Categories
Publications

Did You Know April is Poetry Celebration Month?

Lifelines CoverAmong other observances, April has been declared Poetry Celebration Month. Although the month is nearly over now, it’s not too late to get in on the celebration. If you happen to appreciate inspirational Christian poetry, my new book, Lifelines (Parson Place Press, February 2013), may be just what you’re looking for. Lifelines includes poems about our Creator God and the world He created, including a few romantic love poems.

Life is beautiful and precious. It comes in many forms — from plants and animals to people. Its ultimate source, however, is God. Lifelines reflects in a variety of poetic styles the deep and abiding love and respect that I have for God and all of His creation. Some of these poems are amusing and some are thought-provoking, but all are inspiring and sure to touch your heart in some way. Curl up in your favorite reading nook and enjoy these beautiful lifelines. You can get your copy now wherever books are sold. Just search on the book’s ISBN (978-0-9888528-0-8) to find and purchase it.

 

Categories
For Writers

The Power of a Platform

Writing is hard work, despite what many non-writers may think. All anyone has to do to discover this truth is attempt to write just one project, whether poetry, short-story fiction, a novel, or any non-fiction work on any subject of one’s choosing. Writing requires a great deal of time and effort to do it well. Furthermore, regardless of whether one is a fiction or non-fiction writer, it also requires a significant amount of creativity, imagination, and skill — skill in using language correctly, skill in story-telling or relating a topic of interest to the reader, and skill in using the several components that make up a good book, poem, article, etc. Therefore, anyone who says writing is easy either has not tried it or has deceived himself or herself into thinking she or he has written something well with the first draft.

I certainly am not claiming to be one of the elite master writers, but after spending most of my life writing and learning to write better (and I still have a lot more to learn, I might add), I believe I am qualified to write not only on the subject of effective writing but how to promote that writing once it’s finished. In fact, without a plan for the latter, the former will likely have little impact outside one’s own circle of relationships. Nevertheless, as hard as the writing and publishing process is, developing a platform from which to promote your writing is arguably the hardest part of the writing and publishing process, because, like housework, the work of promotion is never done. Therefore, to help with that daunting task, I’d like to recommend a few tips for effectively promoting your writing once it’s finished.

  1. Every writer needs a platform, but if you don’t have one, you can build one through publicizing and promoting your writing.
    1. Use word of mouth. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of this approach to promotion, since there’s absolutely no substitute for the power of personal recommendation (a.k.a. testimonials in the marketing vocabulary). Furthermore, word of mouth can be initiated by a variety of means nowadays, including email, Websites, and blogs, besides good old-fashioned face-to-face or telephone conversations.
    2. Use blogging. If you don’t already have a blog, start one now and mention your past, present, and future writing projects regularly. Then connect with other bloggers and consider exchanging guest posts with each other. Be sure to mention your most recent writing achievement in your “bio block” at the end of your guest blog posts.
    3. Use social media. Announce your latest writing projects on whatever social media you can. The “big” ones are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Link them together, if possible, so that when you post an update to one, it will replicate to the others. Be careful not to send duplicate updates, however, or it may be considered spamming. Also, don’t send updates too frequently or else your followers/readers will be overwhelmed and may begin to ignore or cease following your updates.
    4. Use press releases. Even though some say that the effectiveness of press releases has passed, I believe that press releases can still be used to good effect. Press releases remain the primary way of notifying the press about whatever activities or events you wish to draw attention to in your professional writing career. If you are unknown to the press where you are submitting your press release, you will likely have to follow up with a polite inquiry by phone to confirm whether your intended journalist did, in fact, receive the emailed and/or faxed press release you sent to him/her and to offer him/her an opportunity to interview you regarding the activity or event you are promoting.
    5. Use a Website. If you don’t already have an author’s Website, i.e., a Website devoted specifically to your writing endeavors, then you should create one post-haste. You may be able to use your blogging software to double for your Website, but you should choose a blogging software that allows you to host your blog on your own domain-specific site with a subfolder or subdomain for your blog so you can take advantage of the resulting search engine optimization (or SEO) that goes with maintaining an effective Website. Be sure to upload all your press releases to your Website as well to generate more content for the search engines with keywords related to you and your writing endeavors. This will help casual and deliberate Web surfers alike in finding you and your author’s site more easily when they search on those keywords. To further expand your readership, create a special subscription page on your author’s Website for signing up new readers/followers, and display social media buttons for connecting with you via the various social media sites where you have created an account.
    6. Use an email list. As you collect email addresses of new readers/followers, send them an occasional email containing updates to what you’re working on and planning for the future and/or write a periodic weekly or monthly e-newsletter that offers information, tips and recommendations from you regarding good reads, the art of writing, how to be published, etc. Don’t forget to include announcements about your upcoming events and activities, too.
  2. As soon as you complete one promotional activity or event, such as a book signing, blog tour, or a speaking engagement, begin planning your next, and keep it varied as much as possible to avoid monotony and disinterest. The more you can keep yourself and your writing in the consciousness of the reading public, the greater the likelihood that you will expand your readership (your writer’s platform) and increase your volume of sales, though (as stated above) you want to be careful not to overwhelm your readership with too many activities, events, or updates.
  3. Repeat these processes every time you have something to promote.

There is certainly a wide variety of other methods for promoting your writing and building your platform, but I consider these to be the most basic for everyone. The more effectively you promote yourself and your writing, the bigger your writing platform will grow, and the easier and more productive it will be for you each time you do a promotion. It will take time, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run.

I invite you to visit my author’s Website at http://books.parsonplace.com/ for a list of my published books and links to other articles and tutorials I’ve written over the years. You may also read archived articles I’ve written about digital evangelism for Christian Computing Magazine (no longer active) with your free electronic subscription. To browse inspirational books I’ve published for other authors, as well as for myself, please visit The Parson Place Press Bookstore.

Update 5-4-2020

Christian Computing Magazine was sold to the folks at Ministry Tech magazine several years ago, and now Ministry Tech has announced that they are preparing to merge with the Church Leaders Website. Although I do not currently write for Ministry Tech or Church Leaders, you may still find a select few archived copies of some of my Christian Computing columns by searching on my name at either Ministry Tech (until they move, at least) or the Church Leaders site. It may help to narrow the search if you enclose my full name in quotes.