Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Should Be Committed By Heather Blanton

I've been impressed by indie author Heather Blanton and how well her books appear to do on Amazon, so I asked her to share with us a little about her experience. -- Sandy

Heather: I have been amazingly blessed in my writing career. Now, a little over three years after self-publishing my first book, I find it’s time to take stock. Here’s what I think I’ve done right, and here’s what I’ve done wrong.

If you are not familiar with me, I self-published my first book, A Lady in Defiance, in 2012. My goal was to sell 200 copies for my Relay for Life team. ALID wound up selling over 8000 copies that year! God is good, right? Absolutely!

I write full-time now and have released four books in the last three-plus years. All have hit various best-seller lists at Amazon, average 4.76 stars, and have at least a hundred reviews (some much more, except for my newest release).

So here are the things I do right.

First and foremost, I never stop learning. A Lady in Defiance came from a story I carried in my heart for a long time, but it was born with a problem: the middle sagged. I know this because veteran editor David Webb told me so. He told me how to fix it, and shared some action steps I follow to this day:

  • I read every craft book I can get my hands on.
  • I attend the wonderful Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference at least every other year.
  • I dissect successful authors’ books cover to cover.
  • I’m an outliner now, too.

Second, I shoot for turning out a quality product. I hire three editors now for every book. I find each has a special gift. Once I’ve made their changes, I send the book out to my beta readers. I strongly suggest you find readers who will be honest. The ones who will question and challenge the story will make your book better!

Speaking of readers, the third most important thing I do is love on my facebook tribe. I really engage on there. However, I don’t’ accept every friend request. I’m looking for people who are likeminded. I am a Conservative Christian. I joke that I’m the Phil Robertson of Christian fiction. The friends I have are awesome! They buy my books, share my posts, tell me their dreams, and defend me when I get a bad review!

So, what have I done wrong? Why am I not a household name yet?

Well, assuming that's God’s plan for me, I don’t post often enough to my blog or social media forums. I’ve never done a blog tour. I don’t enter contests. I’m not in bookstores. I don’t spend a lot of time networking with other authors. I probably don’t buy enough ads. I am a marketing sloth.

If I’m writing for the Lord—if I believe my stories can impact people for Christ—then shouldn’t I be working harder to get my stories out there? I’ve recently become convicted of this after a reviewer said my book “awakened” her sleeping faith.

Writing for the Lord is a calling. Prov 16:3 reminds us that if we commit to the Lord whatever we do, He will establish our plans.

So, I’ll work harder at marketing. I’ll develop a real marketing plan. I’m hiring a virtual assistant. I might even consider finding an agent again. Wherever the Lord leads. But I must keep my focus on Him.


What about you? Have you committed your writing to God? 


~~~~~



I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is ... and God
loves us anyway. 

I started writing when I was five and grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne Westerns. My most fond memories are of sitting next to my daddy, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester! 

My job is finally something I don’t want to vacation from. 

I live with my husband and two adventurous boys on a farm outside Raleigh, NC. They enjoy riding practically anything with four legs or two wheels, and being outdoors.









13 comments:

  1. Great post, Heather. Just wading into the indie water myself, so I appreciate you sharing your story. :)

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    1. Thank you, Dora. I wish I had a magic bullet for success, but I say do the best you can and give it to God!

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  2. Love this post and getting to know you. I'm in Southwest Virginia and have started writing. I am working on finishing the story I'm working on and then I have three others started. I believe the main thing about writing is impacting people for Christ. Even if it's just me as I'm writing, that is enough. If I get published one day, I pray the words I wrote will impact others as well. Great to see you here, Heather!

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    1. Sally, don't you love it when God teaches YOU something through your own writing? :)

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    2. Reach people for Christ, absolutely! Preach at them -- ah, therein lies the secret to selling. Don't beat 'em over the head. Easier said than done!

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  3. Thanks, Heather! I've decided to go indie and am working on getting three books ready for release in 2016, so I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and advice.

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    1. Congratulations, Dawn. I know you'll turn out a quality product!

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  4. I commit my writing to the Lord then wrench it out of His hands.

    I'm preparing to wade into the indie waters. I hope next year - early. So thanks Gor dharing your experience.

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    1. Terri, I pray the Lord blesses your efforts!

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  5. Great interview, Heather! I enjoyed hearing about your journey and your self-assessment.

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  6. Thank you, Kelly. This was actually a tough article to write. Everything I've done that worked, worked b/c the Lord blessed it. There's no way to put that in a formula. I'm humbled by His favor.

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  7. As usual, Heather, I love your honesty and how you reveal your process of assessing your career so far. That process proves how organized you approach your writing, your career, your future and how disciplined you are with all you do. I always learn so much from everything you say that I find myself wanting to know more. Above everything else, your faith and absolute commitment to doing what the Lord wants you to inspires me more than anything. I truly believe He is and will continue to bless your writing to reach so many people! I thank the Lord for writer's like you, but more than that, I thank Him for the friendship He blessed me with when we "met".

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