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Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Guest Blogger
Patricia Durgin
Marketers with a Mission

Your greatest gift to your audience is your message. God entrusted you with a vision of what your audience’s life can be like, and He planted that vision within your message. Think of it as a roadmap.

They need you to be their guide. You know the hidden trails not shown on the map. The secret passageways. How to escape the Scary Forest.

You know the way because you once faced the same peril or challenge your audience faces today, and Christ—who is THE Map—guided you to safety. Then He invited you to share His Good News through your message, which is really His message in yours.

You accepted, and you’ve written a book, or you have one in mind. How will it reach your audience? You must take it to them, for they won’t come to you for it. How could they? They don’t yet know that yours is the message they seek.

Would you sacrifice your comfort to reach your target market for Jesus?

I invite you to consider public speaking as the single most effective tool to reach your audience in real life. To gather them round you and assure them that yes, there is hope, and its name is Jesus. That’s Christian communication at its best!

This hope is shaped surprisingly like your audience’s needs. Perhaps they’re in an unhealthy relationship and you’ve been delivered from one. Or their children have special needs and you’re able to maneuver through the insurance maze. Maybe they long to travel and you’ve ridden across the country on a motorcycle.

Whatever their challenge, you know the path that can lead them from where they are to where they want to be, because God first led you down that same trail, and then invited you to turn back and lead others into His light. What a privilege! What a responsibility!

But your message will never reach beyond your local circle of friends and family if you don’t step into the unknown. Your audience is waiting for YOU to find THEM.


Perhaps you’re working to reach your audience online. Great idea! I specialize in online marketing, so I love it.

But online marketing is the long game. Does your audience—and your writing career—have time to wait?

Public speaking is the short game. Create an event. Deliver your life-giving message. Return home and repeat as desired.

This Friday, November 1st, the Speakers QuickStart online course will open for enrollment. It’s designed to help Christian writers and speakers without any / many followers build their audience in real life, via live events.

As your audience grows offline, invite them to join you online, too, thus growing your online platform (which publishers require).   

Instead of waiting to be “discovered” and invited to speak elsewhere, help your audience “discover” you…by hosting your own events. We’ll show you how inside the course.

(Note this is not for those who already have a large following, but rather for those who enjoy intimate get-togethers or small group settings and would like to grow from there.) 

With each presentation, your message will become tighter, more effective. You’ll be acknowledged as an expert. And as your offline followers join you online, your platform will finally gain traction. More of your books will sell in both arenas.

All because you stepped out of your comfort zone to serve your audience as God’s representative.

If you’d like to find out more about how speaking can help you reach your writing goals, I invite you to join the Speakers QuickStart 14-Day Challenge private Facebook group for Christian writers and speakers.

Join the group to learn more about the course. Stay to learn more about marketing (our main focus).

Compassion for hurting people drives us to serve in ways and in places we normally wouldn’t consider. Will you dare to step out of your comfort zone by hosting small gatherings so your audience can hear God’s Good News?

Join us now in the Facebook group: https://marketersonamission.com/challenge/

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I confess! I hate research. As a result, almost all of my 1,000 plus sales to Christian periodicals are based on personal experience. You’ll rarely find me including statistics or quoting a bunch of “experts.”

Well, I hate most kinds of research, but I love digging deep into God’s Word to “write His answer.”

Study GOD and his strength, seek his presence day and night.

1 Chronicles 16:11 MSG

Early on in the 46 years I’ve written for publication I discovered the importance of studying (researching) the markets. I took seriously what an editor said at one of the first writers’ conferences I attended. I don’t remember her name, but I’ve never forgotten what she said: “An incorrectly targeted article is nothing but a source of irritation to a busy editor.”

Each edition of the Christian Writers Market Guide that Sally Stuart compiled for 24  years was well-worn and much appreciated. From it, and the guidelines for writers that I always requested from publishers, I developed Market Analysis Charts. As part of my Ministry/Marketing Packet that I sold for many years they were used by well over 1,000 writers.

Barb Haley apr 2016 croppedToday I’m so grateful for my dear friend, Barb Haley, who serves as the registrar and appointment coordinator for both the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

The charts of agent interests, editorial needs, and areas of expertise that she prepares for both conferences are an incredibly valuable research tool and a huge amount of work.

Below  is the chart of nonfiction editorial needs for the 22 editors at the May 15-18, 2019, Colorado Christian Writers Conference. There are also charts for fiction, children/YA & Other for our editors, 5 agents, 7 other professionals, and 19 authors.

EDITORS NONFICTION

In addition, with the bio for each of our 53 faculty members you’ll find the chart they completed (see sample below). Click on Editors, Agents & Other Professionals, and Authors.

EDITORS WATKINS

Father, thank You for Barbie and for Steve Laube who is continuing the work Sally Stuart began with the Christian Writers Market Guide. Thank You for the Internet that puts information at our fingertips. Help us not to be lazy when it comes to obtaining info we need. And especially, Father, remind us daily to study Your Word. Help us to do in-depth research so that we can effectively share Your answer.

Know what his Word says and means.

2 Timothy 2:15

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Question Mark Key Shows Doubt And Help

Years ago, I sold a packet of “Ministry and Marketing” resources for Christian writers. One side of the twin pocket folder had Bible studies as well as articles from my column in The Christian Writer that later were compiled into my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers(It’s now in its third edition and has been in print for 28 years!) The other side had how-to articles on writing and, yes, on selling our writing. My “Market Analysis Charts” helped many get their work in print.

I’m certain my kids and husband were happy when I stopped selling the packet and they no longer had the job of collating the 50-plus pages and pasting on the front and back cover.

Much has changed since I started writing for publication in 1972 after our second child was born. Wannabe writers and those already published now are able to access a huge amount of how-to information on the Internet. Writers’ conferences, seminars, podcasts, webinars, and coaches provide exciting opportunities to become better wordsmiths and marketers. And, of course, there are more how-to books than any of us will ever have time to read.

But sadly, the tension between ministry and marketing still exists. In fact, I think it’s grown more intense. Yes, we want to get the message we believe God has entrusted to us into print and into the hands of readers, but all too easily we can get caught up in doing things the world’s way.  We can spend lots of dollars and hours on building our “platform” and push God into a corner of our busy lives. In the process, it can become all about us and not about Him.

For the past 35 years as the director of the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and 22 years as the director of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference I have sought to find the balance God wants us to have between ministry and marketing. Of course, I offer workshops to help writers find a publisher for their manuscripts and readers for their books. But hopefully our “Write His Answer” theme keeps the focus clearly on the Lord and on writing as a ministry to point readers to Him and not to ourselves.

Father, please help me and Your people, Your scribes, to seek You and Your plans for our writing. Give us wisdom to know what learning and platform-building opportunities You want us to invest in. Help us to be realistic and not to focus on what we hope to gain but rather on what You would have us give.

How do you deal with the tension between ministry and marketing?

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So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here. These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return.
1 Peter 1:6-7 TLB

Thanks so much for your prayers and sharing with me the obstacles you’re facing. Father, we look to You for Your answers and thank You that You are able to work all things together for good.

The Geek Squad tech was amazing. The files had not been deleted. They had been moved to a different account. (I didn’t know I had more than one account.) He also did a temporary fix for Quicken, and my MS Office programs appear to be running MUCH better. He removed a program that he said was notorious for introducing Malware. I’m am so relieved and thankful.

Sheri Schofield, a friend who comes to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, faced a HUGE obstacle this year. She indie published her children’s picture book, The Prince and the Plan, but by mistake 2,000 copies were printed in black and white. She was given the option to purchase them for $4,180 (that she didn’t have) or they would be destroyed. Praise God He has provided and is using them in Ephesians 3:20 ways. With her permission, here is the email she recently sent me – proof that God is not limited by the size of our author platform and that He does answer prayer!

PrinceandPlan_coverThe Lord has given me a team of people here in Montana to reach the Native Americans and the poor with my book The Prince And The Plan! When I was first debating what to do with the black & white misprints, the Lord gave me this verse: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release from darkness to the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1). Then He told me to give them to the Native Americans in Montana, where unemployment is 80%.

I’d been able to reach the Salish & Kootenai, the Crow, the Blackfeet, and the Assiniboine & Gros Ventra tribes, but hadn’t been able to reach the Chippewa Cree at Rocky Boy reservation nor the Sioux in the northern part of the state. I asked the Lord to provide a way to reach them. Rocky Boy is VERY closed. At a book signing at the local Christian bookstore, a pastor’s wife from Set Free Ministries came and bought 10 full-color copies for the families at their church. She asked if I had a way to give discounts for books in bulk for use among the Native Americans. I asked her which ones, she said “Rocky Boy and Havre”, which are the very ones I’d been praying about! Today she and her husband picked up 300 books for them. AND her husband committed to helping me reach more poor and Native children around the state! I’ve got a team now to help me! Praise God!

Twenty-one years ago, the Lord gave me a vision of a work He would do here in Helena that would flow to the rest of the state, then to the nation. I had no idea it had anything to do with me, but I now understand that it very well may! He said a river of life would spring up here.

Marlene, I’m NOT following the usual way of marketing this book. I’m doing only what the Lord tells me to do, for this is a ministry, not a career. I’m going through the doors the Lord opens, and trusting Him to provide the financing to get the gospel into the hands of children. I know — it is really different! But once before, the Lord told me to fight a battle for Him, and I did it HIS way — and I beat the U. S. military. So, having that example of how God leads behind me, I’m comfortable with doing this book His way, too. So far, God provided all the money needed to independently publish the book, to give away 2000 black & white copies, and has provided a team to help me get it into the hands of the poor, of which there are many here in Montana. I’m rejoicing!

[Click here for Sheri’s latest newsletter and contact info.]

 

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You know you need to grow your platform but . . .

pexels-photo-2 women 2 men1162964

you’re not smiling as you hold up that BLANK page of your book proposal. Yes, you could add your willingness to go on a nationwide book signing tour, but who would pay for it? The publisher? Not likely. And if you’re going indie, well unless you have a rich uncle, you’ve probably used all your available funds for an editor and cover designer.

pexels-photo-online marketing 266176Then you remember the promises from the marketing experts that frequently turn up in your inbox. Success is within your reach! Online marketing is the key.

You need a website with keywords that will draw readers.

You need to be active on social media, not just posting but responding to comments.

Of course, you need to blog and not just on your own site.

And then there’s the need for everything to be search engine optimized (S.E.O.) plus the need to outsmart the constantly changing algorithms.

All this and you still need to find time to write!

Sarah Bolme, director of CSPA, the Christian Small Publishers Association, and the author of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, is teaching a 3-1/2 Learning Lab from 1:00 – 4:30 on Thursday, July 26, at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. She will teach you six manageable steps to building and growing your online author platform through CONTENT MARKETING. To find out more, click here for Sarah’s blog, and click here for info on all three of our learning labs. Best-selling author Dan Walsh will teach the ”Focus on Fiction” Learning Lab, and literary agent, Diana Flegal, will teach “The Making of a Nonfiction Book.”

Thursday’s Learning Labs, catered dinner, first-timer’s orientation, and opening keynote, “Declaring God’s Truth in a Digital Age of Half Truths” is just the beginning of this year’s 2-1/2 day conference – our 35th! But keep in mind:

The cost of lodging at the Holiday Inn (5 minutes from the conference at Dock Mennonite Academy in Lansdale) increases July 7.

— The conference registration fee increases July 8.

Meals – Thursday’s chicken dinner, Friday’s Italian Buffet, and Friday and Saturday’s box lunches – must be ordered by July 15.

If you need some scholarship help or time payments, click here. If you’d like our 16-page brochure, please email me at mbagnull@aol.com. It’s also available online at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

Page 16 cover

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I confess! I hate research. As a result, almost all of my 1,000 plus sales to Christian periodicals are based on personal experience. You’ll rarely find me including statistics or quoting a bunch of “experts.”

Well, I hate most kinds of research, but I love digging deep into God’s Word to “write His answer.”

Study GOD and his strength, seek his presence day and night.

1 Chronicles 16:11 MSG

Early on in the 45 years I’ve written for publication I discovered the importance of studying (researching) the markets. I took seriously what an editor said at one of the first writers’ conferences I attended. I don’t remember her name, but I’ve never forgotten what she said: “An incorrectly targeted article is nothing but a source of irritation to a busy editor.”

Each edition of the Christian Writers Market Guide that Sally Stuart compiled for 24  years was well worn and much appreciated. From it, and the guidelines for writers that I always requested from publishers, I developed Market Analysis Charts. As part of my Ministry/Marketing Packet that I sold for many years they were used by well over 1,000 writers.

Barb Haley apr 2016 croppedToday I’m so grateful for my dear friend, Barb Haley, who serves as the registrar and appointment coordinator for the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences. The charts of agent interests, editorial needs, and areas of expertise that she prepares for both conferences are an incredibly valuable research tool.

Here’s the chart of fiction genres the six agents at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference are interested in representing. Two additional charts detail nonfiction, children and youth, and other interests. Click here.

Agent p2 WEBSITE CHARTS 6.7.18

In addition, with the bio for each of our faculty members you’ll find the chart they completed along with their photo and bio. So far, only the page for our six agents is finished. I hope to have the bios and charts for our 34 other faculty online in the next several days.

HART Agent

Father, thank You for Barb and for Steve Laube who is continuing the work Sally Stuart began with the Christian Writers Market Guide. Thank You for the Internet that puts information at our fingertips. Help us not to be lazy when it comes to obtaining info we need. And especially, Father, remind us daily to be students of Your Word.

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berry-strawberry-hands-leaves-65271 pexelsSpring is finally here on the east coast, at least I hope it is. I’ve got loads of daffodils blooming. (I love how they naturalize and spread each year.) Waiting in the garage (and hopefully surviving) are 100 strawberry plants that arrived when there was 14″ of snow on the ground. My peach, pear, and apple trees (well, one of the apple trees) are in bloom.

As I think about the fruit I hope to harvest this summer and fall, I know far more important fruit will result from the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’ve added a new faculty member to the Colorado conference (info coming soon), and tomorrow morning I trust I’ll finally get started on the 16-page brochure for the Philly conference.

But I know the “fruit” Father wants our lives to bear is not what we do for Him but how we grow closer to Him so that our lives reflect Him. I hope you’ll click here for a Bible study on “Bearing Fruit.”

Marketers on a Mission logo

A dear friend whose life and ministry is bearing much fruit is Patricia Durgin. Tomorrow, April 25, at 3:00 pm I’m delighted to be her guest on “Marketers on a Mission.” I’ve known Patricia for many years and am so impressed by the work she is doing to equip Christians to effectively market their business or ministry. The link for tomorrow’s interview is below. I hope you’ll join us.

https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaADurgin/videos/1686232451459763/

MK book
Missions Moments at the Write His Answer Conferences

Both the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference have always had a strong emphasis on raising awareness to needs at home and around the world. M.K. Henderson has frequently been with us and has a new book I encourage you to order. Click here. Ebook copies are available to purchase as a pre-release sale for $1.99 through April 30. (After April 30 the ebook will be $4.99.) Your purchase will automatically appear on your device May 1st. Print copies also will be available May 1st on Amazon.

Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me. Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.

John 15:4-5 TLB

 

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DickBrusoPhoto_014ret-2
Two Power-Packed Programs
in One Incredible Early Bird Workshop
at the May 16-19, 2018
Colorado Christian Writers Conference

presented by international speaker
and branding expert,
Dick Bruso

 

 

As the saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm.” Arrive early at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and attend a very special two-part, 90-minute, early bird session starting at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16th. This is a workshop you can’t afford to miss!

Part One: Create a Best-Seller Brand 

Come learn how to develop a unique and enduring brand that will powerfully capture the marketplace by applying the “umbrella branding” approach to every aspect of your writing career. You will discover how you can bring absolute focus, clarity, and life to both your work and your brand.

Part Two: Fast-Track Your Speaking Outreach

Accelerate your writing career by tapping into the ideal professional speaking organizations, resources, and tools. Learn the inside secrets every Christian writer needs to know about the world of public speaking and building a solid and professional platform.

Last year these two programs (now combined for one jam-packed two-part workshop) were standing room only and the CDs of these sessions sold like hotcakes on a wintry day.

But, wait! There’s more!” 🙂 And, there really is more: Everyone attending this session will be given a complimentary 30-minute one-on-one phone consultation with Dick Bruso to help further their careers.

So register now for this special early bird workshop to begin your exciting adventure with CCWC on Wednesday, May 16th!

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I’m risking being a pest because I so believe in the value of this new conference. Plus there is now a 9th reason for you to come!

Come to what? When? Where? The NEW

Write to Impact Lives Conference
February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA

And why?

Question & Exclam pt

9. Writers love books, and they need books! And if you register for both days, along with those who have already registered you will receive FREE the following three books that support the purpose of this conference.

New WHA cover

My Bible study for writers that addresses the struggles we face and must overcome.

Communicate Change Lives

Jim Watkins’ book that I believe every Christian writer needs to read.

CWMG 2018
The info you need to find markets for your work as well as literary agents, writers conferences and seminars, writers groups, editorial services, publicity and marketing services, and contests.

The three books sell for $44.97 on Amazon ($37.99 through the Write His Answer Bookstore), but if you register for the entire conference, you will receive them free of charge (or the equivalent value in other books we’ll have for sale).

8. To give your writing the jumpstart it needs in the midst of the winter doldrums and prepare to meet with editors and agents at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Attendees will receive 10% off GPCWC’s registration fee .

7. To participate in our Friday evening author interviews and book signing. If you’re not yet published, you’ll be encouraged by their testimony and by fellowship with other conferees and our faculty. We need to

Encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

6. To be challenged, encouraged, and inspired through three powerful keynote addresses.

  • “Christians Are Hateful” – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians – Bill Watkins
  • Write from the Deep – Karen Ball
  • Keeping Your Dreams Alive – Jim Watkins

5. To discover the advantages of Going Indie with Sarah Bolme, Director, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). Self-publishing is no longer viewed as the last resort for writers unable to land a contract with a traditional publisher. Even best-selling authors often choose to go indie. This 4-hour learning lab will give you the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your book.

4. To keep growing your writing skills in a 3-hour continuing session.

  • Taming Fiction Dragons with Karen Ball who has built fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. As an editor, author, and former literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency, Karen has over 30 years publishing experience.
  • The Five Rs of Nonfiction with Jim Watkins, an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. Jim will give you practical, step-by-step methods to get into print and pixels.
  • Writing that Changes Lives with Bill Watkins – Writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth can change lives and eventually cultures. During his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with hundreds of authors including Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, Leslie Vernick, and Mike Huckabee. He is also an award-winning author with 7 published books, the president of Literary Solutions, and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.
  • Develop a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book with Karen Whiting, an award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books. Whether it’s still an idea or an already published book, learn how to use your strengths to develop a marketing strategy that fits you and reaches your potential readers.

3. To learn ways to build your “platform.”  Whether you land a contract with a traditional publisher or go indie, you need to learn how to effectively reach your audience. Our faculty panel will share what works (and doesn’t) and answer your questions.

2. You’re too late to take advantage of a paid critique, BUT as their schedule allows, faculty will be available for free 15-minute appointments. Sign-up when you arrive.

1. Last but first, to hear from the Lord and recommit yourself to write to impact lives!

God can do anything, you know—far more
than you could ever imagine or guess or request
in your wildest dreams!
Ephesians 3:20 MSG

For more information and to register, click here. Walk-ins are welcome, but please check the website for specific info on the location.

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reading newspaper pexels-photo-404976

Yes, I believe our writing is a ministry! But if we want to reach the most people possible with the message Father has entrusted to us, we can’t ignore the business aspect of our ministry. Especially when it comes to social media, we need to learn the most effective ways of connecting with our audience and with influencers.

So . . . below is some “news you can use” that will hopefully help you to expand your ministry. But one word of caution. Be careful to guard against getting so caught up with numbers and the world’s way of doing things that you leave the Lord out of the equation. He is able to make things happen that you could never do on your own.

God can pour on the blessings
in astonishing ways
so that you’re ready for anything and everything,
more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
2 Corinthians 9:8 MSG

The Ultimate Book Marketing Plan

Rob Eagar, www.startawildfire.com, announced: “I’m giving away an incredible new 10-part email course called the Ultimate Book Marketing Plan for FREE at Reedsy.com. Reedsy is a new global online marketplace for authors that I encourage you to visit. It’s like AirBnB or Angie’s List for the needs that authors face, such as finding a book cover designer, editor, or a marketer like me.

“This new email course officially launched January 26. You get to be one of the first authors to access it for free. It’s a perfect complement to the Ultimate Book Marketing Template that many of you have downloaded. Click here to take the free email course at Reedsy.”

A Writer’s Best Friend 

A helpful and humorous blog by author and literary agent Bob Hostetler about a tool every writer needs to use. I won’t tell you what it is. 🙂 You need to read Bob’s blog. Click the link above.

Connect with Influencers in Three Sentences

If you need to secure endorsements for your book, you need to read this helpful blog post from Mike Loomis who has served on the faculty of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

What Facebook’s 2018 Change Means for Authors  

This blog post from Thomas Umstattd Jr. (another former CCWC faculty member) explains Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. One important change: “Reactions (like laugh, heart, and crying face) are now weighted more than likes. So if somebody gives you a heart emoji, that’s more than if they just give you a regular thumbs up.” Let’s remember to do this when responding to posts of those who need our support.

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