1. Give a brief introduction of your main character's job or position in the story. What kind of job does your character have? Is their job instrumental in defining them in your book? Perhaps sharing the position they have in the "community" may play a role in how your readers will connect and understand your character.
2. Introduce the problem or conflict the character faces. What is your story going to be about? What is the "secret" or issue that they have? Give just enough to get your readers to want to know more.
3. Use words to engage the reader. Connect the character's issues with your reader's issues or problems. For example, "divorce", "confusion", "living a lie", "fear of giving her (his) heart."
4. Leave readers hanging with a cliffhanger question or ellipse statement. In my book, Devil in Disguise, on my back cover, I wrote: "Being blinded by who he believes are his enemies, Ben gets blindsided once more on the rollercoaster that becomes his life. Is there any hope for him to be truly delivered and restored, and find the real... Devil in Disguise?"
5. Use powerful, attention-grabbing quotes from the main character. What profound words or phrases did your character make that resonates with the title or subject matter of your book? Share it with your readers to get them wanting to hear more from your character.
Use these basic tips on how write your book blurb (or synopsis) to not only grab your reader's attention, but to set the stage for the journey your book will take your readers on.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” KJV
What does the word “virtuous” mean? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means having or showing high moral standards.
What are the standards that you’ve set in your business? Have you ever thought about that aspect? In designing your business, you do a business plan, right? In that plan, where does God fit in? Is He merely mentioned in the executive summary, or does He flow throughout the entire plan?
A standard is a level that you’re looking to attain. So now the deeper question is: where are you looking to get to? A ROI of 45%? Hmm, maybe you’re looking to get that new house you were praying about a mile outside of town?
When setting standards for your business, there is nothing wrong with setting physical objectives and goals, but also set spirituals ones. Desire to build your brand spiritually.
The scripture says that her price is far above rubies. A ruby is considered to be an extremely expensive gemstone. In biblical times, they represented wealth and power. So, for a quality cut ruby, be expected to shell out a good $15,000. And that’s just for one! And did you know that authentic rubies are rare to find? Yes, the authentic 100-percent ruby is rare to find.
Symbolically throughout biblical history, rubies symbolized God’s judgment, mercy, and righteousness.
So, what standards in your business’ industry is rare to find? And how would having that rarity shine the light on God and bring others closer to Him through your business?
What standard would you set for your business that many would pay good money just to have it? What is a must-have for your business?
Comparisons to rubies are mentioned six times in the bible. This gem is seen as very precious and valuable and is referenced to women as well as wisdom and knowledge.
In running your business, it should be considered as precious and valuable – not only in the services you offer, but also in the institution itself. One thing about a business, is it is more than just making money and having freedom. It is about providing something for someone else, that without having it, they would be lacking it.
What is the spiritual “price tag” that you’ve placed on your business and brand? When people come to you, are they viewing not only your products or services – but also you – as valuable? Are you rare and a must-have?
Seek to be virtuous. Structure in your business plan to have standards that are rare, yet precious and highly valuable that no one can do without.
*From my upcoming 2-book It's God's Business series entitled, "Doing Business As Unusual: Proverbs 31 Study Guide for Women Entrepreneurs."
Why are leaving reviews so important? For one thing, it helps build credibility for your author. An author can talk up their book, but it helps when readers can vouch to other readers how good the book really is. And word of mouth still works; so when one person said the book was good, other people will want to read it, and they'll buy it.
In this blog post, I'm going to share with you some great ways on where you can leave a review for your fave author as well as how to leave reviews that will be noteworthy to not only other readers, but to book critics and other important people that can help feed your author.
WHERE CAN YOU LEAVE BOOK REVIEWS?
Go to their website or blog. If the author has a blog or website, which most of them do, leave one on there. If they have a comment or review link, share your testimonial. Leave your name or email and ask to be added to their email list, so that you can be among the first to receive free stuff (like eBooks) or previews to their new pieces of work.
Online bookstores. Most books are published on places like Barnes & Noble or Amazon. And they has various lists, that your authors would love to be in the top 10 of. The more traffic a book gets, the more notoriety it receives, which pushes the book up the line to get more engagement. Some authors have previews on these sites, so leave a review there as well as when the book hits the store; leave another review there, too.
Goodreads. If your author isn't on Goodreads, suggest it to them. There are many groups on Goodreads, and there is a way to suggest a book to others as well as a book list for people to add books that they plan to read. This builds credibility and gets other readers to take notice of your author's book.
Book fair videos. Whuh? Yeah, have you ever been to a book fair, and saw your fave author in the flesh? Get out your iPhone and record a video right there on the spot with them, telling the whole wide world that you met your fave author and how much you loved their book. You've just done an awesome review that can go viral. This adds a personal touch when you chat it up with your author face-to-face before a new readership online.
Your local book clubs. Local clubs are always looking for new good stuff to read. Suggest books by sharing with them things to say on their social media group pages, and when you go to your meetings. These aren't exactly "written" reviews, but remember, word of mouth still brings in the bucks.
Social media. There's nothing like it. Twitter and Facebook are the social hubs that people respect. Tweet and hashtag your fave author by saying something really cool and profound about the book. Get on Facebook and leave a review on their page. People still read that stuff.
HOW SHOULD YOU LEAVE A REVIEW?
This has been one pet peeve of mine; people not knowing how to leave a review. It's more than just saying the book is great. You want to intrigue other people to actually read the book, too. Here are a few tips on how to leave a book review for your favorite author:
• Give stars even if the review platform you're using doesn't have any. Rating the book speaks volumes to people who are looking for something new and good to read. This is especially important for new authors who haven't developed a following yet.
• Express an emotion on how this book made you feel. Readers are normally looking for entertainment when they read. Some may look to be educated or empowered. This appeals to their emotions, and they're looking for a book that will charge up their emotions as well as their brain.
• Be honest; but be tactful. If you really liked the book, say that, but if there are parts of the book that may not have sat well with you, express that as well. Why? This gives other readers the impression that you actually connected with the book and its characters or subject. And that's a tell-tale sign that it's a good book.
• Leave your contact information. If you're not keen on leaving your name, at least leave your initials. And leave an email address. Some authors love to connect with their readers and bounce ideas off of them, or get them involved in developing their next book - such as book cover ideas, contests, etc.
There are plenty of authors popping up daily, and people still love to read. But if no one knows about the book, no one buys the book. And if your fave author doesn't have money to invest in keeping the books going, how can you have something to read? Leaving book reviews are like stock dividends to your authors. Help them spread the word, so that they can keep providing you with great reads.
Do you have a blog?
Are you interested in knowing how to blog?
Never heard of a link up party or wanted to know how they work?
Blog link up parties can be beneficial in assisting to do a number of things for your blog. In this post, I'm going to share with you what a link up party is, and how to prepare your blog to participate in one.
Link up parties or blog hops are platforms where bloggers meet to read and discuss blogs on similar topics. It is great for getting exposure to your blog as well as networking with other bloggers, attracting new readers and engagement. It may sound foreign if you've never participated in one, but they are fairly easy. It takes presenting your blog in the best light to get noticed and selected among the faves in the party. That's why I'm going to share a few tips on how to prepare your blog to be the life of the party!
#1: Have an amazing thumbnail graphic. It's true that a picture is worth 1,000 words. And you want yours to say the write words. Choose clear and colorful pictures that speak to what your blog post is about. Make sure it's interesting enough to attract them to click and read more.
#2: Selective posts that are noteworthy and interesting to your audience. You may have an amazing blog, but if the post you select doesn't have anything to do with the "topic" of the party, no one is going to read it.
#3: Include the direct link; not the blog. You want your party friends to not have to search through your blog to find what attracted them. Post the direct link to the actual post, and make sure the thumbnail is the same! Consistency is important.
#4: Engage with the party host. This is their party, so don't be rude. Most link up parties have requirements that state you have to like and engage on their blog, but if not, do it anyway. Most party hosts are well-respected in the blog world, and it helps to connect with others who can send some engagement your way.
#5: Always link back to the host on your blog. When you participate in their party, and they've given you honorable mention, return the favor. Let people know where you have been. This does a number of things: shows the host that you appreciate them for allowing you to participate in their party, drives the traffic and engagement from their blog to yours, and it is just plain common social media courtesy.
#6: Don't forget to visit other party-bloggers. Who goes to a party and doesn't chat it up with other people at the party? Wallflowers. But the whole purpose of joining a link up is to get your blog off of the wall. Visit other blogs in the party, like/follow posts, leave comments, mention/tag bloggers in comments in reference to the party host, etc. All of these ideas are great ways to, once again, increase engagement and traffic to your blog. This can also lead to partnerships, such as affiliate or feature blogger opportunities.
Blog parties can be very helpful to building, and even monetizing your written works. What's the point of having all of that great content, and no one ever gets to read it? Research parties based on topics and hop on in the fun. Most parties allow you to share a week ahead of time, and some have special topics for different days of the week, so this expands your chance of reach if you have a general blog that covers various topics. Search engines as well as social media platforms are great places to start looking for blog parties that may be great for you. Remember these tips, and go out there and get to partyin'!
Now that you've written and gotten the book published, what's next? How do you go about marketing your book and you don't actually have the funds to purchase marketing packages to get your book noticed and read? One of the best answers is a virtual book tour.
The benefits of having a virtual book tour include not having to face crowds if you are not the most extrovert type of person, virtual book tours also provide you with a wider reach. Using the internet can be an awesome tool for authors to promote books. Virtual book tours are also good to help you find opportunities (such as awards and author spotlights) to increase awareness and find new readers. In this post, I'm going to share some tips on how to go about setting up a virtual book tour for your book, especially if you're a new author.
Tip #1: HOST YOUR OWN TOUR.
If you haven't established many relationships in the "author world", and are not sure where to find existing tours; host your own. Virtual tours can be as short or long as you like, but a good rule of thumb for virtual tours is 3-4 weeks. You want to give yourself a chance to reach your audience and get into your "groove" about sharing your book.
Tip #2: USE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.
Facebook is one of the top platforms to join and use for your virtual book tour. You can create an event page for however long you want to schedule your tour and share blurbs with small bios about your book's main characters, share information about you as an author, and host a Q&A for your attendees.
Instagram or Twitter can also be used in your book tour. Share links, graphics of your book cover, book characters, situations, themes, locations, etc. can be added with brief content on these platforms.
Tip #3: BLOG SPOTLIGHT.
There are various ways to use a blog to spotlight your book. If you have a blog of your own, post on subject topics or do character analyses on your blog and share the link back to where readers can purchase your book. Seek out other authors or bloggers to interview you or feature your book on their "book of the week".
Tip #4: JOIN AUTHOR GROUPS OR BOOK CLUBS.
This is one great way to get to know what people like to read. It is also a way to get to know other readers and authors. Networking is an important factor in not only promoting your book, but getting sales. Most clubs and social media groups host book fairs or feature fellow authors in the group.
Also engage with other authors on their book tours, blogs, spotlights, etc. Be open to share links and ask to be featured on their blog.
Tip #5: PODCASTS OR RADIO TALK SHOWS.
Reach countries all across the world by adding a podcast or radio show to your tour. Feature your book on your own show or seek out shows that are related to the genre of your work. Make sure you provide them with some basic information, such as the name of your book, the release date, a picture of your book cover, and a brief summary or blurb of what your book is about. Schedule a time when you're going to be on and let your audience know about it. Send email invites or invites via social media.
Tip #6: GOODREADS OR BOOKBUB.
Have you ever thought about using Goodreads or Bookbub as a way to host a book tour? Goodreads has a blog as well for you can set up your questions from readers or other authors. Host a Q&A on your book on your profile page. Host your freebies such as e-books, workbooks, gift cards, and other promo products on your Q&A or add a quiz or poll to your platform to promote your book.
Whether you're hosting your own virtual book tour or going through another venue, make sure that you are prepared to share and answer questions. Create a calendar of your tour "stops" so that your readers can follow and join you on the stops of your tour. Reach out to bloggers, media specialists, newsletters, radio stations, book clubs, and other authors to find existing book tours to join to help you get acquainted and comfortable with networking online in regards to your book. Most book tours are free, but there are some that may require you to invest financially to be a part of the tour. Whichever route you choose to take, put your passion on the web and share it! Make sure you post your links and don't forget to create an CTA (call-to-action) with each of your stops to get your readers engaged and to drive traffic to your book site.
No matter how much you try to shy away from using social media, it is there and the urging comes to "have to" use it, even as an author. You may ask how can Pinterest be useful for authors and writers? I'm going to share with you some nifty ways authors can use Pinterest to build their brand, and grow their network to turn them from followers to paid readers.
Your Brand's Eye
Pinterest can be used to get your brand before the eyes of Pinterest users. Since this social media platform is 90% visual, your logo and brand message will be right at home with this platform. It gives you yet another way to get people to put eyes on who you are, why you do what you do, and how you do it.
Why & How You Should Use It
Pinterest can used to do the following things for you as an author or literary artist:
• It is a great promotional tool for book excerpts or chapter reveals
• It is a good tool to draw followers to your blog
• It is helpful to showcase testimonials and book reviews
• It gives a personal touch; you can use it for "behind the scenes" or "what's next" showcasing about your book or upcoming book
• Use it to share resources or to connect with groups, readers, and building your readership
How to Set it Up Right
Making sure your brand identity is being portrayed professionally and perfectly, here are a few tips on how to set it up right.
• Make sure you name your page by your brand and use a professional photo. Don't use "themes" or any of your literary work graphics. Your logo or a picture of you works well.
• Take advantage of your About section. Include your website, other social media links, identification titles (i.e. author, loves to read books about dogs, but writes sci-fi, etc.) as well as hashtags to identify keywords associated with your page, brand and website.
• Create organized boards. Your boards should be based on your interests as well as your readers' interests. Conduct searches on your target audience to see what they're pinning to their boards. Each pin should be categorized to a board that is about that particular subject. You can use these pins to draw interest to resources, book tags, or blogs. You should also create a board with your email's opt-in graphic to link it to your subscription page on your site to collect emails!
• Use the Pin It buttons. These help bookmark certain pins easily for followers to find you. This is sort of like a reference library, so don't be afraid to use them!
Social media doesn't have to be scary, nor do the benefits have to pass you by. As an author or literary artist, you want to use as many available platforms to showcase your work as possible. Not only do you want to let the world see how great of a writer you are, but you want to capitalize on expanding your world of new characters for your books as well as revenue.
If this blog post was helpful, and you would like some help in setting up your Pinterest account, shoot me a message here for your FREE 30-minute consultation.
As a woman growing your business, relationship building is one foundational piece. Whether you are a solopreneur, corporation or non-profit, you have to establish relationships to move your business forward. Doing business God’s way is no different. In retrospect, God expects women to seek His blueprint on business practices.
I’d like to introduce my co-blogger for this piece, Ashley Lounds-Brooks, who is an author and business strategist. Along with me, she will share some of her wisdom in this post on how women of God should operate in business. In this post, we will share three key principles of establishing your business doing things His way.
View your professional relationships as covenants. Tonya’s words of wisdom: God never makes a mistake when He makes possible for the relationships we develop. The people we network with are for our development. In business, we have to change our point of view in how we see those relationships. For example, In my book Women on Purpose: Bible and Business, God addresses the covenant between Jacob and Esau. God views even our relationships as covenants. When we sign the dotted line to take on a project, job, marriage, etc., we have just entered a covenant. A relationship ties us for specific purposes. Covenants are more than just mere promises, they are guaranteed connections that last beyond the initial association. Have you ever thought about how a relationship that you established ten years ago could catapult you in your professional destiny ten years later? View your business relationships as seeds to nurture your purpose and destiny along the way, instead of mere occasions or acquaintances.
The relationships that we establish benefit in people getting to know not only about us, but actually know who we are, what we stand for, and our business ethics and principles. This goes a long way when you’re growing by leaps and bounds in your business and needing avenues to perform that growth.
Ashley’s words of wisdom: You should always be growing your following and in doing so that means establishing relationships with people. People do business with people that they like. No one can like you, if they don’t know you. Relationships can carry you a long way. You never know who people know. If you have a good relationship with someone, doors and opportunities can be opened for you.
Address complacency with a vengeance. Ashley’s words of wisdom: Complacency is friends with familiarity and comfortable. Complacency is defined as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc. I want to focus on the first part that states “often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like”. When we become complacent, we have a false sense of security. I’ve see this a lot in business. We get to what we think is “our arrival” and we celebrate. Which is great because you should celebrate your victories but you shouldn’t stay there. You should always be learning and finding ways to not only improve your business but improve yourself.
Tonya’s words of wisdom: Complacency can be a killer to your business. There are key tools that you need to destroy complacency. One tool is drive. Don’t be satisfied with just doing the norm. There are over 300,000 people who start businesses a MONTH! That may seem like an overwhelming number, but barely 1% of those actually sustain their business after the first year. Just starting the business can’t be enough. Stay attentive to your business by asking yourself these questions: What is your “why”? What is the reason you’re taking the leap into entrepreneurship? It is easy to become complacent in where you are out of fear to move into the unknown of your next level. I address complacency in Women on Purpose. Israel had become accustomed to the norm of their religion, in hopes that it would carry through in the favor of God. Their relationship with God was no longer driven by passion, but became an item on their religious to-do list. This leads to my next key tool, which is have passion. Just as Israel had lost their passion for their relationship with God, we tend to lose passion when it comes to building our businesses. We settle for whatever comes, taking the scraps of the industry, when God is leading us to go higher.
Operate your business with integrity. Ashley’s words of wisdom: Being integral (honest) is essential in the Christian walk and especially in business. You should want to be known as a person who can keep their word. If your word is no good, why should anyone trust you or what you may be offering? Matthew 7:16 tells us that we are known by our fruit. Let us be examples by living lives of integrity and truthfulness.
One of my business strategies that I teach women who want to start successful businesses from my Groomed for Excellency program, is to do things God's way, using Godly principles. God is the author of integrity, and who better to pattern starting and building a business?
Proverbs 10:9 says, whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes a crooked path will be found out. Simply put, if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember a lie. Have you ever meet someone that whenever they tell or story or give information something always seems off, or the facts change each time they tell the story? So now every time you hear them talking you doubt what they are saying is true. You don’t want to be the person, no one believes. Proverbs 18:6-7 states ‘Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating. The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
Proverbs 22:1 states ‘A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.’ Having ‘goodness’ associated to your name is valuable, it provides you opportunities that money can’t buy. Being a woman of good character and integral has proceeded me so, that I have been given opportunities by just my name alone. It is a virtue that should be treasured and in due time provide with a reward that you couldn’t imagine.
In starting - or starting over - in business, use these key tools to serve as a foundation to build upon. They are not only essential, but they are tried and proven to yield a return beyond imagination. Seek to start, nurture, build and empower your business, God's way by God's principles.
Guest co-blogger: ASHLEY LOUNDS-BROOKS is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and the creator of the Live By Faith brand. She is an author and business strategist that specializes in helping millennial women start successful businesses using a 7 step system. She is the founder of a nonprofit organization C.L.A.S.S.I.C. (Christian Ladies Altogether Standing Against Social Injustice Corporation), owner of Christian apparel company 1st Kings Apparel and creator of the Live by Faith app and brand (www.livebyfaithbrand.com). Her ultimate goal is to be an example of living a fulfilling life while serving God.
Have you ever set goals to only have them sit idly in your planner, on your vision board, or in your phone, but are never reached? What hinders you from setting goals that are successful? What is the missing link in placing that checkmark of accomplishment next to your goals? In this blog, I’m going to share with you some tips that will motivate you to re-think and revamp your goals for the second quarter of the year.
Don’t feel defeated! Yes, it is already March, and you have only a few weeks to do the things that you set out to do in January, to only find yourself still trying to pull everything together from December. You are not alone, and often times when we’re goal setting, we are just calling out objectives that we either have no plans of really accomplishing or setting the bar way too high, that by mid-January, we’re already ready to give up and throw in the towel.
Set SMART Goals
I know you may have already heard of the SMART model, and it is a handy guide to building the objectives of what you’re trying to accomplish. Make sure you apply this model to help you. To dig a little deeper in using this model, let’s take a look at each component.
S – Be specific. Narrow down your goals. Broad topics will have you all over the place. Streamline what it is that you want to do to the bare basics.
M – Make sure it is measurable. The sure way to be defeated is to set your bar way too high way too soon. Be sure that it is something you can actually do right now and have the ability to measure the success rate of it.
A – Achievable. Is this something you can do right now? Or is it something that can actually wait down the road? Don’t kill your motivation before it gets started. Set goals that you can actually achieve. Small successes are better than setting high bars to never succeed.
R – Be realistic. Come on, now you know you’re 45 and you have a $400 budget; so there is no way you’re going to Aruba and hang glide. Set goals that are realistic, but will stretch your dreamcasting (I’ll blog about that later).
T – Set a timeline. If you’re in business, you understand the importance of time management and meeting deadlines. It is a real killer to have ideas floating in outer space somewhere that soon get lost and you never end up achieving them. Be clear about what you want to do, and when you plan to accomplish it. This teaches you accountability.
The Object of Your Affection
What is that one thing you want to do more than anything? What is that one object of your affection? Is it completing a business training? Is it writing that first book? Is it taking that leap of faith and creating that first webinar? What makes your heart leap and drives you to satisfaction with success?
That one “thing” is what your focus should be honed in on. It is what you’re going to invest your resources and sweat equity into. Don’t be afraid to be fanatical about what you’re affectionate about. This is where all of your creative juices are going to flow, because it’s what you desire to do the most. Your affection is going to open the floodgates to making it happen. The success rate of whatever plan you set in motion is going to be determined by your level of affection for it.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t be afraid of it. Take your goals by the horns and put all of your passion and planning into it. Plan with a heart to actually achieve it, instead of just dreaming about it. Success is what you make it to be. There is no one formula to success, only you determine that for yourself. Your level of motivation can be drowned or watered to nurture based on how well you plan for them. Be intentional and have fun!
And don't forget to get your freebie from me today. Your own Goal Builder Worksheet. Set.Plan.Goal!
God has given you a gift to write, and you're doing an excellent job at pecking away your passions, thoughts, and creativity. But how do you incorporate Him? How do you keep it real, without losing your audience or come off as "preachy"?
When God inspires you, He inspires the creativity. That's the wonderful thing about being a writer. Because He is in you, you are in Him. That means that whatever you write, allow Him to shape your writing. It may not necessarily come out in verbatim scripture form, but it shines just as bright.
Remember the Word of God is to draw us closer to Him. Examine your purpose (why) and your goal (what you want to achieve) in your writing. Align those two principles with what God's word says, and watch how He will inspire and impart scripture into both your "why" and your "what."
Being a Christian writer isn't about quoting scriptures throughout your work; it is about being an agent of change to Godly living. Something written on those pages has to be a part of a change that takes place in the reader's heart and mind that causes them to turn away from their fleshly desires, and want to know God even the more.
Fictional writing isn't just about entertaining, it is about making a difference such as: Encouragement, Motivation, or even bringing Repentance to your reader. What scriptures and examples of scriptures align with your "why" and your "what?" What difference does God want you to make in your writing for Him?
To incorporate God is to incorporate truth, which is to incorporate a chance to make a difference. To incorporate Him is to seek Him during the story plot stages, the manuscript development, the character analysis, and the climactic themes. Ask Him what is it that He wants you to tell your readers? Study to show your own self approved in being a storyteller for Him. As you incorporate Him in your own daily life, He will incorporate Himself in the life of your writing.