Friday, September 14, 2018

Four Things I’ve Learned About Writing by Tom Hilpert

Tom Hilpert

As new writers we may have preconceived ideas of what the job involves. For many of us, we learn that some of them are right, but some of them are wrong. Experience can often be the best teacher. Author Tom Hilpert shares four things he’s learned on his personal journey to publication. ~ Dawn

Four Things I’ve Learned About Writing

From time to time, I get questions from writers who are just starting out. I recognize my less-experienced self in some of these questions. The following are some thoughts that come from the conversations I’ve had with newer writers.

1. Writers write. It’s an old saying, but still useful. Writing truly is hard work. We all have moments of wonderful inspiration, when the words seem to leap from our fingertips to the page, and we are moved to tears at the creative union between our imagination, God and the written word. However, those moments are few. Mostly we have to sit still and put one word in front of another. It takes mental discipline. If you rely entirely, or even mostly, on inspiration you will not finish a book. If do not write, you are not a writer.

2. No one will ever care as much about your book as you do. That means that it will be primarily up to you to market it and sell it. This is true even if you are “traditionally published.” Most of us don’t want to hear that. We are not salespeople, we are writers. The two appear to be two different gifts. Even so, until you take the responsibility for marketing your own work, it is unlikely that you will have any success. I am an extreme introvert, the opposite of a salesman. However, I have found a way to succeed, in spite of my limitations. So can you.

3. You can have success as an independent. It is a different world than it was 15 years ago. You do need to be very careful with editing, and you must pay a legitimate graphic designer for cover design, but it can be done. My books greatly exceed the sales requirements of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association for Qualified Independently Published authors (QIP). They have hundreds of Amazon reviews, a majority of them five-stars. I’ve sold more units than many of my “traditionally published” friends. In fact, I worked it out once that one out of every 2,000 people in America has downloaded at least one of my books.

Now, to tell the truth, I would still love to have a publisher swoop in, cut me a big advance check, and take over everything. But if I had waited for that, I would still be an unknown, likely unpaid, wanna-be. Go back to item #2 on this list. Shortcuts are very rare in this business and are usually reserved for people who are already celebrities.

4. Learn to celebrate and fully enjoy every milestone, even the small ones. Don’t say “Yes, but…” Engage in the joy of each special moment. That first time you hold the final product – your book – in your hands. Even after seven books, I still pause to soak it in when I hold a new one. The first royalty check. The first time you know that those checks are going to keep on coming, even if they are small. The first fan email. Every fan email afterwards.

There is so much more I want to do. Yet, the advice I just gave is important for me, too, and I do keep it myself. On the other hand, if what I’ve written does not help you, please, feel no guilt in disregarding it. Everyone is different.

One thing, however, is universal to all of us: Writers write. So, go do it!

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Superior Justice


Jonah Borden is not your typical Lutheran pastor, and he takes pains to make sure everyone knows it. He's a tough-guy, thinks-he's-funny, rock-music-playing, gourmet-cooking, painfully-moderate-drinking, hard-boiled man of the cloth. He is even available for a bit of romance, under the right circumstances.

Doug Norstad, a member of Jonah Borden's church, is arrested for a vigilante killing. Norstad shares his true alibi with Borden, under the privileged status of religious confession. Knowing now that the man is innocent, Borden must prove it somehow, without divulging his secret. Along the way he uncovers a twisted series of murders and cover ups. Before it is all over, Borden himself has been bribed, beaten, shot, and arrested for murder. Even worse, he may be falling in love.

Set in the midst of the striking beauty of Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastline, Superior Justice will draw you in with its unique and quirky characters, and keep you guessing until the end.

Tom Hilpert grew up in the tropical paradise of Papua New Guinea. When he was ten years old, he knew he wanted to write books. In fact, he began writing several novels at that age. Thankfully, they are lost forever.

However, his more recent works are available in print and e-book formats. His fiction features strong, memorable, quirky characters who face mysteries and adventures with humor and persistence.

Hilpert has visited more than 17 countries and has lived in three of them. In the U.S., he has lived in six different states, including Minnesota, the setting for the Lake Superior Mysteries. Currently, he lives in Tennessee with his wife, children, and far too many pets and farm animals.

Connect and learn more about Tom and his work here:

Author website:


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