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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Who Doesn't Like a 75% Off Sale?

Deb's brand new book
On SUPER SALE for a limited time (sale ends 10/13/14): The Kindle edition of my brand new release is only $2.99!

I hope you'll hop on this one like a tick on a hound dog.

Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/Too-Loved-Lost-Unconditional-Without-Limits-ebook/dp/B00MYME094/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1412019434&sr=1-1&keywords=too+loved+to+be+lost

Now don't tarry or you'll miss out!

And as an added bonus, my publisher is putting the Momma book of my 6 Baby Blessings on sale during the month of October. Yep - Too Blessed to be Stressed is only $1.99! 


If you've already got Too Blessed to be Stressed, please send this golden opportunity to a friend. As always, I'm VERY grateful for your support! 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

What To Do When Your Book Releases (Part 2b)

A wonderful place to do interviews in Lake Mary, FL
This isn't going to be long enough to be Part 3 so I'm calling it an addendum to the previous two posts on this topic (please scroll back to catch up).

In going through some files today, I ran across a Tampa Tribune article from 7/08 I'd clipped that had everything to do with the topic we've been covering this week - book promotion.

The article should have been called, "How NOT to do a Television Interview."

Author Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth appeared on "The Wendy Williams Show" to promote her upcoming book. The interview started out amiably but somehow nosedived into the host and guest trading insults about bad nose jobs, Botox gone wrong and pathetic wigs.

During one horrible interlude, the two snatched Omarosa's book back and forth amid audience hoots and catcalls until some director wisely decided to break for commercials.

I've done a few interesting interviews during my author days but I think the most memorable was when a guest appearing just before me brought along a friend and I got up close and personal in the green room before shooting (film, not wild game). By the way, Barbara Beck, the lovely host of TV-45's "The Good Life," is in the background.
Nobody told me interviews would include reptiles

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What To Do When Your Book Releases (part 2)

My most recent Baby Blessing
This is the continuance of a previous post so please do us both a favor and scroll back to read Part 1 so we're both on the same page. Gracias. Donka. Gratzi. (My apologies for phonetic foreign language spelling to you linguists out there.)

Okay, once you've got your reviews flowing in and have reposted, retweeted, and regurgitated everywhere you can think of, you need to divvy your happy hunting grounds into two expeditions: near and far.

Near: Consider how to reach local readers. Ask friends to help you by posting your blurbs and sending their own fantastic reviews to their contact lists. A personal recommendation goes a long, long way in the book biz.

Think about having a book launch party at a local bookstore, home, restaurant, or business (any business will do but one remotely related to the topic of your book is best - for instance when my book, Mom NEEDS Chocolate came out, I had a launch party in a chocolate shop).

Offer to speak and sponsor contests with book giveaways to church groups, civic organizations, libraries, Bible studies (assuming your book is inspirational; I wouldn't do this if you write paranormal erotica). Plan on giving at least 30 books away one way or another for promotion - some will need to go to media folks you query for articles/interviews/radio mentions. Face it, they have to have your book to know what they're talking about, and most then donate the book to someone who is a candidate to become your biggest fan.

So don't think of it as a gigantic hole in your pocket. Think of it as an investment in your future.
My newest release

Back room book sales at speaking events are an excellent source of side income while you're waiting on your royalties to kick in. Most publishers offer significant discounts to authors (mine allows me to purchase my books at 1/3 their market value), so if you buy a book for $3.50 and sell it for $10 and multiply that by the 20 people lined up at your book table, you've got a nice little gig going.

Far: Internet is, of course, one of the fastest and most efficient ways to get word of your new book out to the far reaches of the galaxy.

Having no cyber-savvy of my own, I hire a publicist to handle this oh-so-critical aspect of promo for me. The fine ladies at Litfuse Publicity Agency have helped launch my past 4 books by organizing and implementing press releases, Facebook launch parties (where people from all over the world meet in a chat room at the same time on the same day for an hour of getting to know each other via laughter, a few tears, and best of all, discussing my book!), TV and radio interviews, a blog tour of 80+ sites, and a huge contest/Kindle and book giveaway that attracts hundreds of entries, which are then added to my contact list to receive my free e-newsletter.

Clever, huh? Publishers consider those 3,350 people currently on my list to be my fans and are thereby persuaded to consider me a good candidate for writing another book. Voila. Killed two raptors with one spear.

Here's the link to my upcoming 11/6/14 Facebook launch party for Too Loved to be Lost   https://www.facebook.com/events/827825463906082/. Click on the link and join now to be in the drawing for the Kindle and other cool prizes, then I'd love to have you join us BFF's (Blessed Friends Forever) at 8 pm EST on Nov 6. You can see how it works in planning for your own and have fun in the process!

So what promotional tactics work best for you?

 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What To Do When Your Book Releases (part 1)

It's that magical, mystical, maniacal time of the writing journey again - the release of a new book.

The wonder and excitement of holding that brand spanking new creation in your hands is lovely but momentary. Then reality sinks in. How will anybody know about this marvelous miracle?

AACK! I'm going to have to tell them!

Promotion panic sets in.

Hopefully you've had a little foresight and by this point have been plotting and planning your promo campaign for a couple months. The trouble is, most book reviewers (who your trust will gleefully plaster their 5-star reviews all over the internet, especially Amazon) require a book in their hands in order to read it so they can review it.

They're pretty picky about that.

So until you or your publisher have managed to place a book in their hands, you have to depend on your pre-publication endorsers to do the talking for you. You should have rounded up 3-4 (more if possible) endorsements - we call blurbs - from well known names in your field (meaning the topic of the book), names your potential readers will recognize and trust. These you should post everywhere you can - website, Twitter, Facebook, car bumpers, Times Square billboards, airplane banners ... you get the picture.

Because a book release is a big deal. Really. The bigger bang you can create during the first month post-release, the better your chances are to get those sales numbers up during the crucial first three months. These are the stats that convince publishers to offer you another book contract or not. And whether your book will stay on store bookshelves longer than the average author's quarter of a year. So do NOT underestimate the power of a great send-off.

More tomorrow on how to make your send-off the most memorable ever!




Monday, September 22, 2014

New Publishing Trends

Freshly released!
I was so excited when my editor told me my new Too Blessed to be Stressed Journal would be carried by Cracker Barrel! As you already know, these days it's not a sure thing that anyone at all will carry your books.

In fact, I've heard a few interesting industry trends recently that I thought I'd pass on you, writerly friends.

The first is sadly no surprise - as bookstores and book departments in big box stores are shrinking in size and number (have you noticed the teensy book section in Sam's Club recently compared to the bustling multi-aisles they had only two years ago?) traditional publishers are shrinking in number as well. Some are closing their doors and others are merging, but the result is the same ... less opportunities for agents and authors to attract traditional press eyeballs.

They want to stick with the tried and true, thank you. Meaning mostly the mega-names that have sold well for them in the past. That's why agents are pitching quality manuscripts by quality authors to publishing houses and are being turned away.

Oh, except for gift books. Pubs seem to be open to gift books, even from newish authors as long as the titles are catchy and they have mass appeal. People will always want to pick up nice gift books for friends in the hospital or someone going through a bad time. It's something to wrap in a pretty package to show how much you care and something the recipient can hold in her hands to feel the love.

Hence the primary reason Cracker Barrel, who as you know specializes in gift shopping to take your mind off your growling stomach while you're waiting for your table, snapped up the beautifully embossed hard cover version of my original paperback book, Too Blessed to be Stressed. Gift books are still a goldmine and will be for some time until someone figures out a way to sell an e-book you can tie a shiny bow around.

And we mustn't forget how-to books. People are eager to buy gift books for Aunt Matilda's Christmas present and BFF Louise's surprise birthday party, but they're downright hyper to buy themselves the newest self-help book on improving their marriage, parenting, sex, and spiritual lives in five easy steps. Who wouldn't want to do something important to them even better? And at little cost with no one aware that you're trying to fix a secret fault?

So if you're a gift book or self-help writer, or if you specialize in devos or spiritual encouragement, you may eat a celebratory Cadbury bar. But only one.

You'll need to pocket the change because there's not a lot of money in book deals these days. You may not have known - unless you're already a published inspirational author - and I hate to be the one to break it to you if this is a sudden shock, but ... you'll never get rich in this writing gig. Average first and second book advances used to be $10k to $15k ten years ago but nowadays if they're offered at all, they're more like $3k to $5k. And sadly, there are so many companies that don't offer any advance at all, people are tickled to get that much. Try to feed, clothe, and air-condition your family for a month with that.

The logical outcome of all this is, of course, a huge boon in online self-publishing and the use of social media for platform-building.

Many traditionally published authors are going hybrid (producing some self-published books along with the ones their traditional publisher churns out), and many new authors are choosing from the get-go to indie publish. The age old hideous-cover-terrible-editing stigma of self-published books is beginning to fade as indie companies cater more and more to discerning authors, but going the extra mile to produce nothing short of excellent quality material is essential for the new kids on the block if they want this trend to continue to be a viable option.

So what's a writer to do?

Keep writing, that's what. Explore all possibilities - blogs, guest posts, print magazines (there are a few left and hey, Sunday School materials will always be on demand!), e-zines ... oh, far too many opportunities to name here if you use your imagination and do your homework.

But that's the main thing: If you feel called to write, then keep on using every possible opportunity to impact lives with your written words. If Papa God asks you to build a shed, my friend, He'll supply the nails.

*A special shout out to Casey Herringshaw for her astute 9/15/14 blogpost on The WordServe Water Cooler titled "A View From the Assistant's Desk." By the way, if you don't subscribe to Wordservewatercooler.com or FaithHappenings.com, you absolutely positively need to get your behunkus in gear and do it today!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Best Picture of All Time

This image says it all
Yes, if you've followed my blog for long, you've seen this picture before. And you'll no doubt see it again. As a writer, it's my absolute favorite picture-says-a-thousand-words image of all time.

I know people usually think of this words-jumping-to-life feeling in terms of fiction, but as an inspirational nonfiction writer, this is exactly the way I want my readers to feel about Papa God wrapping His warm, loving, safe arms around them through the catalyst of my words on the page.

It's what I live for.

And when I receive letters from readers telling me they've been in this exact place, feeling the acceptance and contentment reflected in the face of the gal in the image, I rejoice down to the tips of my toenails.

Here are a few comments I've received:

"Thank you for helping me realize it's okay to be a diamond in the rough." ~Denise

"I'm 21 years old and have recently been laid off so I can no longer help my father with his medical bills. I read the first two pages of Too Blessed to be Stressed and started to cry. It had an enormous impact on my heart. I read certain sections daily and take it with me almost everywhere I go to refer to when I feel lost."  ~Erin

"I live in Puerto Rico and just finished reading Too Blessed to be Stressed in Spanish. I love the way you show us how God is included in everyday."  -Ana Maria

"I am currently a stay-at-home mom and Mom NEEDS Chocolate helped me know I'm not alone in this crazy and wonderful ride called Motherhood." ~Krystle

"Your book, Everyday Hope, truly saved me last year during one of the most challenging times of my life. Every day, as I lay in bed crying, the only thing that I could feel comfort in doing was reading pages of this book. I've read it again and again. The winter season passed and now, a year later, I'm in a place of renewed hope in my life. The only difference is that this year I have a new attitude and a new path to follow."  ~Marisa

"I cannot say enough how More Beauty, Less Beast has blessed my life. I bought the last copy at the bookstore and gave it to a teacher at the preschool going through a hard time. I know it will transform her life like it has mine."  ~Leondra

"Thank you and your co-writers for our wonderful book, Grit for the Oyster; it has inspired me and hit me right between the eyes that it's not about me but about doing the best I can with the gifts God has given me. May God bless you a thousand times as you have blessed us with this book."  ~Dave

"After seeing the format of how you compile your thoughts in Too Blessed to be Stressed into short messages and categories made me realize, 'Yes! That'show my brain works! Forget all the details, just get to the good stuff!'" ~Kaley

"Thank so much for writing More Beauty, Less Beast, Debora. I can't say enough wonderful things about it. You touched my heart, made me laugh out loud and brought me closer to the Lord."   ~Lori

"I just lost my dad due to a heart attack last Saturday. It was the hardest thing I've ever gone through in my life. I just read your book, Too Blessed to be Stressed, this week and it gave me a lot of hope and comfort. Thank you and God bless you."  ~Jen

"I let my mom borrow my copy of Too Blessed to be Stressed and she is on her tenth read now. I can't thank you enough for helping put that beautiful smile back on my mom's face!"  ~Pamela

Writerly friend, I share these comments with you to help spur you on. Sometimes we write for months, even years without feedback that anyone is responding out there. But this is the bottom line of why we toil away as writers, isn't it? To touch another heart ... to become the catalyst for that powerful unseen force to reach out through the page and envelop the reader in a comforting, healing, strengthening embrace.

So what has been your motivation to keep on writing?


Monday, August 18, 2014

A Bear of a Challenge

Deb and Chuck making new friends
Accuracy in details. It's a bear of a challenge for writers, but one we must tackle regardless of how hairy it may be.

Not long ago I heard a writer speaking. Now sometimes speakers write and sometimes writers speak. This was the latter. And she did it well.

During her wonderfully inspiring keynote address to a room full of fellow writers, this highly acclaimed author used a phrase that really resonated with me. She claimed it as a quote from one of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, The Horse and His Boy. 

Well, as it happens, I had just finished listening to the CD (audio) version of that very book on my way to the conference. (Okay - don't ask why a grown woman with no children in the car chooses to listen to the Chronicles of Narnia over all the murder mysteries, romances, and motivational books on her shelf. It was either that or Harry Potter, and I've just about worn those out.) 

But you know what? For the life of me, I could not recall that specific phrase from anywhere in the book. And it was one of those rare, awesome memory-worms that I definitely would have noticed. 

So thinking maybe somehow it had been edited out of the audio version, I came home from the conference and dusted off my 35-year-old print copy of The Horse and His Boy and proceeded to rifle through the pages, paying particular attention to the sections that seemed most likely to contain the afore-mentioned phrase.

Nothing.

So I began at the front and for the next four hours, read the book from cover to cover, painstakingly searching for this handful of artfully sculpted words that I would love to use in context and reference correctly in my own work.

It simply wasn't there. 

Grrrrr.

If only this well-known author, who certainly knew better, had expended the energy to check her sources and reference her quotes correctly, it would have saved me many hours of effort and frustration. As it is, I have this terrific quote and no one to attribute it to. 

So please. Be a great writer instead of a good one. Make the effort to include accurate attributions and references in your work. And I'll be the first to reward you with a great big bear hug.