Thursday, April 19, 2007

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducing A BIGGER LIFE, Navpress Publishing Group (January 15, 2007)

by Annette Smith

In 1997, Annette was working as a home health nurse. She traveled the back roads from house to house, caring for ill and injured, homebound people. Because of her unique position in the lives of relative strangers, she often found herself bearing solitary witness to intimate behind-the-scenes situations full of grace and meaning. The desire to honor both a particular patient and a poignant scene involving the woman and her husband prompted Annette to write a fictionalized story, The Anniversary.

That first story appeared as a column in the Houston Chronicle newspaper and as an essay in Today’s Christian Woman magazine. Later it became a chapter in Annette’s first and best-selling book of short stories, The Whispers of Angels, that has sold more than 100,000 copies

Since then, Annette has penned four more books of stories, two volumes on parenting, and the Coming Home to Ruby Prairie trilogy.

Annette and her husband Randy, a High School teacher and coach, make their home on a wooded lot in Quitman, Texas. They are the parents of two young adult children, Russell and Rachel, both out on their own. Wally, a grateful, rescued mutt provides warmth and entertainment and keeps the Smith’s empty nest from feeling too lonely.

In addition to writing, Annette continues to serve part-time as a registered nurse. She finds the people she works with and the patients she cares for provide great inspiration for her fiction.

Joel Carpenter did not plan for his life to turn out like this. He never meant to be a single dad, working at a hair salon in Eden Plain, Texas. But after making a careless choice four years ago, his marriage was permanently shattered. Now at twenty-seven, he finds himself juggling custody of his preschool son with Kari, the ex-wife he still loves, and sharing Sunday dinners with a group of other single dads.

Joel regrets the choices that brought him to this place, but it's not until the worst happens that he learns how much he still has to give. In the midst of deep tragedy, he learns that forgiveness is way more important than freedom. Hopefully it's not too late!

A BIGGER LIFE is a story of love in the midst of heartache, and friendship in the midst of real, everyday life.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Obvious Avenues

While I like to drop an occasional bit of wisdom based on my marketing experience, maybe prodding a few of you with ideas you hadn't considered, let's not miss the obvious avenues of marketing that stare you in the face every day.

Take a look around (in a cyber sense). If you're reading my blog, chances are you're reading others like it and see the same links over and over. Have you noticed things like writer's organizations being advertised on these blogs? Those should be your first step if you're a new writer. Most will acknowledge your new book in a newsletter or e-mail loop. Writers are readers, they make good customers.

What about this odd thing I do every Wednesday (unless I forget) with the book reviews. That's the brainstorm of Bonnie Calhoun. Something like one-hundred blogs post the same book review every week. All the writer has to do is ask Bonnie and their book is all over the blogosphere. Free stuff, man. Can't beat it. (Now, if someone in the MWA would catch on to this little game...).

What about the Amazon bookstore? I don't just have that to make a whopping 8% off any book I sell for Amazon. I use that to advertise books I like. Someday, my books will fill those slots.

Marketing doesn't have to involve money. It will eventually, but give yourself a head start.

Now, here's my best advice: GET YE TO A CONFERENCE. The AFCW conference is the place to be for the Christian writer. The MWA has a wide selection. Check out the websites. Being a writer is a solitary life, but it doesn't have to be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing CORAL MOON Zondervan (April 27, 2007) by Brandilyn Collins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandilyn Collins is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Web Of Lies, Dead of Night, Stain of Guilt, Brink of Death, and Eyes of Elisha just to name a few.Brandilyn and her family divide their time between the California Bay Area and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.She also maintains an informative blog called Forensics and Faith where she daily dispenses wisdom on writing, life, and the Christian book industry.

The figure remained still as stone. Leslie couldn't even detect a breath.Spider fingers teased the back of her neck.Leslie's feet rooted to the pavement. She dropped her gaze to the driveway, seeking...what? Spatters of blood? Footprints? She saw nothing. Honed through her recent coverage of crime scene evidence, the testimony as last month's trial, the reporter in Leslie spewed warnings: Notice everything, touch nothing...

Leslie Brymes hurries out to her car on a typical workday morning...and discovers a dead body inside.Why was the corpse left for her to find? And what is the meaning of the message pinned to its chest?In Coral Moon, the senseless murder of a beloved Kanner Lake citizen spirals the small Idaho town into a terrifying glimpse of spiritual forces beyond our world. What appears true seems impossible.OR IS IT?

Presently this Kanner Lake Series of books has its own character blog called Scenes and Beans. Stop by and visit the folks from Kanner Lake!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spam Laws

Sorry I've been lacking this week. I'm in Indianapolis doing a trade show. Beautiful town, by the way, definitely pay it a visit if you get the chance.

Sally Bradley asked about spam laws. This is one of those cases where the government has created more problems than they've solved. Shocking, I know, but true.

Essentially, if someone gives you an e-mail address or phone number to request information, you're within the law to e-mail or call them to sell a product. That's general, but for our purposes, it's good enough. If you e-mail or call and they ask you to stop, then stop. No problems.

My company sent out a 30,000 phone taped message a few weeks back. One person complained. One. And no attorneys were heard from. So don't concern yourself with it. Where you might get into trouble is if you buy a mailing list from someone and cold call those people. Chances are, us little old writers won't ever have the money to do that anyway.

Play it smart. Make it clear to your customer that you may call or e-mail them, and you'll have no issue. And the next time some politician offers to fix a problem for you, politely tell them you can handle it yourself.