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Archive for the ‘Platform building’ Category

Fact or fantasy?

All you have to do to be a successful writer is to sit down and write.

Well, yes, certainly you’ll never be a writer (successful or not) if you don’t write. But the days when all a writer needed to do was to write are history.

In today’s world it is essential that we master technology. Okay, we won’t master technology, but it is critical that we know the basics of how to use a computer. And that doesn’t mean just learning how to use Microsoft Word to create a professional looking manuscript that is properly formatted and has headers and page numbers. The wise and brave will learn how to use Scrivener. (Debbie Allen is teaching a 4.5 Wednesday afternoon early bird workshop on “Scrivener from 0-60: Get Comfortable, Get Writing” May 17 at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut the actual writing and learning how to use the great tools we now have is just part of what we need to do. I began writing on an old manual typewriter. Well I’m not as old as this antique typewriter although I do remember my grandfather had one in the basement. My first manuscripts for publication were created on a blue Royal with keys that got tangled when I typed too fast.

Selectric type ballThe introduction of the Selectric typewriter and that marvelous spinning ball greatly increased my productivity. And to be honest, when computers were introduced, I was not at all interested in giving up my trusted Selectric and learning something new. (I really didn’t think I was smart enough!)

Even today, when my computer is causing me grief, I admit I almost long for the good old days of a yellow legal pad and pencil!

The greatest struggle though is all the other stuff that has become essential. Yep! I mean the “building a platform” stuff. While it’s exciting to be able to write something and publish it ourselves as a blog or ebook, the challenge of finding readers is daunting.

Both the May 17-20 Colorado and July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will provide help with

Blogging

     Creating a Brand

                    Marketing Plans

           Public Speaking

                       Social Media How-to

     Website Evaluation

Below is a chart of Colorado faculty members who are available for one-on-one appointments to help you grow your platform and thus your writing ministry.

chart-grow-writing-ministry2

Important: For a PDF of the above chart click here.
The links are live in the PDF version.

Father, help us to embrace today’s opportunities to reach the world with the words You’ve entrusted to us. When we feel confused and overwhelmed by all we need to learn and to do, help us to trust You. Thank You for Your promise:

Now you have every grace and blessing; every spiritual gift and power for doing his will are yours during this time of waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

 

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It used to be the biggest challenge writers faced was getting words down on paper and finding someone willing to publish them. That still is a challenge, but today it’s just the beginning of what a writer is expected to do.

 

Writing not facebookingNow we daily face the overwhelming task of building a platform. The time needed to write words worth reading is infringed upon by the need to have a growing presence on social media. We are driven to develop our “brand” along with a memorable tagline that will resonate with our “audience.”

I confess it’s all too easy for me to get caught up in this not so merry, merry-go-round.

 

Last week I spent a day and a half preparing a new flyer for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. One side is an overview of the conference and highlights the concert my friend, Marty Goetz, is giving on Wednesday night.

Marty poster for web

 

The other side describes our exciting Teens Write on Thursday and Pastors Write on Friday.

 

TW & PW flyer GP 2016 for web

 

I am excited about all this year’s conference offers. And I do work really hard to present the opportunities in the most professional and best way possible. I even added a new Spread the Word page to the conference website. But sadly, in my effort to “market” the conference, I am convicted that I forgot the most important thing.

 

The 3-1/2 day conference in August does provide many opportunities to learn about the craft of writing and marketing, but it is the message – “His answer” – that is the most important Word that needs to be spread.

 

As Michael Gantt said in his keynote at last year’s conference and this year’s  Colorado Christian Writers Conference, “The Cross is the Main Thing.” I urge you to watch the video of his keynote and/or read the transcript.  I also urge you to subscribe to his blog at http://growinggodlyseed.com.

 

Yes, I’d really appreciate your help spreading the word about the August 3-6 conference, but the most important thing each one of us can and must do is to spread His Word, His answer.

 

Again, quoting Michael Gantt from the blog he posted today:

We are called to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven. We are called to magnify and glorify the matchless Name of Jesus. We are called to declare deliverance to the captives, healing to the broken, and to declare that forgiveness of sin is found in none other than Jesus Christ. We are called to bring the light of the gospel to our cities; to bind up the broken, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and to declare even in the face of Caesar the eternal decrees of God – That’s what we are called to do!

Yes, indeed, that is the Word we are called to spread. God help us to be found faithful.

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Megan Breedlove
How Do I Get to Be #1 on Google?
(And Why Do I Care?)
(Especially If I’m Not a Techie?)

Guest post by Megan Breedlove

We’ve all used Google to search for something.  You know how it works: you type in what you’re looking for, and Google comes up with a list of results.  Then you ignore the first several results and seek out the less popular ones….

Wait a minute; that’s not how it works!  Of course you are more likely to click on the #1 Google result, or at least one of the results on the first page.  Why?  Because you know that one of those is most likely to meet your needs.

Have you ever wondered how those particular websites make it up to #1 on Google so that they can get clicked on thousands or even millions of times?  Then this clinic is right for you!

But I’m not a huge company like IBM, you might be thinking.  I can never be #1 on Google.

Fortunately, you are mistaken!  Even writers with less than billion-dollar advertising budgets can increase their Google ranking, thereby making their sites more likely to get clicked on and drawing more traffic to their sites.

Whether or not you have an actual product to sell, you want your website—you need your website—to be right on up there in the Google rankings.  Why?  So that people can find your work—and so that publishers will know you have people paying attention to you.

You see, if your writing is good, but you have no “platform”—in other words, your web presence is relatively invisible—you may or may not get a contract.  But if your writing is good, and you have a visible web presence (that all-important “platform” again), you have a much better chance of a publishing house’s wanting to acquire your work.

When God gives us a message He wants us to get out, it’s true that He will help us spread the word.  But we have to be doing our best to work along with Him.

Attending this clinic is one of the ways to do that.  In the six hour-long sessions, you will be taught everything you need to know to get started on making your web presence more visible.  (Those who sign up for the clinic will also be able to contact me even after the conference is over in case they have further questions.)

What if you’re not a techie?  No problem!  We will start with the basics, and you will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions.  We’ll also give each person’s site individual attention in class, so that you can get a variety of perspectives from potential readers, as well as my instruction and advice.

If you’re not yet #1 on Google, you still have opportunity to increase your ranking.  Come to the clinic and learn how!
__________________

For more info about Megan’s clinic, “Get Them Coming to Your Blog/Website” at the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference click here.

Megan is an author, speaker, and website consultant whose website for more than four years has held one of the top two spots in Google search terms that receive thousands of hits each month. She is the author of Manna for Moms, Well Done Good and Faithful Mommy, and Chaotic Joy, all from Regal. Megan has also written for several magazines and websites, including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine, ChristianDevotions.us, DevoKids.com, and The Voice of Grace and Truth newspaper. Her website, www.MannaForMoms.com, offers weekly devotions for moms and receives thousands of hits each month. In addition to her writing and speaking to encourage moms, Megan works with Christian authors and ministries to help them improve their platforms so that they too can get their message out to the world.

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Lynda Stear2

Guest Blog
by
Lynda A. Stear
Publisher & Editor
Living Seasons Ministry

The Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference greatly impacted my writing life last year.

I had not attended a Christian writers conference for well over a decade because my professional medical writing life took me in other directions. Not only did I catch up with what the publishing industry expects from writers today, and there have been significant changes in the past decade, but I also discovered how important social media is for a writer.

The paid critique and 15 minute appointments with agents, editors, and publishers from the industry illuminated what was expected of me as a writer. I received encouragement to seriously consider social media to establish a platform and following for a ministry. This endeavor would show a publisher my drive and professionalism with my writing endeavors.

The conference bookstore was filled with reference materials about social media which I purchased. I went home, studied the literature, and contacted a Webmaster.  Three months later, I launched Living Seasons Ministry (http://www.livingseasonsministry.com/).

An agent and editor encouraged me to continue writing my historical fiction, which I had proposed, and I am currently writing this book and have a second cozy fiction novella started. The Website is ready and waiting for the eventual marketing of my books.

What also evolved out of this new website endeavor is that other writers wanted to write for Living Seasons Ministry, so that was a bonus to what was an idea planted into my mind and heart at the last GPCWC in 2014.

Networking with other writers helped me build a new community during this season of my life since I retired several years ago.

I want to encourage you to register for the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference with great expectancy as to how God will open your eyes to Write His Word.
____________

Father, thank You for how You used and are using GPCWC to grow Lynda’s writing ministry. I love watching You work!

The registration fee increases July 1 so don’t procrastinate! You can register securely online at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/register. You will have the option to pay by credit card using PayPal or to mail a check.

Living Seasons Ministry

Living Seasons Ministry addresses seasons of life in which we find ourselves and offers Biblical solutions on how to live and serve within these seasons. An informative Website designed for a quick read or for studying lengthier in-depth articles. Audience: Christians and non-Christians, parents, singles and senior adults.

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Vicki ChandlerGuest blog
by
Vicki Chandler

Confession time. The thought of marketing my picture book filled me with fear. But, I faced my fear. I read books about marketing. I got advice from other authors and editors. I took a stab at some strategies, which yielded few sales. Then, I, dissolved into tears.  I . . . I . . . I . . .

Heart EyesI’m acting like one of my former students. No wonder I’m crying over this new challenge. I’m stumbling along alone.  I need help!

The image came to mind of a little second grader during one of my cursive lessons.

“Mrs. Chandler, Bruce is crying,” reported a classmate.

Bruce had convinced himself that he’d never be able to write a cursive “T.” He’d given up.

I walked over to his desk and quietly coached him. With me standing beside him, giving him instructions, he finally wrote the elusive letter successfully because he didn’t give up.

That’s what I had done. I’d given up. What could I learn from Bruce’s experience? That there are people willing to stand by and help.

That’s what Karen Whiting’s “Develop a Unique Marketing Plan for Your Book” clinic at the July 29 – August 1 Greater Phily Christian Writers Conference will do for you.

When I reluctantly enrolled in her marketing clinic, I had no idea how much she’d help me. It’s sad how discouragement can lead to low expectations, isn’t it?

Let me elevate your expectations. She took me from “no way” to “Yay!” She stood by me with:

Resources: Tools were provided that helped us understand the content and organization of a good marketing plan.

Hands-on activities: Practice sessions gave us the opportunity to build our plans.

Customized Coaching: Individualized attention was provided, along with instant feedback.

Intelligence and Insight: Karen’s ability to understand everyone’s project was astounding. She effortlessly helped each participant craft a three-sentence description of their book.

In three days, Karen helped me create a detailed marketing plan. She’s the Michelangelo of marketing. Don’t miss your chance to have her help you create your own marketing masterpiece. Spaces are limited. So don’t delay!

For more info and the application go to http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/clinics.
___________________

To learn more about Vicki’s writing and speaking ministry and her picture book for children about bullying go to
www.hearteyes.net.

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questions

Why you need to come?

Banner 2015 GPCWC

  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. Writing a novel? Allen Arnold, the Founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction who spent 20 years in Christian publishing overseeing the development of more than 500 novels, will be with us. You won’t want to miss his continuing session, “Heart of the Storyteller,” or Tim Shoemaker’s “Take Your Fiction to the Gym,” or Eva Marie Everson’s “Fiction Practicum.” And they are just several of the 53 authors, editors, agents, and publicists serving on this year’s faculty and covering a wide range of topics and genres.
  1. 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), GPCWC’s “Get Published” track of six hour-long workshops will provide practical help.
  1. Face-to-face opportunities to pitch your work to editors and agents. At GPCWC you get FOUR 15-minute one-on-one appointments with the faculty of your choice if you register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; THREE if you come two days; TWO if you come one day. If you are among the next 15 to register you’ll receive one more free appointment. Check out our helpful charts of editorial needs and areas of expertise as well as the faculty bios.
  1. 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. Suzanne and Shawn Kuhn’s six-hour continuing session, “Take Your Publishing Ministry to the Next Level,” will provide practical help and encouragement. Marketing genuis, Karen Whiting, wifll lead a clinic limited to 8 particpants on “Developing a Unique Marketing Plan for Your Book.” For those who choose not to apply for Karen’s clinic, we have a “Marketing” track of six workshops. In “News Releases, Media Kits & More,” “Social Media for the Reluctant,” “Branding For People Who Are Not Cows,” and three more workshops you’ll find the help you need.
  1. 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).
  1. Inspiration and encouragement to keep on keeping on. Our keynotes will challenge you not to give up. Jim Watkins will keynote on “Keeping Your Dreams Alive.” Other keynotes include “Writing Light into Darkness,” “Awakening the Writer’s Heart,” “Dreambusting,” “Breaking Fear’s Grip,” and “The Cross is the Main Thing.”
  1. Direction from the Lord. Each year, and this is my 32nd year directing GPCWC, God meets us and changes lives. He has a plan for you and for your writing. He is the One who makes the impossible possible.

So here are seven reasons you need to prayerfully consider coming to the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly 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. Housing is available on the campus of Cairn University, and we’ll do roommate matching to lower the cost. Speaking of cost, if you register through June 30, you’ll save $5 to $20 on the registration fee.

There’s lots more info on our website and in our 16-page brochure. Still have questions? You’re welcome to email me at mbagnull@aol.com or call 484-991-8581.

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Karen Whiting from FB 3Guest Blogger
Karen Whiting

Before a book hits the shelves we need to plan ways to reach people with its message to generate excitement. That means marketing. One of the best ways to develop a plan is to see what others have done.

Take a little journey with me on ways I promoted Nature Girl: a guide to caring for God’s creation.

I needed a good pitch and to know my reason for writing the book and why it can make a difference in lives of girls. My life and Romans 1:20 sparked the idea. I grew up in dairy farm country in Connecticut and married a Coast Guard officer that meant living near waterways around the country, including Hawaii. That gave me a great passion for this land and God’s creation. The words of Romans 1:20 remind us that creation is a witness to the existence of God. Nature reveals his power and divine nature. So, if we care for the earth we help preserve that witness. That’s a powerful thought. So, I want girls to develop a passion for nature and for preserving the witness of God’s existence in fun ways.

My daughter (co-author) and I brainstormed ideas. We made a list and started working on them.
naturegirlcover

    • We started with creating an acrostic of the words Nature Girl to reflect the fun and significant contents. Our publisher put it on a bookmark (http://tinyurl.com/nwo4s6y).
    • We created a pitch for media: Nature and fun go together. When we work to preserve the earth we also preserve the witness of God (Romans 1:20). The book presents a balanced view to motivate girls to care about nature from a biblical perspective and get girls to hang outdoors instead of in malls. Activities help girls explore the earth through experiments, earth care projects, crafts, scriptures, quizzes, and other activities while exploring nature, energy, critters, and more.
    • To connect to teens we wrote an article for Sisterhood magazine that was published the month of the book’s release.
    • We partnered with American Heritage Girls on creating materials to coordinate with their environment badge. This included ten pages in their leader magazine with ideas on holding one-day seminars to earn the badge and explore nature.
    • Speaking is important too, so I applied to speak at the American Heritage Girl leadership conference where I sold many copies.
  • I started writing for Molly Green magazine and wrote some articles to promote the book plus created some blog posts for it.

This is only part of the list. We also did more than a dozen radio shows, a number of TV shows, and a blog tour. We are connecting with a TV station now to be regular guests on topics related to the book. The publisher helped too, including flying us to Texas to sign books at the Texas Library Association convention, helping us with media, and providing books to sign for retailers at events.

One review can be found at http://bit.ly/1lG4LGw and links to others are on my website.

One radio interview is at http://www.shepherdshillacademy.org/blogs/traceembry/tag/nature-girl.

So, start your own brainstorming with where to pitch article ideas and media appearances, bookmarks that engage the audience, speaking ideas, etc.

What to learn more — come  listen to Karen at the Lancaster Writer’s Super Saturday on April 11th. Check http://lancasterchristianwriterstoday.blogspot.com/ for details.

Sign up for appointments with Karen at the May 13-16 Colorado and July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference www.writehisanswer.com She’ll be doing a special marketing clinic at the Philly conference.

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