Are Anthologies Worth My Time? And a Writing Opportunity

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images Are Anthologies Worth My Time? And a Writing Opportunity
I recently received notification of an opportunity for Christian authors to submit their stories (see below) to what will eventually be a series of 12 books! It is a great chance to have your story on prayer heard.

If you are an author, you may wonder why you would want to spend the time submitting to anthologies where you are just a contributor? I’ve been in a few (I’ve posted a couple of the covers) and have found it fun to be a part of the books!

In my book 50 Creative Sales Tips So You Can Sell More Books I explain the perks.

41s8jmja64l sl500 aa240  Are Anthologies Worth My Time? And a Writing Opportunity
Some of them are:

  • You are able to put the anthology book on your web site and list yourself as a contributor.
  • Anthologies are a great way to see how a book is formed and how the compilers work with the contributors to gain media attention. They will likely supply you with promotional and media materials, and you are able to do book signings, radio interviews, and many things you would do as if the book was your own.
  • You become a part of a very large community of peers with amazing resumes. Many of these people have been published hundreds of times. They write for magazines, know publishers, editors, publicists, and reporters and have a large network available for you to learn from. Since the evolution of social media networks like Facebook and Linked In, there’s never been a better time to “make friends” with people in the business and gain contacts with ease.
  • Compilers of anthologies often need and want the contributors to be involved. You may have the opportunity to do a virtual blog tour, book signings, and even appearances at major book industry shows. They will help you organize your efforts in contacting local newspapers, and basically offer anything they can to assist you in helping them market the book. All of this can help you build a worthy set of relationships your network of friends in the business and make it easier for you to get past media gatekeepers. If you call a reporter or staff writer and introduce yourself as a contributor to the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, you will be more likely to gain their interest than with your basic credentials.

Here is the writing opportunity I mentioned above! Best of wishes!

Dear Writer, I’d like to invite you to be part of an exciting new series that Guideposts is sponsoring: The Incredible Power of Prayer. You may have contributed to one or more of my story volumes in A Cup of Comfort, Life Savors, or Love is a Verb. Great! I’d love to hear from you whether you’re a previous associate or have not yet submitted anything to my projects.

Prayer is the heartbeat of the Christian life and is an amazing gift from God to us. A prayer in faith can spur God’s heart to “move mountains” on our behalf. The incredible power of prayer can accomplish miracles that go far beyond anything we humans can accomplish on our own.

Guideposts reaches millions of Americans with their upbeat message of God empowering us. And now, Guideposts is launching a series of 12 books on various aspects of prayer and how people from every walk of life have been transformed through God’s responses. These books will be mailed monthly as part of a book club promotion, and will be exclusive to this readership. I am now collecting submissions for the first three books in the series and would welcome as many stories as you wish to submit.

The first volume is Praying from the Heart and covers God answering our deeply felt prayers of great passion, sincerity, and trust. These prayers may be repentant, express deep gratitude, or describe desperate cries that lay bare a person’s deepest needs.

The second volume, The Healing Touch, deals with stories about prayers that lead to physical, spiritual, relational, or emotional healing. They may involve relationships that don’t resolve perfectly, but bring a closer relationship with God and a new sense of purpose and greater ability.

The third volume, Expecting Miracles, includes personal experience stories about audacious prayers with powerful answers. This is where the need is great and God responds extraordinarily.

The answers don’t need to be purely supernatural; God can work in mysterious ways using all kinds of means. Submissions can be up to 2000 words. Each story should have a creative title, an attention-grabbing lead, main body explaining a conflict or challenge, and a resolution. These need to be descriptive and compelling personal experience stories—not simply testimonies.

We prefer original stories but you may also submit previously published stories. The payment is $25 for stories under 1000 words, and $50 for longer stories. You may retain the rights to publish the stories in magazines and books with smaller distribution sources. We are accepting manuscripts from now until at least June 15 for the first three volumes. We’ll announce the finalists for the first volume around October 15.

Please include on each manuscript—not in headers or simply in the e-mail—your name, contact information (address, phone, e-mail, rights offered) and a bio of up to 30 words. Please attach to the e-mail rather than pasting text in the body. Please direct all inquiries and manuscript submissions to my colleague, Jeanette Littleton at IncrediblePrayers@earthlink.net.

And please feel free to let others know about this project. If this e-mail has been forwarded to you, and you can’t submit to this call, but would like to be notified about other editorial needs as they arise, please send us your e-mail address and we’ll add you to our notification list (we do not sell or distribute these e-mail addresses).

Blessings to you and yours,
Jim James Stuart Bell
Compiler, Guideposts Prayer series

 Are Anthologies Worth My Time? And a Writing Opportunity

Free Review… If You Have an Illness or Disability

Do you have a business? How about an illness or disability? Blogger of “My Chronic Life” says, “I am always happy to help promote businesses that are run by people who have any type of chronic illness or disABILITY. If you would like your business promoted on my blog please contact me.”

How refreshing! Your book doesn’t have to be on your illness or disability. But you should have some kind of “business” thing going — meaning you are actually promoting your book!

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Lisa and Joel Copen have a variety of experience in founding a nonprofit that receieves over 80,000 visitors per month, music and sound editing, web design, and book marketing and publishing. They look forward to your ideas to make the series of ebooks on book promotion a practical tool to help you sell more books!

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The Who, What, Where, and Why of Christian Book Promotion & Marketing

Today’s article is a by a special guest,  Athena Dean, founder of WinePress Publishing and three-time self-published author.

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The Who, What, Where, and Why of Christian Book Promotion & Marketing
By Athena Dean

So, do you think every Christian needs to read your book? If you do, let us stop for a moment and get real. If you think your book is going to end up in WalMart, on Oprah, and on the NY Times Bestseller List…really, I hate to rain on your parade, but you really are setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment. It will help from the start to have realistic expectations and recognize clearly who your real market is. You must ask your self these defining questions…who, what and where? Then you must prove the why.

If you cannot narrow down your who into a specific people group, the narrower the better, the more difficult you will find marketing and promoting your book.

WHO?

If your who is all Christian, all women, all men, or all teens, then we’ve got a problem. Your goal should be to target your message to a more specific people group, like:

  • New moms
  • Single moms
  • People in sales
  • Military wives
  • Cancer survivors
  • Homeschoolers
  • Christian writers
  • Teachers
  • The grieving
  • Bereavement counselors
  • Child abuse survivors
  • Teens struggling with addictions
  • Women struggling with eating disorders
  • Christian counselors
  • Runners or hikers
  • Pastors or church leaders
  • Wives of veterans
  • Parents of terminally ill children
  • Caregivers
  • Senior citizens
  • Stay at home moms
  • Dog lovers
  • Cat lovers
  • And so on

The more clearly you can define your market, the easier it will be to find ways to advertise and promote to them.

If you are a fiction writer, make sure you include an issue in your story. Do not just have your main character become a Christian, but create someone struggling with abortion, infertility, domestic violence, infidelity, prodigal children, AIDS, homosexuality, etc. This will help you niche market your fiction title much easier since there are many support groups in the church and secular world reaching out to those dealing with issues, giving you a greater potential reading audience, again, because it is targeted.

WHAT?

Once you’ve determined the who and hopefully narrowed down your market to a niche group of potential readers, it is time to take a look at the what:

  • What magazines or newsletters or newspapers or catalogs might they read?
  • What radio stations do they listen to?
  • What TV shows do they watch?
  • What websites do they visit?
  • What keywords are they typing into an internet search engine?
  • What blogs do they read?

These days you see magazines, catalogs, websites and newsletters targeted for specific people groups. Many support groups have newsletters to keep in touch with their membership and typically the cost to advertise is low. Also, the chances of getting your book reviewed are much better in this type of publication than in a huge, well known publication…especially if your book offers great benefit to their readers.

All too often, authors gravitate towards the well known, full color, slick magazines like Christianity Today, Discipleship Journal, Charisma and the like. But beware…to advertise in these publications is not only extremely expensive, but typically very unproductive because the audience is so broad. You could easily spend thousands of dollars and get about as much return as flushing your money down the toilet would!

Take a few moments and come up with a list of keywords that relate to your topic. Then go to a few different search engines (http://www.google.com; http://www.dogpile.com; etc.) and type in each one of the keywords on your list. You will be amazed at all the resources you will find on the internet…and many of them are looking for important books like yours to add to their list of links and recommended reading.

The essential opportunities to look for are resources that are focused on meeting the needs of your particular people group. Whether it is a daily or weekly radio or TV show, a catalog, or newsletter, or an e-zine, blog or website, do some research to see what you can find that is dedicated to your prospective readers. Those are the kinds of websites, publications and media resources that you will want to prayerfully add to your marketing plan.

WHERE?

So where are you going to find these prospective buyers? Another reason to get as specific as possible is that you will find that the more specific the people group is, the easier it will be to find events and happenings where they might gather. Whether it’s in cyberspace, or in your physical locale, people who share similar interests or challenges tend to gather on a regular basis. This is good news for you if your book is a resource that will meet their needs.

Online

  • Message boards
  • Forums
  • Chat groups
  • Opt-in newsletters
  • Targeted websites
  • Blogs
  • E-Zines
  • Social networks (myspace.com; facebook.com, etc.)
  • Teleclasses
  • Web Conferences

Offline

  • Support groups
  • Seminars and conferences
  • Bible Studies
  • Book Clubs
  • Conventions (annual, regional, etc.)
  • Civic groups
  • Churches
  • Monthly membership meetings
  • Christian workers conferences
  • Christian Education conventions
  • Street Fairs / Festivals

You’ve zeroed in on your niche market, but now begs the question…why should anyone buy your book? What do you have to offer them?

At this point the best thing you could do is get some valuable feedback. Get a group of your supporters together for a creative inspiration session. Brainstorm a list of places where you can find those who need to hear your message. While you’re at it, ask your focus group these important questions:

  • What does your book offer?
  • What problem does it help the reader solve?

Spend some additional time listing all the benefits of the message and then take a break. After a snack, come back together and go over the list, highlighting the most compelling and exciting benefits. These are the ones you will want to use in your sales copy in advertising, back cover copy, and a short description for a catalog.

WHY?

The truth is, people are selfish. That’s our sinful nature and there’s no getting around it…that said, most don’t really care why you wrote your book, what they really want to know is what is in it for them. Why should they take the time to read what you have to say?

Hopefully you’ve already gone before the Lord to make sure your message is His message, getting rid of anything that draws attention to yourself and embellishing whatever glorifies the Lord. With that done, you need to clearly and articulately encapsulate the benefit your book offers your reader.

If you cannot come up with sales copy of less than 40 words, then you might be in trouble. Let’s face it, people are busy. If you meet someone in an elevator; you don’t have 15 minutes to tell them about your book…you need a sound byte…a “bottom line” describing the problem that exists and the solution you offer.

You should be able to share your sales copy (or “elevator speech”) one on one in 30 seconds or less. You’ve got to be able to communicate what’s in it for the reader and be ready to expound on that as the opportunity arises. Just make sure your copy sounds natural when you say it…if it is too flowery or technical it will sound canned. It needs to be natural yet compelling to those who hear it without so many words that your listener gets lost.

As you consider the troubles you help others conquer, as a Christian writer, you are able to offer a real and enduring solution for the trials of this life. It is true that the solution is surrendering ones life fully to Jesus and becoming a disciple whose only goal is to do His will, but that does not necessarily mean that the Lord is going to solve all of our problems and we will never have to suffer.

Readers are tired of trite, superficial answers to the challenges of this life. We must, as Christian writers, give them an opportunity to go deeper and experience true life by the power of the Holy Spirit as the only solution to the issues they face.

So what are you helping your reader to overcome? Depression? Loneliness? Abuse? Unforgiveness? Anger? Betrayal or infidelity? Fear of the future? Grief over the loss of a loved one? Make sure you use this information in the back cover copy and all advertising and sales material so that your potential readers will relate based on their felt needs and see that you may have some answers for them.

In conclusion, by clearly determining who your market is, what type of media they prefer, where they congregate with others, and why they should buy your book, you have the basics that you’ll need for success. Now you can create and launch a successful marketing campaign to get your message into the hands of those who need to read it.

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Athena Dean, founder of WinePress Publishing and three-time self-published author, has coached hundreds of authors through the daunting task of book production and promotion. Over the last 17 years she has helped bring the degree of credibility for self-published works up to the high level of acceptance in the industry it enjoys today. Athena functions as Acquisitions Manager for WinePress Publishing Group http://www.winepressgroup.com and is currently the President of the Northwest Christian Writers’ Association http://www.nwchristianwriters.org Check out her You Can Do It – Promote and Market Your Self Published Book Blog at http://athenadean.authorweblog.com

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