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When is it appropriate to use your trauma, personal drama, family emergency – or other catastrophe to sell books? Some might say, “Never!” —but then only presenting the rosy, perfect, polished side of life isn’t very authentic.

Recently, my husband’s brush with death in a traffic accident, a ministry friend’s early step into heaven and a leader’s home fire all caused me to ponder, “When is it good or a part of God’s will to post on tragedy and turmoil?”

Here are a few questions to ask before your post (especially if sharing a story will result in a profit of any kind, including books sales, it is best to double -check your heart):

Is this my story to tell?

Post unto others as you would have posted unto you paraphrases the Golden Rule of Christ’s words in Matthew 7:12.  If this is not your life, recount the facts and feelings in a way that you would like someone to do for you. Share your own personal feelings, how God is speaking to you, what you learned while keeping the details of the story private to protect another already going through a challenging time.  If it is your story, as was the case with my side of the story (of the near tragedy of my husband Bill’s truck being hit and hurled into a concrete highway divider by a speeding teen driver), then I was free to share my point of view, my feelings, and I did link to our marriage books. Because the principles in those books would help another couple in a comparable situation, we both wanted to use this pivotal moment to teach and train. (Read the full story )

Have I asked permission?

“…serve one another in love…” (Gal. 15:13 )

Even though I had plenty to share from my point of view, because someone else was also in the story, after our emotions settled and the crisis handled, I felt it necessary to ask Bill, if and when he might be comfortable with me sharing the account.  I penciled out what I thought was appropriate at this juncture and ran the text by him for approval. One never wants to add to another’s pain and drama when they are already experiencing pain and drama!

Is this the right time?

“it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time… “ (Proverbs 15:23 )

There might be a need or a desire to share an announcement or a statement. In these cases, if the ministry or the person themselves has shared, it is best to directly quote their testimonial.  Ask yourself “Will sharing the information lessen a person’s trauma, help meet his or her need or help reach or inform the audience he or she is trying to reach?”  For example, when a ministry leader was killed overseas and his ministry was wanting to get the word out so people could pray for his wife, family and his ministry, I instantly shared the post because it was clear that was the result wanted. In my post, I did inform my audience a little more of the bio, including a few of his books, so people would recognize and know whom I was talking about.

What is my motive?

“Search me God and know my heart…” (Psalms 139:23 )

Sometimes people rush to be the bearers of shocking news simply because they gain attention because they might have an insider’s view or a seat behind the scenes. Nothing hurts someone already going through a private tragedy in public view more than having friends divulge information he or she might have wanted to keep private. Ask yourself, “Would the person at the center see the sharing of this information as a betrayal?” Also ask yourself if you are the best person to share the news, or if there is someone better suited, better prepared, better equipped or better at handling these emotionally charged events.  Many professions are well trained in handling these kind of raw life moments: pastors, doctors, politicians, law enforcement or military leaders all have as part of their training elements of crisis management.   It might be God will ask you to be the silent servant behind the scenes that helps a family member or leader as he or she interacts with the public.

What is the desired outcome?

“Set your affections on the things above…” (Col. 3:2)

If you sense a green light on all the above questions, then before God ask, “Lord, what do you want to see happen in the lives of others who might read these words or hear this video?”  Is God wanting people to come to know Him personally and be prepared for eternity? Is he asking you to rally help or aid? Does the person or family in crisis have an economic need that they have asked you to share? It there a moral or Biblical truth that needs highlighted?  Before you write, before you speak—pray.

 

Pam Farrel is the very grateful to God wife of Bill, who was at the center of this story – and whose tale has a happy ending. (Fortunately, miraculously, my husband survived).  Together the Farrels write, speak and travel the world encouraging, equipping and inspiring people to live “Love-Wise.” They are the authors of 45 books including the newly revised, updated and expanded version of their best seller, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.

 

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Greetings from central Florida and the lovely town of Mount Dora. Although we’re not snowed in like some parts of the country, we’ve had colder nights this week than we have during much of the winter. (I don’t want to inspire coveting, so we won’t mention how “low” our temperatures have dropped).

I have the privilege today of introducing you to experienced author and journalist Ginny McCabe. Ginny has lots to share, so let’s get started.

Welcome, Ginny! How did you get into writing?

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I have spent much of my professional career in full-time positions in news, marketing and media relations with news organizations, in radio and publishing. I earned a journalism degree from Cincinnati Christian University and had some tremendous mentors, but I learned early on the value of being a go-getter and a disciplined, well-rounded writer.

In becoming a best-selling author and an award-winning journalist, it comes down to my faith, God’s hand on my life, the unconditional love and support of my family and friends mixed with hard work, talent, dedication and perseverance.

How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

I have authored five books and collaborated on four additional titles. Secrets Young Women Keep (Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins), a CBA bestseller and an ECPA Silver Medallion winner, and Rich Chick (Amazon) are a few of the latest titles.

How did your first book come about?

Some Kind of Journey: On the Road with Audio Adrenaline (Standard Publishing) was the first book project I had the privilege of being a part of. It was an MTV Real World kind of an experience from a Christian worldview. A group of us—an editor, myself as an author/journalist and several photographers/videographers—went on a road trip with Audio Adrenaline. We also took a handful of college students from across the country—Chad, David, John, Lisa, Rachel, Scotia and Vicki—and talked about real-life issues like the church, dating and more, which are covered in the book. We went from a golf course in Columbus to the inner-city streets of Chicago and onstage in Minneapolis—and experienced a week of what’s it’s like to be in a popular Christian band.

The editor, Dale Reeves, knew I had experience writing about the arts, entertainment and music, so he asked me to be a part of it. A lot of book projects have come about as a result of relationships as well as my talent and level of experience. Dale was also my youth minister when I was a teenager. He introduced me to Christian artists like Keith Green and Michael W. Smith. Christian music has been instrumental in my faith journey, so this book is deeply meaningful to me on many levels.   Read More →

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by Sarah Hamaker, reluctant marketer

With the start of a new year, our thoughts naturally turn to what we’ll accomplish in the 12 months of 2017. But if we don’t have a plan or idea of where we want to go, we’ll spend more time floundering and less time making progress. Top of your list of plans should be one that details what you’ll do for marketing. Read More →

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Darlene Franklin

Darlene Franklin

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone! This is Darlene Franklin (Darlene’s website) from Hillcrest Nursing Home.

Two years ago, I dipped my toe into the realm of self-publishing/working with a small press after Love Inspired closed the Heartsong Presents book club line.   Read More →

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by Sarah Hamaker, reluctant marketer

Interviewing sources for articles doesn’t have to be a scary proposition. Most writers are curious people by nature—after all, many plots and plot points come about because a writer asked, “What if…?” Read More →

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