Friday, August 14, 2009

Publication Success through Promotion-Minded Writing

Greetings, Seekers! And a big thank-you to Mary Connealy for her gracious invite! At the end of this post, I have a question for you all, and those who answer will be entered into the drawing to win a copy of my new release, Love’s Rescue. Also at the end of this post is a chance to win a vacation (no kidding), so keep reading.

Here’s a quickie bio for those who don’t know me: I’m an award-winning author, five-star ghostwriter, manuscript editor, and fiction contest judge (of some of the contests folks here have finaled in or won). My new release, Love’s Rescue, a Western romance, is highly acclaimed and 2nd place winner of the Golden Rose award, inspirational category. (To see Love’s Rescue’s book trailer and read reviews, visit Tammy Barley's Bookshelf.)
My editing clients have won awards, signed multi-book publishing contracts, been listed as recommend reading at Focus on the Family, and been in the national news. (To see who, visit Tammy Barley's Client's Books)

So how did they, how do I, and how can you achieve publication success through promotion-minded writing?

The problem: Publishers’ acquisitions editors want a great book, yes, but they really want to know that you will sell your book. Publishers sell books to buildings, such as bookstores. Authors sell to people. And you’ll need to sell to a lot of people to earn out of it what you put into it, to grow a fan base, and to keep your publisher loving you. So how do you wow publishers into issuing you that dazzling multi-book contract?

The solution: Write your book with promotion in mind. Planning for a series is even better—many publishers prefer to buy three books from one good author than invest the time and expense to search out and promote one book and author at a time. This also gives you the advantage of planning promotional strategies once for your entire series.

Consider these three simple elements as you plan and write:
What You Know

Promotion-minded writing begins with your genre, your brand, as Jenn Stark blogged about here at Seekerville back in January. Most great marketing minds agree that a writer should establish himself or herself in one genre before considering expanding into others. If you write one vampire thriller and next write a Civil War era romance, you’ll have to promote yourself to a whole new audience with each new book you write. So focus on how you will promote yourself in one genre.

Who reads your genre? What are their interests? What are their needs? Whether you plan one book or a series, consider your audience’s interests or needs. Which of their interests or solutions to problems can in weave into your fiction?

What You Know
You already write what you know (or what you love to research), so what do you know about, and what are your readers’ interests and needs, that you could weave into your story and also use in your future book promotion? Do your readers enjoy—and do you know enough to talk publically about—fine wines? Fashion? Interior design? Gardening? Baking? Dog training? Landscaping? Fire safety? Vintage automobiles? Harley Davidsons? Does your reader need to overcome—and do you know enough to talk publically about— depression? Divorce? Alcoholism? Drug dependence? Parenting challenges? Faith challenges?

Putting it Together
Here’s one of my favorite Bible passages, Romans 12:6-8. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” We each have been given a special gift—something special that we know and can do . . . and can use to write and promote our books. If you know a thing or two (or three) about dog training, for example, you can weave dog training into the book, either lightly or in more detail, either through a minor character as a subplot or through the main character as his or her profession, or anything in between. Then when you promote your book to your audience, you can speak to pet owners or school groups or have a booth at dog shows and give tips for how dog owners can get their hopeless mutts to sit, lie down, and to quit chewing up the rug.

Tie what you know into your writing and your future promotional efforts, and voilà! You have an audience with interests or needs that you can assist with who will be open to buying your fabulous book (and every other book you write in the same genre), and you’ll be well prepared to describe to agents and acquisitions editors just how you will sell those copies. You’ll be well positioned to achieve publication success through promotion-minded writing!

Attached is a flier for my recent book launch so you can get an idea of what I did and get your creative juices flowing. During the five-hour book launch, I sold 200 copies (a few of those readers soon requested more), and I was invited to speak and to sell books at an upcoming teacher’s convention in December.

Just remember: Genre. Audience. What You Know.

God blesses those who are bold as lions (Pr. 28:1), and promotion (which I thought I was going to despise) is a hoot and addictive, so let the brainstorming begin!

Your Chance to Win
As I said at the top of this post, I have a question for you all, and those who answer will be entered into the drawing to win a copy of Love’s Rescue. In a moment, I’ll tell you how to enter to win a vacation.

I write to reach those God sent us to reach. “‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick’” (Mt 2:17). My question for you: If you read a Christian novel that would appeal to lukewarm Christians and not-yet-Christians, a novel with a subtle inspirational message intended to draw the reader a little closer to God, do you or would you recommend that novel to lukewarm Christians and not-yet-Christians? If you do, have those people gone on to read other CBA novels? Thank you! All who answer this question (actually these two questions) will be entered to win a copy of Love’s Rescue!

Now for the big one: the vacation: Read Love’s Rescue and answer ten questions about the story, and you’ll be entered to win a one-week western guest ranch resort vacation for two to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado! The drawing will take place on Valentine’s Day 2010. For more details and to enter, go to Tammy Barley's Bookshelf.

God greatly bless you all as you touch lives for Him!


  1. Tammy, good morning! What a wonderful way to start the day. Totally solid, marvelous promotion ideas that make perfect sense.

    Thank you! And I love that you dress in period dress for your signings. That totally rocks.

    And your resume is quite impressive. You're one busy, motivated gal.

    Hey, Sandra put on chocolate velvet coffee for us. So good. Piping hot. Yum.

    And it's bagel day in Seekerville. I stopped by Brueggers and grabbed mixed dozens. We've got Asiago Parmesan, Sun-dried Tomato, plain, poppy, everything (and breath mints), blueberry, cinnamon and multi-grain for those who need more fiber.


    Huge selection of flavored cream cheese, and smoked fish. Mmmmmm....

    Also fresh farm jams. Strawberry rhubarb, sour cherry, and mixed berry.

    Grab some food, the toaster's to your right and there's fresh cream for the coffee.

    Let's talk promo!


  2. Bring on that java. Friday!!!! Wooo hoo.

    Tammy I must admit your post both excited me and intrigued me.

    I will honestly admit that I have never read a CBA novel with the after thought or pre thought of how it might be utilized as a witnessing tool. I read selfishly I admit for self entertainment purposes.

    And I will further admit that I'm a little surprised and my brain is wrapping itself around this. I feel silly for not considering this.

    I think most of the time CBA preaches to the choir. Hmmm, giving this much thought now.

    Thank you.

  3. Welcome to Seekerville, Tammy! Thanks for the excellent post on writing our books with promotion in mind.

    My readers are interested in historical inspirational romance, or so I assume since that's what I write. I have gleaned from e-mails that readers want stories with pets. And from my publisher that readers like small-town settings. That's a good start but do you have suggestions beyond that on how I determine what plot elements would interest our readers? Perhaps I could get feedback on my blog or at signings.

    God gets our books into the hands of those He wants them to read. I've had sales to people who've never read a CBA book until mine. Some are unchurched. They bought the book because they know me and are either supportive or curious. You've inspired me to make more of an effort to loan CBA books to the unchurched. Thanks!

    Wonderful spread of bagels and trimmings, Ruthy. I loved the sundried tomato with cream cheese.


  4. Tammy, that's a great promotion, giving away a vacation!

    I love your ideas about promotion. I'm not sure I really know much about much, but it's a great concept! Promotion is fun when I'm promoting other people's books, like I do on my blog, in the ACFW Book Club, and by telling my friends about them. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it when it's my own book. But hopefully I'll find a way.

    The answers to your questions: Yes, I would, and Yes, my daughter gave a friend of hers, who's not a believer because she's from another culture, a Christian YA book, and she loved it, so we gave her the next book in the series for her birthday. She read them, but I'm not sure if she continued getting that author's books. I hope they moved her a little bit closer to believing, though.

  5. Good morning, Ruth! Here I am online before breakfast, and after reading your comment, I can smell a warm, steamy bagel bakery and chocolate velvet coffee! Yuuuuum!

    Happy Friday, Tina! When God put it in my heart to write, He also put it in my heart to use writing to touch hearts for Him, to bring not-yet-Christians closer to Him. Now keep in mind that I also judge a handful of the bigger writing contests in Christian fiction. The reason for my question to you all is that I'm considering using CBA fiction in general as an outreach tool. I was curious if others have had the same notion, or if you occasionally recommend a good CBA novel to people who don't generally read CBA fiction, and whether those new CBA readers pick up more CBA books. =)

    Hi, Janet! You said:
    "Do you have suggestions beyond that on how I determine what plot elements would interest our readers? Perhaps I could get feedback on my blog or at signings." Excellent ideas. Also, to help with the brainstorming, this is THE best site on how to reach and positively affect not-yet-Christians that I've found on the Internet:

    Sun-dried tomato bagels sound the best to me too! =)

    God greatly bless you as you touch lives for Him!

  6. Hi Melanie,

    I love that your daughter reached out to a friend! Saying to a friend "Would you like to go to church with me" is often received with the same interest level as saying "I'm on my way to the dentist. Would you like to get a root canal with me?"

    Saying to that same friend "I just read a fabulous book. It was so good I got you a copy too" is perceived on a whole other level. Everyone LOVES to get presents, and avid fiction readers LOVE to have new books to read. =)

  7. Tammy from a writer's point of view the spirituality-preaching level is always a challenge. Do we write powerful works of redeeming fiction? Or do we write fast paced entertaining reads that, sometimes quietly, uplift Christianity and treat believers with respect.

    The answer is there is both available out there. I never hesitate to suggest a Christian book that is truly entertaining. If I know someone who loves heart wrenching women's fiction, you're not going to find anyone ANYWHERE doing it better than Karen Kingsbury, no matter the genre.

    And the Left Behind books were simply fantastic reads, with a powerful Christian thread but too compelling for anyone to put down.

    Great post. I'm all jazzed up. :)

  8. Hi Tammy!

    Congratulations on all your success. I love the promotional poster. This is the first example of a book signing poster I've seen. Wonderful idea.

    I think it's great that you dress in period clothing for the signings. What a way to get your readers involved in the time period in which the story is written.

    Thanks for these great promo tips. I admit that's one thing that has frightened me, the thought of promoting my own book. But as the verse you referenced says, God does bless those of us who are as bold as lions! Now, to work on that boldness :)

    Happy Friday,

  9. Howdy, Mary! Yep, I have to admit: I've been more inspired and picked up more spiritually fulfilling wisdom through Christian fiction than I have many Sundays at church. IMHO, CBA fiction and Christian radio are two of the greatest blessings to modern believers. I've also read Christian fiction that inspired me to pass the book along to reach friends and family who don't yet know God. That's the light and drive God put into my heart.

    No matter your mission, or if you are gifted to simply entertain folks and take them on a new adventure, cheers for Christian fiction!!! =)

    Hi, Jen! Thank you for your lovely comments. I felt exactly the same about promotion, and still have trouble promoting something I've done. So I don't think about promotion as if I'm promoting me; I'm promoting a book published by a publisher, a book that I believe in. I can do that. =)

  10. Tammy,

    To answer your question, I recommend most books I read to others, whether Christian themed or not. I don't know if that counts as a witnessing?

    I do have a story to share though along this witnessing theme. The small Iowa town (under 250 people) where I grew up and my mom still lives got a new minister at their church. His wife is a teacher and she worked hard to re-open the library that had been closed for years. With the help of donated books, she accomplished her goal. I sent several bags of books to her and my mom told me how excited she was to find one full of Love Inspired novels, however Mom never found them on the shelves. BUT the lady shared with mom that she received so many books, she donated some to the county jails library, which we believe were the Christian themed books. So, I know that lady used the LS novels as a witnessing tool.


  11. Rose, that is so great! That reminds me of what my agent, Terry Burns, who writes Western fiction, told me about his series, Mysterious Ways. In one of the book, the main character escaped from prison and unintentionally ended up a Christian and a preacher. Terry received letters from prisoners who read the book and were inspired by it. That was never Terry's intention. You never know who you're going to affect. God does work in mysterious ways. =)

    What you do by sharing books sure sounds like witnessing to me. Pretty great, huh? =)

  12. ooooh, very cool ideas. Thanks so much for sharing. I have a Revell book coming out in April 2010 and am putting together some ideas to launch it. Thanks again and am looking forward to reading the book.


  13. Hello! Yes, I would recommend those books to friends. I don't really have any lukewarm-Christian friends, (at least not that I'm really close to). But, I do have a four page list of my favorite Christian Fiction books, that I have been giving to my friends the last few weeks. Three of my closest friends didn't really read, ever. But, I have been rubbing off on them, and now they are all reading them!
    Please enter me in the contest!
    booklovercb at yahoo dot com

  14. A great big HI, Lynette! Lynette was my best friend's name (she went to heaven a few years ago). Love's Rescue is dedicated to her.

    HUGE congratulations on your new release!!!

    Thank you, Carmen! It's fun to see that a number of folks here have the same idea. Has anyone gotten their kids hooked on Christian fiction? I'm a mom of three; two read what I do. The third doesn't. Not enough space ships or aliens. =)

  15. Tammy, your promotion efforts wowed me when I interviewed you on my blog. Not only do you have a debut novel that is one of the best books I've read this year, but you also have a solid plan for letting others know about it. And your efforts are working. I was thrilled to read that Love's Rescue has already gone into a second printing. Congrats!!

    I use CBA books as a way to open doors with my hair stylist. When I give one to her, we discuss it at subsequent appointments. She's even read a couple of my manuscripts in draft versions, brave woman. In this way, I'm able to talk about spiritual issues with her. I'm planting seeds, watering and waiting on the Lord. It's been several years, but I pray she'll come to trust her life to Him.

  16. It's such a joy to see you again so soon, Keli! For any visitors who do not yet know, Keli Gwyn's blog Romance Writers on the Journey is highly inspiring, and she gives away wonderful goodies to visitors.

    You are indeed brave to let your hair stylist read your MSS. I had to work up the courage just to let my critique group read my MS. LOL!

  17. Good morning Tammy and welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for such a helpful post.

    And Ruthy, I put more chocolate velvet coffee on because between the two of us I'm sure we emptied the pot. Thanks for the bagels to go with it. yum

    I learned a long time ago to give books away and that was for a selfish reason. My bookshelves got so loaded I had no room for new ones. So giving them away gives me room to buy new. smile

    And I love giving inspirational books away. I often target who gets what book for the message inside, but I give them out to people I meet while traveling too. Seekerville books are very popular with my friends.

    Thanks again Tammy for the great promotion tips. We have a lot of Seekers heading out on that path for the first time. I'm sure they will use these ideas.

  18. Tammy, my main, number one, top priority goal with my writing is to touch people who don't pick up CBA books.

    I love a light inspirational thread, a real read, a gentle hand put forth, so I aim for that in my writings.

    And I'm a born snark so if I get too heavily weighted, God smacks me upside the head with a joke and I bring people back to earth with a reality check. Kind of like hockey but no goalie, just a hard crash to the ice.

    Ouch. And cold!

    So I love books that draw me in but don't browbeat. And I love reality. If too much good comes out of a book, or too many things get wrapped up in a neat, pink bow, I gag.

    And that's not pretty.


    But I've learned that CBA and ABA appeal to a wide class of people and there's an audience for everyone once you get that audience of one: a paying editor.

    Some will say they write for God and God alone, but here's my theory on that: God gave us this talent to his honor, glory and praise, but I think he LOVES us to reach out. Touch those that maybe aren't hip to hip in church every Sunday, or the people who don't feel worthy to attend church, or those who turn their backs because sometimes life sucks and they're just down and out mad at God.

    God's got big shoulders. One tough Dude. I'd rather be that tiny flicker of light that smolders than blaze so hot no one comes near.

    Oh, man, it MUST be Friday because introspect is my middle name.

    Wordy, wordy, wordy. Being quiet now, but brought ice cream for an afternoon ice cream social. Anybody got toppings?


  19. Thank you so much for you lovely welcome, Sandra. What a great idea--targeting who to give which book to based on its message.

    Even when I was a little girl, God showed me His presence and love through little miracles. In the three decades since then (okay, okay, four decades) I've seen even more. What can be better than to subtly slip a friend a book as a means to tell them "God loves you"? =)

    Hi again, Ruth. You aren't wordy; you have a gift for seeing that even "the unworthy" are fully worthy of God's love.

    I sound sappy, too, don't I? You'd never guess I write about tough guys, gunleather, and the gutsy women who love them! =)

    Ice cream toppings . . . I'll bring the fudgy brownies to crumble over top!

  20. HI Tammy,
    I just finished Love's Rescue last night and really enjoyed it. I went to your website and entered the contest for the vacation. I would love to win another copy of the book to donate to our local public high school library. We have a Christian librarian there and she welcomes Christian fiction titles and says they are checked out often by students and teachers.

    I have given Christian fiction to friends who are seekers and have found it a great way to open up doors for conversations and sharing. My doctor and his wife saw me reading in their waiting room and told me they love to read, so I began bringing them the best Christian fiction books I could find. They both came to know the Lord that year, and I believe those books were one of the ways God spoke to them and drew them to Himself.

    carrie (at) turansky (dot) com

  21. If the story is excellent and not too preachy, I have indeed encouraged people to read them who are not Christians.

    In college, a christian roommate was into reading steamy Harlequin because she said Christian books were too preachy and unrealistic. I offered up a good suggestion, she read it, and got hooked into looking for others.

    But I have mentioned them to unbelievers, if the story is good and the preachiness is subtle (especially if the truths begin to express themselves naturally further on in the book with the protagonist who is learning those truths in a believable not hitting over the head kind of way), but I can't say what the effect was.

    But if it's got a protag listening to sermons or it starts out with a lot of Christianese, I don't recommend them to unbelievers. It doesn't mean I don't like the book, just means, I have a feeling my non-christian friend would be turned off, put down the book and not take any of my later recommendations down the road. So if its a story that gets them sucked in and then presents spiritual truths along the way, yes, I've recommended them. There should be more of these kind of stories, I think.

    As a kid, I would only read Nancy Drew. In eight grade a friend gave me a Lori Wick book and I've been hooked ever since. I would never have gotten it myself, so I myself have been blessed with Inspirational fiction "witnessing" and with some books have better understood and applied because I "saw" it played out in believable characters whose story got me hooked.

  22. I think CBA might reach an "unreached people group" of the unsaved who are busily going to church. (As I once was.) That's probably a heart-issue that only the reader knows for sure -- but something in the book would resonate with them.

    Kinda like parables ;-)

    That said ... your questions about genre, audience and what you know interest me. Never thought of it like that but I will from here on out. (Cows, horses, poultry, farming ... h'mm ...)

  23. Thank you so much, Carrie, for sharing! What a blessing CBA fiction is!

    Hi, MJ! For me it was Trixie Beldon. I owned every book. I still kick myself for giving them away. I'm having to re-buy them now for my daughter, and she reads a book a day. Oy! =)

    I agree--I wouldn't want to recommend anything preachy. Preachy is alien and uncomfortable to those not accustomed to the way we talk God.

  24. Greetings, Ann! Ah, a fellow horses/cows/farm gal! Have you ever grown strawberries, and, when they're ripe, sat right down in the middle of the garden and eaten every strawberry within reach? If that were an Olympic event, I'd challenge anyone for the gold. =)

  25. Tammy -- Soooo good to have you in Seekerville today ... as if Fridays aren't good enough!! :)

    Regarding your question:

    I'd give you a resounding YES!! And if it's okay, I'll give you two examples from my own books since that is the only experience I have and my novels tend to be more borderline Secular/Christian romance.

    One: An e-mail I got from a reader who said she picked my first book up at a cash register turnstyle (I'm assuming it was a Walmart) because she liked the cover and did NOT know it was a Christian book. She told me she doesn't read Christian fiction, but was shocked when she realized mine was. She said the spiritual message within so touched her, that she intended to read more Inspy fiction and thanked me for bringing her back (she was a fallen-away Christian).

    Second example: Another reader wrote me that someone gave her my book, but that she NEVER reads Christian fiction. After finishing my book, she told me she went right out to the bookstore and bought more Christian fiction ... mine included!

    Because my books are more passionate than the typical Christian romance, I have had tons of readers tell me they give them to their non-Christian friends and family as witnessing tools, and many have told me that those friends and family members are now reading Christian fiction in addition to secular.

    Case closed ... at least as far as I'm concerned!

    Thanks SO much for the contest, your wonderful blog, and for taking the time to be here today. We are blessed!


  26. Hi. I loved your article. As to the questions, I had to stop and think about it - who have I recommended books to, what have I recommended, etc. I'd have to say the answer's yes; I wouldn't recommend something aggressively Christian to a lukewarm Christian, but I would recommend something more nuanced. I don't know if they'd end up reading more CBA books though, as it might take a while to persuade someone that the book they'd read wasn't the exception to a genre they'd normally dislike.

  27. OY! I'm rereading our posts and I realized I spelled Carman wrong! Apologies! According to reviews, I guess I write pretty well, but that doesn't mean I can type. After all, I spent most of my time in typing class reading romance novels! LOL!

    Julie, I am the one who is blessed--you all are such a joy to chat with! Stories like the ones in your comment are the reason I write Christian fiction and weave in only a subtle inspirational message. I'm so delighted you've seen success doing the same. =)

    Sheila, interesting observation. I imagine a lot of secular readers hear "Christian fiction" and automatically assume they'll get a Bible full of do-nots shoved down their esophagus rather than, say, a romance between two characters that literally lasts forever because of faith in the Savior.

  28. Tammy, thanks for the Internet site! I'll take a look.


  29. Janet, my pleasure. I'm using the information they compiled to add to the outreach efforts at my church. That Web site is one of the biggest reasons I've found to be thankful for the Internet.

  30. very informative, thanks, tammy.

    i have suggested books to non-Christian friends...esp ones without an overt Christian tone (a great romance is The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter...God wasn't mentioned until the study questions at the end but it was all about a man whose love was so self-sacrificing...just like God's for us). however, i don't know if they went on to read others or not. I've had them say thanks for the recommendation or that they enjoyed the book, things like that. hope that helps!

    charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) com

  31. Thank you, Jeannie! Yep, I asked the question because I was curious if others do the same. I figure why promote only my books when I can promote so many more?


  32. Great post, Tammy! I've been MIA from visiting Seekerville because of work and school things (yes, our kids already have week #2 behind them!). Glad I got to stop by today and read your info.

    Promotion is fun, so I'm trying to weave in 'connections' like you suggest. I want angles for promo events, but also want things relevant to kids as a way to get into schools.

    I've shared books with friends who like to read but haven't read much from CBA. Gave 12 or 15 books to a friend this summer who was looking for things she could read but that her 13YO daughter could too. Her daughter had already read 3 by the time I saw them later in the week!

    I need to look for more opportunities to do that sort of thing for non-believers too.

    So thanks, Tammy, for getting my mind kicked into gear on a couple of different fronts. It's a little scary for such on a Friday afternoon, but I'm trusting it'll turn out for good. :-)

  33. I'm so glad you stopped by, Leigh! Yep, promotion seems scary, like cough medicine to a kid, but then you realize it tastes like chocolate velvet coffee AND it nets you enough to keep feeding those adorable bottomless pits we call our children. =) It's all good!

  34. When I've recommended CBA books to people, I might have done it because I knew the person asking was Christian. However, I've also done it, just becuase the book was a compelling read.

    For example, I saw a note on one of the RWA loops awhile back where someone from the NYC chapter asked for suspense recommendations written by new writers. At the time, Debby Giusti's second book had been out maybe a few months. I e-mailed the lady with the titles of Debby's first two books.

    I was totally NOT thinking about the religioius aspect. Instead, it was promoting a good book written by someone in my chapter.

  35. Hi, Walt! You have such a cool, legendary name, the name of Walt Disney, DeWalt power tools....

    See? You were a promoter and didn't even knower! (Quick, anyone: Can you guess why I don't write poetry?)

    It's possible the sugar in the fictitious ice cream and brownies is getting to me. Just a guess.

  36. Tina--Mulling over your insights about promotion. Do you think the need to get out there and share is how God gets us introverted writers out of our comfort zones? I have a feeling. :)

    And Mary C hit the nail on the head--we need all kinds of Christian fiction because the same style won't reach everyone. I read strong impact stuff with powerful redemption message or it doesn't touch me. I feel writing edgy Christian is the Lord's call to the wake up the church to the passion we need to have for Him as well as the deep compassion we need to extend for others. If we don't see examples of mercy in life or fiction, how can we extend it? I love novels that make me walk away thinking, How can I act more like that in my life? And of course if we're passionate about the message/story in our novels then it feels far more natural to promote it! :)

    So glad there are stories out there to reach every strata, including nonChristian and lukewarm. Thanks for a challenging post, Tina!

  37. Hi, A. A. Stone!

    You said, "Do you think the need to get out there and share is how God gets us introverted writers out of our comfort zones? I have a feeling. :)"

    I asked Terry (Burns) the same thing this morning. I love his answer: "Because he needed some like me that were just naturally humble and self-effacing." That is so me. Glad God has a plan for each of us. =)

  38. Hi Tammy:

    I like your marketing ideas. I can imagine how powerful it would be to tell a new publisher that you sold 3,000 copies of your last book yourself at book signings. Do you run a tally of your ‘person’ book sales?

    Yes, I give away Christian romance books in an effort to help promote the genre more than as a way to witness. I prefer Christian novels that show Christians living rewarding lives and how their faith helps them do that. I never mention that a book is a Christian book and I am pleased if the reader considers it a mainstream book that incidentally had Christian characters.

    I don’t look to convert any single individual. I’d rather ‘inch’ the general population in the direction of a more moral lifestyle and thereby produce more converts on an ongoing basis from the same general population. This can be done by increasing the readership of Christian books.

    I think if more people would read and be introduced to books like Julie Lessman’s ‘Passion” series, it could help the entire genre.

    I do try, however, to only give books to people I feel confident will actually read them.


  39. Wow, this was thought-provoking and inspiring. thanks!

    I've given a few books to friends who were lukewarm Christians to help encourage them in areas I thought it might touch their lives. There have only been a couple of non-believing friends I've recommended books too - but they appreciated them.

  40. Btw, one of my best proofreaders and critiques is my good friend, who happens to be agnostic.

    She really comes with a different pov into reading my work :-)

  41. Good evening, Vince! "Do you run a tally of your ‘person’ book sales?" you asked. A tally, no, but I do estimate. "I don’t look to convert any single individual. I’d rather ‘inch’ the general population in the direction of a more moral lifestyle and thereby produce more converts on an ongoing basis from the same general population." Some time ago I began to think of this process as a chain, and each of us are links in the chain. Each link helps bring someone a little closer to God. =)

    Happy Friday, Pepper! An agnostic! I'll bet she has a unique viewpoint!

    Positive, gentle nudges seems to be the theme of the day. =)

  42. Interesting questions Tammy,
    I have recommended books and lent them to luke warm christians and non christians.
    In fact one lady who comes to our churches friendship center (craft morning) said I have spoilt her for books in her library. She now finds it hard to read alot of the more explicit books and alot of other fiction.
    I also lend books to an elderly neighbour who is searching hoping something in the book will have an impact.
    I now run the church library and my first reason for doing this was that some of the readers and was thinking of the friendship center ladies may be reached by one of the novels. Its also helpful for the church people as our local library has little in christian fiction and most of that I donated there with the same thought in mind that one of these books may sow a seed. Feed back is people are looking for more of these books.

  43. Hi Jenny,

    I love what you're doing. God greatly bless all seed-sewers! =)

  44. I am doing some of the last edits on my WIP and I have already been recruiting some people who aren't believers to read it.

    I think they may be planning to do it in order to be supportive of me and my first novel. I'm hoping they get more out of it than that. :o)

    Although I am entertained by the books I read, many of them also inspire and challenge me. As the characters overcome their obstacles, grow in their faith, resist temptation, and achieve their goals ~ I learn lessons right along with them.

    That's why I think it's a wonderful thing for non-Christians. I have always used historical fiction to help make my history lessons come alive (home school mom) and I think Christian fiction can be a wonderful non-threatening way to open the door to sharing about God.

  45. Greetings, Lee, from another home school mom!

    You said, "I think Christian fiction can be a wonderful non-threatening way to open the door to sharing about God."

    Non-threatening--exactly. =)

  46. Hello! I was just wondering if the winner has been announced? Thanks!

  47. Hi Carman and all!

    I e-mailed Mary Connealy this morning, and she'll post the winner as soon as she can take a breath. =)

    Thank you so very much to all you for commenting! I loved getting to know many of you better. What a joy all of you are!

    Hugs! Hugs! Hugs!