Hi everyone! Pamela Meyers hePam2011SmallChinFistre with my monthly post on marketing your books. Last month I described the inception of my debut novel, Thyme for Love, which released last November with OakTara Publishing. Along with describing how the idea for my story evolved, I also shared ways in which thoughts toward marketing the book materialized as the story took shape.

As soon as I learned my release date of November 14, 2011, my thoughts went to how was I going to celebrate my debut novel and, at the same time, get the word out to people in my local area about the book? What better way than a party and book-signing event? After all, we only have one debut novel in our writing lives.

 

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24As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

John 15:5

Good Monday morning from Elizabeth Baker! As wordsmiths and lovers of letters, authors often have a unique way of looking at the world. I suspect we tend to dig a little deeper and look for answers even when others are not asking questions!

One of the first things a writer learns is to continually ask, “So, what?” For every article, every speech, every motivation of a fictional character, asking “So, what?” is critical to literary success. No matter how well placed the modifiers or how skillfully crafted each sentence, if there is no answer to that question, readers will drift off and soon lose interest.

I suppose that’s what instantly drew me to today’s verse. The “So, what?” answers fairly jump from the page promising not only logical solutions to practical problems but what writers call, “high take-away value” as well.

The first answer is the reality of fruit. It is actually possible to have more love, more joy, more peace, more patience and all those other delightful tidbits Paul identified as the fruits of the Spirit. [1] These are not pie-in-the-sky or wishful thinking or day-dreams. They’re real things that make a real difference. That is a big, “So, what?” because having more of that kind of fruit will change my world!

The second, “So, what?” is perhaps the most significant of all. It’s the good news that I don’t have to work up these good things on my own. I can get off the treadmill, leave the rat-race, rest. It no more depends on my efforts to grow fruit than it depends on the efforts of a branch to grow grapes. The effort and power come from the vine. A vine can get along without the branch just fine but the branch without the vine is dead before it hits the ground.

And, the last really big “So, what?” is the other side of that coin. While the fruit does not depend on me, that doesn’t mean I’m useless. I have a significant responsibility. I contribute to the process. If I don’t do my part, I won’t share in the benefits of fruit production. Other branches will take my place. They and the vine will go on without me. My job is to cling tightly to the vine. I don’t focus on fruit production, I focus on the vine and fruit comes as a byproduct.

Unfortunately, it is possible to be a Christian attend church and even read the Bible but stopped asking the question, “So, what?” When that happens, faith becomes disjointed from daily life; religion separates from living, and experiencing the dynamic flow from the Vine slows to a trickle.

How sad! For the solution to the problem is simple. Jesus told us about it before he left. We make it our business to firmly hang on to the Vine and a good way to do that is to keep asking the question, “So, what?”

 [1] Galatians 5:28

 

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                                            [Pic for website 2012The woman] looked closely at Peter and said, "This man was with him." But Peter denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said. (Luke 22:56-57, NIV)

A blessed day to you! Maureen Pratt here with my second CAN Blog post. This time, I'm going to dive right into the deep end and talk about writing controversial subjects, characters, and themes. I've had very recent (ongoing, actually) experience with doing this, so I'm looking at the topic with eyes wide open and have some tips for handling not only the material, but also the feedback that inevitably comes when one "stirs the pot." (Although my experience is with a non-fiction piece, I hope these thought will be helpful to those who write fiction, too).

The Scripture verse I chose for this blog post sets the stage: For many people, even the strongest believer, controversy stirs up feelings of fear, denial, even cowardice. Yet, we people of faith are often called upon to confront issues and situations and stand firm, as our Lord did throughout his life. How much inside of us is Peter's "no!"? How much is Jesus' "yes!" How can we put on more courage and write boldly and maybe, just maybe, change hearts, too?

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Ava Pennington

Author, Ava Pennington

Hi from Ava Pennington, CAN Secretary…

When was the last time you played on a seesaw? Maybe you called it a teeter-totter. The fun lasted only as long as the person on the other end weighed about the same as you. Enough of an imbalance and you either spent most of the time camped on the ground or hanging in the air.

A seesaw is not the only place balance is important.

It would be nice to think being an author meant spending all our time weaving words to enthrall readers. It would be nice…but not realistic. The reality of the publishing industry is that we must continuously build our platform, balancing writing and marketing. And balance is the key word…

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CANHi.  Winnie Griggs here, with the next installment in my posts about speaking engagements.  So far we’ve covered why book speaking engagements, dealing with butterflies, selecting a topic, creating a speaker resume and finding speaking venues.  Today we’re going to talk about how to actually pitch your talk.

Once you have selected your topic, have your resume together and have located possible speaking opportunities, how do you let folks know you’re ready and willing?

Well, first you need to make certain you can effectively convey what it is you’re offering.  You do this in two steps:

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