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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Finbar's Fiddle by Silas Champion

FREE Kindle download for a limited time! Great gift idea for young readers.

What happened after the cow jumped over the moon? Well a lot. And most of it never made it into the book of rhymes. Which is exactly what Eleven-year-old Dallas McAllister discovers when she wakes up one morning dangling from a giant willow tree. Rescued by a fiddling cat named Finbar, Dallas makes her way through the land looking for Mother Goose.

With her knowledge of the rhymes, Dallas becomes famous for "knowing" the future. But when Old King Cole sends her deep into the Far Forest to rescue Humpty Dumpty, Dallas needs more than rhymes to stay alive. After all, Mother Goose never wrote anything about giant trolls and hungry wolves. How can a girl from Nebraska and fiddling cat do what all the king's men could not?

Silas Champion takes us on a merry romp through the nursery rhymes of Mother Goose. We follow Dallas as she learns there is more to these old rhymes than she ever suspected. There is more to Dallas as well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cleo Lampos Gives Encouraging Speeches to Parents and Educators

Cleo gives valuable insight to parents and educators when teaching our young children. 

As a ministry leader, Cleo encourages us to remember the orphan train. 

Fees: $100 - $500 + travel expenses

Travel: Midwest, Chicago area (within a day's drive)

Categories: Children's Education, Children's Ministry, Teaching, Early Education, Special Education, Parenting, Adoption

Speaking Topics
  • 5 Books That Influenced My Teaching Career

Books help to shape a teacher's philosophy and calling in education. Five books propelled my career in Special Education as well as teaching culturally deprived children. A time to share the audience's book choices is provided.
  • Getting Your Preschooler Ready for Kindergarten

There are so many ways to prepare a child to be successful in school by using household routines and materials. The activities introduced are easy to do, inexpensive, and fit into the normal structure and rhythm of a mother's day.
  • 10 Things College Did Not Teach to Prepare Educators for the Classroom

College prepares an educator for a lot of the experiences confronted during the first year of teaching. However, there are ten things that are necessary for a successful career that are seldom if ever discussed on campus by professors.
  • The 8 Intelligences by Gardner with a Christian Viewpoint

The eight intelligences developed by Gardner give insight into a person's predisposition whether they are family, student or neighbor. Knowing the basic underlying intelligence gives clues for formulating the most successful activities for the person. A Christian viewpoint of this way of evaluating intellectual gifts is given.

  • Remembering the Orphan Train

Taking in orphans is a Judeo-Christian tradition. Tracing the history of adoption and the beginnings of social work through the orphan trains, the audience learns about present day opportunities to ease the plight of homeless children in this country and overseas. Lampos has attended a reunion of the Orphan Train Riders and has met four surviving riders who are in their late nineties.


"I am privileged to have been Cleo Lampos' pastor for the last five years and during this time I've watched her expand her writing and speaking ministry. Cleo is, in the first place, a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and her various callings and ministries flow out of this relationship. She also is in every sense of the phrase, a word-smith. Cleo uses both the written and spoken word to tell stories about God's grace and to describe the world around us in a way that highlights God's sovereign rule. I have and continue to recommend Cleo's writing and speaking ministries to any and all who I'm convinced could be blessed by them."
Rev. Phillip S. Leo, Calvin Christian Reformed Church, Oak Lawn, Illinois

"Cleo Lampos is a warm engaging speaker who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her audiences."
Lynn Austin- author

"I have known Cleo over the last three years at Calvin CRC Church. She has often been a script writer, dramatic speaker and liturgist in our services. As a member of our worship ministry, she has often written dialogues that have helped the congregation understand the meaning and significance of the Christian faith. I have had opportunity to hear Cleo speak in other venues and enjoyed her clear and insightful writing and speaking."
Pastor Rich De Vries, Oak Lawn, Illinois

Cleo Lampos has taught in the public school system for 26 in both regular education and special education. Her experiences are written in her book, Teaching Diamonds in the Tough:Mining the Potential of Every Student. She has written magazine articles on the topics of parenting, education and inspiration. As a retired teacher, Lampos participates on the worship team of her church, works with the GEMS program and Kids Connex, helps grow vegetables for Share the Harvest, and volunteers in the Bible League Thrift Store. She earned a Bachelors of Education from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and a Master's in Special Education from St. Xavier College, Chicago. Ten grandchildren keep her and her husband busy.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ways to Measure Your Online Influence

Have you tried Klout? It's an online service where you give it access to all your social media accounts  and it tallies up your performance at socializing and how much influence you have on others, then it rates you in comparison to others who have signed up for the service. It's absolutely FREE.

However, it does have it's criticisms, such as the company’s privacy, transparency, and how it formulates its comparisons. I'm on Klout and to be honest, I'm not sure if it is a true measurement. My scores consistently range from 50-75. At the height of my book launch campaign, I was charting 75, but the highest rank one can get is 100. It doesn't seem to be able to differentiate daily Klout measurements verses and active online campaigns, which will obviously spike a person's score. After the campaign, it seems like you fall off a cliff. Other iffy comparisons is how someone like me could have as high a score as a celebrity or brand name companies who have a much higher influence status?. Thus, are some reasons for a few new competitors who are trying to take the measurement scale a little further, and ultimately, to more accuracy.

Last year, Kred launched and focuses on analytics and marketing tools for brands. The company pays top dollar for unique access to Twitter's tweets. It synthesizes and sorts them in communities of interests. Klout uses a method of sorting influencers by topics. While it assigns people an influence score like Klout, each point is traceable to the tweet that earned it. This is a new feature that Klout doesn't provide. Right now Klout only tells you have may retweets you received over the last 90 days, but you have no way of being able to determine which tweets were retweeted the most and when.

Another alternative is PROskore, which appears more professional as it measures influence beyond social media, such as past job titles, education, and experiences.

Have you tried any of these platform measurement tools? What are your thoughts? Do you feel something like this would be helpful to determine if you're on the right right track with your platform building goals? Are there other social media measurement tools you've tried other than Google Analytics

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lena Nelson Dooley Will Motivate You Beyond Spiritual Roadblocks

Lena will teach you how to move your writing to the next level. 
As a ministry leader, Lena moves you beyond spiritual roadblocks. 

Fees: $100 - $250 + travel expenses

Travel: Wherever the group is willing to pay for the expenses

Categories: Discouragement, Faith, Encouragement, Writing, Editing, Writing Characterization, Writing Emotion, Pacing, Description, Settings

Speaking Topics

  • Comparisons Equal Discouragement

So often, we are hampered by what we perceive about other people's successes. Our comparisons to what others accomplish or obtain should not be the measuring rod by which we decide if we're making it. I offer steps to recognize if that is your problem and how to move beyond that to where God wants you to be.

  • Understanding God's Heart

Without an understanding of God's heart, we can't recognize when we are in His will for our lives. I share scriptures to help us move beyond the ties that bind us in our present position

  • Getting the Words Right

A teaching that helps participants learn the best way to edit their own written words for maximum impact.

  • Layering Pizzazz

A method that helps authors take their writing deeper into their characters minds and emotions. A workshop that helps them learn the layers that are needed.

  • Settings Beyond Talking Heads and Bare Stages

A workshop that helps authors learn how to weave the tapestry of their stories to include enough description to ground the reader without overloading the narrative and slowing the story down.

"Your workshop freed me to move my writing to the next level." (TX)

"You're an enthusiastic speaker, who kept my attention on your topic for the whole time.” (CO)

Your insights helped me move past spiritual roadblocks. Thank you." (TX)

Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 700,000 books in print. 

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not the same year. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with eighteen signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins, and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books. 

Her 2010 release was Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, from Summerside Press which won the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western Fiction. Lena is currently under a 3-book contract with Charisma House/Realms. The first book released in October 2011. Maggie’s Journey appeared on a reviewers Top Ten Books of 2011 list. It also won the 2012 Selah award for Historical Novel. The second is Mary’s Blessing, which released in May 2012. Catherine’s Pursuit is coming in February 2013.

In addition to her writing, Lena is a frequent speaker at women’s groups, writers groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. She is also one of the co-hosts of the Gate Beautiful blog radio show.

Lena has an active web presence on Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin and with her internationally connected blog where she interviews other authors and promotes their books. 

Twitter: @lenandooley

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Author & Speaker Davalynn Spencer Brings Laughter

Meet Speaker Davalynn Spencer

Author & Speaker who will bring laughter in your tears as she speaks from the heart!

Fees: $200-$800 + Travel

Travel: California, Colorado & Neighboring States

Categories: Women's Ministries, Faith, Encouragement, Fear, Peace, Virtuous Women

Speaking Topics

  • Sometimes Life's a Rodeo!

Have you ever found yourself face down in the dirt wondering what hit you? With this popular women’s retreat theme, Davalynn shares her experiences as the wife of a rodeo clown/bullfighter and offers practical suggestions for spitting the dirt out of your mouth, dusting off, and facing your charging bull as you Rely On Devine Energy Only.

  • Warrior Woman

Ever wonder what it means to be a “virtuous woman”? You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s not what you expected.

  • Always Before Me

As master of the universe, isn’t God too busy to care about little ol’ you? Besides, how can He be out in front leading you and right at your side—all at the same time?

  • F.R.E.T.

Davalynn shares her struggle with and victory over a fear-filled topic that strangles life and peace from today’s busy woman.

“Davalynn’s passion for God’s word and how to apply it to everyday life is refreshing and extremely challenging. She models what she has learned in life experiences and leaves her audience with the desire to know and experience God on a deeper level. Her authentic presentation, candor, and love for the Lord are evident as she speaks from her heart.”
Debbie Smee, Dir. Of Women’s Ministries, Porterville Church of the Nazarene

"Davalynn is a gifted communicator as well as a teacher. She has the unique ability of combining knowledge, preparation, and excellence in delivery to get her message across.”
Carol Mardock, Ex. Dir. International Family Services

“Davalynn’s devotions cut right to the heart and speak God’s truth into women’s lives. Be ready for some laughter in your tears.”
Linda Scholtz, Co-editor The Line Rider (Fellowship of Christian Cowboys) Pueblo, Colorado

Davalynn Spencer is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer whose work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, Power for Living, Quiet Hour, American Cowboy, and Western Horseman among others. A former middle school teacher, she currently teaches writing at a Colorado community college and holds a B.A. in education and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Her first romantic novella was released December 2012 and she continues to write romantic-suspense represented by Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency. As an active member of her church worship team, she loves playing the piano—even more than eating chocolate or taking morning walks along the Arkansas River. She and her husband make their home in Colorado.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meet Author & Speaker Carol Howell

Speaker Carol Howell

Author and Speaker, as Certified Dementia Specialist 

Fees: $75 for 30 - 45 minute presentation within 30 minutes of home. Additional travel requires extra fee. 

Travel: USA

Categories: Health, Nutrition, Alzheimer's and Dementia,

Speaking Topics

  • How Food and Exercise Connect With Dementia

I have lost 100 pounds. Eating right and exercising are of utmost importance to me. This became even more true when I learned eating right and exercising can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by 50%. My grandmother died of Alzheimer's, and my mother is presently living with the disease. I am doing everything I can to protect myself. This particular topic, like all my topics, is approached from a point of personal experience, but it is laced with much humor.

  • Communicating With A Loved One With Dementia 

This topic allows me to demonstrate the "do's and don'ts" of communicating with a loved one who has dementia. There are techniques that can drastically improve the potential for success in communication. There are also definite ways to assure failure. With a great deal of interacting with the audience, a huge amount of humor, and a lot of good practical information, the audience leaves energized and prepared to tackle life from a different angle.

  • How To Make A Caregiver Laugh   

Caregiving is a stressful and tiresome job. It is always my hope to bring knowledge, power, and hope to the lives of those in which I am blessed to make contact. One way of enriching lives is through humor. When I am given the opportunity to play the role of someone with dementia, the interaction between myself and the audience is very fun. The participants always laugh, always relate, and - I hope - leave feeling happier than when they arrived.

  • Alzheimer's and Dementia - Are They The Same?  

This topic is a basic "101" type class. We discover the definition of Alzheimer's, dementia, diversion therapy, and therapeutic fibbing. These are the four core points needed to understand the basics of good caregiving. The information is presented in a very easy to understand way, and, as always, laced with humor. No Powerpoint presentations, ever.

  • What Does God Think About My Weight?

I have lost 100 pounds. Through that process, I learned the scriptures have a great deal to say about food, self-esteem, and taking care of the Temple of God. IF MY BODY IS A TEMPLE, WHY AM I EATING DOUGHNUTS? is the book that came to be as a result of my weight-loss journey. I share many of the stories with the audience, make them laugh, and cause them to think about their relationship with God.


"The women of St. Anne's Guild of the Episcopal Church of our Savior want to thank you for your splendid presentation on Dementia."
Patricia Truncellito, President St. Anne's Guild, Rock Hill, SC

"Again, thank you for a wonderful education and inspiring presentation!!!" 
Lee Q. Miller, Lecturer of Gerontology and Sociology-
Winthrop University

"Thanks so much for a wonderful talk by Senior Life Journeys."
Robert Hope, The Shepherd's Center, Rock Hill, SC

Special Interests and Activities – I am a published author. I very much enjoy sitting in my office and writing the words God sends to me. The two of us, God and me, have published How I See It and If My Body Is A Temple, Why Am I Eating Doughnuts?. Our third book, I Prayed For My Refrigerator, and Other Stories of Faith, just became available in March of 2012. Now we are working on Let’s Talk Dementia – With A Splash Of Humor. 
I also have made it my goal to exercise 30 minutes per day EVERY DAY this year. As I have lost 100 pounds, this goal is very important to me.

Church Affiliation – My husband and I have been members of Westminster Presbyterian since 1998.

Family: Spouse – Michael – and my best friend Children – Brandie, a Physician Assistant, is married to Mike, a Dentist. They live in Florida. Pretzel – the miniature dachshund who plays an important role in my stories of dementia and passed away March 10, 2012; Carson – the adopted chartreuse cat. My Momma – Vera – who is the reason Senior Life Journeys came to be. 

Additional Info: I absolutely LOVE working with seniors through the use of music. It is amazing to see individuals “come alive” who would, otherwise, remain silent within their own world. I also enjoy speaking to groups and always hope my words speak HOPE into the day of someone traveling the journey of dementia. 


Friday, October 26, 2012

Meet Author & Speaker Dave Stevens

Author and Speaker who is a self-proclaimed 

adrenaline junky who loves science and technology

Fees: Free to reasonable, depending on event

Travel: USA

Categories: Christian-based Science, Converting Agnostics, Converting Atheists

Speaking Topics

  • Christians, Stop Fighting Science: Use It!

Hitting the science-loving atheist or agnostic upside the head with a Bible is probably not going to work. Scripture to them might as well be written in Hebrew. They put their belief in science and really believe a God is not required to explain the universe. We must speak to them in their language, before we can reach them with any message. Forget about Evolution, use physics to reach them. We'll discuss in simple terms how quantum mechanics requires an "observer" to start the universe.

  • Reaching Those Who Don't Believe that God is Required to Explain the Universe

We spend millions of dollars and volunteer hours introducing Christianity in developing countries. That’s awesome, but we’re going to talk about reaching your fellow citizens: the educated agnostic or atheist relative, friend, or coworker who was raised with little or no church exposure.

  • Keeping Your Know-It-All Brother-In-Law From Burning in Hell

How do you overcome objections from know-it-alls?

  • Reaching CEOs, Scientists, Lawyers and Legislators

Christians often give up attempting to reach these people in frustration. As a former agnostic, I believe that's extremely dangerous. These people are running our corporations, schools and country. They write or interpret our laws. There are more of them out there than you think. Most won’t share their real beliefs because they don’t want to offend.

  • Bridging science and religion. from David E Stevens on Vimeo.

    Commander David E. Stevens, was a Navy Commander and F-18 pilot. A self-professed adrenaline junky who loves science and technology, he holds engineering degrees from Cornell and The University of Michigan, with graduate work in human factors and astrophysics. During the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Dave served as the Navy Strike Operations Officer for the Persian Gulf. He also test-piloted new fighters, received an aviation patent, and with a Top Secret clearance, led classified defense programs.


  • Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Meet Terry Burns, A Speaker on the Do's & Don'ts in Publishing

    Author and Agent for Hartline Literary Agency, Terry often speaks on the craft of writing and the do's and don'ts in the publishing industry. 

    Fees: Depends on topics and length

    Travel: USA

    Categories: Writing, Publishing, Faith

    Speaking Topics

    • Writing to Reach the Unbeliever 
    Jesus used fiction to make some of his most important points. They were called parables. Terry talks about using fiction in order to spread God's word and about the difference between writing for the Christian market and writing in hopes of reaching an unbeliever. Too often people say they are writing a "crossover book" but I believe a crossover book is an accident. Books are written 180 degrees for the maximum effect in the two markets so the writer should choose one and hope he or she can make people from the other market read it as well. Too often a book intentionally written for both markets ends up in that no-man's-land with too much faith content for the mainstream market and not enough to interest the Christian market. Terry will talk about these differences and how to reach the desired audience.

    • Just Say Yes 

    Too often we don't understand that not saying yes to the Lord is the same as saying no. People who would never dream of saying no to God can do it through inactivity and failure to act. What can this concept mean to the Christian Writer? Presented as a keynote or 30 min to an hour.

    • Editor and Agent Pet Peeves   

    Are there things that can rub an editor or an agent the wrong way and effect the success of a submission? You bet there are, and Terry has collected a number of them in a program designed to help writers avoid some of the pitfalls they may not even see coming.

    • Survive Your Way to Publication  

    Publication is not a selection process but a survival process. Terry walks to author through the entire pitch and submission process, How to do a proposal and what each portion is and what it does. How to pass the various tests and make it into the 15% of submissions that are actually in the running. This workshop is presented in a Q & A format that goes along with his new book on the same subject.

    • Agent Q & A  

    The most popular sessions at most conferences are the agent and editor panels. If your conference or workshop is not planning an agent panel Terry does a Q and A session designed to answer to key questions like "do I need an agent?" "How do I get an agent?" He talks about how to work with an agent, and a variety of other questions about the publishing


    "My highest compliments on the job you did in presenting this material. I found it practical, honest, insightful, and clear. You offer a lot of wisdom in what you've presented. I see this as excellent material for a person just starting out, and good or reassuring for someone who is farther down the writing path."
    Max Elliott Anderson, Author

    "This was a tremendously helpful course. I so appreciate your time and effort to respond to all our questions, even in the midst of recovering from an injury! Although I didn't participate much, I was inspired to get off my duff and put on my "I am a writer" hat by putting together a website and blog. It seems everyday I had a question answered I hadn't even thought to ask. Your explanation about why agents and editors want to see a synopsis changed my whole perspective on the dreaded thing! What a blessing you've been to us all, thank you so much!"
    Niki Turner, Author

    "I ended up mostly lurking but I learned so much. I learned that I can hide behind my VP on Stage personna and not be as afraid to pitch (I hope, lol!). I so appreciate all the time you took and for giving a thorough class with such  usable material. Thank you seems rather puny by comparison."
    Pamela James, Author

    Terry has been with the Hartline agency for over ten years, five years as an agent, and has a substantial list of clients, a growing list of credits, and a reputation for presenting to conferences all over the country with workshops, speeches, keynotes and generally having individual appointments with authors in connection with the event. He is consistently listed near the top on the Publisher's Marketplace list of agents helping debut authors to publish. Terry comes from a writing background, has over 40 books of his own in print, is a graduate of West Texas State and did post graduate work at Southern Methodist University. Terry is a native Texan and is based at Hartline's Amarillo Texas field office. He is a member of the Association of Author's Representatives and a signatory to their rules and practices.

    Twitter: @Terry79104 

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Upon Rock Publicist Creates New Speaker's Bureau

    If you are a speaker who would like to showcase your speaking talent and topics, please consider submitting your information to our new Speaker's Bureau. We are in the process of listing new speakers into our system so it may take a little longer than our traditional three days. Speakers will be added in the order they are received and listed by both alphabetical order and by topic. 

    You may submit a photo, an audio/video file of you speaking, up to three speaking topics, links to your website and social media accounts, bio, as well as your contact info for yourself or your booking agency. You may submit your upcoming speaking events, and we will post them on our calendar and promote them on our social media sites. 

    As a Christian-based publicist, our primary focus is on Christian speakers and authors who are building their platforms and targeting various ministries, conferences, community events, including writing conferences and workshops. 

    The cost is only $25 per year. It's a great deal for all the promotion you will receive for the whole year. 

    Join us Now! Upon the Rock Speaker's Bureau

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Why Marketing Plans Are Important to Authors

    Regardless of whether you're pre-published or published, writers should consider creating an annual marketing plan. Such a plan helps you evaluate where you are and prompts you to think about where you want to be at the same time next year. Otherwise, you're just floating along and hoping to make progress without really being deliberate, consistent, or strategic.

    If you have new books coming out, you probably have a book launch campaign and you could incorporate that into your overall plan, but don't let your campaign be your only plan. There are some basic steps you can incorporate into your daily routine that will build your platform while you write the next book. If you're pre-published and you aren't yet doing any speaking engagements, radio talk shows or book signings, I'll bet you're online and could benefit from a marketing plan that would increase your social media platform.

    It isn't necessary to hire a professional publicist to create your marketing plan unless you're published and at the stage where you need to take your platform to the next level. If you've never written a Marketing Plan, you can start out with something basic, depending on how much time, money and effort you want to put into your marketing plan. No boiler-plate marketing plan is going to work for everyone. We are all different, our schedules vary, our talents unique, and our books are in various niches. The marketing plan you create for 2012 may not be the best one for you in 2013.

    Below are some basic categories I would suggest to start. 
    • Book Launch Campaigns - If you have any new books coming out this year.
    • Internet Presence - This is your home place on the web. It's usually your domain location whether it be a static website or a daily/weekly blog. 
    • Traditional Media - TV and radio shows, newspapers and magazines, and places to distribute media releases. These days most authors are concentrating on using traditional media through local outlets unless they are a huge NY Times best seller.
    • Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube, as well as online forums.
    • Digital Media - Blog interviews, e-zines, podcasts, videos, and video book trailers.
    • Speaking Engagements - Conferences, workshops, webinars, video conferencing, Skype and Google+ Hangouts.
    • Book Signings & Readings - Some of these are just signings and others allow authors to provide a reading, offer Q & A, or give brief presentations.
    • Print Publications - Graphic Design and printing of bookmarks, flyers, business cards, postcards, signs, banners, magnets, and memorabilia.

    If you noticed, I've absorbed Public Relations into Traditional, Social and Digital Media. It's started taking on different forms these days, but should be utilized in all three mediums as needed. How best could you see yourself using a Marketing Plan? Do you think it would help keep you motivated and give you milestones to target?

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Are You Using the Subscribe Button on Facebook?

    Along with Facebook's new Timeline, people now have the option of allowing others to Subscribe to their Facebook profile without accepting them as friends and allowing them to have access to their entire profile. This is perfect for authors who may not have set up their Author Page on Facebook, or for those who don't want to keep up with both a profile and an Author Page.

    You can set some posts for only friends to view or to public for those who subscribe to your posts. You have more control over your content and how it's shared. Also, if you block a person, that individual will not be allowed to subscribe to your profile, so it's a win-win situation.

    Here's the thing, way too many people have set their bios and all their personal info to private. How can someone know if they want to subscribe to your profile, if you don't tease them with something about you? Make sure you at least post a public bio and give them something to go by in determining if they want to subscribe to your page. You don't have to give up all your life's secrets, but you can share something.

    I'm constantly getting friend requests from people who don't allow anyone to see anything about them. I'd like to know if they are Christian, if we have any similar likes or dislikes, if they are writers or readers or someone who just happens to be looking for friends and networking. Tell me who YOU are. Don't be so obscure. You can't build a platform on obscurity.

    This simple act will increase your chances of subscribers, especially if you plan to use your profile as a way to build your platform and connect with other people who you don't personally know.

    What about you? Have you enabled the Subscribe button yet?

    Personally, I haven't enabled the Subscribe button on my page since I've already established an Author Page on Facebook.

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    New Publishing Trends Increases Authors' Need for Platform Building

    It's true, history repeats itself.

    It would be nice if society could learn from past mistakes, but we seem doomed to ignore the hard lessons previous generations have learned and make them our own challenges with a modern spin on it. While it may look a bit different with new technologies, different people, places, and time--the ultimate issues are still the same.

    People are hungry for power. They work hard to build a business empire, rake in as much profit as possible, put competition out of business. They start out with excellent customer service because they have to, but once they're on top and the only game in town, they begin flexing their muscles and setting unfair prices, contracts, and percentage rates with their partners.

    Who are we talking about? The publishing industry.

    First, it was the small publishers who were ousted by the big six publishers in NY.

    Now, it's the big six along with book stores, facing the threat of the powerhouse of Amazon.

    As usual authors and agents are caught in the middle. We're still producing our stories. Agents are still submitting them, but we're all listening, trying to discern where the winds (or trends) will lead us.

    Here's one thing that won't change: 
    • The old publishing model depended on an author's platform and their ability to promote themselves.
    • The new publishing model will still depend on an author's platform, and more so, especially their online platform. 
    Do not be discouraged or deceived. Every new follower you gain on Facebook, Twitter, and to your blog--matters. Every new subscriber you receive to your email newsletter--matters. Each new connection you make on Goodreads, Google+ or Pinterest--matters. It's one more person who has the potential to hear about your books and buy them, including whoever they have the ability to influence. This is limitless. Promotion is hard and sometimes it isn't fun, but it does make a difference.

    People can't buy books they've never heard of before. And even if they've heard of your books, you must give them a reason to buy your book over all the other many choices competing for their attention. Sometimes it's by allowing them a chance to get to know YOU through interviews, personal blog posts, book signings, and sharing the blessings God has given YOU to pass onto THEM. People are more willing to buy and support an author they feel like they know than from someone with whom they have no connection. 

    Thus, authors not only need to network with agents and authors, but these days they MUST network with readers as well. Social Media has given authors a direct platform to readers. No longer must they work through the gate keepers of traditional media and old-fashioned PR to reach their readers.

    I want to leave you with a link to a blog post that will make you think.
    Amazon--Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts by Kristen Lamb

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Pick and Choose your Publicity Efforts Wisely

    It's true that every little bit of publicity counts. Like pennies, the small things add up over time, but time is its own consideration. If you're limited on time because you're committed to working another full-time or part-time job, homeschooling your children, keeping up with your church activities, or struggling with health issues on top of writing and researching your books, you need to be "selective" in what you choose to do. Very few of us have unlimited time to spend on marketing and publicity.

    Not every publicity opportunity is worth your time. 

    It's "okay" to say "no" once in a while. 

    When our books are first released, we spend so much time chasing publicity opportunities, many of which never lead anywhere, that when something falls into our laps that we didn't have to pursue, the temptation to jump at it is staggering.  We want to shoot off an email immediately shouting "YES, I'll do it!" Or if we were contacted on the phone instead of saying, "Let me check my schedule and get back to you," we want to give a confirmation right then and there.

    Stop. Pray. Check your schedule. Pray again. 

    Are YOU piloting your career, or are you allowing GOD to pilot your career?

    If you're on deadline to finish a book or turn in edits, if you stop to squeeze in more guest posts or interviews on blogs, how will this affect the quality of your work? Which family member will have to sacrifice YOU in order for you to get this done?

    Granted, there are times we MUST make sacrifices, but look at the opportunity. Is it a brand new blog with less than 50 followers with 1 or 2 comments per post or a well-established blog with 500+ followers with 10-15 comments per post? There are tons of blogs out there. Many of them are very good and have lots of great content, but most have very little traffic.

    Before you agree to give away another free book after giving away 30 already, what is the purpose and the ROI of your effort? Is it a blog with the same followers who have already been exposed to your book on the first 30 blogs where you appeared and gave away free books? Will there be any requirements for people to enter the contest or can anyone who Googles "free books" and "book contests" enter who are only out surfing the Web for "free" stuff?

    Publicity is great, but it is NEVER free no matter what anyone tells you. There is always the time required to provide a photo, book cover, answer interview questions, or write something fresh because you simply can't recycle anymore articles. Yes, it might only take a few minutes of your time, but so will everything else, even answering your email. All that time adds up to a lot of time NOT writing or researching. Consider the cost and then evaluate the publicity exposure.

    Only YOU can decide if it is worth it or not.

    Have you had to turn down any publicity offers? What were some of your deciding factors? You don't have to list the agency, blog or media outlet in order to share your experience and/or advice.

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