Matthew 17:20, my favorite verse. "... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting Your Blog Noticed

Now I'm no great blogger, anyone paying attention to the dates of my posts will agree to that. However, I have learned a few things since starting. Such as the use of stats. In stats, it tells how many viewers you've had for each post. Take a look at which posts drew the most attention, which posts drew the second most attention. What was the main subject matter of each? If you want more attention on your blog, perhaps those are the subjects you should concentrate on.

Following is a list of helpful advice I learned online.

1) Tag your post, keywords improve search engine ranking.
2) Post when your readers are most likely to be online. (weekends v/s weekdays)
3) Encourage comments. Have I done that? I love to hear from you, so leave a comment. Your advice helps the blogger.
4) Leave comments on blogs you visit that make yourself known.
5) At the end of the link, add a "related posts thumbnail" plug in.
6) Make sure you choose to have Google automatically pinged when creating your free blog site.

Hope I've been helpful.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How Do I Know If My Book Is Ready For Print

First and foremost, what are your fellow critique partners saying? If you don't have any, odds are you aren't ready. Join a critique group like, American Christian Fiction Writers. Listen well to what people say about your work. With ACFW, they even have an archives section where you can learn for free with your membership. (Which is $50 for the first year, $40 after that.)

When you feel your book is ready, be patient, it's not yet. Your next step is to enter it in a few contest. Study what they judge on and make sure your ms meets their expected standards.

Once the contests results are returned, listen to what they've said. Where do you rank and why? Then ask yourself if your ms is ready.

Here's the results of my efforts.

When I thought my ms was close to being ready, I googled writing contests to see what was available. I chose carefully. The more well known the contests, such as ACFW's Genesis, I knew the less likely I'd be to final. Simply because I was a new author and my book I was entering was my very first ms.

I chose the four contests I entered, based on who the final judge was. Is the person an agent I would be interested in having represent me or an editor from a publishing house I'm pursuing? The first contest coordinator was kind enough to inform me I had been the third finalist until a discrepancy in the judging of another contestant called for a rejudging, which booted me to fourth place. Not bad for a first try.

My second produced little results but my third and fourth were very productive. With my third, not only did I final, but my full ms made it to an editor's desk at Bethany House, a pub house you can't get in without an agent. They did turn me down, but hey, my first ms had done fairly well, so my optimism was still running high.

My fourth and final contest attempt for Abandoned Hearts, landed me exactly where I intended, the desk of Melissa Endlich at Love Inspired, Steeple Hill. Although I hadn't finaled, my score was high enough to earn me Honorable Mention where they forwarded my submission to the final judging editor.

Ms. Endlich told me that although my story was what their readers would like, my writing needed to be strengthened. Fair enough. Even my crit partners had mentioned my writing had improved with each new book I wrote. (note: I did revise Abandoned Hearts and strengthen the writing before publication.)

I hope my experience has given you a better idea of what to expect out of contest and their benefits. And of course, a clearer understanding of how to judge if your book is ready for publication.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Abandoned Hearts is now Published!

I did it, I took the plunge. Now, at Amazon, my book is available for purchase for $.99!