WordServe News: August 2013

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

First HiredAnita Agers-Brooks has her debut book coming out, First Hired, Last Fired: How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market (Leafwood).

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MountainsJulie Cantrell released the sequel to Into the Free, called When Mountains Move (David C. Cook).

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GreatDatesPeter and Heather Larson and Dave and Claudia Arp release 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love and Marriage (Bethany House Publishers)

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VanishingCalvin Miller’s last book, The Vanishing Evangelical: Saving the Church from its Own Success by Restoring What Really Matters (Baker Books).

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InventionOlivia Newport, The Invention of Sarah Cummings (Revell)

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SecretServiceJerry and Carolyn Parr, In the Secret Service (Tyndale House Publishers)

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stillloloLauren Scruggs (with Marcus Brotherton) has her book Still Lolo coming out in trade paper (Tyndale)

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GentleGiantHelen Shores Lee and Barbara Shores (with Denise George) have their memoir of their Civil Rights champion father, The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill come out in trade paper (Zondervan Publishing Houses)

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beautifulliesJennifer Strickland is releasing Beautiful Lies, book and separate Study Guide (Harvest House Publishers)

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TenaciousJeremy and Jennifer Williams released their moving memoir, Tenacious: How God Used a Terminal Diagnosis to Turn a Family and a Football Team into Champions (Thomas Nelson)

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FootballMike Yorkey has another book coming out in the Playing with Purpose series, this time on the lives of NFL football players (Barbour Publishers)

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New Contracts

Daniel Allan signed with IVP for a book called Deeper, a call for young men to look for ways to grow their roots as they transition from youth to adulthood.

Wintley Phipps signed with Tyndale for a book titled Living the Great Life (co-written by James Lund), in which he shares the secrets to living a fulfilled life by developing eight vital characteristics.

Jan Drexler with Love Inspired for her second novel. Congrats, Jan!

What We’re Celebrating!!

Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph had a NICE article in the recent issue of Guideposts Magazine surrounding the release of their mother/daughter cookbook We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook, as well as a 4-part article in the huge website/blog postings, Beliefnet.

What can we help you celebrate?

Get a Piece of the Food Craze Pie—It’s Not Just for Foodies

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Food is everywhere. Take a quick scroll down your Facebook feed. Open up Instagram. Take a peak at your Pinterest boards. Everyone is sharing recipes and pictures of their dinner.

My mom and I have a food blog, where we post recipes and food-related stories. That’s what we wrote about in our mother/daughter food memoir, so it was obvious for us to blog about food. But did you know you don’t have to write about food in your books to get in on the food buzz? Everyone eats, so regardless of what you write about, you have that connection to readers. Hey, we both eat. What do you know? Maybe we have something else in common. That’s why first dates and client meetings and mixers are almost always food-centered. It’s guaranteed common ground. Even if you hate the food, you have something to talk about, right?

If you enjoy cooking, a great way to add new interesting shareable content to your blog is to post an occasional recipe. It’s also nice to get all your favorite recipes in one spot online so you can pull them up at the grocery store or on vacation, or easily share them with your family and friends. Next time someone asks you for your pasta salad recipe, the one you bring to every church picnic, you can let them know it’s on your blog. You can even hand them your business card with your blog site on it. If you’re shy-by-nature like I am, it’s an easy, subtle way to share about your books. The card gives them a place to go for the recipe, but also tells them you are an author and speaker. It might just be the events coordinator at your church clamoring for your recipe, and now she has your speaker card and a personal connection to you. See how that works?

Original recipes and pictures make great unique content. But don’t worry if your famous pasta salad isn’t your own recipe….unless of course, you’ve been claiming it as your own all these years. If you made a recipe that is not your own, but you really want to share it on your blog, you have a few options:

  • Write a post about the recipe, including your own pictures and descriptions of the cooking process, then provide a link to the actual recipe. Food bloggers love this and will often share your post on their networks and you don’t need their permission.
  • If you really want to post a full recipe on your site or if it’s from a cookbook, you can ask the author for permission. Keep in mind you’ll still need to take your own pictures unless the author specifically gives you permission to use her’s.
  • Make a modified version of the recipe. The Food Blogger Alliance industry standards say this:
    • If you’re modifying someone else’s recipe, it should be called “adapted from“.
    • If you change a recipe substantially, you may be able to call it your own. But if it’s somewhat similar to a publisher recipe, you should say it’s “inspired by“, which means that you used someone else’s recipe for inspiration, but changed it substantially.
    • If you change three ingredients, you can in most instances call the recipe yours.

As bloggers, it’s all about connecting and building a network of like-minded virtual friends. Copyrights on recipes are difficult to claim, but I like to err on the side of attribution. If I took inspiration from a blogger, I at least acknowledge that they had the original idea and I include a link to their version, even if it became something quite different. When adapting a recipe, be sure to write the directions in your own words. They are technically the only part of a recipe that may be covered by copyright laws.

I rarely post a recipe that I merely modified. It just feels wrong to take someone else’s creative content. In that case, I might link to the blogger’s original recipe and say, “I made So-and-So’s recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and boy, were they delicious. I used almond milk for the dairy milk and used cinnamon instead of nutmeg.” I’m still giving my readers value, a yummy adaptable recipe, and networking with another blogger at the same time. Win. Win.

Food is meant to be shared. Just keep these guidelines in mind. Then cook, share, repeat.

WordServe News: December 2012

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

As the year comes to a close, we’re so very grateful that WordServe Authors released 83 books in 2012, and signed 80 book contracts for nearly 119 books to release off in the future.

IntotheFreeJulie Cantrell had the agency’s first New York Times Bestseller in many years with her book Into the Free. It also garnered a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. A rarity.

We had several books climb over the 100,000 copy mark:

* The Secret Holocaust Diaries of Nonna Bannister, written by Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin (Tyndale)

* The Devil in Pew Seven by Rebecca Alonzo, with James Pence (Tyndale)

* My Flight to Heaven by Dale Black (Bethany)

* Edge of Apocalypse by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall (Zondervan)

* Linspired (adult and YA book together) by Mike Yorkey (Zondervan)

And we’ve had several authors show up on national shows:

* Rebecca Alonzo on Dr. Phil (twice)

* Lauren Scruggs appeared on several shows in November at the launch of her book, Still Lolo.

These WordServe authors signed their FIRST BOOK CONTRACT in 2012:

* Anita Agers-Brooks (Leafwood)
* Leigh Ann Bryant (Authentic)
* Deb DeArmond (Leafwood)
* Rebecca DiMarino (Revell)
* Jan Drexler (Love Inspired)
* Michael Hidalgo (IVP)
* Heather James (Kregel)
* Amanda Jenkins (Tyndale)
* Caesar Kalinowski (Zondervan)
* Heather Larson, with David and Claudia Arp (Bethany)
* Tracie Miles (Leafwood)
* Jerry and Caroly Parr (Tyndale)
* Christina Powell (IVP)
* Rachel Randolph, with Becky Johnson (Zondervan)
* Tina Samples (Kregel)
* Lauren Scruggs (Tyndale)
* Amy Sorrels (David C. Cook)
* Mandy Stewarad (David C. Cook)
* Janalyn Voigt (Harbourlight)
* Jeremy & Jennifer Williams (Thomas Nelson)
* Tricia Williford (WaterBrook)

These WordServe authors had their FIRST BOOKS published through a traditional publishing house:

* Julie Cantrell, Into the Free (David C. Cook)
* Arnie Cole, Unstuck (Bethany)
* Katie Ganshert, Wildflowers from Winter (WaterBrook)
* Adam Makos, A Higher Call (Berkley Caliber)
* Jay Pathak/Dave Runyon, The Art of Neighboring (Baker)
* Zeke Pipher, Man on the Run (Howard)
* Lauren Scrubbs, Still Lolo (Tyndale)
* Helen Shores and Barbara Shores Lee, The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill (Zondervan)
* Jordyn Redwood, Proof (Kregel)

So all in all, we had lots to celebrate!

New January Releases

WhatJesusSteve Addison, What Jesus Started.

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UnholyHungerHeather James, Unholy Hunger, her debut novel!

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RadicalDr. Rita Hancock, Radical Well Being

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AHigherCallAdam Makos, A Higher Call

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JustWhatDoctorRick Marschall, Just What the Doctor Disordered

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TheRiverGilbert Morris, The River Palace

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DilemmaOlivia Newport, The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow

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GreatStoriesJoe Wheeler, Great Stories Remembered #1, audio (eChristian)

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StinkyJoe Wheeler, Stinky: The Skunk Who Wouldn’t Leave (Pacific Press)

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New WordServe Clients

Several new clients have joined the WordServe stable with Alice Crider as their point person, but we’ll report more on that next month.

New Contracts

Christina Powell signed with Intervarsity Press (IVP) for her first book. The book is tentatively titled Question your Doubts. It explores the many roots of doubt experienced by both believers and nonbelievers, providing a corresponding response of faith from the rare perspective of a Harvard-trained research scientist who is also an ordained minister. (SF)

What can we help you celebrate?

Keeping Track of Contacts, Media History, and Speaking Engagements (Sample Forms Included)

Many of us creative types wish to not be bothered with anything but our craft, especially when a deadline is approaching. But as your electric company has probably conveyed to you, creative types aren’t exempt from pesky little tasks like paying bills, and the IRS doesn’t excuse us from keeping up with our receipts and paperwork either. Much the same, our publishers need their right-brained authors to tap into that left hemisphere on occasion.

Last week, my co-author/mom and I worked on our publisher’s Advanced Sales and Marketing Information (ASMI), which included compiling a list of influencers that should receive a copy of the book. Our book deadline is still three months away and it won’t be on the shelves for another year. As a newbie author I didn’t know to plan for this project and my experienced co-author was surprised at how early it was being requested. It seems we authors have driven our publishers to request the information earlier and earlier.

If you’ve thought ahead and kept good records, the gathering of information will not be a big deal. Then, you can focus on the fun part of the ASMI, the description of your book, the key takeaways, the reason you’re writing it and so on. If you haven’t kept good records, though, you will likely spend days tracking down addresses and contacts, finding the best full service moving rates at http://www.fullservicemovers.biz/ and racking your brain to remember the name of the church where you spoke in the Fall of 2005 and what the call letters are for that radio station in Milwaukee that interviewed you last spring.

Don’t be surprised when you are frantically trying to meet your deadline and your publisher says, “Oh, by the way, we need the following in three weeks.”

A list of names, professional titles, and addresses of 50 influential people who can be counted on to help promote your book.

As someone who has done this legwork for self-published authors, I can say that you really want to take advantage of this offer. It’s a lot of work and expensive to package and mail 50 or more books. Your publisher is offering, but you need the connections and their contact information. In the day of email and Facebook, unless you run a business, it’s rare to exchange physical addresses. I suggest, as you meet potential influencers, to tell them you are writing a book and would love their address so you can have a copy sent to them when it comes out (you don’t have to have a contract to use this line). When you get an address, quickly add it to your online contact database and tag the person as a potential influencer. Excel is an excellent and easy place to track contacts. Here’s a sample contact form you’re welcome to use.

A simple excel spreadsheet can help authors keep track of friends, family, potential endorsers, and media all in one place. Download a copy in the link below.

Download a Sample Contact Spreadsheet

A list of prominent people from whom we should request an endorsement.

If you are lucky or have put in the time to network with other authors or experts in your field, you might know a few prominent people who would gladly write an endorsement for you. Even if you don’t know a person, if they would be a perfect endorser for your book and you can get their address, include them. You may be surprised who will say yes. One of my self-publishing clients requested an endorsement from Olivia-Newton John on her book Alphatudes: the Alphabet of Gratitude. Instead of an endorsement, Olivia ended up offering a free download of her song “Grace and Gratitude” with the purchase of the book. Start a contact record for any potential endorser now or when you are researching competition for your proposal. Those “competitors” may be perfect people to ask.

A list of media you think should receive a copy of the book.

Your publisher will have a set of media contacts that they already plan to send your book to, but you can’t rely on them to know every local or topic-specific outlet. The great news is they will ask you for your input on this, since you know your topic best. As you come across media outlets (blogs, magazines, newspapers, television shows) that would be perfect for your book, put their mailing information in your database.

A list of your previous media and speaking history.

For some, this may be a short and easy list. My writing and speaking career is just getting started, so I I’ve had very few media and speaking appearances, and even still, I almost forgot some of the details I needed.

My mom, on the other hand, has been writing and speaking for almost two decades. Try remembering 20 years of speaking engagements and interviews for 40+ books. My suggestion is to keep one ongoing spreadsheet for speeches and one for media. Every time you finish an interview or publish an article, write down all the details. The name of your contact person, the host’s name, the topic, the date, etc. Put contact information in your contact database, though, not on these forms, so you only have to keep one record updated. Here are sample Speech and Media History forms you are free to use.

Keeping track of all your speeches in one place will not only make it easier to fill out your ASMI, but will also give you a quick sortable  history when you need a reference for a certain speaking topic or want to pitch something fresh to a previous client. Download a copy below to start keeping track of your speeches.

Download a Sample Speech History Form

As excited as you might be for your first few interviews, you’d be surprised how quickly you’ll forget which magazine interviewed you on what topic or which tv producer you worked with. Keep it all in one place with an easy spreadsheet. Download a copy below.

Download a Sample Media History Form

How do you keep track of your contacts, media, and speaking engagements? Any other tips or suggestions?

WordServe News: June 2012

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

Will Davis, Enough, Revell (Agent: Greg Johnson)

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Katie Ganshert, Wildflowers From Winter, WaterBrook Press (Agent: Rachelle Gardner)

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Ken Gire, Relentless Pursuit, Bethany House Publishers (Agent: Greg Johnson)

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Lisa Jordan, Lakeside Family, Love Inspired (Agent: Rachelle Gardner)

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Maureen Lang, Bees in the Butterfly Garden, Tyndale House Publishers (Agent: Rachelle Gardner)

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Kathi Lipp, Praying God’s Word for Your Husband, Revell (Agent: Rachelle Gardner)

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Gilbert Morris, The River Rose, B&H Publishing Group (Agent: Greg Johnson)

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Jordyn Redwood, Proof, Kregel Publishers (Agent: Greg Johnson)

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Beth Vogt, Wish You Were Here, Howard Publishers (Agent: Rachelle Gardner)

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Karen Witemeyer, Short-Straw Bride, Bethany House Publishers (Agent: Rachelle Gardner)

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Mike Yorkey, Tim Tebow, Barbour Publishers (Agent: Greg Johnson)

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Mike Yorkey, Linspired (Kids Edition, too), Barbour Publishers (Agent: Greg Johnson)

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New WordServe Clients

Caesar Kalinowski is one of the thought leaders in the missional church movement and a trainer and founder of the Soma Communities in the Tacoma, Wash, area. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Gillian Marchenko is a small town girl from Michigan who has spent the majority of her married life in big cities: first Kiev, Ukraine and now Chicago, Illinois where she lives with her husband, Sergei, and their four daughters. Gillian writes and speaks about parenthood, stumbling faith, adoption, and special needs. Gillian has written a memoir about the birth of her third daughter, Polly, and her diagnosis of Down syndrome in the former Soviet Union. Her writing has appeared in MomSense Magazine, EFCA TODAY, Four Cornered Universe, CHICAGO PARENT, Story Bleed, and CHICAGO SPECIAL PARENT. Check out Gillian’s website at www.gillianmarchenko.com. (Agent: Sarah Joy Freese)

Laurie Polich-Short, veteran youth speaker and author, is making the leap to adult non-fiction for women. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

New Contracts

Marcus Brotherton signed with Zondervan Publishing House to collaborate and write DiscipleShift with pastors and authors Jim Putman and Bob Harrington. The book will be the lead book for the April 2013 Exponential Conference. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Julie Cantrell has signed with David C. Cook for two more untitled novels. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Jan Drexler, a debut author, has signed a contract with Harlequin’s Love Inspired line of Christian fiction for her Amish book Love Bears All Things. With her Anabaptist upbringing and ancestral ties to the Amish church, Jan brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions, doctrine, and theology to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish immigrants to Pennsylvania, fleeing intense religious persecution in Europe in the 17th century, and then continued west, arriving in northern Indiana in the mid-1800’s. Their experiences are the basis for her stories. Jan holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. She lives with her husband and two of her four children in the Black Hills of South Dakota. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Pamela Binnings Ewen, an award-winning fiction author, signed a contract with B&H Publishing Group for the second edition of her non-fiction apologetics book titled Faith on Trial: Would the Testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Stand Up in Court? The first edition of Faith on Trial was published in 1999 and was listed on many best-seller lists and even used as a textbook at Yale University in a course on Law and Religion. Pamela practiced law for twenty-five years in Houston before retiring in 2004 to write full time. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Denver Pastor Michael Hidalgo signed with IVP for two books. The first is called Unlost, a book about stopping our search for God and standing still long enough for Him to find us. The second book is untitled. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Amanda Jenkins recently signed a contract with Tyndale House Publishers for her memoir tentatively titled Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist. Before life as a homemaker and mother of four, Amanda worked in sales and marketing for a number of Christian retailers, as well as in visual communications and advertising. She spent ten years in L.A. alongside her film-making husband Dallas Jenkins, son of bestselling author Jerry Jenkins. Amanda attended Northwestern Bible College and graduated with a degree in Biblical Studies and Communications. She has taught Bible studies for women of all ages for the past fourteen years and is passionate about communicating truth in a culturally relevant and humorous way. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Our own Becky Johnson and her daughter, Rachel Randolph, have signed a two-book contract with Zondervan Publishing House. The first book will mirror the title of their food blog, We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook.  It’s a book of vignettes about mother-daughter life up to and after the birth of Rachel’s first child.  The second book is tentatively titled Getting Momma Fit, Getting Daughter Relaxed. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Jerry and Carolyn Parr signed with Tyndale House Publishers to write their memoir. Jerry was a Secret Service Agent for 25 years. Jerry was the agent who pushed Ronald Reagan into the limo after he was shot by John Hinckley and then made the decision to immediately go the hospital, a decision that saved the President’s life. After retiring, he went to seminary, and he and his wife spent more than 15 years serving the poor and homeless of Washington D.C. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Debut author Amy Sorrells signed a two-book contract with David C. Cook. Her first novel is tentatively titled Canary Song and was the winner of the recent Women of Faith writing contest under the title of Comfort and Salvation. As well as an author, Amy is currently a registered nurse for Indiana University Health North Hospital in Carmel, Indiana. Her professional writing has been featured in numerous national journals. She lives with her husband, three boys, and three golden retrievers in central Indiana.  (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Mike Yorkey and Jesse Florea have signed with Barbour Publishers to do a shorter book on New York Yankees future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Mike Yorkey signed with Barbour Publishers to write a “Playing with Purpose” book on a broad range of NFL stars. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Mike Yorkey signed with Harper Collins Publishers as the collaborator for the Eric LeGrand story that will be published this fall. Eric was the Rutgers University football player who suffered a spinal cord injury and yet has inspired millions with his courage. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

What We’re Celebrating!!

Jordyn Redwood received a starred review from Library Journal for her debut medical thriller Proof. Their Verdict: Strong writing, terrific plot twists, and a great premise make this debut medical thriller a must-read. Recommend it to fans of Richard L. Mabry and Robin Cook.

Dave Runyon was featured in the June 2012 issue of Christianity Today. It highlights Dave’s work in the Arvada, Colo., area pulling churches together to be better neighbors. His book, written with Arvada pastor Jay Pathak, The Art of Neighboring, will be releasing in August. (www.artofneighboring.com)

Karen Witemeyer’s book Short-Straw Bride was #14 on the CBA Fiction list for July (May sales).

What can we help you celebrate?

Market to the Front of Your Own Parade

It’s my first post here at the WordServe Water Cooler, and I’ve been racking my brain trying to find something unique and helpful to share with a group of experienced and prolific writers like yourselves. For the last several years, I’ve hidden behind authors, quietly helping them with publicity, blog tours, and social media. After taking a year “off” to birth and raise a baby and to start my writing career, I find myself having to actually implement all of the marketing advice I’ve offered to others. I now have to build my own writing platform. Even with my experience, it’s scary and overwhelming.

So many other people are more competent than I am when it comes to writing, marketing, social media, cooking, healthy living, parenting…and the list goes on. When I start to think of all the ways I’m under-qualified to write and market a book about food, family, and faith, I’m tempted to become crippled with fear.

This morning, I was reading a book to my 10-month old son and these words jumped out of the page at me.

Climb any mountain…climb up to the sky!

Make a big splash! Go out on a limb!

Hold your head high and don’t be afraid to march to the front of your own parade.

I love the picture of the little boy proudly making a splash and leading his parade in Nancy Tillman’s sweet book, “Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You.”

March to the front of your own parade.

I don’t have to march to the front of your parade or The Pioneer Woman’s parade, or Seth Godin’s parade. My book, my career, my parade.

And better yet, I can hold my head high and be proud of what I do have to offer, the areas I do excel in, and the gifts God wants me to share. I don’t have to measure up to anyone else. I’m uniquely me!

Instead of thinking of it as building our platform, we could just pretend we’re marketing to the front of our own parade. Doesn’t that sound more fun and less intimidating?

Imagine a parade about you and your books, where the collection of floats tells a story. Each float celebrating a part of who you are, what you believe in, what your expertise is, what your passions are, what your books are about, what you are like.

If each of your blog posts, tweets, Facebook statuses, and online bios is a float, does your current collection of floats look like the parade you imagined for yourself? Do you think people are inviting their friends to come watch your parade? Are they jumping in and marching along with you? Is fear of failing, judgement, or not measuring up keeping you from proudly stomping around and letting yourself be seen and heard?

Hold yourself high, and don’t be afraid to march to the front of your own parade. – Nancy Tillman, Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You