Saturday, July 7, 2018
A year ago today, the Bluebonnet Child book was printed for publication by Wipf and Stock. I viewed this as an omen of sorts since July 7th is my best friend's birthday. While seeing one's idea printed on paper is exhilarating, hearing folks share of how this lil' book has enhanced their serve to kids truly takes the cake! In honor of this day, I suggest that we all eat cake and that I repost the original PR blog that was shared many moons ago.
Can you picture a child who has fallen through the cracks? You know--that student who makes your job ten-times harder, but it's impossible to stay mad because you know what darkness awaits him at home? Though we don’t quite know how to address it, there are kids like this in every church and I call them Bluebonnet Children. This is their book, and if you have a heart for kids, this books is for you.
The renowned bluebonnet flower grows in poor soil. One would never guess this to be true, but the bright, proud bonnet tells no lies. Not even unkempt soil can keep a bluebonnet from producing its lovely blossoms. People can be similar to the bluebonnet flower. They too can be born into poor soil with environmental and contextual challenges. Kids from neglectful or abusive families are called Bluebonnet Children.
We are trained in Children’s and Family Ministry that the parent is the primary faith nurturer. But what happens to a child who does not have a healthy parent to nourish him?
While it is tempting to leave such work up to the professionals of the courtroom and counseling sessions, the faith community can also play a formative role and act as a supplemental family. This book offers helpful tools and inspiring stories to catalyze the entire congregation towards action. The tale of the Bluebonnet Child is heavy, but in Christ there is hope.
The Bluebonnet Child: Finding Grace in Poor Soil is a ministerial resource that guides readers to adopt the Triple-A Approach. With this approach, they can become more aware of the child’s story, advocate for her needs, and theologically articulate how the healing power of Christ is at work in her life. Each chapter is full of concrete examples and educational tactics that are immediately applicable in one's ministry setting. This is an intentionally short work (twenty-four-thousand words) for the busy practitioner.
The Bluebonnet Child brings a unique voice to the conversation on healing through trauma because it is written from a theological perspective, as opposed to an autobiographical, or psychological/ legal one. Its foundation is James 1:27 which calls the Body of Christ to care for the orphan, the loveless and the fatherless. Unlike similar reads, this book seeks to improve the systemic issues latent within Children’s Ministry programs. The author is well-versed in developing healthy volunteer teams - the bedrock of a Children’s Ministry system. Regardless of a reader’s prior knowledge of theology, psychology, or educational theory, this book will hold his hand and lead him into the light of this dark work. Readers can also earn CEUs for this book through a two-week online class/book club where they can discuss its contents right along with Meg and others.
So if a kid's face came to mind as you read this, may I encourage you?😌 Don't be intimidated by this dark topic. Don't think that only counselors and caseworkers can make a real difference. Don't think praying as you turn down the other aisle is enough. You are needed, and this book will hold your hand as you extend the other out in hope.
Get your copy of The Bluebonnet Child: Finding Grace in Poor Soil on Amazon or shop local at Graves Drug Store Online.
Monday, April 23, 2018
|Jacob, Jackson, and Lindsey share on their book, "The Universe is Indifferent".|
Book signings are always way more enjoyable for the reader (and extroverted authors) when it is accompanied by a Q&A session. I hope you find this helpful and if you are seeking more marketing advice from an actual professional (#notMe), there's no one who will care more about you and the work to which you have been called than George Kao. Seriously--the guy is so accessible, soulful and skilled.
Part 1: Establish Yourself as a Local/Human
Potential buyers love to support their own. Not only does it fill them with pride to have one of their neighbors doing great work, but they are also naturally more curious about said work because of a prior knowledge of you.
Mingle before and after the Q&A session to assist with this. Humanize yourself a bit. You are not just some Times New Roman name on a cover. You are a Cowley resident who is a: father, husband, daughter, and friend who also frequents Winfield’s hot-spot (College Hill Coffee). Kick-off the Q&A session by sharing your favorite CHC drink or where your favorite writing spots are around town.
Part 2: Establish Yourself as Competent
This (sharing a CV of sorts) can simply occur in the intro by the moderator, or through a question. In my experience, it feels most comfortable (to all involved) coming from a voice other than the author's.
Remain authentic and humble. A conceited attitude is a big turn-off for potential buyers. (Pardon me as I state the obvious for you today!😉) Authentic marketing happens naturally when one is promoting something that a) he/she was vocationally called to create and b) he/she truly believes in the benefit it will have on the life of the customer. If these things are in place, humility and authenticity come naturally during marketing-like conversations.
As of 2013, there were 1 million books published each year in America (half of those were self-published). So what puts your book on their wish-list this Holiday?
Donald Miller teaches us to make sure that every moment of marketing passes the “caveman test.” This teaches that since potential buyers are super-busy, any type of pitch we make (spoken/written) needs to be put in such a simplistic (not synonymous to dumbing-down) way that a caveman could understand it. This calls us to use simpler language. Once you have a potential buyer committed, then you can dive deeper with him/her. Keep this in mind as you answer questions from folks who have yet to read your book.
One challenge for this book will be selling it to the non-academic types. No worries, this can be/should be done!
One selling point for this crowd could be, “According to a CBS poll, MadMen was the 13th most watched show on Netflix. Don’t you hate being in a “show-hole”? Ugh--it stinks! It nearly feels like you broke up with someone (“someone” being those fictitious characters that have lived in your TV for two months). The Universe is Indifferent is a cure for the show-hole that finishing MadMen causes. It gives you a chance to remain in that 1960s advertising world. It gives you a sweet reunion with those intriguing characters that you love to hate. It allows you to keep on exploring (while experts hold your hand) the many underlying themes of theology, philosophy, gender equality and so on. Why not make your binge-watching a little more prestigious? Why not see how this eye-opening read can equip you for our current political climate? Books are on sale now!”
Part 4: Establish Yourself as a Trustworthy Resource
In our current political climate, people are seeking out trustworthy resources to help strengthen their views on hot-button issues. You can be this resource.
Share that you are willing (if you are) to come and share at any community organization, class, or book club. Share that this book is only a peek into your repertoire of skills/interests. Share other topics on which you enjoy speaking.
Share your email and social media handles if you have them. These should be verbally shared by you or the moderator, and also placed on a table-tent by the books so people can snap a picture of your contact info. Make contact info very visible, so when questions come to potential buyers two-days later, they can reach out to you. (While social media is important, Maria Forleo teaches that your best marketing tool is your website. Plug it!💪😁💻)
With social media and websites, authors are more available to readers than ever been before, and an author who is interested in being in conversation with her readers will naturally sell more books than those who don’t--especially if the writer is also a practitioner.
If you are a book lover or an author, what would you like to see happen at more author Q&A sessions? Please share these thoughts in the comment section! ❤✌💬
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Have you ever thought you would find joy in writing a book? Have you ever been overwhelmed by all of the online resources for publishing? Are you free for the next five minutes? 😁 If you answered, "yes", to the above questions, you are going to love my tips on getting your first book published.
- Set Your Brain up for Success
- Watch Mel Robbins’ Ted Talk over the “5 Second-Rule” . There are better writers than you who will never get published because they have not trained their brain for success. It is easy to think you can only write whenever you “feel” creative. Ignore this fickle temptation. If you wait to only write when you “feel” creative, your book will never be written. #truth By simply committing and pushing through any sort of “writer’s block” the creative juices will start to flow. As the tools above and below teach, you control your brain. You can teach it to write well whenever you need. Seriously. Mel Robbins and Ruby Wax have transformed my view of the vast capabilities of the mind.
- Read “A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled” by Ruby Wax to also increase your attention and creativity through practicing mindfulness.
- Watch the amount of hesitation when you write. Write from your heart first, and then with your brain.
- Pick a time and space to write that makes it super easy to do the above.
- Stay mentally present and only allow yourself to think about the book during your desired writing time. If ideas for the book come to you outside of this writing time, make a physical note of it and shift your focus back to your day. Allowing your mind to dwell on the book for too many hours can lead to analysis paralysis. This will squash any good idea you have. Yikes! Also, stay present in the writing process. Don’t be thinking about self-marketing as you are writing the first chapter. Force your brain to take it one step at a time.
- My suggested first step would be to write out an outline/contents page for the book. It does not have to be perfect, it just has to be on the paper.
- Want a writing outline template? Here's mine for a nonfiction/ministerial resource book.
- Here's another template for novels.
- Use this to make your weekly to-do list for writing. After prayer and study each morning, I would open up my laptop to my outline and know what my goal for the next hour was. :) It was very calming for me to see my directions. This also encouraged me to take it one step at a time.
- I used google docs, click here to see what they offer for writers. Although, I did run into some issues with end-notes (just an FYI).
- Draft2digital.com (This site is super-easy, but they just do eBooks. No formatting is required on your end, and they do not charge to do it. You will receive 90% of the royalties from your sales.)
- Createspace.com (They do paperbacks and eBooks, but the site is somewhat hard to navigate, and you have to do the formatting, or pay for them to do it. You will also receive 90% of the royalties.)
- Reach out to Rennie at email@example.com .He is a publishing wiz that teaches self-publishing courses and is willing to help. He teaches at www.beadisciple.com .
- Canva.com was used for my book cover.
- Try to be a guest blogger on sites that “sell” a similar product as your book. (This is easier than it sounds.😊 )YOU CAN DO IT!
- Reach out to George Kao at www.georgekao.com (He emphasizes cultivating authentic relationships with your customers/clients. His youtube videos are very helpful.)
- Take Donald Miller’s FREE video course at www.storybrand.com .
- “Make your book stand out on Amazon” with this marketing video with Derek Doepker.
- Create blog/site with googleplus.
- George Kao teaches to not give in and pay money for Twitter followers. You want to grow an authentic followership. You will get hit up constantly for deals like this once you start using #selfpublished #amwriting in your statuses. Ignore them.
- Need a book trailer? Contact Scott at Olney Productions.
- Check out"The 21-Day Publishing Plan", by bestselling author, Michelle Stimpson.
- March and April are the “sweet spots” when it comes to submitting your manuscript to companies. They will have 100+ submissions a year, and they will only choose 10-15. By June they have made their final decisions for books.
- Here is a helpful blog on crafting a great cover letter.
- Need a copy-editor? Email me or Direct Message me for more info.