Does Your Book Have a Firm Foundation?

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. A building requires a firm foundation to withstand nature and hold up under use. A cracked or insufficient foundation results in a structure that is unsuitable for habitation.

Everything we build requires a solid foundation to survive. Books require a firm foundation to stand against the competition. This firm foundation begins with your writing and the promise you make to your readers. It extends to the physical package of your message (layout and design of the book) and includes the price readers pay for the book.

To ensure your book has a solid foundation from which to launch, ask yourself the following six questions.

1. Is my book well-edited and free from grammatical and spelling errors?

A poorly written book or one that contains numerous grammatical and spelling errors will not gain readers’ approval. Books that are not well-edited do not become solid fixtures in the book industry. Instead, they tumble and fall into oblivion.

2. What promise does my book make to readers?

Does your book promise something that readers’ value and need? Do you offer a solid promise for information or entertainment that is not readily accessible elsewhere? Your book’s promise is an important piece of your foundation.

3. Does my book deliver on this promise?

Information or entertainment that fills a need is not enough. Your book has to deliver on its promise. It has to live up to what the reader is expecting.

4. Does my book speak its target audience’s language?

To reach people, we must speak their heart language. This is the language that they hear the best. Your book must use the lingo your target audience knows and share stories or examples that they can relate to.

5. Does my book look professional?

In the book world, books that look vastly different stick out like sore thumbs. Books must conform to basic requirements for them to look professional. If you are unsure what elements a book needs to look professional, I encourage you to learn. Members of Christian Small Publishers Association have access to a “Checklist for Publishing a Professional-Looking Book” as well as on-demand seminars that teach them how to produce a book that meets industry standards.

6. Is my book priced competitively?

Pricing is an important part of a book’s foundation. A book that is priced much higher or lower than the competition will not do well. Your book must be priced competitively to stand strong.

In Matthew 7, Jesus tells his audience:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Your book is like a house. It needs a firm foundation to withstand the assaults from the competition and from critics. Is your book’s foundation firm?

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Grow Your Writing and Marketing to the Next Level

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

There is always more to learn. There is always room for improvement. As an author or publisher, to stay relevant and up-to-date, you must continually learn. Publishing standards change. Technology changes. With these changes, you must learn and adapt what you do to be effective in reaching your target audience.

I recently served as a faculty member at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference. One of the events at the conference was called “Lightning Learning”. For this event, the conference attendees were broken up into groups. Then each group met for five minutes with each faculty member to discuss a “learning tip” that the faculty had prepared in advance for attendees.

When you have a group of experts offering advice, the learning opportunity is incredibly rich. I think some of the advice that the faculty shared is worth sharing with you. So, here are a few “Lightning Learning” tips from that event.

“What do you need to do before you start writing? Pray. Then pray some more! Just as you followed the call, seek God’s wisdom in every area of your writing.”
Gloria Penwell, www.boldvisionbooks.com

 

“Before you write your book or article, know your target audience. Keep them in mind as you write and write in a way that speaks and resonates with them. Doing this will increase the effectiveness of your writing and any marketing activities you do for your book or article.”
Sarah Bolme, www.christianpublishers.net

 “To write is to sacrifice, as professional writing requires a commitment of time away from people and activities. Take time to determine what level of time requirement you need to schedule for yourself, and specifically what things you are currently doing that you need to sacrifice in order to have the time to write.”
Craig von Buseck, www.inspiration.org

“Be recognizable online. This means having a professional picture for all social media/online sites that is recognizable from one platform to another. Keep your bio consistent. Make sure no one will ever be surprised when they meet you in person because you represent yourself differently online.
Edie Melson, www.thewriteconversation.blogspot.com

“What would happen to your work in progress if you spilled your morning coffee into the computer keyboard or downloaded a virus that ate your hard drive and destroyed your files? Writers need an automatic computer backup system.”
Lori Hatcher, www.reachoutcolumbia.com

 

If you have your own writing or marketing tip you want to share with other authors, please do so in the comment section. Share your wisdom so we call can learn.

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Is Fear Paralyzing You?

Fear—it is a powerful emotion that can paralyze even the best. Fear robs us of faith, peace, hope, and confidence. It keeps us from realizing our dreams and all the blessings that God has for us.

Fear is wide-spread and powerful. Some Christian authors claim that the term “fear not” is the single command in Scripture that occurs more often than any other. Lloyd Ogilvie in his book 12 Steps to Living without Fear claims that the command “fear not” is stated 366 times in the Bible—one for every day of the year and an extra one for leap year.

Author Rachel Van Dyken recently said, “Fear has one goal for your life: to paralyze you, to keep you in the same state you were in five years ago. It wants you stuck, afraid, and isolated.”

Is fear keeping you tied up and unable to write that manuscript, bring your manuscript to publication, or step out and promote your book? Maybe you struggle with:

  • Fear of failing.
  • Fear of public ridicule.
  • Fear of judgment.
  • Fear of not being good enough.

In essence all these fears really boil down to the fear of failing—not being good enough or doing it “right.”

Has God called you to write, publish, or promote a book and you are battling fear?

I once heard a missionary say that there is no failure in God’s Kingdom except the failure to obey. Isn’t that true? If you do what God asks, who is responsible for the outcome—you or God? The test is in the obedience, not in the outcome.

A wise, saintly woman I know once received this message from God: “Failure comes in not trying, in not engaging.

If God is calling you to write or publish a book, then you are good enough. You are the one he is asking because he knows you are capable. The beauty is that he never makes us do it alone. He is always there to guide and cheer us on.

So often, our inner critic, that whisper in our ear, tells us to play it safe, not take risks, and not risk failure and public humiliation. These self-doubts and shameful feelings that tell us we are not “good enough” are not God’s voice.

If God has or is calling you to do something, remember, you can only fail if you don’t obey. Obey and lean on God’s limitless provisions to complete the task he has called you to.

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