Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Serving your Reader

Serving Your Reader
Net's Notations: All About the Reader Series
, Part 8

Writing is only one part of being an author. Ask any author who’s participated in a book signing and they’ll tell you. I stood across a signing table from Liz Curtis Higgs, gushing about her openness as she speaks. I mentioned seeing her in Seattle. (We were both in Dallas at the time.) She said, “Well, I hope I shared enough new material that you got something out of it this time, too.” See that? Thinking about her readers.

Ask yourself: How can I minister to my readers?

We’ve been exploring how to minister to your reader while you’re writing. What about after the book is released? Here are some tips for ministering to your reader:

~Pray for your reader (while writing and after the book is released).

~Pray how you can meet the reader’s needs in your writing.

~Pray your book will minister to the reader as s/he reads.

Any time you have a chance to visit with a reader, remember they have real needs in their lives. Be a listener. Sure maintain healthy boundaries. Sometimes a smile, a kind word, a positive outlook will bless them. Forgive me if this sounds like vanity, but how much weight would you give the words of someone you admired (like a favorite author) if they spoke directly into your situation, as an agent of the Lord? See what I mean? Jerry B. Jenkins encourages you in your writing life, you’re encouraged! ;-)

Published authors: do you ever include a Scripture reference when you sign books? I like to. So, what about praying before you put your usual verse down? Perhaps you usually sign with Jeremiah 29:11, but this person needs the encouragement of Psalm 91. God knows.

There are plenty of ways to minister to our readers:

~blog giveaways
~free books to prisons or libraries
~freebies to shut-ins
~a personal emailed response
~a note tucked into a book cover
~taking the time to listen
~ministering to readers via your Web site--an inspirational page

What ideas can you think of?

God wants to help you be strategic. Ask Him how best to minister to your readers, from start to finish. It’s all about the reader.

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