Little Things Mean A Lot

New year, new calendar. I love the potential of a brand new calendar, don’t you? All those pristine pages with their empty little boxes…well, they started out pristine when I unwrapped the cellophane. But they’re filling up quickly!

As I look back on the past year, I had so many thoughts about how to market my book. I had planned certain tasks monthly, weekly, daily…you get the idea. Unfortunately, the calendar got away from me, and many of those ideas remained unfulfilled. I began to view the dwindling 2015 calendar as my enemy.


New calendar, new resolutions. Okay, maybe not new resolutions. It’s probably more accurate to say same resolutions, but new determination. Instead of the 2016 calendar being my enemy, I will ensure it becomes my friend. Here’s how I plan to do it…I will commit to do something every day, no matter how small. For example:

Use of Social Media
Very little time or effort is required to tweet or post something on Facebook on a daily basis. The content doesn’t always have to be about my book. You’ve heard it before: social media is just that – social! I need to spend time nurturing relationships with friends and readers instead of constantly trumpeting a marketing message.

Update profiles
Those profile boxes on Amazon’s Author Page, Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, and all the other social media sites are there for a reason. Others read these profiles to determine whether to follow me. If I don’t keep them updated, I’m overlooking an effective way to market my book.

Effective use of email…and e-newsletters
Update my email signature to include information about the book that’s out AND the next book that’s in the pipeline. And of course, include links to my website, Facebook Author Page, and Twitter account.

I will start a quarterly e-newsletter this year. E-newsletters are an effective way to communicate with those interested in my writing. Some social media platforms control the number of people who see my posts. But with an e-newsletter I don’t have to worry about a third-party blocking my communications.

Blog
Commit to a weekly blog schedule. I know there are bloggers who post five days a week and some who blog three days weekly. If I tried either of those schedules, I’d be setting myself up for failure. But I can blog weekly. That’s a reasonable commitment for me. I’d rather blog consistently on a once-a-week basis than to attempt blogging more frequently and be inconsistent.

Comment on other people’s blogs
I subscribe to several blogs and often read them without commenting. This year I commit to commenting on at least one blog each day. By comments, I don’t mean “great blog.” I mean a comment that adds to the discussion.

Five Alive
I will apply the “Five Alive” rule to:

– pitching magazine articles related to the subject of my book.
– contacting a church or other organization about being a speaker
– contacting a bookstore about a book-signing

For each declination I receive, I will send out another query, keeping five requests active at any given time.

 

Of course, there are many other things I will do to market my book, but that’s for another post. Still, if I can faithfully do the little things I’ve just listed, that’s a great start!

What bite-sized marketing activities will you commit to doing this new year?

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Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids,  including Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.

Back to Basics

by Kim Peterson

 

Morning Tea & JournalEvery January, I return to the basics. Not resolutions exactly, but I return to what anchors me.

Ideally, I maintain good writer-ly habits all year: I write in my journal daily. (Um, only did that one year.) I nurture my creativity regularly. (Well, it’s on my to-do list.) I edit and write with the dedication required to achieve renown. (Ha! I’m hardly a household name.) Finally, I exude the joy that keeps me steadily working and ministering through words. (Oh, brother.)

The only habit that truly sticks with me is prayer. Prayer about my writing. Prayer about everything. Because my piety and love provide a strong enough motivation for such stick-to-it-iveness? (No, I think they call it desperation.)

At this point, you either wonder why I edit and write … or you’re nodding and agreeing. I hope you see our shared humanity, our good intentions and our more realistic actions.

That’s why every January calls me back to basics — basics I need for crafting words.

Write Morning Pages – Almost a journal, but not quite, this daily writing date with a blank page provides a place to dump negativity and self-doubts in the morning. In the evening, I finish each entry with a list of five reasons for gratitude or objects of beauty God revealed that day.

Undergird Everything with Prayer – Writing, like everything else, benefits from prayer woven throughout the day. Stop for longer prayers between projects, seek inspiration between steps and whisper requests for guidance between words. End the day’s creative work with a heartfelt prayer of gratitude.

Nurture Creativity – Devote 15 minutes a day to reading books that encourage creativity, acceptance of our artsy natures and use of the gifts God gives each of us.

Forgive – Ask God to wipe out guilt about unfinished projects, to erase self-doubt about work that never measured up, and to forgive our failures in attitude and action. Seek reassurance when fear makes us dread touching the keyboard. Doing so allows us to …

Find Joy – Find joy in the idea. Find joy in the easy stages. Find joy in the hard work, the critiques, the rewrites, and the sweat of creating. His joy is our strength.

Do It All Again – Believe that the journey matters. Faithfulness matters. Pleasing God matters. Whether the work of the previous day flowed in effortless inspiration or whether it required endless, painstaking effort, rise up — day after day — and obey His directive to write …

As unto God – Offer what we have created to the Lord, to use as He wishes.

This blog post grew from the basics that anchor me, these daily habits that equip me to face the blank page. What basics help you obey God’s call to write?

Kim Peterson

Working as a freelancer for thirty-seven years, Kim has written for several Indiana newspapers and various periodicals, including AppleSeeds, Encounter, Evangel, Vista and devotional markets. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Rocking Chair Reader, and other anthologies. She loves writing for children.

Connect with us….

There was a day, when to connect with someone, you sent them a letter. Or if you had the resources, you picked up the phone and gave them a call. And if they were really special you went to their street address, their house, to see them in person.

One thing shared by all these ways to connect was an address. In those days, if you had a phone, it was a land line. Your number was connected to your name, and in the phone book, your street address was listed too. Letters were delivered to a street address or a post office box.  Visits were personal, often at the home of your friend or acquaintance.

 

ADDRESSES.

We want to make sure you know all our addresses…………….    If you are reading this, you probably know about the website www.write2ignite.com.

If you are reading this in your email, then you have subscribed to our blog. Did you know once it comes to your email, clicking on the title will take you to the rest of the article, back on the website? No judgement if that’s news to you, I stumbled on that bit of information accidentally.

If you aren’t already getting the blog in your email and want to, you can  sign up for it on the blog. Look for the words “Subscribe for Blog Updates” near the top of the right side bar. Type your email address in the window directly below that heading and click on the “subscribe” button.

W2I has email:

Info.write2ignite@gmail.com

We have a Facebook fan page:

https://www.facebook.com/Write2IgniteConference/

To catch our fan page in your newsfeed you need to “like” us. Click the thumbs up  in the banner at the top of the page.  Because of the way Facebook shows fan pages, you may not see us much, even though we try to post 3-9 posts weekly.  Of course, you can always stop by the page and view what we’ve shared.

You can choose to receive a Facebook notice in your email every time we post – just click the like button and choose the appropriate item from that drop down menu. You can also use our Facebook fan page as a shortcut to find the blog – just click on the sign-up button in the banner – and from there you can subscribe to get the blog posts in your email as mentioned above.

We have a facebook group:  

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Write2Ignite/

This group was set up to give people who participate in Write2Ignite! activities (conference, day apart retreat, or any future W2I activities) an opportunity to continue to network around the calendar.

We are on twitter:

https://twitter.com/WriteTOignite

And occasionally we send out newsletters through email using Mailchimp or other similar  service to send a SPARK of information your way- only if you’ve already given permission to be included in such emails.

Of course to see us in person, you can come to the Conference on April 1st and 2nd, 2016 at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.

Registration is currently open. Just click the “Register” button on the top of THIS banner. We look forward to connecting with you real soon.

Bonnie Rose Hudson, Schoolhouse Teachers

Hi, my name is Bonnie Rose Hudson. I work as the Executive Editor of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, and I’m possibly the most unlikely candidate to be writing for the homeschool market that you’ll ever meet. You see, I wasn’t homeschooled (I attended a small Christian school), and I don’t homeschool (I am unmarried and don’t have children). I do, however, love writing for children, fully support families who make the choice to homeschool, and have never been happier in any writing position I have ever had than I am now.

The reason I tell you all that is to illustrate an important point—God can use anyone, anywhere, anytime He chooses. So if you’re curious about what it’s like to write for the homeschool market, how to get started, what options are available, and what the homeschool market looks like today, please consider joining me for the workshops I’ll be presenting. I’ll be teaching a two-part course on Writing for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine (TOS) and Other Homeschool Markets and a session on The Art of Storytelling. I will also be representing SchoolhouseTeachers.com and be available for editorial appointments for those interested in writing for our website. I hope to see you there!

If you’d like to learn more about what we’re looking for on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, check out my blog series here on Write 2 Ignite.
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Bonnie-Rose-Hudson-200x200Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.

How to Write a Query for Schoolhouse Teachers Part One

How to Write a Query for Schoolhouse Teachers Part One

Today, I’d like to start a series of posts related to the topic of how to query SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. I’ll be representing SchoolhouseTeachers.com at the 2016 Write2Ignite conference, as well as presenting workshops on writing for the homeschool market and the art of storytelling.

To date, I have not found any book that addresses how to query or communicate with the homeschool market. I am working to fill this void, but in the meantime, I want to address those of you who are considering submitting to SchoolhouseTeachers.com and perhaps meeting with me at the conference.

First, let me tell you about the site. SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a paid membership site that serves homeschooling families around the world with homeschool curriculum based on a Biblical worldview. To date, we offer more than 200 classes for families. Most of the families who use our site are homeschooling families, but some use the educational resources to simply fill in gaps in their children’s education, help them develop a specific interest, or for extra help in an area where their child may be struggling.

I also want you to understand that you do not have to be a homeschooler or a homeschool graduate to write for us. I am neither. I attended a small Christian school growing up, and I am unmarried and without children of my own to educate, though I support the homeschooling option 100% for families who make that decision.

The next topic to address is what types of material we are interested in. The short answer is—almost everything! Material must be grounded in a Christian worldview or be a topic that can easily be presented without a particular worldview (such as math). As in all Christian writing opportunities, sharing a Christian worldview can take many forms. Some writers weave it in subtly; others are more forthright. Some exhibit it simply by what they do not say. All of those styles work for us. Our guideline on the site is that we will not publish anything that contradicts a Biblical worldview (such as Darwinian evolution).

We publish primarily nonfiction on the site, as we are first and foremost an academic resource. However, a few of our teachers have successfully and skillfully woven a fictional narrator into their courses who serves as a fun way to guide the students through the information (and make it feel less like schoolwork!).

We are open to discussing virtually any subject for any grade. We have more than 40 language arts classes, and I continue to be amazed at the unique and creative ways our authors have found to teach these skills to our students.

So let’s get started. What do you write? Are you a nonfiction author? Is there an educational component to your topic that you could break down into a course for students? Our classes range from mini-classes of a few weeks to full-year or multi-year classes. Don’t worry about the length yet. We’ll discuss that in an upcoming blog post. For now, think about your topic.

Are you a fiction writer? Is there something about your story or topic that you can develop into a class for kids? Maybe your protagonist drives an antique car. Could you write about the history of cars or car manufacturing and design? Does your heroine have a sweet tooth for a certain type of dessert? Could you create a class about baking sweet treats? Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!

I’ll be back next month with the next post in this series. Until then, your assignment is to think of three or four topics you could write about and brainstorm. Let them percolate in the back of your thoughts. Find out which ones keep coming to mind and get you excited about writing.

My favorite part about talking to authors for our site is hearing their creativity and their passion. Get thinking! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions in the comment box.

Read: How to Write a Query for SchoolhouseTeachers.com Part Two.

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Bonnie-Rose-Hudson-200x200Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.