Follow Your Dream

I recently read a touching story by a gentleman who makes his living writing. This author related that at one writers’ conference he attended, he noticed an older man standing in the back. This conference attendee looked out of place.

After approaching the attendee and introducing himself, the author discovered that the attendee was a janitor at a local community college. This was the janitor’s first writers’ conference. After harboring a life-long desire to write, his wife had encouraged him to attend the conference to pursue his dream.

The janitor then showed the author something he had written. It immediately became apparent that the janitor was fairly uneducated and needed some help with basic grammar. The author encouraged the janitor to take grammar classes at the community college where he worked since he could attend the classes free of charge as an employee of the institution. The author then promised to critique the janitor’s future writings.

After a year of critiquing the janitor’s monthly writings, correspondence stopped. The author called the janitor to find out why. Speaking to the wife on the telephone, the author discovered that the janitor had recently passed away.

After expressing his condolences, the author remarked that it was sad the janitor had never reached his goal of writing for publication. The wife told the author not to feel bad, that in the past year of her husband’s life he had been the happiest she had ever seen him.

The moral of this story is: Follow your dreams.

Proverbs 29:18 says, Where there is no vision, the people perish, and Psalms 37:4 promises, Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

What is your dream? What is the desire of your heart?

God wants to give it to you, but you must take the first steps in that direction.

If your desire is to write a book for publication, then begin by attending a writers’ conference.

If your desire is to publish a book, then begin by educating yourself on the publishing and marketing process.

If your desire is to become a speaker to better promote your books, then start by taking a course on public speaking such as Toastmasters.

Now is the time to start. Don’t put it off. You don’t know the number of your days.

For years I have wanted to make a quilt out of squares of old jean material. I have collected jeans and stored them in my closet for the past five years. Recently, I decided it was time to take another step toward fulfilling my dream. Over the Thanksgiving holiday (when I officially turned one year older), I started cutting the jeans into squares. If I persevere, one step at a time, one day I will have a completed jean-square quilt.

How about you? What dream are you carrying? As we enter the New Year, may one of your goals be to pursue the dream you have long carried and begin taking steps to reach it.

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A Christmas Gift for You!

Christmas is tomorrow. Christmas is a time for giving gifts. We give gifts in honor of the gift God gave to us in the birth of Jesus Christ and the ensuing gift of eternal life his death and resurrection purchased for us.

Today, in honor of the gift God gave me, through Jesus Christ, I am giving you, my readers, a gift.

I am offering you a $5.00 discount on the second edition of my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace.

Now is your chance! If you have been wanting to read this book, but thought the price was too high for your budget, you can take advantage of my Christmas sale and purchase the book for just $18.99 (regular price $23.99) with free shipping.

My Christmas gift to you of a $5.00 discount on Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace is good for the next two weeks. This sale will end Thursday, January 7, 2010.

To purchase Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace at the sale price, just click here.

I hope my gift helps you have a more prosperous 2010! Merry Christmas!

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Christian Bookstores Closing

I follow a gentleman on Twitter by the name of @bryanbrock. Bryan and his wife own and operate a Christian bookstore in Bel Air, Maryland that they are closing because they have not been selling enough books to stay open.

Bryan and his wife are no slackers when it comes to operating an independent bookstore. The store carries a range of Christian books including books for both Protestants and Catholics. They have used the Internet and social media to market their bookstore. You can find Bryan on Twitter, he hosts a blog, the couple hosted an online bookstore (as well as their physical store), and they even posted product preview videos for customers.

So what went wrong? The economy? Maybe.

On his blog, Bryan listed 13 random thoughts he has had about closing his store. I will share three here:

  1. Sad but true: you can make more money closing a store than keeping it open.  We are seeing excellent traffic this month that we would not be seeing otherwise.
  1. People talk about finding great prices on CBD and Amazon even as they lament that we are closing.
  2. I’m not an economist, but I believe we are currently in a deflationary cycle where people are just not willing to pay what the manufacture says a product is worth.

Yes, businesses close all the time. Yes, we are in a recession and businesses are being hit hard. Maybe I am a pessimist, but I suspect that even when the economy recovers, Christian bookstores will not recover.

Consider the following three points:

  1. For a number of years, Christian bookstores have not carried the breadth and depth of books they needed to sustain their customer base. Most have catered to best sellers and best selling back lists. A good segment of the Christian population has stopped using their local bookstores to find the meatier Christian books they crave. At ICRS in 2006, George Barna issued a challenge to Christian retailers to carry less fluff and more meat in the books they stocked.
  2. The U.S. Census Bureau found that bookstore sales peaked in 2005 and have declined steadily ever since. The recession did not hit until 2008, yet sales of books began declining two years prior to the recession. The reason book sales are declining is not a money issue; it is a larger societal literacy and reading issue.
  3. Our society is becoming increasingly depersonalized and anonymous. We shop at chain stores and eat at chain restaurants. In urban areas, the sense of community and shopping locally to sustain the community is lost. As a result, small, independent businesses face a steeper mountain to succeed.

Keep in mind that every Christian bookstore that closes means one less place for Christian publishers to sell their books. Every place for selling books that the publishing community loses equals fewer sales. The competition in selling books is growing. The book selling environment is becoming an ever increasingly more difficult place to succeed.

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Do You Have a “Can Do” Attitude?

I recently officially turned one year older. For my birthday, my daughter gave me a refrigerator magnet. She told me that magnet reminded her of me.

The magnet has a picture of a woman from the World War II era with her bicep flexed saying “We Can Do It!”

I was touched. I do have a “we can do it” attitude, but I had not realized that this attitude had filtered down to my elementary-aged child. I am pleased that she sees me as a “can do” person. I hope that she also adopts a “can do” attitude.

There have been a few times when my “can do” attitude has gotten me in trouble. Trying to rearrange heavy furniture all by myself because I thought I could do it put me in bed with back pain for a few days.

However, for the most part, my “can do” attitude has served me well. It helped me give birth to my children naturally without the use of drugs. It carried me through two international moves with my family of four in a six month time span without a nervous breakdown. It assisted me in teaching myself how to groom my own Standard Poodle well enough that people stop and asked me where I have my dog groomed.

Most importantly, it has helped me write, publish and market books.

Every author needs a “can do” attitude.

A “can do” attitude does not allow you to become paralyzed by fear.

A “can do” attitude forges you into new territory that you have not explored before.

A “can do” attitude overcomes obstacles and turns them into challenges.

Where do you need a “can do” attitude? Has God called you to write something and fear is holding you back? Do you need to enter the realm of media interviews to better promote your book, but the unknown in this new territory holds you back? Are you facing an obstacle that looks too big to overcome?

Claim a new “can do” attitude today. Ask God to assist you and rely on him to carry you through. Remember, God is able to immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us.

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