A New Season

This is my fifth year writing "The Monday Marketing Mix." It is also a new season which I want to share with you. The past year and a half I have battled health challenges which have required focus and change for my life. In keeping with that, I have felt led to step back from the heavy schedule I have maintained for the last several years...

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The 5 Most important Tips to Get You and Your Book Featured by the Media

Whether you are a writer or business person, then you know the importance of learning to pitch your ideas quickly and concisely.

I have been on the pitching end of PR to the media and publishers for twenty-five and learned early in this business there is one easy way to catch an interviewers attention. And the best news is anyone can do it. It would be foolish to suggest there is only one correct way to pitch a product. However, I can tell you...

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When the Writing is Done, What's Next is Just as Important

Before launching into today's topic, a big SHOUT OUT to Lisa Cherry for her new book, Like A Flood-Love Boldly. Love Truthfully. Stand Fearlessly in Post-Christian America which released Saturday and hit two bestseller positions that same day:

#1 New Release in Christian Social Issues
#1 New Release in Spiritual Warfare.

     Writing a book is hard. But the task that follows after the writing is where it really gets hard...

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What Does It Take to Release the Gift Within You?

When my kids reached eighth grade, they were given the opportunity to take an aptitude test. It was supposed to evaluate their natural gifts educationally and recommend possible career paths. It was designed to help them recognize their natural abilities. Yet natural abilities are still raw and will lay dormant unless developed. And many people live their entire lives with unrecognized gifts and untapped potential.

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Strip It Down - Making Every Word Count

The rules for the fiction contest were short and sweet-- write a complete short story in 750 words or less--a writing frenzy known as "flash fiction." Flash for obvious reasons. Simple. Not really. Writing less definitely takes more...creative thought. It's about making every word count and eliminating everything unessential to the story. 

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Facebook: Building Platform - Do you Need a Personal Profile or Author Page?

The utilization of social media to grow our platform has gotten to be a rat race hasn't it? You can spend so much time posting updates on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and linking in on LinkedIn that there is little time to do the thing you desire most...to write. And yet, don't despair.

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Never Underestimate the Power of Your Story

According to RR Bowker, there are now over 3 million books published each year. So why should any of us add one more to the mix? 

Because of the power of your story.

     While not every author will obtain a publishing contract for their efforts, let me remind each of you that this is not what determines your worth or the worth of your book. Do not let it be your seal of approval.

     So why should any of us sit down and write our stories. Let me share some important facts.

1. Obedience

     Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, if you feel you are called to write, then how can you do otherwise? If you sense in your heart a mandate to write this message or story within in your heart, then you need to obey. Put your seat in the seat and do it. Remember often times our next piece of the puzzle doesn't become clear until we have walked in obedience to the last instruction we have received.

2. Books are Mentors

     If you're just doing this for money. Then stop here. This message really isn't for you. If you are doing this for ministry. Keep reading.

     My teen and early adult years were in the days long before the mentor crazy took hold. It's vogue to mentor or say you are a mentor in today's society. When I was growing up, this was a concept that few seemed to grasp...that they had the ability to impart and mentor.

My story

     Parents, pastors, teachers, bosses, etc. are all called to be mentors simply because of the role entrusted to them. Unfortunately not all will fill this role. In my case very few of those in leadership roles in my life stepped in to fill their role to really impart. Either they didn't recognize the responsibility entrusted to them or they chose not to, but in any event, it didn't happen to the degree it could have. I know there are many who share this experience.

     Thankfully I still had mentors...in the form of books.

     Now I'm going to get real...The past four years have been a particularly difficult season in my life in which I desperately needed insights a mentor could provide. But more often than not, my mentoring came through the books God brought across my path. Thankfully the authors, through their books, were willing to speak wisdom to me, even when others didn't.    

     Practically every book project I assisted my authors with during this season, had something in it that spoke to my soul specifically in regards to the season I was in. It happened so often, it ceased to be coincidence. (For any of my authors reading this, thank you. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work along side each of you.)

     Some of the books were given to me, and were just exactly what I needed. Some seemed to jump out at me as I was walking down the aisle of a book store. One seemed to have a supernatural spotlight shining on it grabbing my attention. And so I read and read as if my life depended on it, because at times that's exactly what it felt like.

     All of these books spoke intimately to my heart, something I needed to hear during this time. Something that no one else was saying to me. It was a word in season.

And then I have to ask, what if that individual had never written that book?

     Very few of the books I have been reading in this season were from well-known recognized authors. A few were, but the majority were not. They are books that may never sell hundreds of thousands. And yet it was the right word, at the right time. It was a truth that I needed in my life.

     Again, what if that author had chosen never to write that book? My season was so very hard at times, I can only wonder, what if any of those pieces I received from these books had not been there? Would I have made it out of that difficult time? All I can say is I am grateful the stories were there and available to me. They became a balm for my soul. Sometimes it was truly the rope to which I clung. 

     The book(s) within in you may never become bestsellers. They may never attract the attention of a big publisher.. or any publisher. But that doesn't mean your book has not or will not touch lives. The question you have to ask yourself is, "Am I supposed to write this book?"

     Don't just write to write. Write because you are called with a message to write. Write because you cannot do otherwise.

     I know individuals who are writing their books, to leave a legacy for their kids. Thank you. You are choosing to be a mentor. Some write knowing it may only go to a handful of friends and still they write. Some write, with hopes that yes, it will gain a foothold in the broader spectrum in the marketplace, but even if it doesn't, still they write.

     Thank you for your obedience and dedication.

     You never know how your life will impact someone else. In the same way, you never know how your story, which you become vulnerable enough to share, will impact the reader...maybe someone like me who needed the insight, wisdom or encouragement offered at just the right time.

     Never underestimate the power of your story.


Karen Hardin - Literary Agent and Marketing Guru
PriorityPR Group & Literary Agency


Budget for Your Baby

Self-publishing whether print or e-books has become easier than ever for authors in today's world. Even for authors who secure publishing contracts for some of their manuscripts, there are reasons to pursue self-publishing on some of your materials. For example...

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Identify Your Fans and Superfans

Ever watch a fabulous movie or finish an amazing book and now you want to share the experience with someone else. The story may be over, but the emotion it created lingers and you want to discuss it with someone else who shares your feelings. And so a fan is birthed.

     But like any relationship, there must be ongoing connection or it will be lost. 

     As an author, your fans come because of content. Whether you are a fiction or non-fiction writer, your fans appreciate the content and world you have created. You have touched an emotion or filled a need...

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Build Your Audience 5 Important Tips on How to Borrow Someone Else's Platform

It goes without saying that "platform" is one of the most important elements we need as an author. It is a necessary component to get the attention of a publisher, to get your book sold, to get your message out. So what if your platform is small to non-existent? Then borrow someone else's!

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What is the Definition of Publisher? Knowing this answer will protect you!

There has been a redefining of the word "Publisher" in recent years. So what does the word publisher mean to you? In the last thirty days I've had the word used in conversations with completely varying definitions. Here's a sample and why the words stirs so much confusion.

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How to CRAFT YOUR ASK to Get Your Proposal & Manuscript Read

I received an email from a Russian author this week. It was primarily in Russian (which I don't speak.) Curiosity slightly piqued, I opened the email and learned he had written and published a book recently.  The problem was his ask.

     He got my attention and then lost my attention just as quick.

     Crafting our "ask" for a positive response is always our goal. The problem is often times, whether from inexperience, lack of confidence or lack of knowledge, we miss the target. As was the case in this email, there was no specific ask other than, "Do you want to read my book?"

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Writing Full: You Can't Give What You Don't Possess

As a literary agent, my job is to pitch projects to publishers. As a writer, sometimes those projects are my own.

About this time last year I pitched a book proposal to three publishers. All three responded with offers for a bookI was writing for a client. Three for three. That doesn't happen every day.

In the end the publisher we signed with chose to fast-track the book so that it could come out in the same year. That's not uncommon if the publisher is trying to tie the book into another event or marketing opportunity which was the case with this project. What it meant for me as the writer, was I now had just sixty days to finish the manuscript. At that point I was only about 25% done with about 150 pages to go.

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Bat Until You Bleed - Taking It to the Next Level

Years ago a friend shared with me a his story of "Taking It to the Next Level. " His passion and story hasstuck with me for many years.

During high school, he desired to be the best baseball player on his team. To be honest, he secretly wanted to be the best baseball player ever!  His problem was that his natural gift wasn't nearly as great as others on his team. Taking honest stock of his ability (that in itself isn't always easy), he recognized he had to work twice as hard to achieve the same level of success as the best players on his team.

Undeterred, he made the decision to work not just twice as hard to match them. Instead he determined to work three times as hard to surpass them. Each day he taped his hands and headed to the batting cages to bat until his hands bled. He practiced throwing until he hit precision accuracy. He wasn't content with average or just above average. He wanted to be the best.

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The Writer's Tip that Will Save You HOURS of Time

I heard a comment from young writer this week that published writers still often miss. It is a step many writers don't take the time to do as they write...and in the end they pay for it with frustration, pain, lost hours and sometimes lost sleep.
The comment came from my son who returned home from college this week for Christmas break. Majoring in professional writing, he still had three essays to submit online by the weekend. Busy guy.

"How much more until you're finished?" I asked.

"Almost done," he replied.

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4 Mistakes You Don't Want to Make on your Author Bio

Writing a great book is only half of the hard work. Writing a biographical sketch that works, (not to mention good marketing copy and a press release) are just as important in the long run. 

The author bio is one of the areas where I find authors often struggle knowing what and how much to include. 

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Five Selling Tips to Capture Christmas Sales

Perhaps you have set your typical writing aside as the holidays approach to write your Thanksgiving grocery list or your Christmas list. 

And that is the point of this blog. Anyway you look at it, people are shopping. Whether that is the grocery store, the mall or cyber mall, they are looking for gifts. 

Would one of your books be a perfect gift?
Then help them to find it. 

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Quality vs. Quantity

You've probably been invited to one of those webinars or seminars claiming they can help you write your book. 

Bold claims such as:

Write your book in one weekend!

How to write a book in 3 days!

Write it! Sell it! Profit from it!

I attended a writer's conference earlier this year that at least two or three of the sessions held a similar message. The most audacious was many times over "published author" who laughed as he said, "I've learned how to write a book in about 24 hours, throw it up as an e-book and I can make a killing as I sell it. It's not about the quality but just getting it out there. Don't worry about quality."

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