Want Some Reviews?

by Carole Brownbook reviews free

Do you long for more reviews? Here are a few steps that may help you land a few more professional reviews. Remember that this is a professional business and when approaching reviewers and book review sites, act professional.

 

  • Try for a personal note by greeting the reviewer by name. If you’re looking on a site or blog for requirements, etc., then search until you find that name. Address them as “Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Brown.” rather than the generic one of “Dear Madam” or “Dear Sir.” Not only does this show some diligence on your part in knowing the reviewer’s name, but is a sign of respect.
  • Don’t overdo the familiarity. Keep it simple in the first sentence by stating your name and the title of your book. When you end your letter, sign it simply as 
    “Sincerely.”
  • In your letter, include a word count for an e-copy of your book. If you’re sending a print book, a page count is fine. This will clue in the reviewer on
  • book notes lists etc the time frame.
  • Also, you’ll need to mention the genre of your book. Be specific. If it’s a “who-done-it” then make sure you state that its a mystery. Thriller? Then the reviewer will be expecting a fast-paced read. By not following through correctly with this, can give the reviewer cause to mention it negatively in your review. Be diligent!
  • If you have a time frame when the book will be published or promoted, then by all means include this. If, as many authors have, no time frame demand, then ignore it. This will help the reviewer decide if he has the time to read and review it.
  • Include a short synopsis and book blurb. Make it interesting and one that captures the reviewer’s attention. You’ll want him/her panting to read your book! email-us free
  • If you’re emailing your request, on the subject line, keep it simple and short. Book review request should do the job. 

Be polite and respectful, keep it simple, and provide the details the reviewer needs to decide if he has the time and if she’s interested. 

Themed Christian Fiction Lovers Facebook Parties

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

If you are a published Christian author, I have a marketing opportunity for you.

FaceBook Book Lovers Themed Parties

Themed Facebook Parties for readers take place every other month. She invites other authors to join her in these themed parties. There is a limit of 8 authors per party on a first come, first serve basis. If too many authors sign up for any one party, we may have an additional party with the same theme on another day.

Upcoming Parties:

August 25: Crafts Christian Fiction Lovers Party: Includes novels with a craft such as sewing, quilting, knitting, baking, etc. as an element

October 6: Progressive Era Christian Fiction Lovers Party: Includes fiction set between 1900 and 1929

December 1: Christmas Christian Fiction Lovers Party. Includes only Christmas fiction

Sign up at this link if you are interested in being included in one of these parties, and I will send you more information. Please read the requirements below before submitting.

Advantages:

Authors network to gain exposure for their published novels.

Authors will be able to promote their books during the FB party and on the Themed Christian Book Lovers Parties FB Group.

Authors will gain a larger audience by networking with other authors with similar books.

All the pre-planning work for the party is done for you.

Requirements:

Each author must meet the requirement of having a published book with a Christian world theme that meets the guidelines of the theme.

Each author must have an active FaceBook account.

Each author must participate in the party to promote his or her book for his or her half hour time slot.

Each author must be willing to give away one book (ebook or print)

Each author must contribute $15 for the $50 grand prize and cost of promotion.

FB Prizes:

During these Facebook parties, a drawing will be held.

Giveaways include a grand prize of a $50 Amazon Card or a runner up prize of every participating author’s book.

Authors will also have opportunities to give away other prizes during their time slot.

The Hated Reviews

by Carole Brownbooks on shelf free

 

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories,

just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl, WD

 

Reviews:

  • Eh. It was alright. At the low low price of free I can’t complain but it was just interesting enough that I had to finish but I certainly won’t recommend it to anyone.

Lol. Free. Interesting. Had to finish. ‘Nuff said. 

  • I just really wish I’d known this was a “Christian” book before purchasing it – I’ll be more attentive to descriptions in the future.

What? You bought it and didn’t read the description?                                                        At least she read it, and just maybe learned her lesson! 

  • This book was very well written. Kept me in suspense the whole time. Felt compassion, anger, disbelief, relief, so many emotions. Felt like I was reading about real life.

Very well written, huh? Great review. I’ll take it, even though, whoever, gave it a “3-star.”

How do “bad” reviews make YOU feel? How should “we” feel when receiving them? Angry? Hurt? Disappointed? Discouraged?

We can let it hurt us to the place where we’re ready to give up writing, or…

We can buckle down, take what good (if any) we can get from the review and improve our ability, determined to grow instead of withering. Ignoring the negative, unprofitable only benefits us. 

 

We can only grow as writers, if we learn…and that means realizing that this business is not all roses and acceptance. We must:   forest path free

  • Find our path. By that I mean, what are we called/what have we chosen as our writing call? 
  • Be true to that path. Don’t waver. If you’re called to write nonfiction, then stick to that. If you know Sci-fi is your thing, then plow straight ahead. I KNOW rocky hillside path freeI’m called to write suspense/mystery. I might toss in a little humor and romance, but suspense/mystery is my core calling.

 

(This is not to say people can’t write in more than one genre. Not at all. Many writers spread their writing wings to cover more than one, and that’s okay. That’s their calling, their ability, their interest.)

  • Accept that not everyone is going to like your writing. I was heartbroken at my first “bad” review of three stars, but as I expanded my writing, gained more experience, published more books, I’ve accepted that I can NOT please everyone. 
  • Grow. Use the negative to your advantage, by turning it around and helping you to gain insight into improving your craft.
  • Finally, relax and be at peace. If you’ve found your path, staying true, accepting the dislikes and growing, then you’re doing what you should. Know that God is leading you on the path you should be on, the one that is the best for you, and proceed straight ahead with peace in your heart that you’re doing

    hand freeall you can do. 

Be glad that another person has read your book. Who knows what may stick in their mind down the road and lead them to pick up another book of yours. And if not, then it’s their problem/decision. Leave it in God’s hands.

Guest Author Sharyn Kopf – Are You Ready to Share Your Story

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today I’m welcoming author, editor, and ghost writer Sharyn Kopf as my guest author. Sharyn didn’t discover her voice until she found a way to turn grief into hope. For her, that meant realizing it was okay to be sad about her singleness. In doing so, she was finally able to move past her grief and find hope in God.

It also meant writing about the heartaches and hopes of being an older single woman. She published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, and a companion nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40 in 2015. Book two, Inconceived, was finished in 2016, and she plans to release the final novel in the trilogy, Altared, over Labor Day weekend. Her work has also appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Splickety Love magazine.

Besides writing and speaking, Sharyn is an editor and marketing professional. She loves to connect with readers and singles on Facebook or email and has plans to start a monthly newsletter soon. In her spare time, she enjoys goofing off with her nieces and nephews, making—and eating!—the best fudge ever, long hikes through the woods, and playing the piano.

Are You Ready to Share Your Story?

by Sharyn Kopf

They say—and, to be honest, I’m not sure who “they” are, but I still quote them on occasion—that everyone has a story. And, really, it’s true. I have a story. You have one. We all do. But then what? Should you do something with it?

Let’s start with five questions you need to answer in deciding if you should turn your tale into a book:

  1. Why do I want to tell my story?
  2. Who is my audience?
  3. What do I want to say … and what do I need to say?
  4. Is this a story that can be told in a new way? Or is it something we’ve read before?
  5. Am I the one to write it?

Each question is important, but regardless of your answers to the first four, if you respond to the fifth with a no, that’s where I come in. I help people take their story from idea to manuscript.

My name is Sharyn Kopf, and I’m a writer/journalist and editor with over thirty years of experience. Besides writing for newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, I co-authored and edited an autobiography a few years ago, have edited numerous published manuscripts, and, so far, have written, edited and published four books of my own.

Whether it’s starting from scratch or using your notes, diaries and/or interviews, I would work with you until we have a completed manuscript. Here’s the basic process:

We’d begin with a phone call. At that time, we’d discuss your budget, come up with a plan, and determine your answers to those first four questions. This lets me know what kind of book you want to end up with.

Next, you would need to send me any materials you already have. Once I go through that, I’ll contact you about additional interviews, whether with you or with others connected to your story. Of course, if you don’t have anything, our next step would be setting up interviews.

Once the research is done and the information has been collected, I’d start writing. Throughout the process, I’d keep in contact, whether it’s sending you chapters, asking questions to fill in the blanks or keeping you updated on my progress. Your level of involvement, of course, would be up to you.

Once the manuscript is written, I would do one final round of edits. After that, I recommend you find another editor for another run-through. The more eyes you have on it, the better it will be!

Though my rates are reasonable, they do reflect the level of time and expertise that would go into the work. However, we can complete the project at whatever speed best fits your budget.

If you’re interested in contacting me about your story, please email Sharyn Kopf at sharynkopf@gmail.com.

Inconceived

Realizing you’re a spinster is one thing; understanding what that means and how to handle it is another. And it would seem Jolene, Uli and Catie still have a ways to go before they truly comprehend what God is trying to show them, not only in their desire to marry but in their longing to have children of their own.

As one relationship ends and another begins, Jolene Woods realizes she needs to finally deal with the guilt and regret of her past if she’s ever going to move on. So she embarks on a journey she hopes will bring forgiveness but may, in fact, only lead to more regret. Did the sins of her youth forever destroy her chance to be a mother?

Uli Odell has her own journey, though it’s more of an escape from the pain and embarrassment of a broken engagement. She ends up at her mother’s home in Iowa, separated from her friends and desperate for money. But there are some problems she just can’t run away from.

Though Catie’s heart is in a stronger place since she met God on a mountain three months ago, she still doesn’t have answers to many of her questions. Then the possibility of an unhealthy relationship and the reality of a life-altering medical diagnosis makes her wonder if she’s figured out anything at all.

As their lives head off in different directions, each of these friends will need God—and each other—to find their way to healing.

You find it at this link.

Is it Real or Not?

by Carole Brownbook world free

Writers are creators. They create people, settings and events. To do this, they need real or realistic thoughts that turn real-life into imaginary stories on paper. And to produce the work they do, they need three things: 

  1. Imagination
  2. Love of work
  3. Dedication

Why? Because without all three, most people could not continue through the pressure and discouragement you encounter in this line of work. Today, let’s focus on the first one: Imagination.

Without imagination stories would be unrealistic, flat and boring. Imagination keeps the writer soaring and excited over their work, during their production and marketing. Imagination helps to produce the results you, as a writer, craves. Using your imagination successfully is what keeps the reader reading and coming back for more of your work.

forest path free

How would you like to stroll along this lane? What emotions would fill you? What sensations would stroke you?

  • Writers create settings. That includes communities, whether a forest or a city. To do so and do so correctly, one must give the reader that pull into the setting. As one reader said of the Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mystery series: “I want to move there.” That’s making the setting real. The reader must experience the coolness of the shady forest and cool wind on their cheeks and shoulders, sense with their feet the squishy, moist softness of pine needles on the path, sway with the headiness of standing on the edge of a cliff and staring into the abyss below. These settings can be real places you’ve visited or imaginary ones you’ve dreamed up, but whichever they must seem real to the reader.

 

Civil war canon free

The Civil War was a very real event. How would you draw your readers into this? What would the sound of a cannon be like? What emotions would your characters feel? Fear? Excitement? Awe? 

  • Writers create events. Again, whether you’re writing about specific happenings in our world and inserting special scenes that help create the story you’re penning, the reader must believe, as they’re reading, that this certainly did happen–or at least it did while they’re reading your book. 

 

old woman free

What is she experiencing right now? What emotions are running through her? Is she remembering her past? Worrying over her future? Afraid? Hungry?

  • Writers create characters. They become people watchers. A certain move, speech impediment or action from a real life person aids them in creating their story world character and help that character emit responses that bring them alive.  If your characters are “real-like”, readers will shiver with fright, laugh with happiness and cry over the characters’ disappointments.

Is it okay to use real “stuff” in your books. Depending on what it is, usually, yes. Normally, it’s okay to mention historical figures, historical events and settings from yesteryears and today. In my WWII Spies series, I bring in a mention of the current president during that era. In some of my books, I’ll mention nearby towns and cities, but create my own community. In one book, I was asked where the town was located. Real? Seemed so to that reader.

Does it matter whether your book is filled with real settings and events? Do you need a book filled with people who really did/do live? No, not exactly.

  • But bringing in real historical people lends an air of truth to your book. Studying people aids you in inventing your characters.
  • Showing that your story plot happened during a specific event grabs a reader’s attention of what could have been. 
  • Setting your book in a particular city or place is great if you stay true to locations and particular things in that city. Equally good is creating chef Ok freean imaginary community where it’s so lifelike that, as I mentioned above, readers want to move there.

Is it real? Or imaginary? Only the writer knows for sure. That’s the way we want it, isn’t it?

Tell me, how do you create your settings, events and characters? How much truth is in your work/books?

Successful writing!

Guest Author Leeann Betts – Choosing a Setting

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today we welcome Leeann Betts to Word Sharpeners. Leeann Betts contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Hidden Assets releasing the end of June. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com All books are available on Amazon.com in digital and print.

Choosing a Setting

By Leeann Betts

With so many great places to set a book, how do authors go about selecting that perfect location that is not merely a backdrop to the plot but actually becomes an integral character?

For me, I go about this two ways: I either know the story and choose the setting based on what’s going to happen in the story; or I know the location and want to set a good story there.

For example, in my first book, No Accounting for Murder, since I’m familiar with small East Coast towns (I lived in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia before emigrating to the US), and because the culture in a small East Coast town is completely different than a city, I knew I wanted to set a story in such a place. That culture not only defines what happens in the story, it also defines the characters.

However, when it came to the setting for the next book, There was a Crooked Man, this was borne because my pastor was contemplating buying a property in New Mexico and turning it into a retreat center for pastors.

Having my main character, Carly Turnquist, start out in her town of Bear Cove, Maine, then travel to New Mexico meant I wanted the next book to be set back in Bear Cove, which is why Unbalanced was set around not only that small-town lifestyle and mindset, but also the larger regional city which tends to govern and sometimes bully the smaller towns.

And then we come to Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, which releases April 30th. In this adventure, Carly and husband Mike visit the area where my dad and step-mother were married. While I prefer setting my books in fictional towns, Raven Valley is fashioned after the town of Cave Creek, Arizona. Both my father and step-mother are now with the Lord, so when I read this story, I feel their presence and influence on my life, for which I am grateful.

Broke, Busted, and Disgusted was set back in Bear Cove, but this time I branched out a little into the surrounding countryside, which was fun. I love creating new worlds, even though I based it on what I knew about Maine.

And my most recent release, Hidden Assets, which comes out June 30th, was set at a B&B in eastern Wyoming and a small town in western Nebraska. We had been there recently, and I love the area, which is why I chose it. We are also choosing to stay at B&B’s booked through an online source because they are generally cheaper and nicer than motels, plus we get to meet some interesting people. One time, we met a man bicycling from Anchorage Alaska to Ohio for his 50th high school reunion. I think I’ll be putting him in a book soon.

Please leave a comment about connections you have with particular settings, whether in books you’ve written or books you’ve read.

Hidden Assets

Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, responds to a call from her friend, Anne, who is in the middle of a nasty divorce, and travels to Wyoming to help find assets Anne thinks her husband has stolen. But the mystery begins before Carly even arrives when she sees a man thrown off a train. Except there’s no body. Husband Mike uncovers an illegal scam in a computer program he has been asked to upgrade, and then Anne is arrested for her ex’s murder. Can Carly figure out what’s going on, and why a strange couple is digging in Anne’s basement? Or will she disappear along with the artwork, coins, and money?

Should a Writer Dream Big?

Writing is a discouraging profession. We’re constantly told not to get our hopes up. Getting published is as unlikely as winning the lottery. Then if we’re fortunate enough to be published, we’re reminded that most novels sell less than 1,000 copies. If we do sell more than that, we’re admonished to not quit our day job because very few writers ever make enough to support themselves.

Christian writers have is worse. If they dare to dream big, they’re told they are pursuing worldly success instead of keeping their eyes on God.

Yet Scripture tells to believe that nothing is impossible with God. So what are we to do? We should follow the same steps anyone would follow, writer or not, when God gives them a dream.

Dream Big: Don’t put limitations on God. If you knew that after hard work and perseverance you would succeed, what dreams would you pursue? What dreams has God placed in your heart that are God sized? Every dream will be different. One person’s dream may be for one person to be touched by his writing that nobody else can reach. Another might be reaching for publication. Still another person might be looking for a career in writing that we’ll enable her to quit her day job. No dream is wrong when God is the one who put the desire there. Pray about it and make sure it’s God. But if He placed the desire there, run with it.

Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

Write Down Your Dreams & Visions: After you’ve decided what your God given desires are, write them down. Keep the list somewhere that you can refer to often like the refrigerator. Then work toward those dreams. Do your part so God can do His.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

Do Your Part: God is the One responsible for fulfilling His promises, but you need to do your part. Obey God even when it seems like you’re going in the wrong direction. Work hard to learn your craft and to write what God has given you. No matter how many rejections you get, Don’t Quit! Most agents and publishers admit successful authors aren’t the best writers, they’re the ones who never quit. Do your part, and God will open the doors.

Revelation 3:7 … When I open a door, no one can close it. And when I close a door, no one can open it.

Remember the Results are in God’s Hands: Once you’ve done all you can do, it is no longer your responsibility. Don’t strive to do what only God can do. Our hope is not in the dream God gave us. Our hope is in God. Trust in Him to guide your paths to the place He wants you to be. Whatever happens, God is more than enough.

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.