpose he wants, and he provides her with protection she needs as she gradually expands her world and renews a faith she once tossed aside for a man. But when friendship turns to love, will the faith teaching them to forgive now keep them apart?

If you'd like to read my review of Learning to Live Again, click here - Angie

Monday, July 21, 2014

The End...Or Is It?

Marianne Evans
The End, I’ve discovered, can actually mean The Beginning.

Naturally, the best thing about being a writer is the day you get “the call,” or “the e-mail,” informing of a sale about which you’ve most likely dreamed of for years. And, yeah, royalty payments are pretty neat, too.

I want to leave that behind for now, though, and focus not on the business of writing, but on the heart and soul, the call that pushes me to wordsmith, to plot and create.

Years ago I wrote The End on a book titled With This Kiss. I sent it off, and was blessed by a contract. But that’s the exact moment when The End turned into The Beginning. I’m not talking about the process of signing the contract, filling out manuscript information sheets, cover art suggestions. I’m talking about the way that episode of publishing introduced me to a means by which I could write, and publish, in a genre that had knocked on the door of my writer’s soul for many years. Christian romance.

I discovered a wonderful publisher and wanted to submit to them, but in order to get to The Beginning, I had to confront the demon of doubt.  And, isn’t it true that the toughest part of The Beginning is taking that first trembling step forward?

My doubts? For starters, what business did I have writing Christ-centered stories? I’m a sinner. I’m broken. I’m nobody’s theologian. For sure, folks would see me as a fraud, right? Next? What story ideas did I have that would be worthy of publication? If this call came from God, I certainly didn’t want to let Him down.

Well, God aligned the details; all I had to do—no small feat—was follow His call. I entered a contest. I was fortunate enough to win. From there, I’ve never looked back through over twenty five ‘The Ends.’

When I discuss this career shift with friends and colleagues, I’ve often said The End and The Beginning both lead to happily ever after. What challenges you? What dream do you feel bursting in your spirit, yet perhaps haven’t pursued yet? How can you take steps to move forward, and take the leap of Faith?


Marianne Evans is a multi-award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laud her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’ Devotion earned the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award from Greater Detroit RWA as well the Heart of Excellence Award from Ancient City Romance Authors. She also earned wins for best romance of 2012 from the Christian Small Publisher's Association and the Selah award from Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Fiction Writers for best novella of 2013. Happily married and the mother of two, Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan who is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.


Aileen's Song

Aileen, Siobhan, Kassidy and Maeve—long ago they made a purity pledge to God and a friendship vow to one another. Now this quartet is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime…

All her life, Aileen Brewer has dreamed of singing on stage and winning the heart of Liam Douglas. When she sings, she exudes confidence and charm. Away from the spotlight, she’s the shy, curvaceous woman who has always tried to maintain a sweet, Godly spirit despite her radical upbringing and a sense that she’s not quite good enough.

During a music festival at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Aileen takes the stage with her three best friends and Sisters in Spirit is born. Liam, a Christian record producer, is captivated by the wallflower of his youth who has blossomed into a magnetic performer.

He champions a record deal and a quest for Aileen’s heart, but can she find confidence enough to take command of the group—and accept Liam’s love? Can Liam help her see the beauty of the woman she has become?

Dreams just might come true in ways only God could orchestrate…

Visit the Sisters in Spirit website at: www.pelicanbookgroup.com/sis

Friday, July 18, 2014

Good News—Your Book Idea Is Not Special! by Robert Treskillard

Robert Treskillard

We’re all looking for what works or doesn’t work when it comes to writing creative and meaningful pieces and getting them into the hands of readers. Today, author Robert Treskillard shares what helped him find success on his own journey to publication. 
~ Dawn

Good News—Your Book Idea Is Not Special!
by Robert Treskillard

Try as we might, the premise for each of our novels is not special, and not unique, and that is good news. Why? Because if our success depends on finding a totally unique story, we’d all fail, because it’s all been written about before.

Instead, your success depends on the execution of your book idea … your craft and marketing.  Obsessing about the idea behind your book is great, but don’t stop there!  Turn it into a great plot with real characters, and then write it! Promote it!

Now this doesn’t mean that all book ideas are equal, because they’re not.  Some are awesome, some are mediocre, and you still want to find a great book idea. But don’t worry too much about whether it’s been written before. Give it your own angle, sure, but then move on and turn it into a great novel.

Learn the Craft

But how do we turn an idea into a great novel? Craft of course, which is something that can be learned. One of the great places to do that is at the next ACFW Conference, coming this fall to St. Louis, MO, my adopted hometown. Come on out and learn from multi-published authors just how to write a novel: from dialogue, to scenes, to conveying emotions, to plot, and far beyond.

And your craft is very important. The chart below shows a list of who your writing must impress in order to get published.  And regardless of how you publish your novel, you still need to get endorsements and impress readers.

Learn to Promote

My own path to publication started when I began to promote my novels, even while I was writing them. This, too, is something you can learn. 

Start with a blog reviewing other authors in your same genre. This will give you four benefits:

  • Familiarize you with successful authors.
  • Allow you to analyze what makes their writing tick.
  • Allow you to get to know them as you help promote their books.
  • Gives you an overview of how they market their books.

And all the while, readers will come to your blog to read your reviews and will learn about your books, so that’s another benefit.

Then, when your book is written and polished, you need to get as many endorsements as you can. 

For me, I created a decent book cover for Merlin’s Blade, printed it, and hand delivered it to published authors.  Note that I did not self-publish at this point … my interest was endorsements.

 Only a few authors had time to read it, of course, and that’s okay … those few endorsed my writing and helped me get an agent, which in turn led to Zondervan/Blink picking up my trilogy.

And I did this by writing about King Arthur, a subject that is about the least unique you can find.

Can you get published? Yes. And remember, it’s not how special your book idea is … it’s about your execution of that idea.

(Note that this blog post was inspired by Brad Field’s business related post, “Note to entrepreneurs: Your idea is not special”, which I have applied to authors.)


Try as we might, the premise for each of our novels is not special, and not unique, and that is good news. Click to tweet.

Your success depends on the execution of your book idea … your craft and marketing. Click to tweet.

It’s not how special your book idea is … it’s about your execution of that idea. Click to tweet.

Author Robert Treskillard shares four benefits to blog reviewing other authors in your same genre. Click to tweet.

A King In Danger:  Arthur, now eighteen, is missing, and Merlin must find him before a shadowy pursuer catches him first. With the high-king and his kingdom caught in a trap of sinister deceit, Merlin has to find a way out before all is lost.

A Bleeding Kingdom: Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxenow hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west.

And Merlin’s Nightmare Stalks The Land:  Mórgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets it loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive—without unleashing an even greater evil?

Robert Treskillard is a Celtic enthusiast who’s been crafting stories from his early youth, is a software developer, graphic artist, and sometime bladesmith. He and his wife have three children and are still homeschooling their youngest. They live in the country outside St. Louis, Missouri. Robert it the author of The Merlin Spiral trilogy: Merlin’s Blade, Merlin’s Shadow, and Merlin’s Nightmare, published by Blink YA Books. He is currently working on book 1 of The Pendragon Spiral, Arthur’s Blade.

Website:        http://www.KingArthur.org.uk  
Facebook:      http://www.facebook.com/treskillard  
Twitter:         http://www.twitter.com/treskillard


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Next Best Thing by Heidi Chiavaroli

Heidi Chiavaroli
Dora here. Reading Heidi's post brought back so many sweet memories, and more than a few tears. My two sons are adults now, and I miss those carefree summer days with them so much! Fill up a giant mug with coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair, and savor whatever season you're in now. Enjoy The Next Best Thing by Heidi Chiavaroli.

We all know there’s something special about the last day of school. That taste of freedom, that light backpack with report card tucked inside, the knowing that there will be no homework that night or for the next 78 days.

As my kids came home from their last day of school, my oldest went off to enjoy an afternoon at his friend’s house. I planned a special afternoon with my youngest son, Noah. It involved Toys R Us and ice cream, so let me tell you, he was more than a little excited. He bought Pokemon cards at the toy store, opened the cards in the car before giving them a once-over and…asked what kind of ice cream we were going to buy. We made our purchase and went home to pack the cones with coffee ice cream—his favorite. Noah devoured his cone in three minutes, wiped his hands on his pants and…asked if I could push him on the swing. After a few minutes of that, he was off to swing his golf clubs.

No, my son does not suffer from any type of attention disorder, but he did race through our afternoon to get to each new fun thing.

I was reminded about my writing journey. I’m often in a rush to research for a new story idea, in a rush to plot and interview my characters, to write “The End” on my last page so I can edit and then submit.

I’m in a rush to obtain an agent. I’m in a rush to be published. And I’ll bet after I’m published I’ll be in a rush to check my Amazon Author Rank or win a contest with my book.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with striving toward the finish line and running the race God has set for us, both in our writing and in our lives. But all too often I forget to enjoy the journey. I’m too like my young son, ready to inhale my ice cream to get to the next best thing.

Right now, without any contracts or deadlines, I’m free to write. When I want, how I want. But I don’t often savor that freedom.

So today, when I sit down with my manuscript, I’m going to take a breath and be still for a moment. I’m going to relish the simple fact that I’m about to create something, to write something only I can write.

And then I’ll plunge myself into my story, not let myself go to bed until I’ve reached my word count. And in two months, once again, I’ll start submitting. But this time, I’m going to make time to be still and enjoy the journey.

Do you find yourself rushing to get to the next best thing? 
How do you take time to savor the journey?

Heidi Chiavaroli writes History Woven in Grace. She is a wife, mother, disciple, and grace-clinger. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has finaled in the Genesis contest and My Book Therapy’s Frasier contest.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pinterest 101 For Authors by Carrie Turansky

Carrie Turansky has some wonderful Pinterest boards and shares her insight into using them as an author. -- Sandy

Carrie: Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networks in the world. It’s now number three behind Facebook and Twitter. So it makes sense for authors to learn the basics and take advantage of Pinterest to connect with readers and promote their books and author brand.

So what is Pinterest? It’s a visual discovery tool that people use to collect, organize, and share ideas for projects and interests. People create and share collections (called boards) of images (called pins). Any time you find an image on the web that you like, you can pin that image to one of your boards to save, view later, or share with others. You can also download images from your computer to Pinterest, but the first method is better because it links back to the place you found the image.

How can authors use Pinterest? Kimberley Grabas, author of Your Writer Platform Blog says, “Your goal should be to teach, entertain and inspire your audience on Pinterest. In return, Pinterest will grant you the ability to increase awareness of your author brand, drive more relevant traffic to your website, and increase your book sales.”

People head to Pinterest to find solutions, get ideas, and be inspired. Plus pinners are buyers….so authors can use Pinterest as a marketing tool. But like all social media, it’s important to avoid too much self-promotion. Pinterest is a quieter platform where you are mainly sharing images and connecting with readers who share similar interests.

Here are some specific ideas for authors. Create boards for each of your books and feature the cover, characters, setting, clothing, and events that happen in the story. Link those images back to your website and blog to help readers connect with you and purchase your books. These boards can be a great help to the artists who designs your covers. Here’s a link to my next book, The Daughter of Highland Hall: http://www.pinterest.com/carrieturansky/daughter-of-highland-hall/

Since I write historical novels I have boards for different time periods with clothing, cars, people, and events from those eras. Those boards are a good place to keep images that link back to research articles. Authors who do this exceptionally well are Lori Benton and Laura Frantz. Check out their book boards! http://www.pinterest.com/lorilbenton/

My current series is set in the same era as Downton Abbey, and one of my marketing goals is to reach out to fans of that show. So I have a board for Downton Abbey and another for Highclere Castle, where Downton is filmed. Those are my two most popular boards with the highest number of repins. They have helped me connect with many Downton Fans and introduce them to my books.

You can pin images from your blog posts or author email newsletters and link people back to your website. Pin images that lead readers to 5-star reviews and blog interviews. When it’s time for a cover reveal, launch week, or a special promotion, pin those images and share them with those who follow you on Pinterest.

You can also create boards that allow you to share your interests with others on Pinterest. I have boards for Tea Time, English Country Gardens, People I admire, Favorite Authors, Romance, Books Worth Reading, Favorite Recipes, To Your Good Health, Childhood Memories, Kids, Favorite Movies, Doors, Christmas, Favorite Verses and Quotes, Places I’d Like to Go, Scotland, England. These kind of boards give readers a taste of who you are and offer added value. Here’s a link to my boards: http://www.pinterest.com/carrieturansky/

I have a background in art and I’m a very visual person. I’ve always collected photos for my characters and settings, so when I discovered Pinterest…it was love at first sight! For me, it’s a great way to take a break, relax, and see some beautiful images . . . as well as build connections with readers.   

For a great step by step tutorial on how to set up a Pinterest account, get started, and use Pinterest visit: http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/use-pinterest-to-market-book-and-author-brand/

Have you set up Pinterest boards for your books or WIPs? How do you use Pinterest for marketing?


Carrie Turansky has loved reading since she first visited the library as a young child and checked out a stack of picture books. Her love for writing began when she penned her first novel at age twelve. She is now the award-winning author of more than a dozen inspirational romance novels and novellas. Carrie and her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, and speaker, have been married for more than thirty-five years and make their home in New Jersey. They often travel together on ministry trips and to visit their five adult children and four grandchildren. Carrie leads the women’s ministry at her church, and when she’s not writing she enjoys spending time working in her flower gardens and cooking healthy meals for friends and family.  Carrie loves to connect with reading friends through her website, 

www.carrieturansky.com and through Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Much of Yourself Do You Put into Your Book by Lorena McCourtney

Lorena McCourtney
How much of herself (and her friends and relatives!) does a writer put into her characters and plot?

You read a great book and then start to wonder. Did the author make this up, or are the characters and situations actually part of the author’s own life? Was her own child kidnapped? Is she deathly afraid of snakes? Was her husband murdered?

I write mysteries in which a dead body usually turns up, and I’ve had readers ask me if I really discovered a dead body and solved a murder.

Well . . . no.

Some authors may use characters and events taken directly from their own lives, with or without telling the reader that this is what they’ve done. But in my own writing, I’ve never written anything that was fully autobiographical. I’ve never grabbed a character out of real life and stuck him or her in a book.
But bits and pieces of me, or friends or relatives, are in almost all my characters (villains as well as heros and heroines!), and bits and pieces of events in a book often come from something in my life. But I want to emphasize those three words: bits and pieces.

How does this work?

Cate Kinkaid, lead character in the Cate Kinkaid Files mystery series, likes cats. This isn’t a particularly unusual trait, but it comes straight from me. I like cats. Cate has doubts about the value of feng shui. Me too. Cate has a small scar on her hand from a childhood incident. This is only one line in the book – but it came from the scar I still have on my hand from a long-ago childhood grab at a hot stove handle.

A woman Cate meets in Book #1 is especially fond of pansies because they bloom all winter around her Oregon home. This is another one-line remark in the book, but it came because I’ve been surprised and impressed how my pansies bloom so cheerfully even in winter cold and rain.

Uncle Joe in that same book broke his hip in a fall from a ladder. That was personal experience: falling off ladders is practically a family trait with my husband and me. Neither of us broke a hip in our falls,, but my mother-in-law did. It was a lengthy and sometimes difficult recovery period. So that went in the book too.

A member of the Whodunit Club in that same book always wears purple. A woman I didn’t know but whom I saw occasionally at a church I went to a long time ago, sticks in my memory because she was always in purple. Another whodunit member mentions that she was in a garden club that actually disbanded because of one disagreeable member, then reorganized without her. This happened in a writers’ group I belonged to briefly.

In the current Cate Kinkaid book, “Death Takes a Ride,” Clancy, the motorcycle-loving dog, got in the book because of a biker acquaintance who always carried his dog, complete with goggles, in a box on his bike. The ex-trophy-wife Candy can do an impressive spin in her high-heeled boots. This was a reverse-of-me trait, in that I’m a total klutz in heels. The antique car restoration business in the book came from my husband’s interest in old cars.

As has been said before, it’s all grist for the writer’s mill.

One character who has more of me in her than any other I’ve written is Ivy Malone. (Some of you may be familiar with her in “Invisible,” “In Plain Sight,” “On the Run” and “Stranded.”) Ivy is the older woman who discovers she seems to have aged into invisibility, that a good many people just don’t see her any more. It’s a main premise of the book. This came straight from my own growing-older experience with “invisibility.” Ivy has other traits that are parts of me: the “black thumb” when it comes to growing anything. My Christian faith, of course. My annoyance with people who call me “Young Lady.” Ivy has leanings toward eccentricity; me too. Ivy hates grits; me too. Her experiment with dying her possum-gray hair was a disaster; so was mine.

But Ivy is definitely not all me. She’s much more adventurous, willing to spend nights on lookout for vandals in a cemetery. She’s also more outgoing (I’m the poster gal for introvert.)

What about those villains that have some bit or piece of me? Well, I’ll just let that remain a mystery. A writer can’t give up all her secrets.

So if you’re a writer, I’d certainly say to look within yourself – and within your friends and relatives too – for interesting traits and quirks to make your characters into real people. This is a rich source of material. If you’re worried someone will recognize an unflattering bit about themselves, change it just enough to protect the innocent (which is you). Although it’s been my experience that some people will “recognize” themselves even when you didn’t have that person in mind at all, and when a real person does read something you actually based on him or her – they probably won’t recognize themselves anyway!

How much of yourself do you put in your writing? Share some of your favorites below -- we'd love to hear from you!
About the Author
Lorena McCourtney came to writing faith-based mystery/romances in a roundabout way. She started writing in the fifth grade, always stories about horses. This love of horses carried her through a degree in agriculture from Washington State University, and a job with a big midwestern meat-packing business (where she quickly learned writing about raising hogs and making sausage was not her life calling). Marriage and motherhood intervened, and by the time she got back to writing, she knew fiction was what I wanted to do. McCourtney wrote many short stories for children and teenagers, eventually turned to book-length romances, and now to the faith-based mystery/romances that she feels are her real home. She and her husband live in southern Oregon, where their only livestock now is one eccentric cat.

To learn more, please visit:
Website: http://www.lorenamccourtney.com
Death Takes a Ride
by Lorena McCourtney
Facebook “Friends” page (friend invitations welcome!)
Facebook “Author” page (likes welcome!)

Death Takes a Ride
Cate Kinkaid arrives at H&B Classic Auto Restorations to give a friend a ride. But, as usual, trouble
Bestselling and award-winning author Lorena McCourtney takes readers on another wild ride of mystery in this clever cozy mystery, part of her popular series The Cate Kinkaid Files.

finds Kate even there--this time in the form of one dead man, one wounded man, and what appears to be a pretty obvious case of self-defense. Owner Matt Halliday wants to hire her, but not for this case. Instead, Cate is charged with finding a man who owns a particular motorcycle Matt would like to buy. As her search progresses, she begins to suspect that the shooting in Matt's office may not have been as cut-and-dried as it appeared.

Angie here -- to read my review of Death Takes A Ride, click here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Four Tips for Marketing While Writing by Melissa Tagg

Melissa Tagg
Happy Monday, writers. Wearing my reader hat, I had the privilege of being part of Melissa Tagg's "Tagg Team," which helped promote her first two books. Such a fun experienceboth reading and sharing the books. (If you haven't read them, do!) But, from the sidelines, I wondered how Melissa, and other busy authors on deadline, both write and market their works at once. Thankfully, Melissa graciously agreed to offer some very helpful advice. Read on! ~ Annette 

Four Tips for Marketing While Writing
by Melissa Tagg

When Annette first asked me to write this post, she suggested I write about marketing one book while writing another…which is exactly what I happened to be doing at the time. My second book, Here to Stay, released in May. That same month, I had a deadline for my third book. So I did my best to wear both my writing and marketing hats at the same time. I also wore my full-time day-job hat. And my friend/sister/daughter hats.

I will admit, it was challenging.

But that’s the reality when someone with only one head tries to wear multiple hats.

Marketing while writing is difficult…but not impossible. Though I’m still figuring it out myself, I do have a few tips:

1)     Do what you can and don’t sweat what you can’t

You can’t do everything. You just can’t. Unless you’re super-human. In which case, I bet you’re not reading this blog because you could probably market, write, and save kittens stuck in trees all at the same time.

For the rest of us, it’s better to admit we can’t do it all.

Problem is, if you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to waste time bemoaning all the things you’re not doing. And that’s just not helpful. So I suggest choosing not to kick your own tail for what you’re not doing. Don’t compare yourself to the people who seem to dominate every social media platform known to man, snag all the interviews everywhere and have zillions of followers. Nurture your mental space, don’t feed it negativity…focus on doing what you can and doing it well.

2)    Focus on what works for you

I am one of thirteen women in the world who doesn’t care for Pinterest. I used to feel guilty about that…but no longer.

Marketing is about building relationships. Well, if I’m going to build a relationship in my regular life, I’m not going to go hang out at a place I don’t like…say, Hooters. I’m going to go somewhere I’m comfortable and know I’ll have fun. (note: I am not comparing Hooters to Pinterest!)

If you’re in a different season where you have more time, then hey, it’s always good to branch out! For instance, when my deadlines are over, one thing I’d like to do is seek out more speaking and interview opportunities. But when in the throes of a deadline, it’s smart to gravitate toward the marketing efforts that come most naturally.

3)    Writing before marketing

This was my rule for myself this spring as I faced a deadline during release month. I want Here to Stay to do well. I want it to sell. But I have to think long-term. If one book sells well but then the follow-up is poorly written, I haven’t done myself too many favors. So while I definitely worked hard (and am still) to market Here to Stay, I prioritized writing over marketing.

4)    Trust God

More and more, in every aspect of writing, I’m realizing that to have any semblance of peace in the process, we have to trust God. He gave us our stories in the first place! So why do we obsess about marketing or not doing enough or sales numbers? Why do we—okay, I—think I need the perfect balance of writing and marketing and doing-everything to make it in this industry?

God is in control of my career and my dream.

Just like He’s in control of yours.

And when you think about it, that’s an incredibly calming thought.

Do you have any questions about marketing while writing?


Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned author. Her second book, Here to Stay, released from Bethany House in May. In addition to her homeless ministry dayjob, she is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and lately, obsessing over the band Needtobreathe. Connect with Melissa at www.melissatagg.com, on Facebook, Twitter (@Melissa_Tagg), Instagram (melissatagg) and G+ (+MelissaTagg).

After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he'll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he's stunned at not only a warm welcome from his hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events. . .

If there's one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it's Whisper Shore. For years, she's been stuck running her family's inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.

The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn's the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade--she'll help with the Festival and he'll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who's done running away joins forces with the girl who can't wait to leave.