Saturday, August 30, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Calling all self-published / independent book & e-book authors: Tell us about the promotional strategies that worked for you, and you and your book(s) could get even more visibility in the pages of Writer’s Digest magazine.
We’re looking for the inside stories from indie authors who’ve developed successful strategies for marketing their own books. If you credit your self-made promotional strategy for your book’s popularity, profitability or sales, we’d love to hear the details of what you did, how you did it, and what you’ve learned. Your insights—alongside your bio and information about your book—could appear in the pages of Writer’s Digest magazine.
To be considered for a spotlight in WD, simply answer the questions below and show us why you and your book(s) make a great example for other authors to follow. Email your responses (in the body of the email) to email@example.com with “IT WORKED FOR ME” in the subject line. Attach a hi-res cover image(s) of your book(s). In submitting your questionnaire, you are granting permission for your responses and cover image(s) to appear in Writer’s Digest magazine and other WD publications and/or on WritersDigest.com, and acknowledging that responses may be edited for space or clarity. Selected authors may be contacted for additional information.
Genre (memoir, mystery/thriller, romance, mainstream fiction, etc.):
One-sentence description of the book/series:
Publication method(s) (specify print or e-book[s], and printing service or formatting service[s] used):
Brief bio (beyond this particular book/series):
Social media handles:
My promotional strategy/philosophy, in a nutshell:
Why I decided to focus my efforts this way:
How I put my plan into action (specific steps taken, online and/or in person):
Which efforts worked best (including specific pricing, if relevant, and results, such as bursts in rankings or sales):
Other signs that readers were engaged (increased social media numbers, Goodreads buzz, etc.):
How much money and time I estimate to have invested in my promotional efforts:
Copies sold to date:
What I’d do the same with the next book:
What I’d do differently (or skip) with the next book:
Takeaways/lessons for my fellow writers:
Friday, August 22, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
"When Israel was in Egypt's land, let my people go, oppressed so hard they could not stand, let my people go."
Many of us know that old song. We know that God delivered the Israelites from slavery and led them into the desert, where they built a tabernacle to honor him. I've read the story many times in the second book of the Bible, Exodus. However, I view the narrative in a new way after reading Violet Nesdoly's book Destiny's Hands.
She presents it through the eyes of Bezalel, a young Israelite skilled in designing and creating artistic works from precious metals, gemstones, and other materials. The Bible first mentions him near the end of Exodus: "See, the Lord hath called by name Bezalel…and he hath filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship." Exodus 35: 30, 31.
Nesdoly, on the other hand, introduces Bezalel at the beginning of the story. We encounter him working for the Egyptians, helping to form the gods they worship. His life is fulfilling, enjoyable, and not difficult. His Egyptian masters treat him well because they value his talents. On the other hand, young Bezalel is well aware of how his fellow Israelites suffer, forced to spend long days making bricks under the blazing sun.
Then Moses and Aaron arrive with an astonishing message: Trust and obey Yahweh. He will deliver you from slavery.
Bezalel is caught between the Egyptian world and the new life promised by Moses and Aaron. Though tempted to stay in Egypt, he accompanies his family and the other Israelites out of the land. During their escape and afterwards, he experiences one miracle of Yahweh after another. Nevertheless he still struggles with divided loyalties. Bezalel's conversion is no instantaneous, once-for-all event.
At the heart of many of his struggles is his ability to create with his hands. He wears an Egyptian amulet that he believes he needs in order to continue to be creative. The problem is, his faith tells him he should remove the amulet because it's a symbol of the old life. Finally he decides to shed it, though in doing so he thinks he may be saying goodbye to his talents forever.
The young man's courageous action reminds me of a story told about the brilliant Canadian poet Margaret Avison. Her decision to follow Christ was difficult because she felt that if she did, she'd never write again. She thought she'd need to leave her brains and imagination at the door when entering the Christian fold. As it turned out, she produced some of her best poetry after her conversion.
Similarly, Bezalel finds his greatest fulfillment after surrendering his abilities completely to God. In the end, he and his friend Aholiab are put in charge of other craftspeople in creating the beautiful things required for the tabernacle.
The author of Destiny's Hands is a good plotter, skillfully presenting conflicts in Bezalel's personal life within the larger context of the Israelites' experiences. She knows how to pace a narrative. Action is presented with just enough detail. A masterful example is her description of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Yet she doesn't pile action on action without giving us time to think about it and its effect on the characters, especially Bezalel.
Nesdoly starts in his viewpoint and never strays from it. We as readers are there with him all the time, thinking his thoughts and experiencing his feelings.
I found the story inspiring spiritually. Nesdoly has a way of conveying big truths in small sentences. For example, regarding trust: "God has heard and will answer." Regarding commitment: "After I saw the power of Yahweh, I wanted to follow him alone." Regarding human responsibility: "God seems to require action on our part to bring his miracles to pass." Regarding the source and use of abilities: "Who created you with your talent? Yahweh has a destiny for your hands."
The prologue to Destiny's Hands shows us Bezalel at age ten. I enjoyed seeing him in the context of boyhood friendships and family. However, I think the prologue might have been omitted. It makes the reader suspect this is a story for children. It isn't. On the other hand, I'm not sure who the novel is aimed at, young adults or adults. There's something about its tone and sensibilities that make it seem like a young adult book. However, I as an adult enjoyed it and feel I'm a better person for having read it. That's no puny recommendation.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Australia says yes -- This will be the second time Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has done this. She isn't backing down on her hard-line stance and one has to appreciate her belief in the rights of Australians. A breath of fresh air to see someone lead with guts and determination.
Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were recently told to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.
Separately, Gillard angered some Australian Muslims by saying she supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT... Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.
'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.
'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language.
'Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.'
'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.
'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.
'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country that accepted you.’
IF we circulate this among ourselves in Canada & USA, maybe we will find the courage to start speaking and voicing the same truths.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
A Christian friend of mine, Sita Henderson, is seeking freelance proofreading, light editing, and/or research projects. She lives in the Toronto area [Mississauga] but with computer technology being what it is, she could theoretically work for anyone anywhere. Following is Sita’s impressive and inspiring resume. If you’re interested, please contact her: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 905 507-1734.
To pursue excellence by developing my diverse skills while serving with integrity.
University of Waterloo: Certificate in Keys to Effective Editing.
University of Toronto, Woodsworth College: TESL Certificate.
York University: B.A., Sociology *Dean's Honour List.
Tyndale University: Certificate in General Studies.
Seneca College: Diploma, Accounting and Finance *graduated with Honours.
§ Computer/internet savvy.
§ Writing manuals and/or detailed job descriptions.
§ Problem solving and research.
§ Data entry and record maintenance.
§ Ability to work independently with attention to detail.
§ Personal blog: Sita’s Sanctum (2007 to present).
§ Overseas worker’s blog: Vedya’s Tings (Mar.2012 to present).
§ Christian Reader, Jan./Feb.2001 issue, Filler, pg.12.
§ This Christian Life, Jan.2001, A Perfectionist’s Quest.
§ Crushed For Fragrance, Sept.2001, Virtual Reality Victory.
v English, native proficiency in speech and writing.
v Spanish, working knowledge.
v Table tennis.
v Proofreader/Editor. (Helping with newsletters and blog.)
v Library assistant, checking-in/out books, re-shelving, coding books.
(Timothy Christian School.)
v Small group leader assistant. (Rexdale Alliance Church.)
v Private ESL tutor. (Self-employed)
v Assistant ESL/Literacy teacher. (COSTI / North York Board of Education.)
v Cross-cultural facilitator / Small Group leader.
U of Toronto/York U International Student Group-IVCF.
v Treasurer. (World Team Youth Fellowship of Trinidad & Tobago.)
v Youth Camp Counsellor. (Victory Heights Youth Camp – Trinidad & Tobago.)
§ Finance Support - Accounts Payable - C&MA National Ministry Centre – 2004-2006.
**Key accomplishment: compiled manual for new customized ACCPAC A/P program.
§ Welfare Visitor - Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Social Services - 1992-94; 1994-96.
§ Accounting Assistant - Yorkville Bellair Ltd. - 1986-91.
§ Bookkeeper - St. Raphael's Nursing Home - 1980-83.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Here’s a contest for films with a Catholic perspective. Deadline October 31, 2014. Entry fee $40. http://tuscanyfilms.com/tuscany-prize-for-film.php