Pieper1Almost six years ago, I had the privilege of meeting the wonderful Twila Belk and her partner in crime, Cecil Murphey, at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Orlando. Since then, I've come to count both Twila and Cec as good friends. That's why I'm delighted to introduce Cec's much-maligned sidekick to you today. Not only does Twila serve as Cec's manager, protector, and as Cec would say, "mother," but she is a talented speaker, writer, and the “GottaTellSomebody Gal.”  She was also brave enough to invite me to teach at my first writer's conference in 2009. So without further ado, heeeeere's Twila! 

Welcome to the CAN blog, Twila. How did you get into writing?

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Pieper1Almost-Thanksgiving greetings from Marti Pieper, posting today from Sevierville, Tenn. and the National Bible Bee. Through the magic of the Internet, author MaryAnn Diorio and I were able to set up today's interview in advance. I'm thankful to have met MaryAnn in person when we both taught at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. She has some wise words to share, so without further ado, enjoy our Q & A session.

MaryAnn, how did you get into writing? How many books do you have CAN MaryAnn Dioriopublished? What are a few of your latest titles?

  • I've been writing since I was a young teen. I started with poetry. When I won an award in a national poetry contest at the age of fifteen, I was hooked.  I did not, however, pursue writing in college. Instead, I majored in foreign languages.  At the age of thirty, I felt a distinct call by God to become a writer, but I needed confirmation. God confirmed the call by allowing one of my poems to be accepted for publication by The Saturday Evening Post. At the time, I had no idea of how difficult it was to be accepted by The Saturday Evening Post.  When I learned the odds of acceptance, I realized that God had ordained the acceptance to confirm His call on my life to write for Him. I have had five books published, and I have contributed to eight others.

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JillWilliamsonNewSmall As you may have heard, your book is not likely to sell itself. Marketing and publicity is hard work. The whole secret is to determine who your target readers are and how to get in front of them (in a non threatening way, of course). So, even if your book isn't out yet, you should start promoting now.
 
As I blog about marketing and publicity, I'm going to share everything I've learned in my experience over the past few years. I’m far from an expert, but I know my efforts have made a difference in the success of my novels.

The first thing you should do is sit down and brainstorm. Make a long list of things you’d like to do. Website, postcards, bookmarks, T-shirts, influencer copies, etc. Take your time and keep this list handy so that you can add to it when you have new ideas and refer to it when you have a new novel coming out.

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