Archive for the ‘Promotion’ Category

Rob Cook

 “His love has the first and last word
in everything we do.”      2 Cor. 5:14 MSG

Let me introduce you to my friend, Rob Cook, one of the keynoters at both the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Rob is an author and the founder, pastor, and director of 252 Underground Youth Ministry. God’s love fuels Rob’s passion to reach tough kids – kids who hang out on the streets, get in trouble, and sadly would not be welcome in many churches.

Rob says, “Let’s stop asking what would Jesus do. We already know what Jesus did. It’s not enough to just know; knowledge without action is useless. Let our call to action be DWJD – Do What Jesus Did.”

Updates – July 30 – August 2
Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

Registration is open . . . and two weeks earlier than last year. Thank You, Father. There is still much to be added to the website, but the 16-page brochure is online. Check it out! Remember, the earlier you register, the better opportunity you have to get your choices for your one-on-one appointments.

Updates – May 14-17
Colorado Christian Writers Conference

– The deadline for applications was April 1. The nonfiction clinic is full, but because there is still room in the other clinics we’re continuing to accept applications on a first-come basis.



Speaker’s Clinic with Roy Hanschke

Every writer needs to be a speaker, too. If you’ve been avoiding the challenge to begin the speaking part of your ministry or need to improve what you’re already doing, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss. Roy has trained and coached beginning and seasoned speakers for over 15 years. He is also a 20-year (plus) veteran in Christian radio in Denver, Colorado. His morning show is heard at 910AM and worldwide on streaming audio at www.AM91.org.

Fiction Intensive with Jim and Tracie PetersonTracies latest book
Tracie’s 100th book, A Sensible Arrangement, has just been released. Congratulations, Tracie!

This clinic is designed for writers who feel they have great stories to tell, but who want to dig just a little deeper to actually put them to paper in a dynamic way.

What makes a good story?
How do you give life to paper characters?
Why is setting so critical?
What’s research got to do with fiction?
What is my reason for writing this book?
How can you avoid the most popular mistakes

Get Them Coming to Your Blog / Website with Megan Breedlove
– Learn what kind of web presence you need and where to go to get it, determine exactly who your target audience is and  what they need, receive individual instruction to ensure your site does the best possible job of meeting your audience’s needs, discover how to promote your site and increase your Google ranking, expand your author platform so you can get your message out to the nations and develop a presence that will be attractive to publishers, and more.

News You Can Use

How To Build A Writer Platform With No Time, No Credentials And No BookHelpful blog by  Kimberley Grabas.

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas   LPC
“Working hard to make His truth shine.”
Check out their growing line of books including how-to books for writers. This is the 5th year LPC and ChristianDevotions.us will be represented at the Colorado and Greater Philly conference. Father, thank You for Eddie Jones and his team and for the Ephesians 3:20 things You have done and are doing.

Keep writing His answer and doing what Jesus would do!

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Crocus in the snowFaith Is . . .

I knew my snowdrops (flowers not flakes) were there, somewhere, buried under the blanket of snow that had covered the ground for months. After the thirteen snowstorms we’ve had this winter (I think there were thirteen – I lost count!), I am so ready for spring.

Yesterday I took advantage of the almost 60 degree weather to work in my garden. Sure enough, poking through the snow were my snowdrops and, amazingly, they were already in bloom.

Today, the temperature is again below freezing. A bitter cold wind is gusting to 30 MPH. It’s a day to curl up in my recliner and dream about springtime as I leaf through catalogs that have been arriving almost daily. It is definitely not a day to be outside gardening.

I’m reminded of a familiar Scripture. “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead” (Heb. 11:1 TLB).

Years ago I paraphrased this verse for writers:

Now faith is the assurance
of the acceptances we hope for,
the proof of acceptances
we do not yet see,
And the conviction of their coming reality—
faith perceiving as
future fact that which is
not yet revealed when we go to the mailbox.

Does that mean everything we write will be published? Of course not. Hebrews 11:1 is not a blank check we simply sign for anything we want. And “dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words” (Eccl. 5:7 TLB). But if we seek first His Kingdom, if we match our faith with hard work, and if we “don’t get discouraged and give up,” Galatians 6:9 says “we will reap a harvest of blessing” (TLB).

We can’t rush the process any more than we can rush the coming of spring. But we can choose to keep our priorities in order and to rely on His promises. “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him, and he will respond to us as surely as the coming of dawn or the rain of early spring” (Hosea 6:3 TLB).

Updates – May 14-17 Colorado Christian Writers Conference

Early registration deadline – At 12:01 am EST, March 16, the price for those registering online will automatically increase. I do not create the registration form and, therefore, cannot extend the date as I’ve been known to do in the past.  But since we’re only three registrations away from the first 75 who will receive an additional free appointment, I can extend an additional free appointment to everyone who registers before March 16.

Roy Hanschke use this oneSpeaker’s Clinic with Roy Hanschke Every writer needs to be a speaker, too. If you’ve been avoiding the challenge to begin the speaking part of your ministry or need to improve what you’re already doing, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss. Roy has trained and coached beginning and seasoned speakers for over 15 years. He is also a 20-year (plus) veteran in Christian radio in Denver, Colorado. His morning show is heard at 910AM and worldwide on streaming audio at www.AM91.org. Roy  will help you 1) discover your ministry focus and how to talk about it (power statements), 2) organize one of your talks to maximize time and effectiveness (message development), 3) present your talk with power and pizzazz (voice personality), and 4) market your message through radio (media mania). In this clinic you’ll have an opportunity to test what you learn and receive helpful evaluation from Roy and seven of your peers. For more information and the application that needs to be submitted by April 1 go to http://colorado.writehisanswer.com/clinics.    

Updates – July 30–August 2 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

DickBrusoPhoto_014ret-2Focus on faculty member Dick BrusoAn international speaker, author, and founder of Heard Above The Noise®, Dick is a highly regarded branding and marketing expert. His clients include best-selling authors and in-demand speakers. He is an active member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and served as the Chair of the NSA Writers & Publishers Professional Experts Group for 2009-2010 and as the Chair of the NSA National Academy for Professional Speaking for 2011-2012. Dick will teach a special two-hour workshop on “Creating a Best-Seller Brand: The Inside Secrets Every Author Needs to Know!

More information on GPCWC’s 60 workshops and 3 clinics coming soon. Visit the website for descriptions of our 8 continuing sessions. Online registration opens April 1.

News You Can Use

Writing opportunityBecause 2013 GPCWC faculty member Ann Knowles believes that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, she is currently accepting submissions for a book about miracles. The book will contain commentary about miracles from the Old Testament, the New Testament and miracles of today. If you have a miracle story, contact Ann for more information. annknowles03@aol.com.

Two Ingredients for Success –  Impatient not just for spring but for a publishing breakthrough? Check out what Literary agent, Karen Ball, has to say in a recent blog.

Keep writing His answer and trusting His timing!

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Marlene Bagnull

Not Good Enough!

Have you had a productive week – a week of making real progress on a manuscript? Or have you made excuses for not writing – excuses fueled by self-doubts?

Perhaps tapes from your childhood have again begun to play. I’m not good enough, smart enough, gifted enough . . .

It’s all too easy to slide down that slippery slope of self-doubt. We can try to deny how we feel. After all, as someone has said, “feelings are not facts.” But our feelings can seem true, and stuffing them down doesn’t make them go away.

I am encouraged by the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthian Christians, and to us: “I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it” (1 Cor. 2:3-4 MSG).

Father, when we struggle with “not good enough” feelings, help us to remember that the cross turns our minus into a plus. We can’t . . . but You can. All You ask is that we trust in Your power to do what we can never do in our own strength. Thank You for how You use our feelings of inadequacy  to draw us closer to You. And yes, Father, please help me practice what I preach! [Readers – I’ve spent more time trying to format this post than it took to write it, and still there are formatting problems I can’t fix.]

Write His Answer cover

For more on this struggle that I find is so common among writers, especially among those who truly are gifted, I encourage you to read the chapter, “Crisis of Confidence,” from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. You’ll find it posted under Freebies on the Colorado and Philly website.

Updates – Colorado Christian Writers Conference

There’s still time to be among the first 75 to register  and remember, the first  75 registrants will receive an additional free 15-minute appointment. But don’t delay. And keep in mind that the price increases March 16.

Teens Write Each year about 25 teens attend the all-day Saturday Teens Write. Flyers are now available. Tim Shoemaker, one of the Teens Write instructors, is coming to Colorado early and is interested in doing school visits on Tuesday, May 13. In addition to his Strengthening Fiction Skills Workshops, Tim offers Character Building Talks that are perfect for assemblies. (Click here for flyer.)

Hero Stuff – In satisfying fiction, often ordinary kids end  up  making heroic choices. We all want to be  heroes … and  can  be. I’ll use  engaging object lessons to illustrate six starting points for being a hero in everyday life.                   

Smashed Tomatoes – In fiction, often life looks really dark to a character before light dawns. In life sometimes we  feel like junk and  see  no  hope. Take  heart. Life has  a way of  making great things out of  messed-up lives.

In response to assemblies a couple of weeks ago, Tim received nearly 60 letters from students. “I’m blown away by them,” he says. “And based on what they wrote, they were listening every bit as good as it appeared they were.) If you know of a school that might be interested, please email Tim at familydevotionsworkshop@gmail.com.

Need a professional photograph?  If you’re like quite a few folks I know, you HATE having your picture taken and may be using one on your Web site or PR literature that is very old. Jodie Westfall, a professional photographer from Texas, would love to come to the conference and spend 15 minutes with YOU. After spending a few minutes getting to know you and what you need photos for, she will give you the photos she takes of you with no copyright notice needed for reproducing for only $50 and you can have access to them on Dropbox. (An hour long session is $167.) The price is a bargain especially since you will own the photos and will be able to use them without a copyright notice. You can find out more about Jodie at her website: www.jodiewestfallphotography.com.  

In order to make this happen, Jodie needs to know there will be enough interest to justify the expense of her coming. So . . . if this is something you want to do, please email  jwp@jodiewestfallphotography.com no later than April 14 so she can book her flight. Put “Photos at CCWC” in your subject line and she will send you a PayPal invoice. When you arrive at the conference and receive your appointment schedule, you can then choose the time that fits best for your photo shoot.

Marlene Salcher book cover
New Book and Testimony
CCWC Conferee
Marlene Salcher

“All the self doubt, the enemy’s voice and sometimes the challenges in family life and in ministry made me wonder if what I had to say would make any difference anyway. But I kept going by the grace of God and can take no credit for the way He kept prodding, pushing, encouraging, and comforting when I so wanted to quit. And now, it’s almost done, after thirty long, painful and challenging years. . . . I’d appreciate your prayers as I watch and wait for what He would like to do next in my life.”

Updates – Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

Continuing Sessions – This info is now posted on the conference website. There really is something for everyone.

News You Can Use

Building Your Platform – In a 10-part series, Cec Murphey  who will keynote and teach a continuing session at the Philly conference, shares important information.  Check out his Writer to Writer blog.

Free guides Book Baby has some helpful free guides including Twitter for Authors in 10 Minutes a Day. Except for my Facebook messages that are automatically posted on Twitter, I don’t Tweet. Someone,  however, hacked my account a couple of days ago and sent out 225 messages in less than an hour!

Talking about self-confidence – Paula Moldenhauer’s video on “Belonging” will encourage you. http://abenewjourney.com/2014/01/27/monday-morning-makeover-belonging/

Until next week, keep living and writing His answer – Marlene

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KarenWhiting 2013 for blog

Audio Interview
(click here)
with Karen Whiting

by Donna Brennan


Karen is an author of over 500 articles and 16 books—and she has more books coming out this year!  She’s a whiz at finding ways to promote her books, and she uses her amazing marketing skills and ideas to help promote the books of many other authors as well, especially through the Christian Authors Network and at conferences.

 At the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference July 31 – August 3 Karen will be leading a clinic titled, “Developing a Unique Marketing Plan for Your Book,” where she’ll help participants create marketing strategies that will work for them. She’ll also be teaching an early bird workshop Wednesday on developing your nonfiction book pitch.

 I caught up with Karen at the end of the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Although she had had a very busy few days and was tired, she graciously sat down to an interview with me and shared a little bit about how she got to where she is in the publishing world and some of the ways she helps authors to promote themselves and their books.

And you don’t have to wait until your book is published before thinking of ways to market it. Karen can help you get the pieces in place so that when your book is published, your marketing plan is ready to go.

Karen and her co-author won the Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of Year Award at the Golden Scroll

Awards banquet this June. http://awsa.com/goldenscrolls/index.htm ______________________

Thanks Karen and Donna. You both are amazing! Applications for Karen’s clinic need to be submitted online by July 15.

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KarenWhiting 2013 for blog

Develop a Unique
Marketing Plan
for Your Book

Why you need it
and how a mentor could help

By Karen Whiting


Why is a Marketing Strategy Important?

I just finished edits on a book with Zonderkidz this week and sent a note to my editor that I love the finished project and mentioned a few ideas on promoting it. She quickly responded that she wants a list of my ideas and mentioned that such a list could help me secure another contract. Marketing is important and getting more important for authors who want contracts.

Self-published authors need to promote their book since they have no team behind them. They must do it all.

There are lots of choices on marketing from speaking and media to social networking and blogging. What works and what doesn’t work? The answer is that it depends on the audience, your abilities, and the book.

I’ve helped dozens of people find and develop a strategy that fits their book, audience, and personality strengths. One woman I mentored with a children’s picture book had a price too high because of her choice in self-publishing. So I helped her design materials that added value and made the book a great deal. 

I mentored another woman with a fiction book that tied into Alzheimer’s. Solutions she showed in the story came from her own struggle and after publication scientific studies reinforced her methods. So, I helped her find places to write articles on how science collided with fiction. She then used the articles to connect with audiences on how to deal with Alzheimer’s and to set herself up as an expert.

It’s not enough to say, “I’m willing to be on radio and TV if you get me booked.” You must be proactive and understand how to pitch yourself to media, how to post effectively on social networks, and where to network. It comes down to the details and building on success.

The right article and strategy can become a building tool of a marketing plan.

When Should a Marketing Plan Be Developed?

As soon as a writer has a book idea they should be noting marketing ideas. And marketing continues until the book is out of print and there’s no new book on that topic. Thus, marketing should happen all the time.

At this point before sending a proposal out or putting a nickel into self-publishing an author needs a plan that will help sell the books. A book that is printed and never read or sold doesn’t get the message out or help anyone.

Gathering ideas and then sorting them out, choosing the best, and developing the details to carry each idea out is part of the strategy. The more concrete a plan the easier it is for an editor to sell the book concept to the publishing team and get a contract. The more plans laid down and developed the easier it is to launch the book and start the sales going.


How Does a Marketing Mentoring Clinic Work?

With a group of writers I first discover each person’s book topic, passion, and strengths. I start showing each person how they would apply each type of marketing to their book. We draw the best out of the ideas to develop a plan and a strategy. The plan shows what to do in upcoming months. We develop a strategy where one success can become a tool for more, such as getting on one radio show to use the recording to garner more radio interviews.

Just following all the ideas on how to market a book, and there are thousands of ideas, mentoring lets an outside person who is experienced give advice on what ideas could work best.

In mentoring we get specific. Instead of just suggesting that you use twitter or some other social network, we’ll talk about what types of posts to develop and which network to work on. A book on gardening would be great for Pinterest where many gardeners like to follow boards with pictures and gardening tips. It can also be good for twitter if the author can give quick tips throughout the year that help indoor and outdoor gardeners. Handouts can be good, and a gardening book might be a great match for bookmarks that provide a list of the best indoor plants or tips on having a green thumb. It’s thinking of ideas that work and than planning when to work on each that builds the strategy. 

You may have some ideas, but mentoring can help flesh them out. Brainstorming in a clinic opens the mind to many possibilities.

I’d be first in line for Karen Whiting’s clinic if I wasn’t directing the conference! In decades of working as an author in addition to directing two writers’ conferences, hands down Karen is the best idea person I’ve ever met. If you want to be one of the ten writers in Karen’s “Develop a Unique Marketing Plan for Your Book” Clinic, you need to apply online no later than July 15. (That’s an extension of five days because I’m getting this out during a holiday weekend.) For more info and the application go to http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/clinics

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1.       To learn the craft of writing. Okay, maybe you’ve been writing for many years, but there is always more to learn. Master craftsmen will teach workshops and continuing sessions that, as one conferee said, are the equivalent of a semester college course in writing.  You’ll learn from authors like Bill Myers whose books and videos have sold over 8 million copies or Gayle Roper, an award-winning author of 45 books. And they are just two of the 55 authors, editors, agents, and publicists serving on this year’s faculty.

 2.       To learn the craft of marketing your work to potential publishers. If you’ve gotten more than your share of rejection slips or have yet to get your first rejection (I’m sorry, it goes with the territory of being a writer), CCWC’s track of six hour-long publishing workshops will provide practical help. In addition, Cindy Lambert is teaching a two-hour Wednesday early bird workshop on “Crafting a Winning Nonfiction Book Proposal.”  You also can choose Tim Shoemaker’s continuing session, “How to Get Published!” or Kim Bangs’ continuing session, “Nonfiction Books.”

3.       Face-to-face opportunities to pitch your work to editors and agentsAt CCWC you get FOUR 15-minute one-on-one appointments with the faculty of your choice. Because we have such a large faculty, there’s still a good possibility that you’ll get your top choices. On Thursday afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for additional appointments with faculty who still have openings. In today’s publishing world, the only way to connect with many agents and editors is through meeting them at a conference. Check out our helpful spreadsheets of their editorial needs. Our authors are also available for appointments. They can point out the strengths and weaknesses in your writing, answer questions, and provide helpful guidance.

4.       To learn the craft of marketing/promoting your published work. And yes, it’s a craft, and not one that comes naturally to most writers.  I’ve often said that the reason I quit Girl Scouts is because of the stress of trying to sell cookies.  Whether or not you like marketing, the fact is that you hold the key to the sales of your book.  But the good news is that it’s a craft that can be learned. Thomas Umstaddt’s continuing session, “Obscure No More,” will teach you how to build a powerful online platform. We’ve also got a track of six hour-long marketing workshops.

5.       Friendships with other writers. My closest friends are writers I’ve met at writers’ conferences. In amazing ways writers connect deeply with one another more quickly than I ever have in the chit-chat before and after Sunday morning worship services. And we need each other. A key verse for me that I’ve experienced and sought to follow is 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Encourage each other to build each other up” (TLB).

 6.       Inspiration and encouragement to keep on keeping on. Our general sessions and keynotes will challenge you not to give up. I’m especially looking forward to the closing keynote Saturday afternoon, “Finishing Strong,” that Tim Shoemaker has stepped in to give because Tim Baker had to cancel.

 “Often we can feel less and less equipped to cope with the battles of life,” Tim Shoemaker says. “Job problems. Medical issues. Financial concerns. Emotional wounds. All of these and more can make us feel like we’re past our prime. Whether it is feelings of fear, inadequacy, or feeling the best of life has passed us by, we can easily fall into a sense that we’re sidelined and that God doesn’t really have anything critical for us to do. We can get relaxed. Complacent. It is a surrender of sorts.  A neutralizing thing.

“First Corinthians 16:13-14 says ‘Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.’ These are great verses for many Christians today – men or women. I’d like to break down those verses a bit. And I’d like to encourage the people not to give up. Not to quit. Not to let down their guard. But instead, to finish strong. To keep fighting. To be an example to the next generation. To fight for the loved ones in the next generation. We do that through who we are, and as writers, we influence people through the words we put on paper.

“I’d like to recruit people to active duty to be in the fight – to be the person they should be and the example they should be. Some of the greatest works God does through people is not when they have money, influence, strength, or power. It is when those things are gone or greatly diminished from where they once were that God often uses a person.”

7.       Direction from the Lord. Each year, and this is my 17th year directing CCWC, God meets us on the mountain and changes lives. He has a plan for you and for your writing.  He is the One who makes the impossible possible.

So there are seven reasons you need to prayerfully consider coming to the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. I could easily list many more! Partial scholarships are still available if you need financial help to come that your family, friends, or church are unable to provide.

There’s still time to register and to request appointments. Housing is still available on the YMCA’s campus, and the YMCA will do roommate matching to lower the cost. None of the workshops or continuing sessions are filled because of the YMCA’s large classrooms. And there’s even still space in two of our clinics – the “Speakers’ Clinic” with KPOF’s Roy Hanschke and “Get Them Coming to Your Blog/Website” with Megan Breedlove whose website has held one of the top two spots in Google search terms for more than three years.

You’re welcome to contact me if you have questions at mbagnull@aol.com or 484-991-8581.

God bless you and your writing – Marlene


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Megan Breedlove
Donna Brennan
CCWC Faculty Member
Megan Breedlove

As authors we’re told we need a web presence, so we learn how to create a blog or a webpage. But how do we get people to visit our website? And if we do manage to get them there, how do we get them to stay or come back?

Well, if you’re attending the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference, you can find out by taking the “Get Them Coming to Your Blog/Website” clinic with Megan Breedlove. Megan’s website, www.ManaForMoms.com, consistently ranks in one of the tops spots on Google for her keywords.

I got in touch with Megan and asked her about her website and about the clinic she’ll be teaching.

Question: Who should attend your clinic or make appointments with you?  Do we have to be technology experts? 

 Anyone who has a website up and running should attend. You absolutely do not have to be a technology expert. (If you are, that’s okay, too!) This clinic will be taught at a level that’s easily accessible by anyone, yet upper-level enough for those who may be more technologically inclined. All you need is a website and a desire to improve it.

Question: We’ve all heard of “keywords” and “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO), but many of us don’t know much about these topics or the best way to use them. Will you explain these terms to us in a way that makes sense? More importantly, will you help us apply SEO to our own websites to improve our ranking in search engines like Google? 

That’s exactly the point of the clinic: learning what you need to know so that you can increase your Google ranking. You don’t have to know a lot about technology before the clinic; I’ll teach you. You just have to be willing to learn and work hard.

Question: What’s the first thing we need to do, before we try to come up with any keywords or other optimization strategies? 

It sounds simple, but you have to know what your website is about. Sometimes, in an attempt to attract as many readers as possible, people will try to include too many things on their website. This leads to an unfocused, scattershot approach, and your potential readers won’t know what you’re about. So figure out the one thing you’re about. If you can’t tell me what you’re about in 10 words or fewer, you’re not focused enough.

Question: Will you show us how to select good keywords to use for our target audience? Can you give us any advice now? 

We will definitely talk about that. One thing that’s huge in figuring out the keywords you need is to figure out what “felt need” the person who comes to your website will have. What need will a random stranger in Rhode Island have, and what will he or she sit down and type into a search engine as a result of that need? Those are the keywords you need on your site.

 Question: Will you share with us other optimization strategies? Is there a checklist of do’s and don’ts? 

 I’ll share tons of strategies, tailored to your individual site. You can make them into a checklist if that is helpful. You’ll learn more than you ever thought there was to know about optimizing your site for your target audience.

Question: Okay, now that we’ve drawn people to our site, how do we keep them there long enough that we don’t have a high bounce rate? Do we provide the content right up front? Do we make them search for what they want? Do we entice them to click on internal links? (Doesn’t our search engine ranking go up if people click on those internal links?) 

The short answer to these questions is that you have to interest people in your site within about the first three seconds after they see it.  We’ll talk about ways to do that–both general ways and ways that are particularly relevant to each person’s site.

Question: If we have other sites linking to us, does that help our Google ranking? Does it matter how big or highly ranked those sites are? Does linking to other sites affect our own ranking?

Yes, yes, and yes.  Absolutely!  The more and bigger, the better!

Question: What about twitter and Facebook? Will you be sharing how to use these and/or other social media to drive traffic to our website?

Definitely. As well as working on each person’s website, we’ll talk about other sites you can use to help yours.

Question: Will you show us how to check the effectiveness of our optimization strategies? Can we get this information all in one place or do we have to use various ways and different locations?

There are several ways to check, but we’ll talk about one primary way which is extremely helpful–vital, in fact.

Question: On your own site, Manna for Moms, you provide wonderful devotionals based on your experience as a mom. I see you add new devotions fairly regularly. Is there a rule for how often we should update our content?

The minimum is once per week. It’s better if you can do it more often.

Question: I noticed that your speaking topics, your website devotions, and your books are all very interrelated—they’re all designed to encourage moms and draw them into a closer relationship with God. It’s obvious that’s something near and dear to your heart. But I get the sense you are also passionate about helping other writers get the most out of their websites so they can promote their books and their ministries. Can we expect a book on SEO or website enhancement from you in the near or distant future? 

Probably not.  At this point, I need to focus primarily on my family (I am married and have 5 young children), then secondarily on my website, books, speaking ministry, etc. 

Thank you, Megan. And I look forward to meeting you in Colorado.

Thanks! And thanks for the great questions. I look forward to meeting you too!

 Megan’s clinic is limited to 10 participants. Click here for more info and the application that needs to be completed by April 16.

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SuzyQDonna Brennan Interviews
Suzanne & Shawn Kuhn

Part 2


Suzanne Kuhn is owner of SuzyQ, a full-service author promotion and retail development firm. Together with her husband, Shawn, Suzanne works with authors, publishers, and retailers, helping to coordinate events, train staff and authors in reader engagement, and develop promotions for increased sales and reader/customer loyalty.

Both Suzanne and Shawn will be available at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference May 15-18 and at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference July 31 – August 3.  Suzanne will be teaching three sessions on various ways to promote your books and yourself, including running successful in-person events as well as connecting through social media outlets. Both Suzanne and Shawn will be available for appointments.

Your workshop, “Putting the Social Back in Social Media,” focuses on making a true connection with the person on the other end. Hopefully we all know not to come on too strong trying to promote our books or risk being unfriended or unfollowed. Will you show us ways to promote ourselves and our books without being overbearing?

Yes, we will talk about using social media for engaging influencers, readers and potential readers. We’ll also discuss ways to make social media manageable and a great tool for expanding your audience.

As authors are engaging what are some unexpected benefits we might find if we handle this social media thing well?

Your followers will be talking about your books.  And we all know word of mouth advertising is some of the very best advertising there is.  We have had clients who have received radio interviews, speaking engagements, and one even signed a traditional publishing contract all because of well planned and executed social media.

What do you mean by value-added content?

Value-added content is simply offering information beyond just your limited author and or book interests.  I will give specific ideas and even offer a Q&A opportunity to those who attend this workshop to brainstorm specifically what their value-added content could be. This is also a great topic to brainstorm in an appointment with Suzanne or Shawn.

Is it worth an author’s time to do in-person promotions when you can reach so many people at once via social media?

Would you prefer to be texted goodnight or kissed goodnight? Meaningful interaction takes place with live events. Readers leave the event feeling as if they’ve gotten to know you. Upon returning home, these now reader friends will then engage with social media. Social Media is the add-on or follow up to a strong live event.

In your “Engaging Events” workshop, will you focus primarily on book signings?

We will touch on many types of events.

What other types of events will you cover?

We will address book clubs, reader days, and book launches, just to name a few. Any topics not specifically discussed could be answered in the Q&A or through appointments.

Will you introduce us to some unique ideas for Author Events?

Our ideas may or may not be new, but the execution we suggest certainly will be unique.

Can a face-to-face meeting really influence the staff of a bookstore to promote our books after the event is over?

Absolutely! Live interaction can make or break an author’s sales in a bookstore. In the Events workshop, we will share a real experience that happened in a bookstore and how it directly affected that author’s sales.

Suzanne, you have over 20 years of experience in book retailing and event planning, and Shawn you were part-owner and VP of a regional bargain book chain for over 25 years. So I’m expecting your Retailers Request workshop to provide lots of ways to develop a good relationship with bookstores, which can result in increased sales. Can you give us a few tips now?

Books are still being discovered in bookstores.  It is so important for an author to nurture those relationships in a way that best suits the bookstore.  My best tip is you don’t want to miss this workshop. You will gain valuable insider information.

Will either of you be available for individual appointments at the conference? What types of help can authors expect to get out of these appointments?

We will both be available for appointments, meals, and after hour chats. We can talk about any aspect of an author’s book promotion plans, branding, social media, events and connecting with bookstores, or anything else promotion related. We love these appointments. We get to spend 15 minutes with an author, catching their vision then helping them to come up with ideas that are authentic to them as an individual.


Thanks much, Donna, Suzanne, and Shawn. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in Colorado and Philly.

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Suzanne Kuhn Jan 2013Shawn KuhnDonna Brennan Interviews

Faculty Members
Suzanne & Shawn Kuhn

Part 1

To be successful authors in today’s publishing world, we need to learn ways to promote our books. Understanding more about how bookstores operate could also be mighty helpful. But where can we go to find this information in a usable and helpful format?

One good source for this knowledge is Suzanne Kuhn, owner of SuzyQ, a full-service author promotion and retail development firm. Together with her husband, Shawn, Suzanne works with authors, publishers, and retailers, helping to coordinate events, train staff and authors in reader engagement, and develop promotions for increased sales and reader/customer loyalty.

Both Suzanne and Shawn will be available at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference May 15-18 and at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference July 31 – August 3.  Suzanne will be teaching three sessions on various ways to promote your books and yourself, including running successful in-person events as well as connecting through social media outlets.

I got in touch with Suzanne and Shawn to ask a few questions about SuzyQ and the sessions they’ll be teaching.

It’s obvious why self-published authors may need help in promoting their books. But do authors going through the traditional publishing process also need to do this? Isn’t promoting our books the job of the publishing house?

In today’s industry, every author must promote their own book. For a traditionally published author, it is more like a partnership with their publisher, each is doing their part to actively promote the book.

Your workshops and your company, SuzyQ, focus on promotion. Is that the same thing as publicity?

Promotion is definitely different from publicity or public relations for that matter. We focus on connecting our authors with their specific target audience. The best way to describe author promotion is to say if there is a two-lane road, one lane publicity and the other PR, we (SuzyQ) have created our own lane and are driving up the double yellow line. We may do some things that cross over into what you would think of when you think of traditional publicity or PR, but for us the focus is much more on virtual or live engagement, whether it be with readers or influencers. [Join Suzanne in her workshop to get her definition of who your influencers are. You may be surprised at who she defines as your influencers.]

Do you show up and participate at events for your clients?

 Yes, we do. Actually, when Suzanne first founded SuzyQ that was the vision for the company, to assist authors with live events. However, as SuzyQ has expanded, so have our services. At this point, Suzanne’s focus is still on live events with authors and retailers, while Shawn focuses on social media and other support.

What’s the benefit of having SuzyQ at a live event?

We coach our authors for live events, so authors are well prepared to make the most of any situation. However, when one of our team is on location, we add value to those interactions. WE are the ones promoting the author, making conversation and guiding the experience. We are the authors’ gatekeepers, we control line flow, take pictures, deal with any “difficult” fans, help to channel excited fans, and we create our own buzz.

Will either of you be available for individual appointments at the conference? What types of help can authors expect to get out of these appointments?   

We will both be available for appointments, meals, and after hour chats. We can talk about any aspect of an author’s book promotion plans, branding, social media, events and connecting with bookstores, or anything else promotion related. We love these appointments. We get to spend 15 minutes with an author, catching their vision then helping them to come up with ideas that are authentic to them as an individual.


Thanks Donna, Suzanne, and Shawn. Be watching for part 2 of the interview that focuses on social media and engaging events. And take advantage of Suzanne and Shawn’s expertise by requesting an appointment with them at the conference.

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Help for “Promotionally Challenged Authors”
plus $100 of essential resources when you pre-order
faculty member, Rob Eagar’s new book Sell Your Book Like Wildfire

The days when all you had to do was write a great book and wait for the royalty checks to arrive are long past. Now, an author needs to be not just a great writer (a major challenge in itself) but also a great marketer. Whether we write fiction or nonfiction, we need that allusive “platform” and the ability to sell books – lots of books – if we want a publisher to seriously consider our manuscript. If we choose to self-publish, a viable alternative for many, we still need to be able to sell our book.

It’s a real challenge for most authors. We’re writers not necessarily marketers. That’s certainly true for me. Although I know how to “Spread the Word through Effective Promotion” (a workshop I’ve taught many times that is available on CD), I confess that I quit Girl Scouts because of the stress of having to sell cookies. The bottom line is I HATE sales!

So what can I do – can you do – if your lack of marketing skills is what’s standing in the way of landing a contract or selling the book(s) you’ve chosen to self-publish?

Thanks to my good friend, Cec Murphey, and his recommendation and introduction, both the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is blessed to have Rob Eagar from Wildfire Marketing teaching a continuing session on “Marketing for the Promotionally Challenged Author.” Rob will challenge us to “get over our insecurities and transform our apprehension about marketing into positive action.” He will cover:

  • How to build a memorable brand
  • Grow your author platform
  • Increase your book sales
  • Effectively use social networking
  • Make your message standout from the crowd
  • Create effective newsletters that produce speaking inquiries
  • Generate more books
  • Turn media interviews into book sales
  • Amplify your author platform, and more!

Through Wildfire Marketing Rob has trained and worked with over 400 authors including New York Times bestsellers Dr. Gary Chapman, Lysa TerKeurst, and Wanda Brunstetter. And you can get a head start on preparing to present your marketing plan to editors at the conference through Rob’s new book, Sell your Book Like Wildfire, releasing June 7 from Writers Digest Books.

More great news! If you pre-order Rob’s new book between now and April 1st, he will include these special bonuses:

  1. You get my book at 33% off the book’s list price of $16.99. Pay only $11.25 and save $5.74!
  2. You get free shipping. I’ll ship the book to you in June at no charge. You save $2.50!
  3. You get my “Marketing Plan Template for Authors” download for free – a $20 value!
  4. You get my “Bestseller Website Tutorial” download for free – a $25 value!
  5. You get my mp3 audio download “O Reader, Where Art Thou?” a 1-hour teaching session, which explains how to find your book’s target audience – for free – a $59 value!

To recap, you pay only $11.25, and you’ll receive Rob’s new 288-page book in June at a 33% discount with free shipping. Plus, you get over $100 of essential teaching resources for authors. All you have to do is pre-order by April 1st at: www.startawildfire.com/books

I intend to take advantage of Rob’s generous offer and hope you will, too.

Father, You know how difficult marketing is for many of us. We believe in You and the message You have entrusted to us but, as Rob says, we “lack confidence to share our book’s message with dignity and excitement.” Thank You for providing the help we need through Rob’s new book and what He will be teaching at CCWC and GPCWC. And thank You for Your mighty power that is at work within us enabling us to do what we could never do in our own strength.


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