Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fifth Thursday Fun - Contests by Terri Weldon

Terri here – again. Sorry, but it’s not often we have five Thursdays in a month so I’m improvising and filling in. I thought it would be fun to discuss contests. 
Contests can be a great way to get your manuscript in front of an agent or editor. The American Christian Fiction Writers have two great contests for unpublished authors – the Genesis and First Impressions. The Genesis requires you to submit a complete manuscript while the First Impressions only requires the first five pages of your manuscript. They also have a contest for published authors entitled the Carol. Published authors, either traditional or ACFW Qualified Independently Published, submit a book that was released between January and December of the prior year. 
One of my favorite contests, the Daphne, is sponsored by the Romance Writers of America’s Kiss of Death Chapter. This contest is geared towards mystery and suspense. Suspense is the genre I’m currently targeting. If you are a Christian fiction author they have a category for you. This contest is also open for published and non-published authors. They have great final judges, in fact they have an agent and editor as the final judge in each category. 
Harlequin offers some fantastic contests for authors who aspire to write for them. They recently held a contest for their Love Inspired Historical line. Our very own Sandra Ardoin moved on to the next round in that exciting contest.  
Right now Harlequin is sponsoring a contest called the Harlequin Heartwarming Blitz! Harlequin Heartwarming novels are wholesome and clean. They have no sex scenes. The novels are typically 70,000 words. Check out this link if you are interested. The first round is open April 4-22, 2016. 
So far a contest hasn’t landed me an agent or a contract, but I enjoy entering them. If nothing else the feedback alone is worth the cost and effort of entering. And the Harlequin contests don’t have a fee. They are free and an actual Harlequin editor looks at your manuscript. You can’t beat a deal like that!
There are many other great contests. I don’t have the time or space to name them all. I wish I did. If you have a favorite contest, please share it here with us. 

I’ve already fessed up. I like contests, I’m selective about what I enter and due to being, well forgetful, I don’t enter as many as I’d like. What about you? Are you a contest junkie?  How about telling me why or why not? And if you’ve signed with an agent or received a publishing contract through a contest I’d love to hear about your good fortune.

Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. Terri is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Her dream of becoming a published novelist came true in November 2013 when Mistletoe Magic, released from White Rose Publishing.

Readers can connect with Terri:
Website: or Blog: Seriously Write


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

An Alternative to Speech Tags by Adam Blumer

Have you ever read a novel that drove you crazy with the "he said/she said" dialog tags? There's another option, and author Adam Blumer talks about it in today's post. -- Sandy 

Adam: Strong dialogue is so important for good fiction; it can reveal information, show a character’s personality, and push the plot along. The primary purpose of speech tags, of course, is to ID speakers, but are they even necessary? I believe the answer is no. In fact, I believe speech tags should be eliminated as often as possible. Let me explain why. But first, consider this sample:

Jack looked, and the shadow was there again, capering and undulating at the bottom of the rickety stairs like some sort of otherworldly wraith. Goose bumps peppered his arms. He willed his legs forward, but they wouldn’t budge. 

When Nancy grabbed his arm from behind, he nearly squealed like a scared little girl.

“Scared you, huh?” Nancy asked with a chuckle.

“Uh, yeah,” Jack said, trying to breathe. “You could say that.”

“Is somebody down there?” Nancy asked, peering over his shoulder down the beckoning stairs.

“That’s what I was trying to figure out,” Jack said.

OK, let’s break it down. 

Only two people populate this suspenseful scene: Jack and Nancy. That fact makes dialogue easier to write. The reader is smart enough to determine who is speaking without speech tags. But if the speaker’s ID is unclear, what’s a better way than speech tags? Some authors insert action beats, slices of action that reveal character, give the scene action, and heighten suspense.

Here’s how the scene could be written. I’ve also inserted some words in bold to explain my choices. Be sure to look for the action beats.

Jack looked, and the shadow was there again, capering and undulating at the bottom of the rickety stairs like some sort of otherworldly wraith. Goose bumps peppered his arms. He willed his legs forward, but they wouldn’t budge.

When Nancy grabbed his arm from behind, he nearly squealed like a scared little girl.

“Scared you, huh?” She chuckled. [There’s no need to tell the reader this is Nancy. Since there are only two characters, “she” tells the reader this is Nancy. The word “asked” is also redundant because the dialogue itself shows she is asking something.]

“Uh, yeah.” He tried to breathe. [There’s no reason to insert “said” here. By placing an action beat with “he,” the text achieves the same purpose as a speech tag, yet it’s more active.] “You could say that.”

“Is somebody down there?” She peered over his shoulder down the beckoning stairs. [No speech tag is needed. We know this is Nancy, and the action beat gives her something to do.]

“That’s what I was trying to figure out.” [No speech tag is needed.]

Do you see what I did? There’s simply no reason to tell the reader so-and-so said something when you can show this instead. Remember, in good fiction it’s always better to show than to tell. Action beats are super in fiction, and if you attach a character’s name to them (only when necessary), there’s no reason to use speech tags.


Adam Blumer edits other people’s books to pay the bills. He writes his own to explore creepy lighthouses and crime scenes. He is the author of two suspense novels, Fatal Illusions (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) and its sequel, The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press). A print journalism major in college, he works full-time from home as book editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia. You can learn more about Adam by visiting his website: Here are other ways to reach him:


After adopting their son, Marc and Gillian Thayer intend on enjoying a relaxing weekend away at a picturesque resort in northern Michigan. That is, until their friend turns up dead and the resort becomes a grisly murder scene.

A killer, seeking revenge, begins reenacting the ten plagues of Egypt on the resort and everyone in it, including a Bible translation team already drawing angry protests for proposing to merge the Bible with corresponding passages from the Qur'an. Water turns to blood. Gnats attack the innocent. As plague after plague appears, the Thayers must make sense of how their story intersects with those of the others at the resort—and of their own dark pasts.

In this "chilling tale that keeps readers turning pages and pondering its truths" (C. J. Darlington), the Thayers must unravel the truth. But will they uncover the killer's bitter agenda before the tenth plague—the death of the firstborn son?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Getting Your Books into Libraries and Stores by Jennifer Slattery

Jennifer Slattery
For authors, few things compare to holding your first published book. When the day finally arrives, you squeal, post hundreds of photos of you and your books on Facebook, and organize numerous give-aways, until shipping fees devour your marketing funds—which were nonexistent. Then you wonder… what am I to do with all these books, anyway?

Contrary to what some may think, author copies aren’t provided for the writer’s enjoyment. Or to be given as early Christmas presents. I believe publishers hope their authors use those books for promotional purposes.

Why not use them to get into local libraries and bookstores? I imagine many of you are thinking; isn’t that marketing’s job. Perhaps, but with all the books released each year, there’s no guarantee your marketing team will be able to actually get yours on the shelves, no matter how hard they try. Your novel is but one of millions, after all. However, by actively becoming involved in the marketing process, you increase your chances.

Though I’m still a newbie, here are some thins that helped me get my books into local stores and libraries.

1. I start with coffee and brought a friend.

Let’s face it; selling yourself and your work to strangers is scary. Bringing a friend along for moral support helps reduce the angst. Making the endeavor as fun as possible—hence, starting with a relaxing and relational activity such as drinking coffee—can help as well. Not only will this reduce your anxiety, it will also help you remain conversational. This in turn will set the librarian and bookstore owner at ease, encouraging them to respond favorably.

2. I met with the one who makes book-carrying decisions

Having a face-to-face conversation with the owner or head librarian is much more effective than simply dropping off a book and a letter. The former makes it personal and helps the decision maker put a face to the novel; the latter mimics spam. No one likes to be spammed. However, attempting to pitch your book to a head librarian during their busiest times is the equivalent of an incessant telemarketer. In sales, timing and mood is important. Therefore, call ahead and schedule a time to meet with the decision maker.

3. I was persistent

There was a time that I was a tad reluctant to go into a particular Christian bookstore. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the store or the owners. Rather, I was convinced they didn’t like me. I’d already contacted the owner by phone and email on a few occasions, with no response. I assumed this meant he didn’t like my work or me. Probably both. (Yes, I’m melodramatic.)

But remember tip number one? The best of friends encourage us to overcome our insecurities, even if that means dragging us into the terror zone (which is what my friend, Susan Aken, did). As it turned out, the store owner didn’t hate me at all. He was merely busy, and because of my persistence, he agreed to carry my book and host a signing in December.

4. I took time to decompress at the end of the day

Always start and end your day having fun—and drinking huge amounts of coffee—which will liven up even the most discouraging of days (especially if your coffee is laden with chocolate). Life is hard enough. Shake it off, enjoy the journey, and buffer everything with laughter.

5. Follow up

Bookstore owners and librarians are busy, and in their busyness, may forget about your book entirely. It’s always a good idea to follow up with a phone call, asking if they’ve had a chance to review your book and have any questions.

Feedback from You

For other newbies like me, did your pulse spike when you read this post? If so, what are some things you can do to feel more comfortable approaching librarians and book store owners? 

For those with more experience, what tips would you add?

About the Author
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for, and devotions for Internet CafĂ© Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at and connect with her on Facebook at

Breaking Free
by Jennifer Slattery

Breaking Free

Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters. 

Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

Read a free, 33-page excerpt here:

Buy it:

Christian Book Distributors:

Barnes and Noble:


Connect with Jennifer

On Facebook:
Twitter: @Jenslattery
See scene location pictures for Breaking Free on Pinterest:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Pay it Forward by Mary Manners

Pay It Forward

By Mary Manners
“Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
~ Colossians 3:12 ~
I am not only an author, but also a teacher and intermediate school principal who is on the verge of retirement to a full-time writing career. These final weeks I walk the school halls, greeted by the smiling faces of the children I have grown to love, and reminisce about my own days as a young and impressionable student.
I have been writing since I was old enough to know that words tell a story…about four years old. I have such vivid memories of standing in my basement in Chicago, leaning against the washing machine, and scribbling across a notepad because I had a story to tell. Of course, the scribble was just gibberish, but the story was clear in my mind.

My primary school librarian read wonderful stories from picture books. One of my favorites was Sam, Bangs and Moonshine. I loved the wonderful tale of the inquisitive girl and her cat, and the father whose love was overshadowed by grief over the loss of his wife…so many powerful emotions interwoven with haunting illustrations. As you might guess, library hour was my favorite time of the week.

In sixth grade, I had a wonderful teacher who nurtured my writing. She came to school early in the morning and poured over my stories as she sat alongside me, and I completed my first full-length novel that year. I will never forget this wonderful woman. We corresponded through my college years before losing touch. I will forever fondly remember her, though, and treasure the boundless encouragement she gave me.

In high school, I had an English teacher who loved books as much as I did. He understood my passion for words, and encouraged me to read books with more depth and to appreciate their beautiful imagery. He also began a writers’ group, and published some poems I wrote in a school anthology. It was thrilling to see my thoughts come to life in print!

Without these dedicated teachers, I may not have pursued my love of writing…and might very well not be where I am today. I remember them as each morning I enthusiastically greet my intermediate-school students, and try to ‘pay forward’ the encouragement I received.

Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Neyland and Gus. She loves swimming, running, flavored coffee and Smoky Mountain sunsets.
Mary believes everyone has a story to tell, and she loves to share hers. She writes inspirational romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
Learn more about Mary Manners at her website:


When Lexi Taylor resorts to hosting an online auction to raise money for her fledgling youth center, the last thing she expects is to be matched for a date with Cooper Jackson. Lured by the promise of a lucrative NFL career, the hometown hero and former University of Tennessee quarterback broke off their engagement without so much as a backward glance.

Now, six years later, he’s come home to nurse an injured knee and his wounded pride—and he wants Lexi back. But a heartbreaking secret stands between them, and Lexi plans to keep it that way. 

Can Cooper's gentleness and renewed faith coax the secret to the surface? And if he does, will forgiveness draw them close…or will their love be shattered forever?

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Story (Part 5) by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

After my incident with the unscrupulous agent (Part 1 of my story) and my aversion to Christian writers conferences and fledgling, self-publishing houses (Part 2 of my story), I realized I still had to keep writing (Part 3 of my story). I also decided to give one of those “Christian Writers Conferences” a try (Part 4).

In the months, weeks, and days leading up to the writer’s conference, I remember looking over the brochure that came in the mail. I must have perused it seemingly a thousand times, checking out authors, agents, and companies on the internet, trying to find out information about each one. I also prayed and asked God to guide me. Some of the people and companies I had heard of, many I had not. I did not want to get bamboozled again by a scoundrel.

There was one, however, to which God kept pointing me. I spent several hours on that website wondering if this company would be a good match.

During the evening meal on the first day of the conference, I walked into the dining hall to get in line and saw the table with the company’s placard setting on it. The table had some people's belongings on it. I made a mental note and thought that if the table wasn’t full, I’d sit there. Sure enough, there was room…right next to the editor.

I went through the typical pleasantries and sat down only to find that editors are people, too. They have families both large and small. They face challenges that make them human. They experience joys and hurts of body and soul. Many have laudable accomplishments, lofty expectations, and enough disappointments to fill an entire world within the expanding universe we call publishing.

During the next few meals, we connected, talking about family and the physical challenges members had faced. And of course, this editor asked me about my writing. When I informed her that I had a science thriller finished and ready to present, she was very interested, asking me questions about it. So, right there, at the very table God had flagged down for me days prior with the help of the brochure, an opportunity was born. By the time the meal concluded, I had a business card, instructions on how to email the manuscript to her, and an assurance that there was high interest in my work because of the subject matter.

Once the conference was over, I did a re-edit and submitted the manuscript as instructed. (We'll call that publisher "Pub #1.")

Then, the wait began.

Now, before I ever attended the conference, I had “submitted” my work to another publisher who was interested (we’ll call them “Pub #2”). Before I submitted the manuscript, however, Pub #2 told me about a contest they were sponsoring that I might be interested in joining. It was a new concept being tried wherein contestants were asked to write the following about their novel:

  • A one sentence synopsis (20 words or less)
  • A Blurb (100-words or less) or Back Cover Copy
  • A one page synopsis
  • The first page of the novel 

In a series of “elimination rounds” (think American Idol meets Writer’s Digest), readers could view these entries and vote for their favorites. The first round was purely based on the one sentence synopsis. If I remember, they could vote for their top three.

The entries were then whittled down from everybody who entered to the top 30 or so vote-getters (I really don't remember how many were left). Round 2 revealed the Blurb. Voting would commence again and narrow the field of contestants down to 20 or so. Then Round 3 revealed the one-page synopsis, etc., until the final round narrowed the contestants down to the top three vote-getters. Those three would then receive the prize of getting a priority “read” by the publisher to consider their work for publication, i.e., their works would go to the head of the class.

I finished 17th.

I have to admit I was discouraged. I thought that if someone would just read the novel and not just what I wrote about it, they’d love it. However, I learned a very valuable lesson through that entire process. If a person picks up your book off a shelf or clicks on it via the internet, it is largely based on:

  1. Whether or not your book cover caught their eye
  2. Whether or not your synopsis grabbed them
  3. Whether or not your back cover copy intrigued them

It is not until AFTER they have reviewed those things do they then open the book and read the first page or two (unless they have already been sold by the word of mouth of friends and acquaintances, which by the way, means someone else liked the cover, found the back cover copy intriguing, and was willing to read the first couple of pages).

In other words, you cannot escape the need for good covers, a good synopsis, or a great BCC. And of course, the story has to be good, too! (How many books have you picked up and thought, Wow! I'd love to read this! So you buy it, only to find the synopsis, the BCC, and the book cover were the best parts?)

After the contest was over, Pub #2 did contact me some months later and request my manuscript, stating that my query letter and other submitted items made my submission one of the more promising ones they had received in a while. That was encouraging.

There were two other publishers interested in my novel as well. One was from the writer’s conference, a result of making an appointment and pitching my work. That one was a pretty big publishing house. Just to have them give my manuscript a sniff was an honor and encouraging. The other house I heard about through a series of discussions with some friends online. I sent them the items requested based on their instructions. They felt the project was too big for them, which was understandable. It was a newer press. Again, I was encouraged; someone thought it worthy of a look-see.

I told other conferees I had two requests for my work via the conference and the two others from outside the conference. I was just plain excited and couldn't contain myself. Being a newbie, I was really excited, actually. My writer friends informed me this was a little unheard of. I guess not too many people get that many requests their first go ‘round at a conference for their first novel.

Again, encouraging.

Pub #1 eventually contacted me and said they were interested in sending me a contract. So, after much prayer, I agreed to sign with Pub #1 and notified Pub #2 of my decision, as they were still mulling it over.

Moral of the Part 5: Follow God’s lead. His paths are not our paths; His ways are not our ways. Follow His Holy Spirit’s nudging. That’s how I sat down at that table for dinner. I simply felt a pull. A nudge. I’m glad He didn’t have to shove or yank. I had never heard of Pub #1 until I received the brochure, and still didn’t know anything about them until I researched them online. And even then, I still didn’t know they would be the one. I actually thought it would be Pub #2 or another publisher who, as it turned out, never even gave me the time of day.

Just shows how much I know.

A Clandestine Mission.
A Cryptic Message.
A Chaste Promise.

Blake Meyer dreamed of a peaceful end to a dutiful career with the FBI. Married now, his life was taking him in a new direction—a desk job. He would be an analyst. Ride it out until retirement. Be safe so he could enjoy his grandchildren some day.

But when a notable member of the IRA is murdered in a London flat, Blake’s secretive past propels him into the middle of a vindictive, international scheme so hellish and horrific, it will take everything Blake possesses—all of it—to save the United States from the most diabolical terrorist attack to date.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years experience as an administrator at the high school level.

A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (Winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge—A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:  
Kevin’s Educational Blog:   
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Journey To The Cross by Terri Weldon

Easter is one of the most glorious days on the Christian calendar. Take a minute to stop and reflect on exactly what that means to each of us. Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified. He died on the cross bearing our sins. On the third day He rose again. Death and the grave were defeated. Because of His sacrifice we have eternal life. No wonder Christians all over the world celebrate Easter.
For most of my life I celebrated Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and then on the empty tomb on Easter morning. I never stopped to think about what happened on the days between. 
Then one year I finally heard our Pastor say you can’t truly appreciate Easter if you haven’t traveled the road to the cross. Now there are two things to understand here. The first is I use the word finally because I’m sure he had said it before but it went in one ear and out the other. The second is that he said it much more eloquently than me. 
So now I travel with Christ on His journey. On Palm Sunday I stand in church and sing Hosanna in the highest as I wave my palm branch. In my mind I can imagine Jesus riding on the colt and the people welcoming Him as King. 
From there I go to Maundy Thursday. I sit at the table in a candlelit room and dine on food such as fish, nuts, bread, cheese, and fruit that Jesus and His disciples might have shared at the Passover or Last Supper.  And as the meal concludes and the services progresses I’m reminded that one of Jesus’ own disciples, Judas, had determined in his heart to betray Christ. If I had been there would I have been a Judas or a John? 
On Good Friday I enter the church for what has become one of my favorite services – Tenebrae. The lights in the sanctuary are diminished as the services progresses. Scriptures are read, the choir sings, often times there is a brief reenactment of how Christ was betrayed, the crowd having gone from calling Him King to yelling crucify Him in one short week. And some years there is the horrible sound of the nails hammering Christ to the cross. 
How you ask, can this be one of my favorite services? Because it drives home how much Jesus sacrificed and suffered for me. Those were my sins that nailed him to the cross, my shame and guilt that put Him in the tomb. As I leave the service in darkness and quiet I realize what His death means to me.
And on Sunday the sanctuary is dark when I enter. But in just a few minutes the shout of Christ is risen, risen indeed is shouted out. The lights are turned on and we rejoice because the stone has been rolled away!
For me the journey to the cross makes Easter morning all the more precious. Deciding whether or not to take that journey is a personal choice, but I hope it is one you will at least consider this year.

What about you? How do you prepare your heart for Easter? I hope you will take a few moments to share with me.
Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. Terri is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Her dream of becoming a published novelist came true in November 2013 when Mistletoe Magic, released from White Rose Publishing.

Readers can connect with Terri: Website:; Blog: Seriously Write

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Of Books, Bookstores, and Ego by Norma Gail

Is your goal to see your book in a bookstore? Today, Norma Gail shares her experience with bookstores and tips to help you gain better visibility for your book. -- Sandy

Gail: I had a hard time selling Girl Scout cookies. I longed to see my name on a bookstore shelf. However, bookstores may be more of an ego boost than smart marketing. Here are some of the lessons I have learned.
Getting my book published is the victory. Getting my book published by a traditional publisher was a victory. I reached my first goal and accomplished what God called me to do.

My book on a bookstore shelf does not guarantee sales. Having a book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble does not mean it will sell. Books written by well-known authors sell first. Large corporate stores remove books not on their sanctioned list. Even a “Local Author’s Table” does not mean the store will keep it in stock.

Beware of the pitfalls of large, corporately owned bookstores. It was easy to get local bookstores, even large chains like B&N and Hastings to order my book when it was “returnable”. It stoked my ego but not my book sales.

Books returned are not books returned. Bookstores do not mail the book back to the distributor for sales elsewhere. Stores rip the beautiful cover off and send it to the publisher to prove that they returned the book. The rest of the book is recycled.  

Returned books come out of your royalties. Returns come out of author’s royalties, translating into no royalty check. Discuss with your publisher if asking stores to stock your book is a worthwhile goal.

Placing books in a store on consignment gains visibility for your book without risk to the store and puts money in your pocket. Books sold on consignment do not count toward your sales numbers, but they put your book in front of consumers with no risk to the store. Many local booksellers will agree to a percentage arrangement, usually 70-30% where the store keeps 30% of the sale price. Some generous storeowners offer 80-20% splits. One store allowed me to do a book signing before Christmas and keep 100%. Consignment sales mean the money you earn goes into your pocket to offset other marketing expenses.

Choose locations for book signings with care. Friday night at Hastings appeals to customers renting cheap movies. A tearoom could literally eat up your profits by the amount of tea and scones consumed. Churches, book clubs, library author events, and craft shows may be a better place to get your book in the hands of readers.

Learn to evaluate the market for your book. Where and how to market your book is a complicated matter. Your publisher and marketing consultant are your best advisors.

As a Christian author, I meet my goal with each positive review and each comment that shows a life touched by what I wrote. The book is the Lord’s so let prayer, not ego drive the marketing.

© Copyright Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, February 23, 2016

Have you found bookstores to be a good source of sales? Are you published by a small publisher and must fight for shelf space?


Norma Gail is the author of the contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children.

Connect with Norma:

Book Links:
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Bookstore: