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A Tech-Challenged Author in a 21st Century World {Guest Barbara M. Britton}

Jerusalem Rising

I’m so pleased to have author Barbara M. Britton as my guest today! Barbara writes Christian fiction, and her new book Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey releases December 1! More information is below. 🙂

How a Tech-Challenged Author Navigates a 21st Century Marketing World

I’ll be honest. Technology scares me. I grew up with carbon paper and copy machines. My typing skills are hunting and pecking on steroids. Woe to the registrar who put me in freshman biology instead of typing class. Who knew I would someday be an author in the world of social media. How do I get the word out about my books? I work within my comfort zone and rely on friends to help me with the rest.

Remember the world I grew up in? We had phones, but we didn’t have texting or instant messaging. I love to talk on the phone. I use that to my advantage. I call reference librarians in my area and tell them about my books. If the library is nearby, I show up—in person. A local author in the flesh. As a youngster, I went door-to-door selling Campfire Girl mints. If I could talk to strangers when I was ten, I can do it now.

With my limited graphic design skills, I create a simple information sheet about my book. This sheet includes my cover art, blurb, ISBN, distribution channels, publisher information, and a short bio about me.  This sheet is something I can e-mail to a librarian or book store. I also carry them into places of interest. My sheet isn’t the fanciest, but it relays the necessary information about my book.

When I need swag (bookmarks, postcards) or advertisements, I hire my friends to create the designs. Some even do the printing. Does this take money? Yes, it does. I tell aspiring authors who have limited tech skills like me, to save those tax refund checks, or scrimp away funds for the day you will need some help. I wish I had the ability to change advertisement dimensions or place graphics and text on small bookmarks, but I don’t. The money I spend for awesome-looking graphics, saves me a technology meltdown.

Remember those Campfire mints I sold? My mom would wrap boxes for Valentine’s Day and take me to the BART station. We would sell chocolate to forgetful husbands. Did this increase sales? You bet. Today, I show up where booksellers and readers are waiting to hear about books. I find out about local book festivals or library conferences and reach out to see if I can show up and teach a workshop or talk about the publishing industry. We can call this skin-on marketing. Building relationships with people who love books is setting a foundation for future interactions—and possibly future sales.

I still engage in social media marketing, but I do the ones that I enjoy, and the ones that I have time to manage. After all, writing my next book is a priority. Staring at a computer screen, no matter how full of pretty pictures it is, eats away at my writing time.

Use the strengths God has given you to promote your stories. May you enjoy your writing journey and make new friends as you launch your books into this high-tech world.

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Barbara M. Britton

 

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and Mainstream markets. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little known Bible characters to light in her stories. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.

 

Jerusalem Rising

 

Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.

Purchase Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey  now! Click HERE

Check out the trailer for The Tribes of Israel series–wow!

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Do you consider yourself tech-challenged? What is your best marketing tip?

Have a terrific weekend!!

Reminder: I’ll Be Home for Christmas, the bestselling, four-novella collection of inspirational romance I contributed to, is only 99 cents! Click HERE to buy it!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving week!

I skipped blogging last week because I was pushing hard to finish the first draft of a new book. On Monday, I typed The End, and it felt so good! I’ve been running errands and doing laundry ever since. 🙂

Thanksgiving week is always busy here. This morning I’ll sip my coffee with a splash of Cinnamon Vanilla Creamer to make it special. Then I’ll get my tush in gear. Well, maybe I’ll have an extra cup of coffee… It IS a holiday week, after all.

I’ve been watching the original Hallmark Christmas movies lately. So far my favorite is Miss Christmas. Such a heartwarming story, and I thought the actress was adorable. I can’t wait to keep watching the other ones on my DVR.

I’m reading a few books, too. I’m currently reading Timothy Keller’s, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ.

Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller

I also snagged a couple of Agatha Christie novels from the library. Sparkling Cyanide is a delightfully naughty title, and the retro cover caught my eye.

Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie

 

For all my American friends, have a very happy Thanksgiving! And for everyone else, enjoy these final days of November. Christmas will be here before we know it!

When are you putting your Christmas tree up? Or have you already? (We’ll be waiting another week to put ours up.)

If you’d like a chance to win the novella collection, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, (I’m a contributor) click HERE for an #AmazonGiveaway. It’s easy to enter–just Follow me on Amazon!

Brand New Novella Collection Only 99 Cents!

I'll Be Home For Christmas Collection

Do you love Hallmark Christmas movies? Are you looking for heartwarming romantic stories to get you in the Christmas mood? If you answered yes to either of those questions, I have great news! Four multi-published authors of Love Inspired romance novels (including yours truly!) teamed up for the inspirational novella collection, I’ll Be Home for Christmas. You get four Christmas stories for one low price! Only $0.99!

{BUY Brand New Novella Collection NOW!}

 

I'll be home for Christmas collection

 

Four best-selling authors of Christian romance bring you heartwarming stories filled with holiday cheer and romance under the mistletoe. Featuring A Hope Valley Christmas by Belle Calhoune, Sugarplums and Second Chances by Jill Kemerer, A Brilliant Christmas by Allie Pleiter and Seashell Santa by Lenora Worth.

For those of you who’ve read my novel, Hometown Hero’s Redemption  (linked if you’re interested), you’ll be happy to know Sugarplums and Second Chances features Chase McGill, Wyatt’s father, and is set in fictional Lake Endwell, Michigan.

Sugarplums and Second Chances

Former NFL star, Chase McGill, invites his teammate’s widow, Courtney Trudesta, to spend Christmas in his guest cottage after her mother dies. Courtney faithfully wrote him letters every week while he was in prison for attempting to avenge the murder of the mother of his son, Wyatt. Chase wants to be there for Courtney the way she was for him. But there’s more to Christmas than sugarplums and wishful thinking. If they trust God’s plan, they’ll have a second chance at happiness…with each other.

This novella collection is available on Amazon for a limited time. It’s only offered as an ebook. If you do not have a Kindle and would like to purchase it, simply download the FREE Kindle App to your smartphone, iPad, tablet or Nook. Easy!

To purchase all four stories in one collection (all story blurbs can be read by clicking on I’ll Be Home For Christmas) at the bargain basement price of 99 cents CLICK HERE!!

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How is your November going? Have you started planning for Christmas yet? (I haven’t!)

Have a terrific day!

2 Tricks for Pacing #WW

2 Tricks For Pacing #WW

You’re nearing the end of a writing session, and you’re in the zone. The words are hopping onto the page–it’s as if they’re writing themselves. Isn’t that the best feeling? Zone writing is fast and delicious. But it often lacks layers, and these layers affect the pace.

When I write fast, I’m typically writing action and dialogue, but scenes need more than words and actions. The reader needs the subtle clues in between to propel them to turn the page. Pacing that’s too fast will leave the reader unconnected to the characters. Pacing that’s too slow will make them stop reading the book.

Pacing isn’t easy to identify. If you want to check your manuscript for pacing, here are my top two tricks.

 

2 Tricks for Pacing #WW

 

1. Do the sight test. Skim a few chapters (or more) of your manuscript.

Are there long paragraphs with no dialogue for pages on end?

If the scene only features one character, make sure you’re breaking up her thoughts with movement. What is she doing in this scene? Show her doing it. And make sure the actions are furthering the story. Showing her brush her teeth will not rivet the reader.

If you’re writing any genre of romance, make sure the dialogue is interspersed with action beats, internal thoughts and sensory details to help the reader flesh out what is happening and feel connected to the characters.

If the scene seems dialogue heavy, how can you dot in sensory details, reactions and thoughts to make the story come alive for the reader? Just don’t overdo it, or the dialogue will fall flat.

Here is stripped down dialogue (which can be effective in small doses).

“I can’t believe you did that.”

“Why not?” Jane said. “You drove me to it.”

“Next you’ll be telling me I drove you to steal from me, too,” Sam said.

“You said it. Not me.”

Here is fleshed out dialogue (sorry it’s cheesy!).

“I can’t believe you did that.” Sam slammed the door of his truck and stood, legs wide, facing her. How could he have ever loved this psychopath?

“Why not?” Jane got up in his face. “You drove me to it.”

“Next you’ll be telling me I drove you to steal from me, too.” Snow flurries carried the scent of winter, reminding him he had better things to do than argue with the woman responsible for his frozen heart and empty bank account.

“You said it. Not me.”

Every scene has a rhythm, whether fast or slow. But scenes also need balance. Readers get bored with pages of a character thinking about a problem. And, unless they’re reading a genre such as suspense or thriller, they get whiplash with chapter after chapter of nonstop dialogue.

2. Are your scenes starting and ending with a hook?

  • When you begin and end a scene with a hook (something that entices the reader to keep reading), you automatically help the pace.
  • To check for hooks, copy and paste the first line and the last line of each scene into a new document. Read through them. If you were a reader would you keep reading based on these sentences? If not, rewrite them to give them more oomph.

I still review the opening and closing lines of each scene before submitting my work. I almost always change at least three lines. It keeps me from getting lazy.

I’ve  only touched on two aspects of pacing. If you’d like a more in-depth discussion, go to “7 Tools for Pacing A Novel & Keeping Your Story Moving at the Right Pace” by Courtney Carpenter at Writer’s Digest.

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Have you ever read a book you’d describe as slow? Chime in!

Yesterday I was the guest blogger on Seekerville. Check out “10 Ways to Balance Your Writing Life” (Linked) to learn how I’ve lost weight, increased my writing output and reclaimed time for things I enjoy!

Happy November!!

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