WordServe News January 2020

As usual, some great things have been happening this month at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

Congratulations to author Linda S. Clare and Harvest House Publishers on the January 21, 2020 release of Prayers for Parents of Prodigals.

Where to Turn When You Love a Wayward Child

You know what your child needs most is love. And you’ve given it to him over and over again. You’ve done all you can to train up your child, and yet you’re left brokenhearted as you watch her choose a different path.

Parents who love their prodigal no matter what, know that watching their child walk away can cause overwhelming guilt, frustration, and sadness. Whether you’re still waiting for your child’s return or are navigating your relationship after he or she has come home, this collection of topical prayers offers God’s comfort, wisdom, and compassion. Find encouragement in your journey with heartfelt prayers for:
faith, hope, forgiveness, trust, courage, peace, miracles, and grace. As much as you love your prodigal, you can rest in the blessed assurance that your heavenly Father loves your child even more.

Congratulations to Melissa K. Norris and Harvest House Publishers for the January 7, 2020 release of The Family Garden Plan: Grow a Year’s Worth of Sustainable and Healthy Food.

Live a Bountiful Life

Do something good for your family by learning how to plant a garden that will yield healthy, wholesome food throughout the year.

Melissa K. Norris, fifth-generation homesteader and host of the popular Pioneering Today podcast, will walk you through each step of the process, from planning your food crops and garden space to harvesting and preserving the food you grow. Even intermediate to experienced gardeners will discover dozens of new ideas.

More than just practical advice, you’ll learn how gardening can contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and give you a sense of accomplishment, peace of mind, and overall joy.

Make the Family Garden Plan your “grow-to” guide for good eating and greater well-being for you and your loved ones.

Congratulations to Glenn Schroder and Thomas Nelson on the January 21st release of Never Trust a Leader Without a Limp: The Wit and Wisdom of John Wimber, Founder of the Vineyard Church Movement.

A Unique Life, a Gifted Calling, a Lasting Legacy

John Wimber is not only revered as the founder of the Vineyard movement but is renowned for his unique ability to capture truth in pithy little phrases. This inspirational collection of memorable remarks, each placed in its historical context, offers astute observations on essential principles while also capturing and preserving the story and identity of a miraculous work of God.

For those who witnessed the miracle firsthand and for an entire generation of young leaders who never met John or experienced his ministry, here is a unique restatement of the foundational tenets that launched an international community of more than twenty-four hundred churches in more than one hundred countries—a lasting legacy of spiritual insights that changed lives then and can change your life today.

Change and tradition collide in two heartfelt Amish romances.

Courting Her Prodigal Heart by Mary Davis

Pregnant and alone, Dori Bontrager is sure her Amish kin won’t welcome her—or the child she’s carrying—into the community. And she’s determined that her return won’t be permanent. As soon as she finds work, she’ll leave again. But with her childhood friend Eli Hochstetler insisting she and her baby belong here, will Dori’s path lead back to the Englischer world…or into Eli’s arms?

The Amish Baker by Marie E. Bast

When his son breaks one of baker Sarah Gingerich’s prized possessions, widower Caleb Brenneman insists the boy make amends by doing odd jobs in her bake shop. A childless widow, Sarah can’t help falling for the boy…or his farmer father. But Caleb is progressive New Order Amish while Sarah holds traditional beliefs. Their hearts may be a perfect match, but their lives are worlds apart…

Just released from the Amen Clinics is Dr. Chapek’s, Concussion Rescue.

For more than 25 years, the renowned Amen Clinics has been the front line of defense against the impact of traumatic brain injury.
 
Few of us have been untouched by injury, whether on the sports field, in a car accident, falling off a bicycle, or in the course of military service. While the consequences of a concussion are not always immediately apparent, they can range from debilitating to devastating. In fact, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is fast becoming a national health crisis, with millions of Americans visiting emergency rooms with a TBI each year. But there are proven, effective steps for healing.

In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Kabran Chapek describes in detail the programs and protocols he uses at the Amen Clinics to put patients on a pathway to recovery. For anyone struggling with the effects of concussion, Concussion Rescue guides you through strategies from the cutting edge of brain science:

* Find out what treatments should be employed within the first few hours, days, or weeks of suffering a concussion

* Build a diet and supplement plan that energizes your brain and promotes neurological healing

* Learn specific brain exercises and brain games that can alleviate problems with focus and concentration

* Discover which specific types of exercise can speed recovery—and how exercise affects the brain in general

* Correct sleep problems to detoxify the brain and release essential hormones that aid in healing

With a foreword by renowned psychiatrist and brain health expert Dr. Daniel Amen, Concussion Rescue provides the tools for recovery from mild to severe traumatic brain injury. Whether you or someone you love is among the many individuals suffering from a TBI, here is hope and help.

Congratulations to Rick Johnson and the Baker Publishing Group for the re-release and repackaging of Healthy Parenting: Become the Parent You Wish You’d Had, out on January 21, 2020.

Anyone can be a good parent, even if their own parents were abusive, neglectful, or absent. In this compassionate and practical book, Rick Johnson shows you how to identify the ways in which your past experiences affect your own parenting choices. Then he walks you through the process of healing the emotional and spiritual wounds toxic parenting has left behind. Finally, he outlines healthy habits and practices to take the place of negative ones that may have been modeled for you. With Rick as your sympathetic guide, you can break the cycle of abuse, neglect, or absenteeism and create a positive family environment now and for the future.

Congratulations to Kathy Barnette and Center Street for the release of Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: Being Black and Conservative in America, due out on February 4, 2020.

During his first historic run for the presidency in 2016, Donald Trump made an impassioned plea to the black community. “Give me a chance,” he said. “What the hell do you have to lose?”

According to Kathy Barnette, black Americans have nothing to lose, except for crime-ridden communities, neighborhoods that have become shooting galleries, more social welfare programs, and the mocking indifference of the Democrat party. Barnette argues that even a cursory look into the black community reveals the destabilizing effect liberal policies have had on the black family.

There was a time when Barnette bought into the same lie as everyone else that if you’re black, you must be a democrat. In fact, she was born into the Democrat party just as much as she was born into brown skin. There was no point of separation. Until she began to understand what it truly means to be black in America. Barnette contends that being black is more than just the color of her skin. It’s a culture and a consciousness, too.

In NOTHING TO LOSE, EVERYTHING TO GAIN, Barnette writes about why liberal policies have failed the black community time and time again – and will fail the larger American community as Democrats rush to the hard Left of the party. From the “Great Society” to Kanye West’s ongoing war with the liberal establishment, this book provides sharp, eloquent commentary on the most pressing issues facing black Americans today: broken family structure, loss of identity, the legacy of slavery, and more.

Barnette argues that President Trump has not been willing to presume that the “black vote” is a foregone conclusion resting comfortably in the back pockets of Democrats. With his plainspoken style and willingness to face harsh truths, the president has done more for the black community than any president since Abraham Lincoln. Barnette insists the time is now to get back what has been lost, to fix the brokenness, and to recognize and support those who are actually working in our favor.

We have nothing to lose, and even more to gain.

Congratulations to Debora M. Coty for the release of the Easy-to-Read, Large Print Edition of Too Blessed to Be Stressed: 3 -Minute Devotions for Women.

Got 3 minutes to spare?
3-Minute Devotional from the Bestselling Too Blessed to Be Stressed–Now Available in Large Print!

180 uplifting readings from bestselling author Debora M. Coty pack a powerful dose of comfort, encouragement, humor, and inspiration into your day.

Minute 1: scripture to meditate on
Minute 2: a short devotional reading
Minute 3: a prayer to jump-start a conversation with God

This portable package makes a fabulous any-occasion gift for every woman.You’ll find the spiritual pick-me-up you desire in Too Blessed to Be Stressed: 3-Minute Devotions for Women.

Contracts

Dr. Jennie A. McLaurin and Cymbeline T. Culiat signed with Tyndale House Publishers for Healing Wounds to be released early 2021.

Kristin Weber signed with David C. Cook for Adulting for Jesus to be released in Spring 2021.

Kate Crocco signed with Baker Publishing Group to release a workbook in addition to the release of Thinking Like a Boss to be released with the book.

Tony Brooks with Bob Welch signed with Diversion Books for Leave No Man Behind to be released in Spring 2021.

Steve Poe signed with Thomas Nelson Publishers for Toxic Habits to be released Summer 2021.

David Dusek signed with Posthill Press for The Manhood Battle to be released Spring 2021.

New Clients

Hannah Linder, Charles Person, Mike Ashcraft, Brook Bello signed with WordServe in January.  Welcome!

What We’re Celebrating

Congratulations to author Jamie Sumner for her book, Roll With It, being selected for Books-of-the-year at A Mighty Girl (https://www.amightygirl.com/books-of-the-year) and a 2019 Cybils Finalist (http://www.cybils.com/2020/01/the-2019-cybils-finalists.html)!

 

WordServe News September 2017

Exciting things have been happening this month at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

Steve Arterburn’s The Arterburn Wellness Series was released by Cook. The first three books in the series include Understanding and Loving a Person with Depression, cowritten with Brenda Hunter, Ph.D.; Understanding and Loving a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder, cowritten with Robert Wise, Ph.D.; and Understanding and Loving a Person with Attention Deficit Disorder, cowritten with Timothy Smith M.Ed.

Debora Coty’s Too Blessed to be Stressed 2018 Planner was released by Barbour this month. If you’re already thinking ahead to next year, it’s time to get your hands on Deb’s funny, encouraging planner to help organize your life and transform your heart. Featuring monthly and weekly calendars, a year-at-a-glance section, pages for frequent contacts, and more, this planner offers an important reminder: God’s grace is enough for the ups, downs, and all the in-betweens of life.

Kent Hunter released Who Broke My Church? with FaithWords. Based on a survey of 75,000 people in churches from 65 denominations and thousands of interviews, Hunter gives practical direction for Christians to experience the impact every church could make on society. Utilizing seven key strategies for helping churches be more effective, it will leave readers feeling  refreshed, energized, and ready to be the change.

Jonathan McKee released The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices with Barbour Publishing. Perfect for teens, this book will help readers navigate the digital world with 21 refreshingly honest and humorous tips that will not only inform, but that also just might change the way you think about your social media interaction.

Melissa K. Norris published Hand Made with Harvest House. This modern guide to made-from-scratch living helps you open your heart to God-given rest and discover practical and tangible ways you can craft your home into a refuge for yourself and the ones you love. Tips include how to bake old-fashioned recipes, grow medicinal herbs, and make your own cultured foods at home.

New Contracts 

Andrea Gurney signed with Kregel for her book After the Ball Fall: How to Build Happily Ever After in an Age of Broken Fairytales, a compelling guide to emotional and relational health and wholeness, utilizing principles from psychology, foundational Biblical truths, and the burgeoning field of relationship science.

Jamie Sumner signed with FaithWords for Unbound: Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations in Motherhood. Sumner walks readers through each chapter of her own journey to motherhood through infertility and special needs parenting and pairs it with that of a woman in the Bible, offering readers comfort, hope, companionship and honesty rooted in biblical truths.

New Clients

Jamie Erickson and Rev. Anthony Thompson joined WordServe this month. Welcome!

What We’re Celebrating

Julie Cantrell’s The Feathered Bone won the ACFW’s Carol Award for Contemporary Fiction. Congrats!

Lynne Hartke was selected to be a Voice of Hope with the American Cancer Society for 2018. Congratulations!

WordServe News: May 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

duggerLarry Dugger released 40 Days to Defeat Your Past with Charisma House. Just as Jesus squared off with the devil in the wilderness, we must square off with our devils. Forty Days to Defeat Your Past is a one-day-at-a-time process that uses the number forty to help readers identify and defeat the destructive patterns of their past and establish new, healthy habits to lead them into freedom.

ebookJan Dunlap released Heaven’s Gate, the first book in her Archangels series, with FaithHappenings Publishers. Following the character of Dr. Michael Carilion as he uncovers the missing piece of the One Theory—the Holy Grail of theoretical physics—this supernatural thriller wrestles with questions of science, faith, and a shattering new understanding of life after death.

51L8nL3LvpL._SX347_BO1,204,203,200_J. Parker release Hot, Holy, and Humorous with BroadStreet Publishing. Wrongful thinking and attitudes about sex permeate our culture, even in Christian circles. Starting from a foundation of faith and humor, this book offers candid advice for wives who want to make the most of God’s gift of sexual intimacy in marriage.

lead me home

Amy K. Sorrells released Lead Me Home with Tyndale. This powerful novel follows the stories of two men in a small town – one, a young man forced to grow up too soon, the other a pastor of the local church who questions his calling as the church doors close for good. As severe storms roll through, threatening the community, both men confront the fear of losing what they care about most, and reconsider where they truly belong.

51jGauNvGIL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Jennifer Strickland released 21 Myths (Even Good) Girls Believe about Sex with Shiloh Run Press. With honest, straight-forward language, Strickland strips away the lies surrounding dating and sex and shares the myths, the truths, and the practical ways girls can enjoy the pursuit of passion and purity.

New Contracts

Mary Davis signed with Barbour for her work, Unworthy Hearts, part of the Pony Express Romance Collection.

Ken Gire and Donald Stratton signed with HarperCollins to publish the memoir of 93-year-old Stratton, who survived the bombing of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Melissa K. Norris signed with Harvest House for her next book, The Made-From-Scratch Home. This follow-up to her most recent book, The Made-From-Scratch Life, will be available in early 2018.

Barbara Scott signed with Gilead Publishing for her novella I’ll Be Home for Christmas, which will be included in a Christmas seasonal collection of contemporary romances.

Mike Yorkey signed with Barbour to publish a new book on Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, due out early next year.

New Clients

Linda Clare, Ron Hammer, Mary May Larmoyeux, Phillip Robertson, and Craig Selness signed with WordServe this month. Welcome!

WordServe News: October 2014

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

Caesar Kalinowski released, with Zondervan publishers, his second book: Small is 9780310517016_p0_v1_s300xBig, Slow is Fast.

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Ema McKinley with Cheryl Ricker released her debut nonfiction, Rush of Heaven. A 9780310338901_p0_v1_s300xtrue accounting of her miraculous healing. Zondervan publishers.

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Tracie Miles of Proverbs 31 Ministries released her second book, Your Life Still 9780764211997_p0_v2_s300xCounts, with Bethany House Publishers.

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Christina M. H. Powell released her debut nonfiction title with IVP,Questioning Your 9780830836789_p0_v2_s300xDoubts.

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Stephanie Reed released her latest Amish fiction novel The Bachelor with Kregel 9780825442162_p0_v1_s300xpublishers.

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Tami Weissert released Off the Pages & Into Your Life with Authentic publishers.781167

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Bob Welch released a devotional with Thomas Nelson: 52 Little Lessons from Les 9781400206667_p0_v1_s300xMiserables.

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Joe Wheeler released the 23rd book in his Christmas in My Heart collection with Pacific Press.

New WordServe Clients

Emmanuel and Veronica Chan signed with Alice Crider.

Judy Joy Jones signed with Greg Johnson.

New Contracts

Steve Addison signed a contract with IVP for his next book Movement Pioneers. Greg Johnson, agent of record.

Dena Dyer signed a contract with Barbour Publishing for a Christmas devotional called “25 Christmas Blessings”. Greg Johnson, agent of record.

Linda Kuhar signed with Leafwood for her nonfiction book tentatively titled Worthy of a Miracle. Alice Crider, agent of record.

Melissa K. Norris signed a contract with Harvest House publishers for a nonfiction book to release next year. Sarah Freese, agent of record.

What We’re Celebrating!!

Julie Cantrell won the ACFW Carol Award in the Historical category for When Mountains Move!

Barbara Stoefen was interviewed by her local news station in Bend, Oregon regarding her debut nonfiction release A Very Fine House. Watch the interview here. 

Four Tips to Grow Your Platform–Part 1

I don’t care what you write, if you want to publish and sell books, you’re going to hear the words, “You need to grow your platform.” This is true no matter what route you take, traditional publishing or self-publishing.4 Tips to Author Platform Growth

There are numerous books, articles, websites, and programs, telling you everyone’s advice on how to do so. I’m going to tell you now, there’s no secret or quick one-time overnight trick. If someone is trying to sell you this, they’re probably trying to make a quick dollar. But there are tips and ways you can build a solid platform before, during, and after the book deal that are legit and work.

I’m going to share with you what has worked for me and ways you can do the same.

1. What do you have to offer? None of these tips will work if you don’t know what it is you have to offer people in the form of your books, blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos, and interviews. Once you know what it is you have to offer people, you can begin researching who your target audience is and how best to reach them. Need help defining your target audience and your brand? Here’s a free workbook to get you started.

2. Where and how will you offer it? You need to have a website that reflects your brand, immediately tells readers how they’ll benefit from your site, great content, social media share buttons (you’d be surprised how many sites I visit that don’t use these), and a way to capture the emails of visitors so you can stay in contact with them. Other things to offer on your website are podcasts, videos, articles, interviews, e-books, and e-courses. You don’t have to do all, but choose the ones that work for you at this time and for your audience.

3. Social media presence. You can moan and groan all you want about social media or you can choose to look at it as a chance to share your message with people who need it and can be helped by it. I guarantee you the latter response will take you farther and benefit not only you, but others. Choose which social media outlets you enjoy and your readers respond to. Don’t try to master all of them. You’ll go crazy.

Pick two until you feel confident and then analyze where to spend the rest of your time. I use my Facebook page and Pinterest the most frequently. My audience prefers these two sites. Pinterest (Using Pinterest for Writers) sends me the most traffic, but I get more reader conversation and interaction on Facebook (Using Facebook for Writers). Some folks love Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or the new social site to watch, Instagram.

The main thing to remember about social media is to share relevant content with your audience. Everything you share should benefit them in some way or another.

4. Join or create a blogging network or group. Find a group of bloggers (or contact and start your own) who write similar or complementary content to your own. Agree to share each other’s content on your social media pages. This gives you great content to share with your readers and gets your work in front of other readers who want what you have to give or say. You can also work with these people to brainstorm new projects or marketing endeavors. This has helped my own platform take off. Plus, I get the added benefit of advice from people who have been there and offer support when needed, because at some point, we all need it.

Here are some of the most helpful books I’ve read regarding growing your platform and marketing:

Platform by Michael Hyatt
Sell Your Book Like Wildfire by Rob Eager
Pinterest Savvy by Melissa Taylor

What has helped you grow your platform? Where do you need help? What books have helped you the most with marketing and platform growth?

How to Plan a Multi-Author Cross Promotion Event

Every writer I know feels pressure to build their platform. From the pre-pubbed stage, sending out proposals to an agent, then editor, to published authors working on keeping their numbers up, it can be a constant maze of hunting through websites telling you how to do it the best way.

Despite how you package promoting, be it in a contest, giveaway, or ad, there is only one thing that truly matters to determine its success. Are you giving your target audience something they find of value?

Join five mountain fiction authors with our virtual cookie recipe exchange, and downloadable Bible verse garland and gift tags.

Notice I didn’t say something valuable to a reader. There are many readers out there, but not all readers are your target audience. You need to have a deep understanding of your reader before you plan any promotional event, especially a multi-author one.

1. Start by identifying other authors who have similar target audiences or readers as yours. For cross promoting to work, the audiences must be linked by a similar interest.

2. Decide what will be the common theme for the event. You’ll need to decide before inviting the other authors to your event what the theme or purpose will be. And it is not to sell books. This is what you hope will be the end result, but the purpose of the event will be to somehow reach readers and enrich their time spent with you.

3. Send out the invites with a time frame for response at least two months before the date of the event. Expect to have some authors not be able to join you. Be gracious and thank them for considering. Move on to the next authors on your list.

4. Ask for ideas or comments on how to make the event better. Allow the other authors to have a say in the event, but be sure you have one person who is the leader. When planning the Mountain Hearth Christmas, it was my original idea to just have it be a virtual cookie recipe exchange. Amanda had the idea of incorporating the printable Bible verses for garlands and or gift tags.

5. Be very clear on what is expected of everyone. While all of the fabulous authors in the Mountain Hearth Christmas worked together, it’s best to let everyone know what you’d like them to do. For example: everyone is expected to share links on their social media pages each day of the hop, not just the day it’s being hosted on their own website. Cross-promoting only works if everyone helps.

6. Send out reminders leading up to the event. The leader should send out reminders as things draw nearer. Keep them short and to the point. Always be respectful of others’ time. Three weeks before, two weeks before, and the day before are a good time frame. You may want to have the leader send out daily emails the morning of the event with the link to that day’s highlighted article and composed social media updates for people to copy and paste if pressed for time.

Want to see a multi-author cross promotional event in action? I’m thrilled to be part of A Mountain Hearth Christmas. 

What multi-author events have you been part of? Have you attended any multi-author events you thought went well? What did you like about them?

The Best Marketing Tool

Authors are constantly on the lookout for the best marketing tips and ideas. We want to get our books in the hands of as many readers as possible. This isn’t always just from the monetary end either; most authors I know truly believe in the message of their book. They believe it will help people and have a true desire to enrich the lives of their readers.The Best Author Marketing Tool

But sometimes it seems every where we turn, someone’s spouting a new marketing trick. I can’t remember how many posts and articles I’ve read about marketing. Some of the ideas are great, like the Hope and Trust Chronicles put on my by some of my favorite authors.

Then there are the not so great ideas, like buying fake Twitter followers. It’s not all about the numbers; it’s about connecting with people. Purchasing fake followers is a misrepresentation in my opinion.

The best marketing tool you have is you. The content you write and how you interact with people on your website, your social media sites, and in person is the most influential marketing you will ever do. Because if you do this with sincerity, passion, and genuine caring, your readers will talk about you.

And there is nothing that carries more weight than word of mouth. Think about it. You’re trying to decide between purchasing two books and your best friend comes up. She points to the book in your right hand. “You have to buy this book. It’s the best book I’ve read in years. And the author’s website has these amazing behind the scenes looks and a free e-book you can download. I’d loan you my copy, but I already gave it to my mom, and you shouldn’t wait until she’s done with it. It’s too good not to start today.”

Which book are you going to purchase? The one with the prettier cover, or the one your friend is raving about?

Invest in your readers. They’re real people and worth your very best. And if you invest in them, don’t just look at them as numbers, they’ll invest in you.

And that’s the best marketing tool a writer can have.

What are some great marketing efforts you’ve seen? What is the best marketing tool you’ve used? What’s a marketing endeavour you’d never do again?

Why Ignoring Your Author Brand is Career Suicide

Have you heard the term branding? Does it make you want to reach for the remote and turn the channel? If so, you’re not alone. Author branding has a lot of writers confused. It did me.Why Ignoring Your Author Brand is Career Suicide

I first thought author branding was something your publisher did for you when your first books came out. Then, I thought it was a cool author tag line or slogan. And while part of both the previous statements are true, they’re not your author brand.

Knowing your author brand will help you promote yourself before, during, and after your book releases. Your author tag line is what evolves from your brand, not the other way around.

What is an author brand? An author brand is the unique combination of personality and passion you bring to products or services based on your actual or potential abilities. Your author brand won’t look like anyone else’s, because no one else has your insights and perspective to offer to the world.

Why do I need an author brand? Knowing your author brand lets readers, agents, and publishers know immediately what they’re going to receive from you and your writing. In this fast paced world, people won’t take the time to dig through the many books, websites, and blogs to find what they’re looking for. If it isn’t apparent immediately, they’ll move on.

Think about your favorite authors. You know exactly what you’re going to get from their books. It’s the reason you purchase their newest release, read their newsletters, and like their Facebook pages. They deliver on the promise of their brands.

But, I don’t need to develop my author brand until I have a book contract. Wrong. You’re already branding if you have a website, blog, or are on social media sites. Every post, tweet, and blog post is a reflection of you and your brand, even if you don’t know it.  It’s important to understand your brand from the moment you declare yourself a writer.

Your brand will help you develop your website, book proposals, manuscripts, articles, and newsletter. It will help you focus and go deeper in order to reach your audience better. It’s something you should embrace and not put off a minute longer.

Your brand will also aid you when creating visual images for your website and social media pages. For example, my author tagline (developed from my brand), is Inspiring Your Faith and Pioneer Roots. I created this image for my author Facebook page this past week. Branded Facebook Cover for Melissa K. Norris

Do you see how the pioneer roots is enhanced not only in the images, but also ties into the title and cover of my non-fiction book, Pioneering Today? The cabin picture also works for the historical fiction portion of my writing. Your brand should be an umbrella for all you do.

Developing your author brand isn’t something we can completely cover in one blog post, but don’t worry. I’m not giving you this admonishment and leaving you alone. My agency sister and business partner, Janalyn Voigt, and I have created a FREE author branding workbook to walk you through the steps. You can snag your copy at TriLink Social Media Mentors.

What are some of your favorite authors? Can you identify what their brand is, or the promise they always make with their work? What is unique about you and your writing?

Are You Pinterest Savvy? 1 Million Followers in a Year

Pinterest is one of the fastest and biggest growing social media sites. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, it uses pictures to connect with other people. It’s a virtual pin board that allows you to share things with your followers and “repin” photos from others onto your own boards. If people like what you’re pinning, they can choose to follow your boards.

What does this mean for authors?

Pinterest has over 4 million daily users and is now the 3rd biggest social media site. You might be wondering how to harness the power of Pinterest. I just finished reading  Pinterest Savvy: How I Got 1 Million+ Followers (Strategies, Plans, and Tips to Grow Your Business with Pinterest) * by Melissa Taylor.

As an author, I know the power of Pinterest. I’ve been using Pinterest for about six months and other than Google, it drives more traffic to my website than any other social media site, including Facebook. But I wanted to up my game and Melissa’s book gave me some great tips and new ideas.

1. Be as specific as possible with your board names and descriptions. One of my boards was titled Best Recipes. I feature my own traditional from scratch recipes on my blog and these are some of my biggest traffic pins. However, after reading Melissa’s book I changed it to Best from Scratch Recipes and altered the description to include key words of traditional, from scratch, home-baked, etc. You can check out my boards at http://www.pinterest.com/melissaknorris

2. All pins are not created equal. When creating “pins” to be pinned from your website, there are some things you need to know. One, longer photos, rather than wide, show better on Pinterest. You need clear and easy to read type. Melissa gives great examples of what makes a good pin vs. an okay one. This makes a difference! I re-did some of my photos, repinned them, and they were reppined far more than the original version. Here’s an example of a good pin.

3. Protect yourself. Know copyright laws. Read the terms of use on Pinterest. Don’t repin any pin without following it back to its original source. Does the website give permission to “pin”? Is there a pin-it button next to the photo? If not, don’t repin. I recommend emailing the blogger to ask permission. Most will say yes, it only takes a few minutes, and protects you from a lawsuit. It also promotes good will. I emailed a blogger to ask if I could use her photo in a post on my blog and “pin” it. She happily agreed, visited my blog, and shared it with her own readers.

4. Create pin worthy content of your own. Take your own pictures and create your own pins. (I use the free version of picmonkey.com) You don’t have to worry about copyright issues and you’ll become known for bringing new fresh content. You want to be known for creating content on your blog and on Pinterest, not just rehashing what everyone else is already doing.

For a free chapter download visit Melissa Taylor’s website. She also has free worksheets to help you maximize each chapter. Pinterest Savvy takes you through the first step of signing up for Pinterest to helping those who want to increase their following and are already familiar with the site. Having just finished Melissa’s book and implementing a few of her tips, I’ve increased my following by 50 followers in a little over a week. I plan using more of her tips shortly.

Another cool tidbit: Melissa’s book doesn’t officially launch until tomorrow, but she gave me permission to give Watercooler peeps a sneak peek. How cool is that?

*I used my affiliate link for Melissa’s book on Amazon. It doesn’t cost you anything more and I only recommend things I truly stand behind. To read my full affiliate disclosure go to the footer of my website.

Are you on Pinterest? What do you find the most daunting? How do you use your boards to promote your books and website?

The Results Are In-Did Free Help Sales?

Most of you have heard the arguments for and against offering your book for free to increase sales. I did something a little different by offering a free bonus gift for people who purchased my book, Pioneering Todayfor a limited time.

I ran the promotion for two weeks. Because I started the promotion on the launch day of my book, it’s hard to know what my sales would have been without it. I did have several people take me up on the offer. I also had sales where people didn’t request the bonus material.

It made me wonder if they didn’t want the material or they purchased without seeing the offer. (Amazon allows you to see the sales of both Kindle and Paperback to help track.)

I did have the most amount of requests for bonus material on the last day of the promotion. This confirms my belief that you need a time limit on any promotion and shorter may be better. In fact, I had two readers send me the proof of purchase an hour before midnight on the last day.

I’ll definitely offer bonus materials again. I do think for ease of delivery and time-saving, that I’ll make sure all materials are electronic only. Trips to the post office, cost of delivery, cost of the cards, and mainly the time to address material helped me make this decision.

By far the single most driving force of sales has been not the bonus material or free things offered, but the readers. After reading the book, I’ve had numerous people purchase copies (some up to ten) as gifts.

The take away from all this: the best promotional tool you have is your book. Make sure it’s the best it can be. It will speak for itself.

What promotion has prompted you to buy a book? Authors, what marketing or bonus gifts have worked the best for you?