Don’t Lose Focus

The events in our world and our country in 2020 cannot be ignored. They are affecting all of us.  Yet, I would encourage you to not allow these events to sidetrack you from the message that God has given you.

Don't Lose Focus

I recently read a post by an influencer in the indie publishing world. This individual was advocating that indie authors take a break from marketing their books to spend some time dealing with the pressing issues in our country.

While this advice might be beneficial for secular authors, I don’t think it is good advice for Christian authors.

2 Timothy 2:4 says “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” In season and out of season means when it is favorable to do so and when it is not favorable to do so – or when it is convenient to do so and when it is not convenient to do so.

We are in an out of season time. There is pressure all around us to jump on the hot topic of the moment. Don’t get sidetracked.

It is easy to get dragged down by worldly concerns involving conflicts and fears. When this happens, we get distracted from the hope we have in Christ.

Do not lose your focus. As a Christian author, your gaze should remain fixed on spiritual things that offer the hope, security, and peace people need in this trying time.

Whatever your message was before the events happening this year, it is still needed. People’s spiritual needs have not diminished with current events—in fact, these needs are growing since churches have not been open and people have been isolated.

People are still struggling with relationships, parenting, finances, health problems and other issues related to Christian living and spiritual growth. They need the hope you offer in your books. Hope both for this life and the life to come.

So, I encourage you to not veer from the message God has given you. Your message is timely. Your message is needed. God’s word never goes out of season.

Related Posts:
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Photo courtesy of Elena Taranenko.

A Prayer for Writers

My son graduated from high school this year and is enrolled in a university for his college degree. One of the courses that this university offers as an elective course (and which fulfills a required general education credit) unnerves me:

A Prayer for Writers

 

“Magic and Religion Ancient incantations and adjurations, spells and amulets, magic words, prophecy, divination – in what ways can and do religious practices, ideas and ritual intersect with magic? To answer these questions (or, at least, try to), we’ll begin by studying what ‘religion’ and ‘magic’ mean for scholars. Then we’ll explore how magic and religion overlap in both ancient and modern societies – including some of our own time.”

Sadly, I did not see a similar general education course offered on Christianity or the Bible for students to choose from.

As Christian authors and publishers we sometimes need to be reminded that our work is important. We are in a war. Our fight is about demolishing arguments and every proud thing that is raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Earlier this year—before the pandemic hit—I was honored to be a key note speaker at the Capital Christian Writers Fellowship writers conference. This group of writers had compiled a handbook for praying for your writing life titled Prayers for Writers.

The following prayer, written by Jean Soehnlin, is from that book. May it bless you and your writing efforts.Prayers for Writers

Heavenly Father,

Bless me with confidence in the anointing You have given me to write. Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)

Open my eyes and ears and heart to hear Your whispers of truth and love You have for me and those You want me to share them with.

Protect me from the lies and deceit of the evil one. May I rest confidently in Your truths and in my anointing, rather than getting sidetracked by doubts, insecurities, and distractions.

Bless my writing ministry, Father God. May my pen flow with Your words and message burning in my heart to share with others, to bring healing and hope to hurting hearts.

Bless my writing time, that it would be productive and fruitful.

May I be able to grasp how wide and deep and long is Your love for me as I write and always.

Amen.

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Photo courtesy of Ben White.

 

Free Tools Any Author Can Use

No one is good at everything. We all need help, whether that is with our grammar, our time management, or just concentrating so we can be productive.

Following are five free tools. Check them out. You might find one or more of them helpful in your quest to be the best author that you can be.

Free Tools Any Author Can Use

1.  Make Sure Your Titles Are Capitalized Correctly.

Are you confused about which words to capitalize in a headline? Do you guess when capitalizing a title or headline?  Check out Capitalize My Title. This program applies the correct capitalization based on the style you want to use: Chicago, APA, MLA or AP.

2.  Reduce the Number of Clichés in Your Writing.

Too many clichés can make your writing uninteresting. Don’t be trite. Ditch the clichés. Cliché Finder is a free program that finds and highlights clichés in your writing so you can remove them.

3.  Get Organized.

An organized writer is a more productive writer. There are many tools that can help you become more organized. Milanote is an easy-to-use creative writing app to organize your research, ideas, characters and outline in one place.

4.  Be More Productive with Time Management Help.

Many people struggle with time management. Marinara Timer is a free time management timer promotes productivity. The timer allows you to choose to work for 25 minutes with a 5-minute break at the end, or you can choose your own time limits.

5.  Block Out Background Noise so You Can Focus Better.

Do background noises interrupt your concentration when writing? Noisli can help. This program provides free background sounds that help to mask annoying noises in order to keep you sane, improve your focus, and boost your productivity.

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Resolutions Every Author Can Use

Research shows that about 60% of people make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8% are successful in achieving them. These dismal statistics cause some people to eschew New Year’s resolutions.

Sadly, goalless people wander and then wonder why they are not achieving what they had hoped. Goals keep us on track, moving in the direction we want to go. As an author, I suggest that you make New Year’s resolutions about writing and publishing. Here are five that every author can benefit from making.

1. Write More

There is always room to write more. Whether you are writing to publish more books or writing more content for your blog or other publications to promote your books, writing more is a good aspiration. Make it a resolution to write more in 2020 than you did in 2019.

2. Publish More

People buy books from authors they are familiar with. This means that they have had some type of contact with the author. Often, this contact comes from reading a book by the author. Studies show that people tend to read more than one book by a given author. Many authors report seeing a bump in sales of their older books every time they publish a new book.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Make it your aim this year to publish more. If you are an independent author or small publisher, you can have access to print-on-demand sales distribution through Membership in Christian Indie Publishers Association (CIPA). CIPA Members receive free title setup with both IngramSpark and Lightning Source. You can join CIPA today at www.christianpublishers.net.

3. Promote More

There is no such thing as too much marketing. Every effort you put into promoting your book(s) means that more people are exposed to you and your books. Studies show that people need seven to twelve exposures before they make a purchase. Thus, the more you promote, the more sales you will reap.

If the idea of spending more time on social media to promote your book does not excite you, then I suggest you read my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books. This book is full of book promotion and marketing ideas that go way beyond social media and the Internet.

4. Learn More

Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” There is always more to learn. Technology is bringing rapid changes to every area of life—including the publishing industry. In publishing, if you stop learning, then you become out-of-date and out-of-sync with the standards and protocols involved in publishing and promoting books.

Henry Ford Quote

Make it your ambition this year to keep learning. Learn to be a better writer. Learn to be a better book promoter. Step into all the roles associated with publishing a book with confidence and grace. Stay abreast of industry changes and trends by joining an author or publishing association and by attending Christian writers conferences.

5. Read More

Reading is good for you. Studies show that reading reduces stress and increases life expectancy. So read more this year. In fact, reading more is one of the top ten New Year’s resolutions the people make!

As an author, your fans look to you for book recommendations. You can provide more book recommendations to your readers by reading more. This year, read for free. Sign up to be a BookCrash reviewer and you can get free books in exchange for a fair review. Learn more at www.bookcrash.com.

Related Posts:
Goals: Guideposts on Your Journey
New Year’s Resolutions for Every Author
Book Publishing Trends You Need to Know for 2020

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The Benefit of Thanksgiving

Psychology has come to understand what God has always known and told us in His word—that giving thanks is good for our mental health.

In Psalm 42:5, King David says “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Thanksgiving is a form of praise and it lifts our spirits.

Happy Thanksgiving

Today, on our national day of Thanksgiving, I invite you to give thanks to God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon you. You can ponder some of those blessings through the words of this hymn “O Give Thanks to Him Who Made” by Josiah Conder.

O give thanks to Him who made
Morning light and evening shade;
Source and Giver of all good,
Nightly sleep and daily food;
Quickener of our wearied powers,
Guard of our unconscious hours.

O give thanks to nature’s king,
Who made every breathing thing;
His, our warm and sentient frame,
His, the mind’s immortal flame.
O how close the ties that bind
Spirits to the Eternal Mind!

O give thanks with heart and lip,
For we are His workmanship;
And all creatures are His care:
Not a bird that cleaves the air
Falls unnoticed; but who can
Speak the Father’s love to man?

O give thanks to Him who came
In a mortal, suffering frame—
Temple of the Deity—
Came for rebel man to die;
In the path Himself hath trod
Leading back His saints to God.

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