Friday, January 18, 2019

Five Tips for Publication Success by Aaron M. Zook, Jr.

Aaron, M. Zook, Jr.
Our heavenly Father works in a variety of ways. A comment he received turned out to be the answer to Aaron Zook’s prayers, and it sent him on a journey to publication. He shares five important tips as to how he arrived. ~ Dawn

Five Tips for 
Publication Success

Outside I smiled. Inside, I pumped my fist, gave a shout, and kicked my heels in the air. I held my first full-length fiction book, The Secrets of the Castle, lay in my hands, ready for distribution and sale. I loved the cover, the words of intrigue, and the sense of accomplishment it inspired in me. In the past, I wrote short devotional stories and articles that became part of several books published by CLASSeminars (Christian Leaders, Authors, and Speakers Seminars), the Focus on the Family Clubhouse Magazine, and The Upper Room. However, this was my first novel.

How did I get published? And how can you find the same feeling of victory in the writing process? I’ll give you five tips that helped me achieve success.

Tip #1. Write about your passion. When I retired from the U.S. Army as a Colonel, I prayed to the Lord for guidance on my next focus in life. One of my sons suggested I write and publish the stories I used to entertain them as we drove around Germany, stories about two boys and their dogs, Thunder and Lightning. After thirty-two years in the military’s structured environment, my transition coach said I was now free to pursue creative things only I could produce, like my stories. His words hit me like a brick. I took a deep breath and nodded my head. That sparked my passion to be the creative person God created me to be.

Tip #2. Get connected to a local writer’s group. After retirement, we settled in Canyon Lake, Texas. I connected with the San Antonio Christian Writers’ Group (SACWG) led by Allison Pittman and Brenda Blanchard. The drive was an hour, one-way, but every bit of gas money I spent was worth it. The group was instrumental in developing me as a writer and for the road ahead. After prayer, we broke into small groups, fiction or non-fiction, and read short sections of our stories to receive constructive comments. I loved the face-to-face interaction.

Tips #3. Attend a good Writer’s Conference annually. My entire concept of writing was changed when I attended the first CLASSeminars Writer’s Conference at the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. The experience and staff connections captured my heart. The Writer’s Conference was an intense teaching time where I learned from award-winning, published authors who easily taught me not only writing techniques but also pointed me in the right direction. I learned so much, that I couldn’t put it all into practice immediately.

Tip #4. Build relationships. As in any field of endeavor, writing requires strong relationships to build on and grow your writing skills and business. I became friends with authors, editors, publishers, and agents in San Antonio and at CLASSeminars conferences. These connections were crucial after my first book came out, leading to a multiple-book contract with Karen Porter’s Bold Vision Book Company. We now have four published books in my Thunder and Lightning series and I am working on my fifth as I write this blog. Amazing!

Tip #5. Hire a professional writing coach or editor before publishing. I chose to pay for a coach for my first book because I wanted the end product to be my calling card. My coach, Larry Leech, is the reason I’ve achieved award-winning status. Larry lifts me up, listens to my concerns, and helps me over the rough spots in my writing. He’s a gifted teacher.

I’ve still pursued leadership in other areas of my life while fulfilling my passion to write. You’ll find my books and story at my website: Let me encourage you to write when you can, letting your passion flow!

The Isle of Intrigue

Book 4 of the Thunder
and Lightning Series

Dateline: Spring 1991. 
Location: Naha City, Okinawa, Japan

On a foggy Okinawan night, a stranger disrupts the Zanadu family’s first island-unique dinner at a seafood restaurant. His violent search for a flying microbot leaves the family devastated, with Gabe and Alex Zanadu’s mother unconscious on the floor. An Okinawan government official’s son, Mike, whose father was also assaulted, leads the boys in a search for the fleeing thugs. Unsuccessful in bringing the attackers to justice, Gabe and Alex, their two dogs, Thunder and Lightning, and their new friends, Mike and his older sister, Crystal, find themselves hunted by the Okinawan and mainland-Japan mafia. When the Japanese mafia grabs Alex and Crystal, the race is on for Gabe and Mike, along with the dogs, to find and free their siblings before they meet an untimely end.

Aaron M. Zook, Jr.—an award-winning author and speaker—entertains with a purpose in his books and presentations. He’s thrilled thousands of readers through his YA Christian mystery/adventure Thunder and Lightning series about two inquisitive boys and their dogs who solve one crisis after another around the world. Aaron volunteers in church and in the community. Check out his info, fun facts, and books on his website—,, or Aaron is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and lives with his wife, Joyce, in Holly Lake Ranch, TX. They have two married sons and four wonderful grandchildren.

Connect with Aaron:

Twitter: @ZookAaron
Instagram: ocf.fthstx