Are You on Second Shift?

According to author Dr. Harold Arnold, Jr., people on second shift are those who work at their passion after their day job is done. Many authors fit into this category.

Few authors can afford to quit their day jobs to become writer full-time. Hence, they must devote their “second shift” (after a day job) to their writing careers.


In his book, Second Shift: How to Grow Your Part-Time Passion into Full-Time Influence, Dr. Arnold looks at the frustration that comes from this position. He talks about DRAGONS (doubt, regret, apathy, guilt, obstinance, and narcissism) that can derail you from continuing to pursue your passion that is already marginalized in your life.

Addressing each one of these DRAGONS, and teaching the reader about each one’s antidote that comes from KINGDOM thinking (Knowledge, Insight, Novelty, Grace, Deference, Other-centered, and Much). Dr. Arnold encourages his readers to continue following their GODprint (the calling or passion that God has placed on your heart).

Dr. Arnold speaks from his own personal experience. For years, he has pursued his passion in his second shift, often running into discouragement and frustration with having to pour his “leftover” energy into these projects. I think my favorite quote from Second Shift that is great encouragement for anyone pursuing their passion in their spare time is:

Your obedience to God unlocks doors for someone else. You become the conduit through which God’s blessings flow to another.” (p. 202)

In his book, Dr. Arnold gives his readers four strategies for success in their second shift. They are:

1. Sacrifice security
2. Fail forward
3. Tame time
4. Promote partnerships

If you are a second shifter, take heart. Digital Book World’s 2014 Author survey found that only one in ten (10%) of writers actually make a livable salary ($40,000+) writing full-time. Another study found that 54% of traditionally-published authors and almost 80% of self-published authors earn less than $1,000 a year.

If you are a second-shift author who needs some encouragement to continue on your path, Dr. Arnold’s words might just be the encouragement you need.

Related Posts:
Words of Encouragement
Finding Connections and Opportunities

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Starting a Movement

Authors need an audience to receive their message (aka books). Creating a following (or platform) to market books has become increasingly important in the book selling world. However, many new authors don’t know how to go about creating a following.

Do you want to build a following? Then you need followers. The more followers you have the better you will be able to spread your message.

Do you need some ideas on how to begin a movement and gather some followers? Watch this TED video that highlights some important lessons for starting a movement and gathering followers.

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Getting What You Paid For?

I recently received the following email:

“I was told about CSPA by another publisher and haven’t really been able to market my book, just what benefits do you provide for helping a self-publisher market a book?”

I believe that there are two kinds of self-published authors. One is the person who wants someone else to market their book for them and is willing to pay large sums of money to have this done. The other is the self-published author who is willing to learn what they need to do and go and do it.


Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is not for the first type of author. We do not provide marketing for our members. Rather, what we do is provide information and services to help authors and publishers market their books.

I recently came across a self-publishing company that also provided marketing services for their authors. Here is what they charged:

  1. A review in Kirkus Reviews for $849.
  2. An interview on The Author Show for $349.
  3. Five media contacts for $600.
  4. A marketing package that includes a one-page website, press release, and 200 bookmarks for $549.

In contrast, here is what one-year membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) for only $90 will buy:

  1. The truth that Kirkus Reviews, if you submit the request yourself, only costs $425.
  2. The truth that a basic interview on The Author Show is free.
  3. Media contacts listed in every issue of the CSPA Circular, our monthly newsletter. This year so far, our members have received over 12 media contacts.
  4. The truth that you can create your own website for free using a site such as or, directions on how to find a press release template so you can write your own for free, and the information that VistaPrint will print 250 bookmarks for $60.00.

If you are not a member of CSPA, consider this, I just gave you over $1,600 worth of free information (donations are cheerfully accepted).

The bottom line is that there are plenty of companies out there willing to take your money. Go ahead; give them your money if you want to. However, if you are on a tighter budget and are willing to read and learn, then joining an organization like Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) will be a better fit for you.

After all, our members tell us:

  • “I just wanted to write and personally thank you for the invaluable information contained within the CSPA monthly newsletter. It never ceases to amaze me how many tips and general info bits I can glean from this wonderful resource.” —Deb
  • “The newsletter for the Christian Small Publishers Association is worth the price of membership all by itself—we get gems from every issue. Thanks for what you are doing for the industry!” —Melanie
  • “I received $75 worth of information in the first CSPA Circular!” —Sam

So, if you want some additional support in marketing your Christian books, I encourage you to check out the useful benefits Christian Small Publishers Association can provide you in marketing your books, or you can just pay someone else to do it for you.

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Advice for Authors

Are you considering an author reading or do you have one scheduled?

If so, take this great advice on “How Not to Read Poetry” which can be applied to any author reading. And remember, when reading to an audience, keep it relatively brief and engaging. You don’t want to put anyone to sleep.

Watch what not to do at your next author reading.


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Unintended Results

I recently read an interesting story about an author. Following is the condensed version. If you wish to read the full version titled “Why I Write Books Even Though I’ve Lost Money on Every Book I’ve Written,” you can read it on the author’s blog here.

James Altucher’s book was not selling as well as he wanted it to. As an author desperate to have people buy his book, he began resorting to tactics some authors consider but few actually carry out. James’ book were published by a large publishing house, so at least one copy of his book was stocked in most bookstores in New York City where he lived.

Determined to show that his book was worth buying, James went around to every bookstore in New York. He would find his book in the store and write notes on the inside of each copy of his book and then put them back on the bookshelf. His notes included things like, “You are the smartest person in the world for buying this book.” Inside one book he wrote, “I Love You.”

Fast forward a few months. James Altucher had a new girlfriend. She agreed to meet him at the Penn Station book store. From there they would take a train to her house so she could cook dinner. While waiting for James to come, the girlfriend saw his book in the store and picked it up. Opening it, she read his “I Love You” inscription. She thought it was planted there and that James was watching her. In fact, James was running late, and she was reading the unsold book he had inscribed a few months earlier. A little over a year later the two got married.

Besides being a great story, I think this tale has a moral for every author.

Your marketing efforts frequently will not yield the intended (or hoped for) results. However, we serve a loving and compassionate God who “works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28). So, while your promotional efforts may not yield more sales, they will reap good for someone somewhere. Sometimes the recipient of that good will be you. Other times it will be someone you do not know—and won’t know until you get to heaven.


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