Ron’s Lit Tip 09 02 20

Featured

Today’s Issue: Author Alerts

Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

Do you enjoy these blogs?

Would you like more?

Well, I’ve decided to start a newsletter called Author Alerts. At the start I plan on it being a monthly issue, no start date yet. But I have placed a signup (popup) on our website. A visitor to the site sees the popup and, if interested, fills it out and submits. And just like that they are registered.

This is just another way of marketing products and services. Here at T&R Independent Books we have products (books) and services (TR Writing Services). So, it would seem to be an ideal way of marketing. However, our popup is strictly for TR Writing Services.

Marketing products and services is one of the keys to success and it seems to vary from person to person on whether something works. I’ve never used popups before which means this is a new adventure for me.

What am I Using for Email Campaigns

I have learned some things from the sources I use. I have had at least two sources recommend MailerLite for my email campaigns. Another good one is Mail Chimp, but once you get past the free service it gets pricey. So, I chose MailerLite.

My logic is simple. This is an experiment for me, which means I want the best service for the lowest price. If MailerLite is successful I would undoubtedly stick with them for the paid versions. But if I went with Mail Chimp, I would need to swap over to MailerLite once I exceeded Mail Chimps maximum subscriber limits for the free version. Mail Chimp allows up to 2,000 subscribers whereas MailerLite allows up to 1,000 subscribers.

That means when I reach 1,000 subscribers I would need to move to the Paid version. But I am of the persuasion that by that time the email campaign would pay for itself. I have used Mail Chimp in the past but not for long. If my memory serves me right, I found it too hard to navigate and to produce the kind of letters I wanted. In any case, I never did much with it.

What will the Newsletter be like?

For starters, it will be a monthly newsletter. It will be dedicated to writing, publishing, and some marketing. Although I expect the newsletter to grow and expand in its offerings, it will start off with subjects like Tips and Resources, plus other features.

One thing I will also do is gift the PDF version of my book Perished: The World That Was.  It is priced at $9.99, which isn’t a bad price in itself. But Free is always better. It’s a great book and a fine deal.

Tip: Consider using an email service to bolster your reach and your sales.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

Ron’s Tip of the Day Marketing in Chief

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at Marketing in chief.

There is a world of information out there on book marketing. The advice ranges from email marketing to Social Marketing and beyond. And sometimes the advice seems to be contrary.

What Should I Do?

The first thing to do is remember that you are Marketing in Chief. In our book Guide to Writing we make this tip: As Marketer-in-Chief you are responsible for overseeing every aspect of marketing whether you do it or hire someone.

We also state: “Most authors don’t want to do marketing, but if you want to succeed then you will find a way.”

In other words, you can’t blame someone else for the failure of your marketing. You either hire someone or do it yourself, but either way you are responsible.

What Does That Mean?

Basically, it means that you are responsible for all aspects of marketing. It is your job to find out the information needed and then act on it. If you are new to the business, I would say you start with Local Marketing (news media, bookstores, etc.) and slowly expand to a wider audience. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. Do your diligence.

Remember, that while TR Writing Services is not a marketer, we can help you with preparation and publishing to set up your marketing plan.

Tip of the Day: You are the Marketer-in-Chief; take responsibility!

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip: Choosing a Publisher

Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This week is about: Choosing a Publisher.

The following is based on the Guide to Writing book. In that book I wrote about Self-Publishing, Traditional, and Indie Publishing. My primary focus today is on Indie focusing, but I will also cover the other types, so you get a more complete picture.

Traditional Publishing

Unless you are an established author it is very difficult to get with a traditional publisher. That is because the houses are well established, have a reputation, and, probably, don’t want to take a risk on an unproven novice.

Even so, it is not impossible.

Many of these Traditional Publishing Houses will not even consider a manuscript unless the author is represented by an agent. This is good because when dealing with them you need to have the expertise and knowledge of the agent on your side.

It is also important to remember that some traditional publishers specialize in genre. Some only want established authors. Some may temporarily suspend new acquisitions because they already have a boatload.

But there are some traditional publishers looking for new authors. If you write Christian fiction you may be interested in Christian Publishers. Do an Internet search for ‘Christian Publishers’ and you should find extensive lists, but I have included a few in a list further down in this blog.

Additionally, you can access a list of publishers at http://www.everywritersresource. This is a list of publishers taking submissions.

If you are willing to take a chance on publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts (and may not require an agent), try this list.

Finally, if you are looking for a traditional publisher that accepts new authors try Karen Fox.

Tip: Traditional Publishers are well established, have a reputation, and, probably, don’t want to take a risk on an unproven novice.              
Tip #2: There are lists of publishers taking submissions, accepting new authors, and Christian publishers.              

Never having been published by a Traditional Publisher, I can’t give you a personal example. But you can access their websites and discover their guidelines, list of clients (authors), and success stories.

Traditional Publishing has a long success story. They aren’t going away soon. If you feel that you have written a quality story that will sell and you are willing to wait, then traditional publishing may be for you.

Make use of the lists provided here and study them. You just might strike it rich!

But don’t forget, some of these publishers will require you have an agent. So if your heart is fixed on one of the top publishing houses, get yourself an agent!

Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing has in many respects come into its own with resulting improvements in quality and acceptance. One of the criticisms of Self-Publishers is they rarely reject a manuscript. While this is true, some do reject if the manuscript is deemed of poor quality.

You rarely get rejected if you are willing to pay the fee (usually $400-$800, or more). They are willing to publish but you should still practice thorough editing before submitting the work.

This is an alphabetical listing of some of the better known houses:

  • America Star *
  • AuthorHouse ***
  • Bookbaby
  • DiggyPOD
  • iUniverse***
  • Lightning Source
  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  • LuLu
  • Outskirts Press
  • Smashwords**
  • Tate Publishing
  • Trafford Publishing***
  • Xilbris
  • Zulon Press****

* Between self-publishing and traditional. Recently opted out of publishing and is only interested in marketing.

** Publishes eBooks only. It is free.

*** Owned by Author Solutions.

**** Christian Self-Publishing.

When I started writing I made use of AuthorHouse and America Star. In both cases I was pleased with their work. In fact, any of the houses mentioned above probably provide excellent quality and service.

Tip: Self-Publishing has been around for a while now with resulting improvements in quality and acceptance.                
Tip #2: Self-Publishers rarely reject a manuscript.              
Tip #3: There are many self-publishers out there.                

It would be wise to remember that self-publishing can be expensive. Here are some of the costs you may have to deal with:

  • Professional editing and proofing can cost from $1500 to $2,000
  • Professional cover design ranges from $300 to $400
  • Book conversion and layout ranges from free to $100

That’s not including the ISBN (free to $125), Distribution (percentage of sales), and marketing (skies the limit).

As mentioned earlier, I have used two of the houses listed. Their cover quality was very good (very important to me) as was the overall print quality.

Since I was on a budget, I did my own marketing. America Star provided me a little more help although AuthorHouse may have caught up since I last published with them.

If you are choosing between Traditional and Self-Publishing, Self-Publishing is the better in my opinion. That said, there is yet a better way.

Indie Publishing

These days the author has more responsibility than ever before and more opportunities!

In days gone by the author wrote a novel, submitted it to a publisher, and once accepted, relaxed. But that is no longer true!

There are all kinds of publishers out there. But here I want to present you with a different perspective. I mentioned that there is a better way than self-publishing. You are about to see what I was talking about.

First a brief history. I published my first novel in 2003. Since then I have written a number of books. The first four books were all published by self-publishers. But in 2013 I discovered Smashwords.com and published my first eBook. (My other books are also in the eBook format, but the publisher did this because I paid for it.)

This discovery has changed my life and now I am about to reveal to you what I believe is a better way to publish.

That better way is simply: You are the publisher! Or Indie Publisher!

At the time there was almost no information on the subject but today there’s considerable. It is called Indie Publishing which tells you right off the bat that as a publisher you are independent. This is an important distinction.

Indie Publishing is the author taking ultimate charge of all elements of writing. Basically, it means selecting a printer or publisher to print our books. And there are publishers out there willing to be our printer and even our marketer.

The one I am most familiar with is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). CreateSpace whom I was with merged with KDP so now all my print books are with KDP. Plus, I have eBooks with KDP and a few with Smashwords.

I will discuss KDP more in the example. I have also located at least one other printer called Best Value Copy. They are an online printing service that provides quality work at reasonable prices. However, I have not used them or any other publishing platform because KDP has proven to me that they are very capable and affordable.

In looking for a quality printer you can try your own neighborhood. For example, there is a Staples store not far from us that gives business discounts to authors using their printing services. That suggests the possibility that other office supply stores may offer the same services.

But assuming the role of publisher is more than just getting a printer. You literally take on the responsibilities of a publisher. You may have to seek your own ISBN, copyright, and other important items.

In our case, we listed ourselves with the State of Florida with a DBA (Doing Business As) name of T&R Independent Books. Because we use KDP we are able to use their ISBNs which are free, although they also sell other ISBNs for a modest price. Copyrights are free.

It is both exciting and scary. But the rewards can be awesome. For example, a self-publisher may give us anywhere from 8% to 40% royalty depending on volume of books sold. But as our own publisher the percentage jumps up to 60% and more (before costs and taxes) from the first book sold.

In addition to that, we have virtual control over every aspect. It is true that with Kindle Direct some control lies with them, but it is also true that such controls are limited.

In establishing our own publishing business, we also took on the marketing of the books.  We are now be able to use the marketing tools that we used to buy from the publisher. Now we will have the authority to market the books as we see fit without incurring exorbitant costs.

Tip: As a publisher you pay the ISBN, the copyright, and other legal fees.                  
Tip #2: Indie Publishers can get gross royalties of 60% or more. Even after taxes the profit is excellent.                  

I promised to discuss Kindle Direct Publishing and here we go.

When my wife first expressed the desire to start writing her own novels it fitted right in with the idea of T&R Independent Books. So, we immediately began researching what the costs would be to publish.

We searched the internet for both local and online printers. Eventually we settled on KDP because of three primary factors:

  1. We would retain ownership of all rights.
  2. Costs were reasonable.
  3. KDP would provide us worldwide marketing (distribution).

(At this time, we were dealing with CreateSpace but in 2018 they merged with KDP. KDP is virtually the same as CreateSpace and both owned by Amazon.)

These are career changing factors. Although we have and will do our own marketing, being in the KDP loop will expand our marketing a thousand times over!

While their imprint will be on our books, there will be no question of the identity of the real publisher which is T&R Independent Books.

In establishing T&R Independent Books we also took over what was formerly known as RFrederickRiddle’s Bookstore. But instead of marketing our books from our own website (an excellent marketing option) we closed down the store and opted to direct all potential buyers to Amazon and Kindle. We still have control over the marketing, including the tracking of sales but the customer has the familiarity of buying on Amazon. Plus KDP has powerful tracking tools!

KDP enables us to exercise several marketing options, some being free. Does this guarantee sales? Of course not. But it does give us maximum control and flexibility.

When we started out in 2014 Indie Publishing was rather new and unknown, at least to us. But now becoming your own publisher is no longer a new idea. It has the potential to change the publishing landscape in years to come.

Not only the publishing landscape, but your future. You should seriously consider this avenue. I can almost guarantee you that your book will be published sooner than traditionally, and it will cost you dramatically less. Quality is another story as it will be up to you to either do the editing or hire a professional.

Getting published doesn’t guarantee sales. But once again being an Indie Marketer involves great responsibility and great rewards. Being an In Marketer has great potential!

A note about TR Writing Services

Our costs to you are very low compared to the averages stated above. We provide editing, proofing, and publishing services under affordable plans. In addition we give each client who publishes through us their own webpage. This webpage includes the author’s picture, brief biography, book cover, and book description with links to their Amazon page. You can use this page for your own marketing efforts!

These links give you the opportunity to work on your next book rather than being over-burdened with collecting payments and shipping of the books, which also means you don’t have to maintain a stockpile of books in your living room.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Amazon Central

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Amazon Central.
Amazon Central is often thought of as a reporting site. But it is that and much more.
What is Amazon Central?
Think of it as your author’s hub. Here is a brief look at what you have:

  • Welcome page

This page welcomes you to your Amazon Central. It gives you an overview including advice and news.

  • Author page

This page allows you to include your biography plus connect to your blog (if you have one). It also allows the inclusion of pictures and videos that you want potential customers to see. Further it will have the URL of your Amazon Central page that can be given out to readers, etc. If you have Events, such as book signings, you can also list those.

  • Books page

This page is where every book you’ve published should be listed. Each listing will have Title (with link to detail page), Current Sales Rank, and Reviews.

  • Sales info Customer

This page has three measurements: NPD  Book Scan, Sales Rank, and Author Rank.

  • Reviews

Here all reviews will be listed.
What Does Reader See?
When the potential reader visits your page they will see:

  • Every book you’ve listed
  • Latest blogs you’ve written (if any)
  • An About Author
  • Follow opportunity

Why Would Reader go There Instead of Searching Amazon?
By going to the author’s Amazon Central the potential reader gets everything you want them to know about you at their fingertips. An expert user of Amazon may find the information on their own, but having your own page makes their job that much easier.
What does it Cost?
Nothing! It’s free!
What Else Can You Tell Me?
I have used Amazon Central as an informational resource for years. But in looking over it I believe it has potential as the hub of one’s marketing. This doesn’t replace any other marketing sources such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., but it could be used as the target page in all your marketing. For example, I have included in my blogs a direct link to my Amazon Central page. But starting today I will highlight that with a special call to action.
VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

The Free[dom] of CreateSpace

If you were to really know me you’d know that a favorite saying of mine is, “My middle name is free.” I like free as do most people.

Sometimes “free” is not all that great. The saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” But sometimes “free” is rewarding. I have found over the years that CreateSpace (CS) can produce quality books with “free” tools. As a result I make use of them.

My philosophy is simple, if I can get a job done with the least expenditure of money I will take a serious look at it. Sometimes I may need professional help, but almost all the time I check out the “free stuff” first.

A good example of this is the Cover Creator. It is a “free” tool with a relatively inexpensive enhancements available. With this tool I can easily create a quality cover. Here you have a good selection of themes and styles enabling you to create a very good cover.

An associated “free” tool is the Cover Gallery where I can search for pictures, etc. to use for the cover. Now I’ll admit right off that the gallery needs to be broadened and expanded. That said, I always take a look at the pictures, etc. offered for “free” and most of the time I’ve been able to use one of them.

In addition, Cover Creator allows you to upload pictures from your computer to be used as a cover. That is tremendous!

Another “free” tool is the ISBN. They actually offer an ISBN for a small price. Plus you can go elsewhere to get the ISBN. But most of us can do alright with the “free” version. This “free” ISBN works across the CS platform for publishing and marketing.

If that isn’t enough for you, they also provide “free” resources for your use. These can range from writing to publishing to marketing. And it is all free and practical. Plus they might point you to inexpensive sources.

In my opinion every author who wants to be independent and keep costs down should take a serious look at CreateSpace. And CS didn’t even have to pay me to put that little plug in here. I guess they also appreciate free.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Being Wise

A wise man will hear, and increase in learning…”

In Proverbs 1:5 we are told to be wise, to increase in learning and be a man of understanding. We have all probably heard sermons on this, but this blog is aimed at authors so what does this mean for the Christian author?

Actually this verse is related to Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” Taking these two verses together and applying them to us as Christian authors is a very impactful action.

The very first thing that must be done to gain wisdom is to worship God. More specifically we need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which occurs when we invite Him to save us. This is what we call being Born Again. This term is misused today to mean something like a fresh start. But it actually means a new relationship, of becoming a child of God (which only occurs when we are saved not when born in the flesh).

But what does wisdom mean to me as a writer?

I have stated this previously but it is worth restating. There is plenty of advice on and off the internet about writing, publishing, and marketing your books. The question is not do I listen but how do I discern good and bad advice. The answer is the Bible. God has laid out principles for us to follow. A wise writer takes those principles and used them as a filter for understanding and applying the wisdom.

Not only should a Christian writer use a biblically sound filter, but they need to apply the wisdom gained. So what are some of these principles?

Principles:

  1. Romans 11:29 : “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” We usually apply this to spiritual gifts, but God also gave us other gifts which we are expected to use. The ability to write is a gift. Has He given you that ability? If yes, then use it.
  2. Joshua 1:8: “…meditate therein day and night...” Whether your book is based on the Bible or not keep your focus on the Scriptures. He has promised to bless you!
  3. I Thess. 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.” Pray about your writing, publishing, and marketing.
  4. Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart…” Trust Him, He knows what is best and will provide.
  5. Proverbs 12:24 : “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule.” Be diligent in your writing, apply yourself. You may say your story wrote itself, but it still requires you to do the typing, editing, proofing, etc.
  6. Colossians 3:23: ‘…do it heartily, as to the Lord…” Put your heart into it, be proactive.

These are but a few principles. They are like nuggets of gold. The Bible is full of principles, so search for them and apply them. I believe that if you base your career upon the sure Word of God that God will bless you.

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Why do the heathen rage?

“Why do the heathen rage…”

Psalm 2:1-5 shows the futility of man’s pride.

Men and women rise to power and all too often forget that it was God who enabled them to rise to their position. While the psalm is speaking of kings and rulers the truth is that all of us are subject to pride. And pride is the underlying force behind man’s rage against God. Yes, the love of money is the root of all evil, but pride is often the source of our rejection of God’s will for us.

We writers, yes Christian writers, have the same battles, the same temptation of pride. In fact, the more successful a person is the more vulnerable to the sin of pride. When we wrote that first book we were humble and thankful for whatever success it commanded. But as our careers ascend to greater heights it becomes so easy to forget.

But the truth is that success is not built upon sales. You can have tremendous sales and yet not be a success in God’s eyes. One reason that we are so vulnerable to pride is that our livelihood is firmly attached to sales. So we can’t ignore sales. And today writers have to do much of their own marketing. So again it is easy to start thinking “I did that.”

This is a sin that athletes are prone to fall into. They work and play hard, they develop their game, and put their best effort out there. And when success comes they say, “It wasn’t God that did this; I did it.” And when we hear of this we condemn their shortsightedness. But we do the same thing with our writing careers.

So how do we avoid the temptation of pride?

I don’t pretend to be a theologian. But I have been a Christian for awhile and a student of God’s Word. I have found that humility doesn’t just happen. If I want to be humble before my Lord, I have to realize that He is in charge. It is a daily challenge to submit to God and give Him all the glory.

It is easy to say, “I always do.” But that is often an expression of pride. No one is always humble. For that matter no one is always obedient. We have that pesky humanity that seeks to glorify itself. Thus we have to daily read God’s Word, meditate upon it, and apply it to our lives. And when I go to God in prayer I like to start out by acknowledging that He is Lord and I am a sinner saved by grace.

Someone once wrote that Christians should not identify themselves as sinners saved by grace. The idea being that we are saved, have a new heart and the indwelling Holy Spirit. While that is true, we still have our old nature which desires to rebel against God. And when we get careless or over-confident in our lives, we can be tripped up by our old nature and get proud.

So fellow Christian I encourage you to spend time with our Lord and in His Word. Facing a problem, take it to the Lord. Experiencing success, take it to the Lord. Needing advice about how to write, publish, or market your book, take it to the Lord. It sounds too easy, I know. But He is stronger, wiser, and more capable than any of us!

Speaking of marketing our books, I am finding inspiration in the Bible. You can’t do a google search and find any scripture speaking on how to market products, especially books. But there are a lot of scriptures that deal with the attitudes and principles that govern how we influence others and how we run our business.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Blessed is the man Part 3

“Blessed is the man that…nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful”

Psalm 1:1 has been read and memorized by countless Christians. It is a verse that gives us an outline, if you will, of the source for happiness. I have divided this verse into three parts and commented on each part in separate blogs.

In this third part we are warned not to sit in the seat of the scornful. But what does that mean? And what does it mean for the struggling author?

Parts 1 and 2 spoke of particular advice looking at the ‘who’ and the ‘what,’ but here we are looking at the attitude. I think this applies both to the person giving advice and to the one receiving advice.

There are some people who not only have unscriptural practices, but have a scornful attitude towards God. Generally speaking we are to avoid such people. It doesn’t matter whether their advice agrees with scripture or not, they are themselves ungodly. Part 1 actually warned us about such people.

So part 3 is more about us. We need to watch our attitude!

What does that mean? For starters, we should never oppose God. Sometimes even Christians develop an attitude that is in opposition to God’s will. We ask, God answers, and we refuse to accept or believe it. Sometimes because our faith is weak; sometimes because we have our sights set on our own solutions and nothing else; and sometimes we have become so frustrated that our frustration carries over into unbelief.

I have stated before to get into God’s Word. He will speak to you through it. I might add that periodically you need to take a look at yourself in the mirror of God’s Word. If you don’t like what you see, then your first priority is to change.

Attitude can prevent success or lift you up. So we need to constantly affirm our faith in God, trust Him, and do His will. Then we are ready to receive advice.

Recently I have been contemplating our marketing efforts. I have learned a lot about marketing over the course of years, but I still needed to apply that knowledge to myself. On this particular evening I was getting ready for bed when God began working on me. How do I know it was God? My spirit knew.

All of a sudden pieces of the puzzle began falling into place and by the time I closed my eyes, I had the makings of a new plan (to me). The following morning I began developing that plan. It was like my mind was on steroids or something. It was exciting and spiritual at the same time. It is not necessary to go into the plan details as they are for me alone. The important thing here is that God took time to instruct me in the way I was to go (Psalm 32:8). And I listened!

But if I had been scornful, careless, or inattentive, I may have never heard His counsel. You want to succeed as a Christian author, well God wants you to succeed also. That’s why it is so important to avoid bad attitudes. A bad attitude can keep you from hearing the most important counsel, His counsel.

So, to summarize Psalm 1:1, Don’t follow ungodly people, don’t perform ungodly practices, and watch your attitude.

 

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Blessed is the man Part 2

“Blessed is the man that…nor standeth in the way of sinners”

Psalm 1:1 has been read and memorized by countless Christians. It is a verse that gives us an outline, if you will, of the source for happiness. I have divided this verse into three parts and will comment on each part in separate blogs.

In this second part we are warned not to get caught up in the actions of the wicked. But what does that mean? And what does it mean for the struggling author?

When blogging on the first part of this verse I talked about following ungodly advice. This second part is similar yet different.  Here we are talking about actions rather than advice.

For example, say I was advised to use unethical methods by a person who admittedly used them. According to part 1 we shouldn’t listen to that person. He or she is ungodly and the advice given is definitely ungodly. But here in part 2 we are talking about the doing.

Like I said the two are closely related. We are not to follow ungodly people nor do what they do. Period.

Not everyone who gives bad advice is bad. You can get bad advice from a fellow Christian who loves the Lord. He means well. He probably thinks the advice is permissible. But when you hear it you know or at least suspect it is not right to do it. At that point you are to avoid following or acting upon that advice.

So what does a Christian do?

Well, in part 1 I pointed out that you need to be in God’s Word and use it as a filter. Now we go one step further. If you find the advice violates scripture or is not in complete agreement with scripture, you want to ditch the advice. It might be proven to succeed; it might come with all sorts of recommendations; and advocates can be people you respect. But if it doesn’t agree with scripture, ditch it!

As I stated in part 1, “be faithful to God and study His Word. Let Him guide your understanding of scripture and its application.”

So far we have seen in part 1 that we need to be careful who we follow and in part 2 not to “do” the advice. In part 3 we will look at the seat of the scornful.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Responding to Major Roadblocks

Albert Einstein defined Insanity as: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Sometimes we writers get into a rut. Whether in writing or marketing we have discovered what we believe is the right way to go and we stick to it no matter what. Christian authors are just as guilty as any other writer of this unhealthy attitude.

After all we have prayed and sought God’s advice and implemented what appeared to be His answer. But there is the crux of our problem. Maybe it wasn’t God’s leading.

If that is where you are at then it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing. Take a step back and take a hard look at what is happening. Seek God’s leading and listen carefully!

If the problem is about your writing, revisit it and look for ways to improve. Ask yourself questions, especially as it concerns your cover, story line, and structure. Does the story move along at a good pace? Does it hold interest?

Don’t be afraid to change the story! Neither change just to change.

As for marketing you have a great many areas to look at. For example, do you frequently update your website or is it stale? Google and other search engines like fresh material and may downgrade your site if it is not updated.

Also take a look at your advertising. Especially paid advertising. You can waste a lot of money if you’re not careful. Frequently I take a look at where my money is going. And sometimes it means I shut something down and start something else. Recently I closed an email and domain account for three reasons: 1) there was a monthly cost, 2) the domain was not working like I wanted it to work, and 3) I could substitute a free email account for the paid account. The immediate result was a savings of money, but it also caused me to refocus on both the business and personal side of my writing career.

Did I just arbitrarily do that? No. I prayed to God for His leading. And it took weeks, perhaps months, before all of this was accomplished. It required me to look at everything and ask if I was just following popular opinion or was I doing things God’s way? It is not always an easy question to answer.

What is too easy is to follow the crowd. We are beset on every side by ideas and methods that are popular and successful. But worldly success doesn’t always translate to Christian success. God has a plan for us, and our goal must always be to conform to His will. It always requires us to spend time with Him and in His Word. It also requires us to compare the tactic or plan to God’s Word. Does the tactic or plan violate God’s Word?

In conclusion, we want to evaluate our work on a regular basis. Ask yourself the tough questions and early seek God’s leading. I believe that God has a plan for every Christian and He wants us to succeed within that plan. So the most important thing you can do is to trust Him and constantly seek His guidance.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.