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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More Great Writing Tips from Jerry Jenkins


Don’t ever apologize for…

…wanting to be published. You’d be amazed at how often I hear from would-be writers who say they just want to write for the sake of writing. “I don’t care if it gets published.” Then why not just talk?

Get your work out there. Sure, a certain amount of ego is at play. Who doesn’t want to be known, to be successful, to see her name in print? You simply need to remember that publishing has to be a byproduct of your writing, not the end goal.

If you set out to glamorize yourself, write a bestseller, score, whatever you call it, you might enjoy a short-lived celebrity, but you won’t have a career. As Dean Koontz has taught, the purpose of writing is communication, and if what we write is not read, that purpose is not fulfilled.

The most attractive quality in a person is humility. Sometimes money and fame will come whether or not you expect or seek them. But if you become enamored with the trappings of success, they become your passion. You need to return to your first love.

Why are you a writer?

Are you an inspirational writer?

The answers to those questions should have nothing to do with yourself. If God and others are not the reasons you write, you might as well write solely for the general market.

That doesn’t mean everything you write has to be a sermon or packed with scripture, but your unique worldview should come through. 

As working writers, we should be always sending out proposals – or coming up with new proposals to pitch. Never write to Dear Sir or To Whom It May Concern. Find and write directly to the appropriate person by name. Then, here are my top tips for query letters and proposals.

1. Avoid mannerisms and multiple fonts in your emails to editors. This is akin to the old snail mail taboo of using colored paper as stationery. Editors seem to universally see this as a sign of an amateur.

2. Do not use bold or LARGER-THAN-NORMAL type anywhere in an email, proposal, query, or manuscript.

3. Your title must be positive. Not "Don't Let Depression Defeat You," but rather: "Winning Over Depression."

4. A manuscript, even transmitted electronically, must should be double-spaced (not single- or triple-spaced, or spaced at the 1.5 setting). Fix the default Word setting that calls for extra space between paragraphs. Indent paragraphs and remember, unlike how we learned to type business letters, only one space between sentences.

5. If the publisher asks for hard copy (rare these days), your manuscript should never be bound, stapled, clipped, or in a notebook. Editors want the pages in a stack, loose, with each page numbered and carrying the author's name.

6. The word "by" rarely appears on the cover of a book unless it is self-published, and even then it is the sign of an amateur.

7. The misspelling of the word "acknowledgments" (as "acknowledgements", a British variation) or "foreword" (as "forward") is another clue that you're an amateur. "Foreword" means "before the text"; it consists of "fore" and "word", and has nothing to do with direction.

8. Your manuscript should not have justified right margins. Use ragged right margins, the kind that makes your manuscript appear to have been typed rather than computer generated. Justified margins cause inconsistent spacing between words, which make for difficult reading for overworked editors and will also require tedious reformatting.

9. A common cliché in inspirational books is to include prayers in prefatory material. Even paraphrasing those to say, "My prayer is that God would…" is better than, "Lord, I pray…", but avoid either in the dedication or acknowledgments ("Lord, thank you for my wonderful editor…" Blech!).

10. You've heard the slogan "Just do it." Now learn to "Just say it." Imagine telling your story to a friend over coffee or writing a letter. Good writing is not about loads of adjectives and adverbs. It consists of powerful nouns and verbs. So many beginners fall into an overwrought style editors call "writtenese." Your relatives may love your flowery language, and perhaps your unpublished creative writing teacher does too, but read what sells. Usually you'll find it simple and straightforward. 
Author of more than 180 books with sales of more than 70 million copies, including the best-selling Left Behind series, Jerry B. Jenkins is former vice president for publishing and currently chairman of the board of trustees for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.
Jerry's writing has appeared in Time, Reader's Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and dozens of Christian periodicals. Twenty of his books have reached The New York Times best-seller list (seven debuting number one). The Breakthrough, the final book in Jerry's Precinct 11 trilogy, released from Tyndale House Publishers in September 2012.
Jerry owns Jenkins Entertainment, a filmmaking company in Chicago, and the Christian Writers Guild, which aims to train tomorrow's professional Christian writers. Each student is personally mentored by a seasoned professional.
In January 2013, Jerry launched Christian Writers Guild Publishing (CWGP). Students take a six-month mentored course to guide them in writing their manuscripts, then CWGP publishes their books.



Monday, July 15, 2013

Avoid these Common Errors in Writing

Common Errors in Writing

As an editor for the past several years, I see a lot of things in writing that needs to be fixed. That's what you hire an editor for. Everyone needs an editor--especially the editor. One of my own most common mistakes is skipping a word when I write. My brain fills it in for me, and no matter how many times I "proofread" I will never catch it just by skimming over my work, sometimes even when I read it back aloud.

You can help yourself and your editor by watching for and avoiding these most common errors.


Pronoun Agreement

English has pirated the best words from Latin and Greek, Indo-European, and Aboriginal languages; however, we are crippled by lack of pronouns. We have only male, female, gender-neutral plural, gender-neutral singular, which generally refers to inanimate objects. Singular and plural in the same sentence or paragraph must agree.




      Direct address: You; modified only with a contraction/verb (you'd, you'll, you're), never pluralized occasionally, "one" is used as a gender neutral address, but it is awkward at best



Words like Everyone, Everybody, need to be followed up with singular pronouns, since “body” and “one” are singular usages, not plural. You can use “We all” or “All of them” to match plural pronouns they/them.


Everyone made it on time to his or her appointment.

They all made it on time to their appointments.



To show possession, EXCEPT WITH GENDER NEUTRAL IT OR YEARS, use an apostrophe.

Carl’s dog has lived with him at the Reader’s house since 1995.

That old dog, born in the 1990s, has lived with the Readers. It’s had all its required shots.

Plural possession will have the comma after the “s.” In my parents’ house, the dog is kept out of the kitchen.


Plural: Simple plurals never need an apostrophe

Carl once had three dogs at the same time. The Readers did not like that.


In Contractions (it is=it’s, they are=they’re, he will=he’ll) an apostrophe replaces a letter. If you cannot divide the word back to its original two words, do not use an apostrophe.

It has had all of its shots.


Commas & Dialog marks

Commas should and always are meant to ease reading, according to the Chicago Manual of Style. There are some rules, but personal style and judgment can be considered; it’s becoming common to use fewer, as long as usage is consistent.

In general, commas are used to introduce something, such as the subject of the sentence (Therefore, / On the other hand, ), or dialogue (Grandma said, “I remember…); or to set off a parenthetical phrase (something you would be able to put in parentheses like this one); to separate items in a list, often but not always to identify an appositive (my brother, Rico, said… Although My brother Rico said... is equally correct--as long as there's no confusion about whom you're referring to); to set off restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses—and that’s one you can use your best judgment on and let the editor figure it out.

American English uses a double quote to set off dialogue; periods, commas, question marks and exclamation points will 99% of the time be inside the quotation marks. Queen’s and other European styles do the opposite. Where is your book going to be marketed and sold the most? Use that version.


Using the wrong word

Spell-check on your word processing program is good for a quick check, but must never be relied upon, as it finds and fixes general spelling errors, but cannot always judge whether you’ve used the correct word.





Words like toward/towards.

They’re both correct, but authors need to choose one version and use it consistently throughout the manuscript. Use a global search for this word to see all instances of the word in the manuscript and make sure they’re all the same. Spell out the name of a place and make sure it’s the same, such as Mount/ Mt., or an abbreviation for a title, such as Doctor/ Dr.


Reading your work out loud--no cheating-- is your best initial defense.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fearless Friday with Rose Chandler Johnson!

Meet Rose Chandler Johnson

Twitter: @rechanjo

Rose Chandler Johnson, a Southern girl from a tiny Georgia town, is the author of the popular devotional blog, Write Moments with God. In spite of years of disappointments and overwhelming obstacles, she has grown in her relationship with the Lord and learned how to find Him in the midst of everyday moments. A devoted Christian and mother of six, she has been a French and English teacher over the last twenty years. She likes to take walks, garden, read, and bake.   


God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea:  Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments 

Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 

 ISBN 978-1-938499-86-9


Rose Johnson’s devotional offers the reader sweet balm and encouragement through wise and thoughtful reflections on God’s grace and provision in the midst of all life can throw at us. Use it as a wonderful way to start the day off right with God’s Word and friendly counsel from a woman whose soul knows. ~ Elizabeth Musser, award winning Christian writer and author of The Swan House
Through honesty and compassion, Rose lets us see into her life and heart so that we can also examine our own heart. As I read these devotions I was sometimes comforted and other times challenged, but always I thought about the person God sees when He sees me. This devotional is simple enough for the newest believer or even someone not sure about God but deep enough to make a life-long Christian feel challenged to go higher. This is a wonderful book and I am thrilled to encourage others to read it and share a copy with friends. ~ Tiffany Colter, author, writer, speaker, writing coach, and mom.

Available from Amazon

Available in print from your local bookstore, online, or from the publisher at:

Your unique talent:  Je parle francais!  I speak French.

Rose, share something not many people know about you: Once I was mugged in Paris, but I held onto my money.  A little French lady intervened.  I got through it with only a bruise on my hip and a broken fingernail.

Are you a “pet person” or prefer no pets?  Once, I had my own little dog, which I adored, and I’d ride around with her in my bicycle basket.  Then I had twins, followed by four more children.  Even though we’ve had a half dozen pets over the years, I’d prefer none.

Would you rather travel or stay at home?  Honestly, I’m a stay at home gal.  When I do travel, I love it, but most of the time I’m content to be home.

Do you read more or write more? I’m still reading more than writing.  It seems I’m always reading at least three books at once, and I have a stack waiting, but I do write some everyday.

Prefer cake or pie? Pound cake. 

Would, or do, ride a motorcycle or prefer to ride/drive a car? Just let me drive a car please.  Although, I’ve ridden a motorcycle many times in my younger days, I don’t think you could get me on one now. 


Bus or taxi or walk? Walk if I can; taxi if it’s from the airport; bus if it’s a daytrip to Chartre or Giverny J

Are you part of a big church congregation or a small church? Small church

Do you like to telephone people or prefer to use e-mail? Prefer email

Are you happy or joyful?  Joyful

Do you eat at home or eat out?  Eat at home most of the time; I’m a good cook.  I enjoy eating out occasionally as well.

Listen to music or prefer quiet? Prefer quiet most of the time

Prefer sunrises or sunsets? Love sunrises, trees, flowers, and all God’s beautiful creation.

Thanks so much for stopping in, Rose, and blessings upon all your work.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What Are Some Good Paid Advertising Sites on the Web

Here are some paid advertising sites that I have checked out or used. I always encourage authors to use wisdom when deciding where to advertise.


For more helpful tips and links, check out my Power Point Presentation at:


Lorilyn Roberts is a Christian author who writes children's picture books, adult nonfiction, memoirs, and a young adult Christian fantasy series, Seventh Dimension.

Lorilyn graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama, which included international study in Israel and England. She received her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Perelandra College and is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature.

Lorilyn is the founder of the John 316 Marketing Network, a network of Christian authors who are passionate about promoting books with a Christian worldview.

To learn more about Lorilyn, please visit her website at  or blog at . You can follow her on twitter at

Monday, July 1, 2013

13 Online Marketing Blogs You Really Should Consider


By Sabrina C Anderson

Online marketing doesn’t have to be an author’s worst nightmare when it comes to selling books. Over the last year and a half, I’ve been trolling the web trying to grapple with what it means to market myself, my book and my blog.  If you have a small budget like me, then you might understand how much hard work and persistence it can take.

Thankfully, there are many blogs, books, and experts willing to assist with applying some very basic strategies that produce great results depending on your goals.  Just like writing a book takes time, so does success with online marketing.  Whether your goal is to build a thriving business online, become a top blogger or simply establish an audience as an author, here are thirteen blogs worth checking out to help you get the results you dream of.

Online Marketing for Amateurs, Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Firepole Marketing 


Conversion Optimization/Sales

Peter Sandeen


Blog Training/Business Coaching

Marie Forleo


HeartCore Women


Online Visibility

Denise Wakeman



The Savvy Solopreneur


Time Management/Blogging

Blogging with Amy


Introverts and Online Marketing
Writing Happiness


Generating Traffic, Making Money Online

Copy Blogger

Pro Blogger



Passive Panda


2 Create a Website



As you can see, each blog offers many tips and resources to navigating the world of online marketing. Though it may seem overwhelming, just assess your needs and stick to what works for you. If you have the budget to pay for coaching, go for it. If not, many of these blogs offer free resources that can help you achieve your goals.

Do you have a favorite go to blog for all of your online marketing needs? Share it in the comments below. Be blessed!



Sabrina is an author and blogger who loves online marketing and search engine optimization. You can visit her at, a blog that encourages women to live their best life in Christ.