Monday, April 17, 2017

Writing For an Audience of Thousands


You know the old saying: "When they say "it's not about the money"... you can bet that its about the money!"





The Book of Timothy offered the wise warning we all recognize: "Money is the root of all evil."  And the wisdoms of the Proverbs are not ignored by the wise:


How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver! (Proverbs 16:16)


Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. (Proverbs 20:15)


And I often hear Christian authors saying they write for an audience of one... God.


I love God. 

But....

God's not in the book-buying biz, and while I want my words to honor the God I love and serve, I want the mere mortals among us to buy books. Why?


Because business comes down to numbers. Anyone with a 401K or a Roth IRA or a pension pays attention to what's happening on Wall Street. Not because they love Wall Street... but because having some money is a basic need.



"Money can be exchanged for goods and services." (Homer Simpson) 


Who's buying your books? Who's interested in your books? Who can you tempt with your style, your voice, your stories? As a pre-published author or a published author, part of our job is to examine the market, see what's selling, what's not and write the best book(s) we can. Writing is a joy... but it is also a business and should be treated as one. 




I know... that sounds so stinkin' prosaic.  And for a woman who tends to wax poetic when I write, this dollars and cents (sense!) talk isn't nearly as much fun. There's no poetry in talking finances!!!  But for most of us, the reality is this: We want to write for a career. It's more than a hobby, it's a goal, and I'm 100% in favor of folks stretching as much as they can to reach their goals.




In the April 2016 Readers Digest, there was a great article by J.D. Roth (The Biggest Loser producer) about burning 7000 calories in one day. It was a contest, and the prize was an iPad. A single mother took the challenge. Her son wanted an iPad and she had no money for one. For 20 hours she exercised and worked out with her son cheering her on. She got to within 500 calories of the goal and the gym closed... 


She did not give up.


She went outside and ran around the buildings until she got to that 7000 mark, to show her young son that she would go the distance for him. She won the iPad.  And her son, now a high school football player, is being offered full ride scholarships. She set an example for him that he will never forget... to reach for the stars. Go for the gold. Go the distance.





I've always felt I had a calling. A calling to help heal women's hearts, to inspire them to reach for what might seem impossible. To try harder, because no one hands us anything, but I wanted the stories in context of romance because I love romance! LOVE IT! Romance, family values and healing hearts was the niche/genre I sought. These things matter to me and they are universal in a world run amok. So then the goal is to target your work to the matters at hand.


Writing For An Audience of Thousands.


I don't want my light-- or yours-- hidden under a bushel. (Doesn't that sound like T. J. Mackay last week?) 


Recently Alicia Keys decided to go with no make-up. Imagine that, a mega music star who's had photos published on tens of thousands of websites, magazines, music rags and social media sites, has gone rogue on makeup and you know why? BECAUSE SHE WAS SO SCARED OF BEING PHOTOGRAPHED WITHOUT IT and losing face with her fans.

No Make-Up Ruthy!!!! :)
As Christians we receive a lot of mixed messages. We're taught to be sacrificial, a facet I love. But authors have bills to pay just like sales clerks and babysitters and teacher's aides and waitresses, all jobs I've held.


Proverbs 9:10: Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.


There is no shame in wanting to have your words be published, or help others, or earn money. A calling can also be a profession. Ask any minister or priest or doctor or teacher... 


And there you go.


Let your words honor your faith... but it's okay to reach for an audience. There's generally a lot of hard work and effort that goes into every published book, so don't feel guilty about being paid for what you do. And if you love, love, love your job???


ALL THE BETTER!


Hey, I've got some sweetness going on in the giveaway basket today! This is release week for "Their Surprise Daddy", my third Grace Haven book, and I love this story about two orphaned illegal immigrant children... and the crisis that brings two distant hearts together.




I've got two copies of "Their Surprise Daddy" to give away today, a perfect way to kick off "Easter Monday"!  

Leave a comment and I'll put you in the drawing... and come on inside, grab some coffee or some sweet tea and tell me what unnerves you about this business... Or what you love about it!  Feel free to talk here. It's just you and me.... and a cast of thousands. :)
                                                        

Multi-published author Ruthy Logan Herne loves to write sweet books, talk with people,
bake delicious treats and eat chocolate.... while drinking coffee. You can find her (and friendher!) on Facebook, e-mail her at loganherne@gmail.com or give her a shout out @Twitter @RuthLoganHerne.... With over forty novels and novellas in print, Ruthy loves what she does... and loves to share what she's learned with others!

135 comments :

  1. Ruthy, congrats on the new book baby "Their Surprise Daddy"!! I sure am loving that cover, Love Inspired has some of the most beautiful ones out there in my humble opinion ;-)

    You've already hooked this reader with your words (think Double S Ranch) and I've had "Peace in the Valley" on pre-order for MONTHS now! I pretty much have any of your books on my must-have list until the end of time, lol! I'm happy to contribute my hard-earned $ for a good book by any great author out there :-) Because that means they can write even MORE books...a win/win for all!

    I'll grab a cup of coffee with you and add my name to the cat dish for a copy of "Their Surprise Daddy". Thanks for the chance :-)

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    1. Trixi, I'm tucking your name into the cowboy hat right now, my friend!!! And HUGE thank yous for pre-ordering "Peace in the Valley"... oh my stars, I hope you love it, Trixi!!!!

      And I should make a t-shirt with your rationale.... about buying books so we can write more books! :) You're the best!

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  2. Hi Ruth:

    I believe it is 'the love of money that is the root of all evil' . Given the way churches go after money, if it was money itself, then the churches might just as well might be said to be the root of all evil.

    BTW: I read you book title twice in a row as "Their Surplus Daddy", and I thought, "What's Ruth up to now!" Do you think you could do a ook with that title? What would a 'surplus' Daddy be?

    Copywriting hint: Even though you are writting an ad that will appear to millions on tv, when you create the ad, write it as if you are in your best prospect's home and you are giving them honest heart-to-heart advice. If you see yourself as writing to millions, you will write 'advertisingese'! Make it real. Don't make it sound like romance novel copy. This is what we teach our cub copywriters.

    What happened to the cat dish? Please ender me in the drawing for a cowboy book.

    Vince

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    1. Vince, good morning! And you're absolutely right, I was paraphrasing the modern from the historic....

      And surplus daddies???? I'll have to think on that one, LOL!!!

      And that's great advice about the marketing strategy. I take that to heart with every book. I want the readers to identify with characters, or at the very least to recognize them as people in their neighborhood or church or local diner...

      Sage advice, my friend! Thank you!

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    2. Vince,
      Our church does a time, talent, treasure talk only once a year...and it's done by someone other than the pastor. The emphasis of the talk is really on time and talent, sharing our gifts, etc. Guess I'm taking exception to your "churches go after money" comment. :) Interesting though that the donations keep increasing because of our dynamic faith community and the many ways people are touched and brought closer to Christ.

      Just my two cents this Easter Monday! Wishing you and your sweet wife hugs and love!

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  3. Hi Ruthy! Love that you are talking money. In 16 months I won't have a day job and I'd like to make money writing. Honesty here: I have at times felt guilty for thinking that. Now I'm not going to. I'll just keep pushing toward that goal.

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    1. And I definitely want my name in the drawing!

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    2. This sounds planned. Is this planned, Terri, or a surprise? My job ending was a SURPRISE, YOUR CEO IS BEING INDICTED FOR FRAUD!!!

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    3. Terri, I love folks like Dave Ramsey who talk about money and common sense because it's important stuff, right? And that 16 months goes by quickly... and sometimes not quickly enough! :)

      There should be no guilt. I didn't feel guilty taking my tips off tables for eleven years of waitressing... or my paychecks working with emotionally disturbed kids for nine years... or for matching beautiful brides with beautiful wedding gowns... or for diapering and feeding and teaching "littles" for sixteen years....

      So it always surprises me when Christian authors get nervous about being paid. We're so silly!!!

      And this isn't because I have a big love affair going with money. I don't. I like humble folks, and just enough... but I sure do like getting paid after eight years of writing and not getting paid! I figure by the time someone's writing us a check, oh good golly, Miss Molly, we've EARNED IT!!! :)

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  4. I want to be paid for my writing and I don't wear makeup anymore. There you go.

    The end.

    But I still eat donuts. So passing them out now. Maple and chocolate are the best.

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    1. I love donuts. And I agree on make-up and paychecks.

      And Alicia Keys is stinkin' beautiful.

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    2. I, too, want to be paid for my writing and I don't wear makeup anymore . . . except when I leave the house because I don't want to scare anyone!

      Good thing I don't leave the house much.

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    3. I'll take a maple please. No make-up but do put on sunscreen and cream for dry skin.

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    4. I never put on makeup until it is time for me to leave the house!

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    5. Count me in as a low-maintenance gal, too. Powder and a little lipstick occasionally. *Maybe* blush and eye shadow for ACFW, though. :-)

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    6. I put on makeup everyday...unless I'm sick in bed. And I want to be paid for my writing. That's my validation...the proof that I'm doing something right. Publication was my goal because that meant I could catch an editor's eye and hold her attention with my story. Even today, having a manuscript accepted by my editor is my bottom line. So is the paycheck.

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    7. AMEN and AMEN to all the above. Can I add, I also want to stay in my yoga pants to write?

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    8. Me, too, Sharee!! Elastic waistband and stretchy fabric--the ONLY way to write!

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    9. Sharee, I love the yoga pants! I don't own any because the world is not ready for THAT, but I own jammie pants... :) So I understand the comfort level thing!

      Debby Giusti, you are always so stinkin' gorgeous, that might give me reason enough to start using makeup again, right there. You and Janet Dean!!!!

      I stopped because of my rosacea, there were so few products that worked all right without me reacting to them... that it seemed counter-productive.

      But I do get a kick out of Alicia Keys on The Voice, not being crazy about her weight and no makeup and looking gorgeous.

      Of course she started off that way.

      SIGH............. ;)

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    10. LOL, Tina. You crack me up. Thanks for the laugh!

      I love makeup and I don't leave my house without mascara and lipstick.

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  5. Hi Ruthy! Great post! I certainly don't feel guilty making money in my day job, so why would I when it comes to getting paid to write. Hard work is hard work and we should be compensated. I love the photos! Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Jill, thank you! Exactly... And this doesn't mean I'm out to break-the-bank, but it's funny how weirded out we can get talking about money.

      Silly us!!!

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  6. Your new book looks great! Please put my name in the hat. I'm anxiously awaiting Peace in the Valley since I enjoyed the first two books in the series. Who needs make up? God made us each beautiful in our own way...especially when you are pictured with cute grandkids.

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    1. Bettie, I agree like 125%!!!! :) I'm putting your name into this cowboy hat and I hope you love Peace in the Valley when it comes out... Thank you for stopping by in your busy day!!!

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  7. Happy birthday to Tracey Hagwood!!!!I hope you have a wonderful day, my friend!!!! I brought cake! Your favorite!!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Ruthy! I just love you to death (or life, let's go with love you to life) you are the sweetest! My birthday fun started yesterday with an Easter/birthday dinner combo at my daughters. There were 2 different cakes there, chocolate and orange/pineapple/coconut. Ate some of both,yum! All this birthday fun has me hoping I fit in my plane seat tomorrow, yikes! On my way to Florida for some sister time. Cruz and Rory will be joining me on the beach there. They'll be tucked inside my library tote from Tina for safekeeping. I finished Peace in the Valley, wonderful ending to the Stafford brothers trilogy. I've already written my review and have it waiting in the wings.

      On the subject of Money/Guilt. Why? You know, the bible says "a worker is WORTHY of his wages" or another way of saying it, "The laborer is WORTHY of his reward". Did you catch the WORTHY part? You and all hard working writers are WORTHY to receive what you've worked for. Don't ever feel bad about that.

      Thanks for the birthday cake, why not 3 cakes, lol?!

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    2. Happy birthday, Tracey! Have a wonderful time at the beach!

      Signed,
      Envious.

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    3. Happy Birthday, Tracey! Have a wonderful day.

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    4. Happy Birthday, Tracey!!!!!

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    5. Thank you Myra, Sandy and Kav!
      So sweet of all of you!!

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    6. Happy Birthday, Tracey!!! What a delightful day on which to be born. I birthed an April 15th baby. We were with her over the weekend to celebration Easter and her birthday. So fun!!!

      I've brought a bouquet of helium balloons and cupcakes to celebrate YOU, Tracey! Jelly beans too! (I love jelly beans...almost as much as I love chocolate!)

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    7. Thanks Debby, I'll just top my cupcake with those jelly beans!

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    8. I'm glad you loved Peace in the Valley, Tracey! Me, too.... I was so pleased with how it came out, and heaven bless those editors that worked with me!!!

      Debby, we've got a lot of March-April-May birthdays in this family and it certainly seems that summer romance must abound here in the north!!!!!

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    9. Happy Birthday Tracey. Hope your special day is extra blessed.

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    10. Thanks DebH, my fellow Virginian!

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  8. Morning Ruthie! So happy to see your face on Seekerville this morning. I've sworn off processed sugar and fast food since 3/10 so no sugary goodies in hand, but I've brought freshly brewed French roast coffee, darknand fragrant.
    Your post drew me into a reread of the parable of the talents in Matthew. The servant who buried his talent (coin) given to him by his master was rebuked, but the two who invested and spread the coins were told: 23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master." same with our writing - we need to be involved in our books making $$ even when marketing and promo is tedious and seems ineffective.

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    1. Jenna, I agree... and I'm never embarrassed about getting paid, but some folks are and it begs the question of why?

      There's such a ginormous difference between getting paid for work and worshipping money.... And maybe that's what folks confuse?

      Good for you going off sugar!!!! I'm so proud of you.

      I'm enjoying the coffee! THANK YOU!!!

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  9. We pay our pastors, don't we? Or we should...It is a delicate balancing dance but I agree, we should not feel guilty. "The worker is worthy of his hire."
    Money FREES US UP for service.
    Please enter me in the drawing for a book.
    I have a housekeeping question. What time does the blog close each day? I have a temp job that starts at 8 a.m., in another city, and I have to leave, like, five minutes ago. How late do you go into the evening? If I get home and you're done, guess I'll just read the comments.
    Please pray for me this week. I just sent out my requested revise-and-resubmit. Cut 20,000 words, the subplot and all POV except the H and H, recasting everything from their eyes. The publishing house that requested the R&R has published a couple of friends of mine, who are not any better than I am (OH THAT DID NOT COME OUT RIGHT), so it's a possibility. It's an open door.
    Tracey, I just retired and I can feel the strain slipping from me.
    Everybody have a good day,
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Kathy, congratulations on the revise and resubmit and on making those mega revisions! Praying for you!

      I think when the blog closes depends on the Seeker or guest. I respond to comments the next day if they come in late. Sometimes the day after that. Those people are in the drawing. I wouldn't expect guests to come back to check.

      Janet

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    2. Hi Kathy, congrats on the retirement, so happy for you!

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    3. What Janet said, Kathy. We have morning Seekers and night owl Seekers and everything in between. So come early or come late, and somebody (eventually) will be back to peek in and say hi.

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    4. I will be praying for you, Kathy, as you do your revising. Best of luck to you!

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    5. Kathy, usually we try and go back and see if there were late-day comments.... and then answer them the following day. I'm an early-to-bed East Coast gal so that means my checkout time is earlier than others....

      AND I LOVE MY PILLOW!!!

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    6. And, good for you on the revisions!!! Those sound like sensible revisions, to narrow the scope of POV's (we alllllll wrote multiple POVs for a while, Kathy, and I believe Julie even had a dog or a horse POV in A Passion Most Pure the first time I read it in a contest!!!! :)

      You dove in and did the work.... Yay you!!!!

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    7. KATHY, praying for your revise-and-resubmit, my friend, so you go, girl!!

      LOL, RUTHY, nope, no animal POVs, I promise, although I did have a POV for an anti-hero once who acted like an animal ... ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  10. Ruthy, congrats on your latest release! Now that we're talking money and sales, I wonder sometimes if authors have devalued their work by selling eBooks at ridiculously low prices or free to the point that readers expect books to be free. I know the hope is the low price will draw and hook readers so they'll buy normally priced books but I'm not sure we're seeing that. I applaud our Villagers who love free, sure, but also buy our books.

    As to makeup, I have no problem making revisions to my books or my face. ;-) Though when I'm just at home writing, I go without.

    Janet

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    1. I've had those same thoughts, Janet. Seems like the "get it for free or super-cheap" mentality is rampant.

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    2. I've been thinking about the peril of the low cost of ebooks too, Janet and Myra. (Egads -- was that comma properly positioned?!) The best way readers can support the authors they love is to buy at least some of their books at full price. I realize that not everyone can afford to do that but recommending books to your library for purchase doesn't cost a thing but will still net a sale (often multiple sales) for an author. It just takes a bit of time to fill out the forms each month.

      So many readers I've talked to have a skewed idea of what a reasonable price for a book is and $2.99 seems to be the highest they are willing to pay. That's a direct result of ebook sales.

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    3. Kav, recommending books to your library is a great way to support authors!

      I'm surprised at the lid of $2.99. I think of LIs as reasonably priced books but they're more. I'm uneasy where this will lead for traditional publishing.

      Janet

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    4. I agree.... I've used the .99 pricing on my old books, but I don't think it's a smart idea. I pay fair pricing for everything in life... and I love a good sale!!!.... but undercutting the value is not smart on our part, and you guys are absolutely correct!

      Kav, I see the 2.99-to-4.99 as the current go-to prices for the successful indie authors. I'm not sure how this range works individually, but it's worth checking into, isn't it?

      And Janet, I think people reason that without the middleman, we can charge less and make money. Just like going to Sam's Club or Costco, etc.... and that's true, but it makes it tough for the traditional publishers to compete...

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    5. Ruthy, opportunity with traditional publishing just gets tighter and tighter. I want them to succeed. But also like authors have options with indie. Wondering how all this will play out.

      Janet

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  11. Good morning, Ruthy! Coming out of lurkerdom, lured by the smell of coffee. :) I totally agree with this--there's nothing wrong with exercising financial wisdom in any work we undertake, including the ministry of writing! (And money buys coffee, so...hey. Important.) Congratulations on your latest release!!

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    1. Laurel, thank you! It's been a busy couple of months around here, and I've had fun finishing up the fall/winter books for 2017 and 2018... while releasing these! And I was so grateful for blessed Easter to offer sweet respite!!!!

      Glad the coffee brought you out of the shadows, lovely lady!

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  12. Hi Ruthy! Congrats on Their Surprise Daddy. I hope to start reading it later this week, so don't add me to the drawing.

    Thanks for the reminder it's okay to make money on the stories we write.

    I hope you all have a great week!

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    1. Jackie, I hope you love it! SUCH CUTE KIDS.... oh, little Javi and Lily, they just grabbed my heart and would not let go!!! And I loved bringing another big, bold Manhattan money-maker back to his hometown...

      Now so far this only works in FICTION because my two boys are firmly ensconced in NYC.

      The brats!!!!

      :)

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  13. Money! Money... Money? We are called to be good steward in everything, including our books and including our money.

    Your book looks really cute.

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    1. Boo, it's such a good book! :) I love it to pieces!

      And yes, that money stewardship is huge... and something we should all be aware of as Christians, right? But first (of course!) we have to earn it!!! :) And I'm so proud of you starting young!

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  14. Ruthy - I'm so excited for you with the Release of Their Surprise Daddy and also the upcoming PITV. Both beautiful!
    Maybe it should be an author's goal to get to the place where a reader would buy the book simply because an author they love wrote it. YOU are that author for me!

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    1. Oh, Cindy, thank you so much!!! You just made my day... And you're right, that's such a good goal. That means a lot to an author, when folks love their work enough to just grab hold!

      I'm smiling!!!!!

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  15. What a wonderful post! I loved your story about the lady who went the distance so her son could win an ipad. What an inspiring story. And you are so right! This is a business and we need to treat it as such. We can honor God in all we do AND not go into the poor house to do it. :) I try to honor Him while teaching kindergarten and although I love my job, I wouldn't volunteer to do it for free, so why should my writing be any different? Congratulations on your latest release! I can't wait to read it!

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    1. LeAnne, that is exactly my point and you said it perfectly!!!!

      And I loved that story, too... I love parents that go the distance for their kids, and how they find creative ways to set that example.

      Your analogy was WONDERFUL!!!!!

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  16. Ruthy, I agree. There's no shame in wanting to make money in our writing career. I started writing because I thought I would enjoy it. But also because I wanted to make some money while staying home with my kids. Of course they were nearly grown by the time I sold my first book! LOL

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    1. Missy, ain't that the truth on both sides??? Laughing!

      But you made it, and that's clutch! And I agree, being paid is actually a good thing... I don't even blink when I'm buying a new song or downloading a new Christmas CD.... because music inspires me to be a better, more thoughtful person... So I just see it as an investment in my soul.

      I love my soul!!!!

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  17. Congratulations, Ruthy!

    You definitely encourage and God's love flows through you in your writing.

    May continue to God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Thank you, Phyllis!!!!! What a beautiful thing to say!

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  18. Yes, it's about the money. It is for the publisher and for the writer.
    As long as you don't sell out my morals to make money, as no one here would, there should never be guilt. I have a friend who wrote a story about suing God in a court of law. (This was before God is Not Dead and similar stories.) He and his wife are atheists and hate everything about God. There was no doubt if he got his work in front of right publisher, he'd have a hit on his hands.

    It always encourages me to know their is a large Christian market out there. People yearn for good stories and we ought to give it to them.

    And I love the common sense advice of Dave Ramsey!

    Thank you Ruthy for this post!

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    1. Connie.... Now I have to think about suing God...

      :)

      The irony of suing someone you don't believe in.

      And I love that you see the difference between selling and selling out so plainly! That's so true, that's a great line of demarcation.

      And yeah, Ramsey rocks. Straightforward and sensible! LOVE IT!!!!

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  19. Congratulations on your new release, Ruthy! And a great reminder. I can tend to feel guilty about the money thing, but everything is a balance.

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    1. Amber, so many of us do!!! And when we look at it frankly, we see the common sense of the situation, but it's kind of funny how folks see it...

      It is okay to get paid... and okay to share as we are able!

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  20. Sage advice good friend. Yes, if we are working so hard, we need to be paid. And why not paid well??? You do work hard and I'm so tickled to see you reaping the reward. Happy writing and Happy Easter Week.

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    1. Oh, Sandra, thank you!!!

      And it's funny, you and I worked hard for a lot of years without getting paid... we all did.


      So that's got to factor into something, right?

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  21. Thanks for a great post, Ruthy! I have heard that some people think if you are a Christian writer, you shouldn't get paid. But that is ridiculous, of course. I have submitted lots of short stories and articles over the years to many publications, but I have never sent to those that don't pay. I have submitted to some that only paid $5, but it was still pay! :) So I have always expected to be paid.

    Please put me in the drawing for your book!

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    1. Sandy, yes! I've never understood those people who say that (and it's not just a few....) The thought that work should be construed as a volunteer effort is fine, if we're volunteering... but when you're working, that paycheck comes in mighty handy for the mortgage and taxes, etc.!

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  22. I always love a good kick-in-the-seat from Ruthy...especially on a Monday morning! :-) Seriously! Thank you for validating the desire/need to be a ministry in writing as well as make some money at it. "The worker is worthy of his wages." (1 Timothy 4:18)

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    1. IT'S SO WEIRD BEING HERE ON MONDAY!!! I WAS FINISHING A FINAL READ-THROUGH OF "THE LAWMAN'S YULETIDE BABY" (November, Love Inspired) and almost FORGOT Seekerville... because it's not THURSDAY!!!!

      YIKES!

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    2. And I loved, loved, loved that Easter pic of your family yesterday... oh it was so beautiful!!!!!

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  23. RUTHY, I love this! Writing's work. God created work. He also expects us to use good judgment in accordance with our gifts. "Freebies" have their place, but I agree with MEGHAN above-- "The worker is worthy of his wages."

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    1. Cynthia, I agree... and when I read the story of the late harvesters, and getting paid...

      God understands the need for financing in the earthly realm....

      And Meghan is SMART! :)

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  24. You are such an entrepreneur, Ruthy! The saying about taking lemons and making lemonade fits you to a T! Plus, you're a gifted salesman. You're CEO of your company...and I love seeing it do so well!

    Regrettably, I am so NOT a salesman. You want to buy my book? Really? Are you sure? Here, let me give it to you instead. LOL! I need a business manager, which I keep telling my hubby. He continues to decline the offer. :)

    Wishing everyone Easter blessings! He is Risen! Such a joyous day!!!

    Did you see the jelly beans I've brought to celebrate Tracey's birthday? What's your favorite color? I love, love, love red jelly beans!!! Yum!



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    1. I love fruity jelly beans. I LOVE THEM. I can sit and eat a whole bag, it's ridiculous. And I love licorice jelly beans...

      BUT MISSY TIPPENS likes those weird ones, with all the odd flavors and I can't do it, Debby... it offends my delicate sensibilities to have pepper jam and hot buttered popcorn and pancakes and maple and strawberry cheesecake... all mixed together.

      I AM A JELLY BEAN PRUDE!!!!!

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  25. I can't imagine any avid reader thinking that authors expect nothing from their hours of 'toil and labor'. As I continue to follow all of you Seekers I realize more and more just how much work you do to get your stories in print. I applaud you and your fellow authors and I hope that all of you continue to succeed in what God has called you to do.
    Please enter my name for your new release.
    Thank you and Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, thank you for your kind words!!! I think we've got a two-fold thing going on... the age of cheap and free e-stories on Amazon.... and writers feeling guilty about making money.

      Which is silly, right?

      But we'll keep encouraging folks to buy (at reasonable prices, I love a great sale myself!!!) and authors to sell, the same way! We're at one of those turning points of time... and it's an interesting corner to turn, for sure!

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  26. Ruthy, I loved this post and it couldn't have been more perfectly timed. Yes, I want to be paid to write. As my wise son says, "love what you do and you never work a day in your life." Writing is HARD work. The hardest I've ever done (and I had a government career). But I love to write.

    Oh and Their Surprise Daddy looks soooo good. So yes, please can I get tossed in the drawing basket?

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    1. Sharee, (with your cute yoga pants!!!!) I'm tossing you right in! And I agree with your son, I love what I do so much, that I use it as my reward for the mundane.... Get the kitchen clean, an hour to write... One hour painting, one hour writing! :) And when I cut my day job down to 25 hours/week, then it was like VACATION TO WRITE time! YAY!!!!!

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  27. RUTHY, congrats on your release of Their Surprise Daddy!

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    1. Caryl, I love, love, love this story. Thank you!!!!

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  28. Ruthy, first of all, congratulations on your newest release!

    Secondly, I so appreciate your reminder to us that it's not wrong, or ungodly to want to reach many with the stories God places on our hearts. It's not wrong to want to strive for more. It's not wrong to desire to be paid for writing. I want to be published. I want to glorify God, and He can enable both to become reality. I needed this reminder today.

    Thank you!

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    1. Jeanne, I came to this conclusion by reading other authors and realizing (duh!) how their work inspired me to see things more clearly and to be a better person... and I didn't mind paying for the privilege!

      LIGHT BULB MOMENT! :)

      So when that call finally came, I realized that God had opened a big door for me... and that hard work would help keep it open.

      And that made absolute sense then, to get paid for that work.

      SUHWEEEET!

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  29. Of course it's about the money!

    Because if we weren't able to make money writing, we'd have to spend less time doing it and more time earning money some other way.

    But I LOVE this writing gig - I get too write God-honoring stories AND keep our financial heads above water. What can be better?

    Thanks for the great post, Ruthy! And I can't wait to read the next Grace Haven book!

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    1. Please excuse the error. It should be "to" not "too." You know I know that. :)

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    2. Laughing!!!! And in total agreement about the money for goods and services and the to/too/two dilemma, LOL!

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  30. "A worker is worthy of his wages" - that's my take on things. My problem is I am terrible at "promoting" myself. The Lord has blessed me with a lot of talent and I tend to sell myself short (according to my boss, no less). I guess it comes from the time I stood up in front of classmates and mentioned my talents and skills and got some serious backlash for being a self-centered braggart.
    As for ebook prices, I feel guilty for all the times I've won books here at Seekerville because my book budget more often than not cannot handle all the Seeker books I want to buy. Lots of times I wait for the "sales" so I can get the back-log of Seeker books I've been wanting. I think the LI books are priced just fine. My wince limit is books over $15. (I can get three LI's for that price.)

    I'm hoping to finish Peace in the Valley soon so I can post a review lickety-split. I love letting people know about Seeker books. Guaranteed awesome reads!!!!!

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    1. p.s. Kermit arm flails of happiness over the newest release of Their Surprise Daddy.

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    2. Deb, I think you made a great point.... and don't get me wrong, it's okay to wait for SALES!!!! We all do it. And I'm thrilled that the price point for May LIs is 35% OFF.... I should have put that in the BLOG!!!!!

      So they're only $3.88 at WALMART.... Oh my stars, THAT IS A GREAT PRICE!!!!! And to have the Double S Cowboy series in the running at $5.98.... My readers can find "me" and buy me exactly where they find and buy my LI books, and that's brilliant on the part of Waterbrook/Random House!

      GO THEM!!!!!

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  31. Boy, RUTHY, if anybody can preach this message, it's you, girlfriend!!

    LOVE the story about woman shooting for 7,000 calories to bless her son!! Now I could sure do that, too, if it were to GAIN 7,000 calories ... ;)

    LOL over the quote: "When they say "it's not about the money"... you can bet that its about the money!"

    I would mostly agree with that, although when I said that early in my career, I truly meant it because it wasn't so much about the money as growing my readership, which may sound like one and the same, but it wasn't for me. It wasn't until my third series that I started feeling like maybe it would be nice to make a little more money with all the effort I was putting forth. I still didn't get too upset when it didn't happen moneywise, but I did start to see it as an indicator that my career was not growing the way I'd hoped despite my extreme efforts. That's when I found myself focusing more on the money, and it so tore me down, that it was one of the factors in my taking my sabbatical to refocus and revamp.

    I do believe it takes hard work to succeed, but I also believe that success does not come as easily to everyone (equating "luckier" with more successful here), nor does it always come to everyone, but it's for sure it won't come at all without the hard work.

    Hugs!
    Julie

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    1. I love that woman's story from "The Biggest Loser", too, Jules. It's such a great example...

      And you know when you start out in category there are no big advances... I didn't care about a big advance then or now...

      But what I love is that they truly do reward the hard work of production and then you get paid commensurately for your work.

      So while the advances were low, the rewards were high, stretched over years... and then higher still because I'm on book 22 for them and with e-readers now, the books keep selling!

      This is an awesomely wonderful time to be on board with this kind of stuff.

      I've never cared about big money... you know that. And I'm not a contest person....

      But I love what I do so much, that I did get lucky to be grabbed by Love Inspired... and to have a similar mindset with them to produce regularly and build a readership... And I think our fun collections helped that readership, too. I'm so glad we did them!!!

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  32. Congrats on your latest book Ruth.
    Money can and is the root of evil for many people. It is sad to say.
    Keep up the wonderful writing.
    CherylB1987 AT hotmail DOT com

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    1. Cheryl, money, lust, power, greed.... there are reasons for those deadly sins, aren't there? We tend to long for more... never fully satisfied. But you're right, it doesn't have to be the root of all evil... because we've got that wonderful free will!

      And that's such a blessing.

      Thank you for the congrats and the compliment!!!

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  33. Ruthy! I hear you, lady. I have two kids to support! I thank God nearly every day that I can support my family by writing. Thank you, God, for giving me sales! Thank you, God, for contracts and favor and popularity! Because without them, I might be baking bread at Panera or somewhere. And while that's all well and good, I'd much rather share a little Jesus with my readers. ;-)

    Stay tuned for my Seekerville post in May about how to be successful at writing and making some moulah! :D

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    1. And I think the word says it's the LOVE of money--the greed for it--that's the root of all evil. Money itself is just an object. It's what we do with it and how we feel about it that gets us in trouble sometimes.

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    2. Also, see the parable of the talents. God doesn't want us to bury what he's given us in the sand. He wants us to use it! Another parable says to be like the shrewd manager and use your money to make friends--in other words, to use your talents and wealth to do the Lord's work.

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    3. I agree wholeheartedly with you Melanie. Also, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your books. :)

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    4. I am in full agreement... and you're right, I used the modern paraphrasing (I do that a lot!)

      I am so delighted with your success, and it's a wonderful thing to do a job you love and support your family. God is good... :)

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  34. Replies
    1. Hahahahahahaha! You're so funny!!! :) Thank you!

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  35. Wonderful post, Ruthy - - you are so wise.
    Congratulations on your newest release, and also congrats on ALL your books---WOW!! I am still amazed at how your writing career has taken off and you've published SO many books already! :) A true inspiration.
    As you know I already have my copy of THEIR SURPRISE DADDY, and will begin reading this week!! (was trying to finish several other books I've been reading---wish I was a speed-reader, LOL). ;)
    Happy Birthday to Tracey H. and I'm enjoying the goodies that sweet DEBBY GIUSTI has set out - - YUM!! (Debby, I also love jelly beans---in fact just ate one before writing this comment, hehe!). :)
    Thanks again, Ruthy---you are truly amazing!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. mmm.... Jelly beans!!!! Thank you, Patti Jo!!! And now Easter has come and I can enjoy those delicious candies!!! The first ones: Ferraro Rocher.... and Harry and David! :) And I'm so excited about it, isn't that like being a little kid????

      I hope you love "Their Surprise Daddy". I just loved writing that story... and I just finished edits on the November follow-up story.

      Oh be still my heart, I cried three times.

      THREE.

      Ridiculous! :)

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  36. Excellent post. I actually wouldn't be opposed to earning money for my books especially since I am entering the stage in life where I can no longer piggyback on my parents' income and I'll actually have to go out and *shudder* get a job in *gasp* the real world.

    Unless...
    That is unless I could actually eke out a living off of my writing which would be WAAAAY preferable to say, getting a job at *shudder* Walmart. Just sayin', you've got to take these things into consideration.

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    1. Nicki.... I disagree. I encourage all the young people I've helped raise (my own and other people's) to get out and work a service job or several service jobs. There's nothing like being in the work force and OF the work force to teach us how to develop plots and characters... don't dread the job. Embrace it, sweet thing! The best thing you can do is gather all the experiential learning you can!

      Delete
    2. My plots are based on life's experience. I wouldn't have that benefit if I hadn't worked. While I am no longer able to have a job, due to health. I am hampered with my writing because I don't have money for editers, writer conferences etc.

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    3. I suppose that's so... but most of my stories wouldn't really center around a workplace anyway, at least not the ones I've got plotted at the moment. They're all about fantasy and the such. I wouldn't mind working at a Medieval Faire, that's for sure.

      Another thing is if I 'm working eight hours, that would be a lot less time spent on writing. I would get less writing done, and I'm not even all that fast of a writer anyway.

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  37. I needed to hear this today. I have felt guilty for wanting to make money by writing and building up for retirement....and being able to write IN retirement. You see, we lost everything about 8 years ago in a failed church plant and find ourselves starting over in our late 40's. Yikes! I've struggled with the whole calling/writing/ministry/money bit, but this post was excellent and really got the kinks out of my knotted up thinking.

    Thank you!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Sherrinda, we had the ups and downs of money problems and job loss, too, so I hear you... and I knew God wanted me to write, it's like I've always known it... but I had to carve out that time and when I did it was firmly to change from day jobs to writing as the day job when the time is right... and to be able to write throughout my retirement years, LOL! I'm retiring to do what I love best, so then it's not even work... it's joy! When we compare it to other ministries requiring and deserving a paycheck.... Yes! Apples to apples! I'm so glad it helped!!!

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  38. People always ask me if I would write full time if I could. My answer is that writer's have lousy health care, so I'm doing what I can to keep my day job.

    Granted, this is money in a different form, but money nonetheless.

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    1. Walt, I agree. And unless we go NYT bestseller rogue... or a system of huge contracts drops in our laps (unlikelier than ever these days), making a living writing is tricky with no benefits... and a 15% Self-employment tax.

      So if my day job covers that self-employment tax, YES! :) And I'm paying healthcare, so you know that's no small change every month.

      We do what we have to do, and I'm just as pleased taking money for a contracted book as I am for teaching kindergartners how to read and babies how to walk! What a blessing to have two jobs I love so much!

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  39. Congrats on a new release! I will have to look for it. I picked up Home on the Range a couple of weeks ago.

    When I write my aim is to strengthen other Christians. Also with a prayer that perhaps someone reading will desire to be a Christian.

    I hope your Easter was wonderful.

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    Replies
    1. Wilani, those are great goals.... I think it's wonderful to truly honor God and our faith with our work, too. And HUGE THANK YOUS for picking up "Home on the Range", Wilani!!! I hope you love it!

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  40. I feel like I'm having to fight my way into Seekerville today. The blog doesn't seem to recognize me. I finally made it. FOR NOW.
    Maybe it was something I said?

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    Replies
    1. It could have been SO MANY THINGS you've said, darling!

      Delete
  41. People with a dream....also need a good day job.

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    1. Amen. The day job has paid for the privilege to write for years... it's only the last 18 months I was able to downsize it from 50 hrs/week to 25/week.... And I love all this extra time and I still get to hang out with young families. That makes me happy!

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  42. A quote I remember from years ago. Calvin and Hobbes, someone was wearing a ridiculous hat and Calvin says, "I'm always amazed at the things people would rather have than money."

    There's some wisdom in the comedy.

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    1. Hahahahahahahaha!

      That's so funny! No accounting for taste, right? :) And have you ever noticed that people (the humans among us) get kind of critical if other people spend their money "foolishly" in their eyes...

      As if it's their business.

      Folks get stranger than strange.

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  43. Loved this, Ruthy. Thank you for making me feel less guilty about needing to make money. I wish I could write just for fun (which would certainly be fun!), or just to help people (which I would also love), but I need to earn money, too, no getting around it. I'm grateful for a husband who is paying the bills (and cooking most of the meals) while I try. Thanks again!

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    1. Laura, isn't this the funniest misplaced guilt in the world??? And I'm sure part of that is our faith... and part because we're tender-hearted women... and part because we've got sacrificial natures, all great things!

      But there's no other job that I can think of where there's this occasional expectation that work should be given away....

      I know for me the goal of a traditional publisher believing that my work was strong enough to attract a readership was a huge motivator... Because I love people! I love touching hearts and souls. Gosh, it's amazing!

      Let's declare a no-guilt allowed zone.... :)

      I think it's a great idea!

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  44. There is no shame in wanting to have your words be published, or help others, or earn money. A calling can also be a profession. Ask any minister or priest or doctor or teacher...
    And there you go.


    Once again, your gift with words has expressed an idea succinctly. Thank you, Ruthy!

    Nancy C

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  45. Perfect timing as always, Ruth. Because tonight I'm doing my taxes. And by 'doing my taxes' I mean providing random bits of data as my husband does them.
    That said, every year, it's the same thing. All the effort of writing boiled down to hard numbers. Writing for publishing is business. Businesses that don't make any money don't get to stay in business for long.
    So, yes. I write and try to make a profit.

    That's my goal.

    Would I write for free?

    Yes. But I wouldn't be pulling these sixteen hour days for free! I couldn't afford to. I don't see the sin in it. I see the sense in it.

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    1. Stephanie, yes, exactly. And publishers work those numbers, too... And Amazon has its own set of numbers... I know when I/we talk numbers and dollars it's prosaic, but I know a lot of authors shy away from the money talk of the business. Partially it's because publishers like a vow of silence.... Well, it's 2017, Amazon has rocked the world and the vow of silence veil has been lifted.

      So we should be big and brave and bold enough to talk about the business angles of writing as well as the spiritual gifts... The sense in it gives us the clarity we need to plan ahead and move forward.

      And yes, taxes.... Ay yi yi. :)

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  46. I love this reminder. Without sales we won't get more books published. No more chances to share the message God has put on our heart.

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  47. I really enjoyed this post, Ruthy! Thank you. I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband is a teacher. I am writing to make money. I love writing and I want my JOB to be writing. Until I make money, it's a hobby.

    What I'm trying to figure out at this stage is if I want to go after a traditional publisher or try to self-publish. Whatever path, I'm going to work my tail off and offer it up to God.

    I've been thinking a lot about Jesus' "Parable of Talents." A talent was a very large sum of money, some say worth as much as a million dollars. The master gave more than enough to each of his servants and just as he expected them to generate a return, so does God expect the same of us with the talents he's given us.

    The master also gave to each his servants "according to his ability." So, none of us will be given the same amount with regard to wealth, success or talent, even, but we must still work hard because in the end, we will be held accountable. And of course, because we live in a fallen world, the work is very hard!

    Our talent is not our own, but God's. Just as the master entrusted his money to his servants, so God has entrusted his gifts to us so that we may generate a return FOR HIM.

    I look at that line from the story (v. 29-30) and it's sobering. The servant wasted an amazing opportunity his master gave him and was deemed wicked and lazy. We will each be held responsible for how we used our talents.

    Sorry for the theological discourse! I just felt like it applied to your post, Ruthy. May he bless each of us as we strive to put our talents to good use.

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    1. Josee, I LOVE your discourse! All of it is true. I sometimes have to remember where my talent comes from and rejoice in it...even through the times when no words will come.

      Blessings of clarity, creativity, stamina and inspiration to you, and all Seekers.

      Marcia

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    2. Thanks, Marcia. The same to you!

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  48. Oh, this post was just what I needed! I have been struggling ever since I started contemplating writing as my career. I felt a bit guilty that I would be chasing a career that I loved and hopefully be paid for it someday.

    But this post has cleared things up a bit! If God has given me a talent and a calling then I will put the guilt to the side! Thank you!

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