Monday, February 18, 2019

A Broken Heart Can Lead You to Rise by Marianne Evans


Marianne Evans
Once upon a time, the seeds of a series planted themselves in my heart. I saw a farm. A family. Midwest strong and vibrant. Within this harvest I saw three brothers. A picturesque piece of rolling land in Indiana. There were low-lying, rippling fields of soybeans. There was turmoil, faith, and overwhelming love.

For the bulk of their lives, my brother and sister-in-law, John and Mary Hilger, oversaw the operations of a 400-plus acre farm much like the one I imagined. They bore and raised six daughters, and life was good. Much like the family I imagined. You couldn’t leave their home without a heap of fresh fruits and vegetables. John’s laughter, his Christ-centered heart, resonated through all who knew him. Mary’s spiritual artwork ( www.spiritualhands.org ) was acclaimed and on-the-grow. Much like the faith I imagined.

John and Mary not only helped me research and develop my series, The Fishermen of Antioch, their example was something to which I longed to pay homage. Within their large, boisterous, loving unit, they demonstrated Christ’s love at its best. Plus, they were mentors to me and key to my spiritual discovery and growth.

So, I began to write a trio of books that honored farm families, stories that celebrated deep roots. I wanted to shine the light of respect upon those who work the earth and harvest without thinking of anything else but community provision. How much like our Father God? In John and Mary’s world, if strawberries rested on the vine after the main harvest, those without means were bussed to their farm to pick the fields clean. For free. Waste of God’s gifts was never an option.

John and Mary saw their family to fruition. As life’s golden-age came upon them, sons-in-law joined the picture. A multitude of grandchildren blessed their lives and there was retirement on the near horizon. They had plans. An art and Scripture-based ministry they’d carry out from church to church was already taking off. John’s engaging recitation of Scripture coupled with Mary’s ordained artwork brought souls to the Kingdom. They couldn’t wait to embrace an exciting new season of life. A few Christmases ago, their family gifted them with a river cruise through Europe that would take them to Germany—a long-held bucket list destination.

Before departing, John and Mary stopped by our house on their way to Detroit Metro Airport. We shared dinner, and, in typical fashion, Deacon John prayed over me as they prepared to depart for Europe. Selfless love. I prayed with and for him as well, but nothing was as special as a blessing from John…

Less than a day after they left, we received a panicked text notification from Mary that read, simply: “PRAY.” We did, of course…but that’s where the story takes a twist. Soon we discovered what prompted her outcry. Following dinner on the first night of their cruise, John suffered a massive heart attack. Thanks to Jesus alone he was in Amsterdam and was immediately transported to a world-class hospital where he was placed in a medically induced coma.

We prayed, we believed, we stormed the gates of heaven. Meanwhile, all six daughters made their way to Amsterdam, battling horrific weather patterns, botched deliveries of passports, and a nightmare of bureaucracy…but by the grace of God alone, they all made it there.

Just hours before John passed away.

My sister-in-law has written a book about her journey through grief. It’s called ‘Finding Beauty in Ashes.’ The story is amazing. Meanwhile, the final book of the Fishermen of Antioch series releases in March. The result, I hope, will honor my original God-given goal, and the rich legacy of a family’s love.


*****

CLICK TO TWEET!


*****

Benjamin Fisher melds with quiet perfection into the tapestry of the Fisher family. The youngest of the three Fisher men, Ben is gifted with skills that keep machines running, crops efficiently harvested, farm structures sound and secure.

But there’s one person in the small village of Antioch, Indiana who has noticed and adored the man since her youth. Hailey Beth Thomas. Hailey Beth’s sister is marrying Ben’s brother in a spring wedding that promises to be the event of the season. Thrown together as the heady romance of an upcoming marriage takes place, love and revelation come to life.

Unknown to anyone else, Ben wants to answer a call to the mission fields of North America that will lead him far from the life he has always known. Ben longs to serve, but he wants a life with Hailey Beth as well. Hailey Beth can’t leave Antioch, but can’t bear the idea of losing Ben.

Are they meant to be together, or will God’s call pull them apart just as they’ve found a way to one another?

*****

Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of faith-affirming fiction who has won acclaim from critics and readers. RT Book Reviews named her book Forgiveness a 4.5-Star Top Pick and readers laude her books as ‘riveting’ and ‘true to heart.’ She’s a life-long resident of Michigan who calls suburban Detroit home.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Book Promotion for Introverts or Nobody Told Me I’d Have to Talk to People by Lesley Ann McDaniel

Lesley Ann McDaniel



Marketing our books can be challenging—even more so for us introverts. We’d rather sequester ourselves and just write. Can you relate?

So today, author Lesley Ann McDaniel visits Seriously Write, offering encouragement by sharing tips that will help make promoting easier for all of us. ~ Dawn





Book Promotion for Introverts or
 Nobody Told Me I’d Have to Talk to People


introvert noun

in·tro·vert | \ ˈin-trə-ˌvərt  \

1.   a reserved or shy person who enjoys spending time alone.
2.   the opposite of extrovert.

I was an introvert way before it became trendy. Since back when being quiet and shy were considered traits that needed to be cured rather than cultivated.

Thank goodness times have changed.

Unless I miss my guess, most writers are more introverted than extroverted. It’s not that we don’t like people. But interacting with them—especially more than one of them at a time—depletes our energy. For us, the ability to spend the majority of our time alone is what makes us able to produce the amount of work necessary for success at our craft.

Which is why the business side of writing—telling the world you have something to say—can be so daunting. To the introvert, talking about ourselves and our work feels not self-confident but self-serving.

Here are a few suggestions to help make self-promotion productive and maybe even fun.  


1.     Decide what you want from your writing.
If writing is more of a creative outlet for you than a way to earn a living, embrace that.  Just because it’s a calling doesn’t mean it has to be your full-time business.

2.     Let your online presence do the talking.
An appealing, professional-looking website or Facebook page can go a long way to sell you and your work. Let that be your virtual home where people can get to know you.

3.     Respect your comfort zone.
We each have our own unique skill set. Recognize what you’re best at and focus on that.

4.    Gently expand your boundaries.
Look at opportunities like speaking, teaching, and doing author events as opportunities to increase your skills. You might even learn to enjoy them.

5.     Schedule time to recharge before and after interactions with other people.
While your more extroverted peers are relishing that post-meeting networking time, there’s no shame in retreating to your writing cave.

6.    Hire a marketer.
If your budget allows, hiring a pro to do some or all of your rooftop shouting could be a great option.

7.     Be selective about what you choose to share about yourself.
Lots of writers have no problem sharing personal details via social media, blog posts, and newsletters. Remember, you can still be warm and real without disregarding your boundaries.

8.    Join a promotion group.
If you’d rather brag on other people than yourself, then finding a group of fellow writers who can honestly recommend each other’s work might just be your style. 


Remember, while it’s not realistic to expect any kind of business to flourish with no promotion, a quality product is essential. Keep honing your skills as a writer and you might find your confidence growing. Even if you prefer to keep quiet, make your writing something that’s worth shouting about!




Jill Came Tumbling After

Book 2, Madison Falls series

Jill Martin has finally kicked her alcoholic husband to the curb. So where is the hope she’d expected to feel when she finally took control of her life? Finding herself with no money, two small children and a stack of unpaid bills, Jill has little choice but to look for the one thing her husband refused to find—a job. When she gets hired at the new factory that’s about to open in Madison Falls, she’s on top of the world. Until she begins to suspect that the owner has a plan to illegally dispose of their toxic waste.

Now Jill is faced with an impossible choice. If she blows the whistle, everyone who’s counting on the factory for employment will lose their job. But if she keeps her suspicions to herself, future generations will have to deal with contaminated groundwater. Will Jill be strong enough to make the right decision…or will her boss do whatever it takes to keep her quiet?

Madison Falls. Home of faith, love, peach pie…and a dollop of danger.

Paperback Available on Amazon here.
Kindle Edition Available in Boxed Set, Exposed here.




Between working as a homeschooling mom and as a professional theatre costumer, Lesley has completed several novels. She would have done more by now if she didn’t also occasionally stop to clean the house and fold the laundry. Fortunately, she loves to cook, so no one in her family has starved yet.

A native Montanan and a Big Sky girl at heart, Lesley now resides in the Seattle area with her family, three cats and a big loud dog. In her spare time (ha!) she chips away at her goal of reading every book ever written.

To connect with Lesley and learn more …





Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Heart of Your Story by Patti Jo Moore

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends! When I realized my blogging day would fall on February 14th, I knew I wanted to write a post featuring “love” or “heart” in the title, and after much thought and prayer, decided on this one. 😊

I’m sure some of you have more writing experience than I do, but what I’m sharing today comes from either my own experience or what friends have shared with me over the years. And…this also enabled me to incorporate heart in my post. 😉

Sometimes writers (primarily fiction writers) can become bogged down by the mechanics of writing. If you’ve been writing for any amount of time, it’s likely you’ve read numerous books and articles on the craft. It’s also likely that many of you have attended writers’ conferences, which can be excellent both for learning and networking. We’ve learned all about the basics: creating hooks, point of view, structure, plot, adding conflict, dialogue, and the list goes on and on. All good and useful information.  

But, if we’re not careful, we can become so focused on all of the “dos and don’ts” of crafting a good story that we gradually drift away from the heart of our project, and if we’re not careful, we can lose heart in our project. Now I’m not saying that writing is all fun---on the contrary, writing is hard work! I know I’m not alone in saying that I’ve gained a much deeper respect and admiration for authors after seriously pursuing publication myself. 

Sometimes we might need to block out distractions, including all the writerly terms we’re supposed to be applying to our work. Our focus has turned to, “Did I do this? Have I included that?” These concerns can grow like pesky weeds in a garden, until we’re so frustrated and overwhelmed that we’ve completely lost sight of why we’re writing the story and what we want our readers to take from the story. We need to stop and ask ourselves about the heart of our story. And maybe just as importantly, is my heart in this story? 

Now I’m not advocating giving up whenever we become frustrated or “stuck” in our writing. We’d seldom complete any projects if we did that! But if our heart isn’t truly in a project, or we don’t think this is the right time for that project, then maybe—just maybe—we should put it aside and pray about the story we should be writing. And when that idea nudges you and won’t let up, then get busy and pour your heart into it. 😊   

            For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:21
 
 An Unexpected Romance
An Unexpected Romance Buy Link

Gracie Norton loves her life on Florida’s gulf coast. When a handsome widower with adorable twins moves in next door, Gracie’s life soon changes. As Gracie helps her neighbor during a crisis, she must face her biggest fear. Could young twins be the matchmakers for an unexpected romance? 



Patti Jo Moore is a retired kindergarten teacher and now a full-time writer. She’s a lifelong Georgia girl who loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee. She’s published two books with Forget-Me-Not Romances, with her third book releasing soon. Patti Jo enjoys connecting with readers and other writers. You can find her on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore. Or visit her blog at http://catmomscorner.blogspot.com   

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Cover It Right by Sandra Ardoin

To some of you, this post might seem familiar. In fact, you may have seen it yesterday. Ugh! I apologize for getting my dates mixed up.

I love book covers. I love to look at them. I love to study them. I love how some make me want to read the book in the future and how some make me want to read the book NOW.

But I never knew how hard it would be to decide on a cover until I was responsible for choosing one for my latest novella, A Love Most Worthy.

I’d hoped to find a premade and save a little money. This was my first indie-published book and, honestly, the budget was a little tight. I scoured the internet for cover designers, then scoured their sites for a premade that would be appropriate. No go.

I played around with doing something myself. Clearly, I am no graphic designer.

I considered hiring someone on Fiverr, but changed my mind. A book cover, like the story inside, is too important to take shortcuts.

Then, I found a designer who created book covers reminiscent of some of my favorites from Bethany House and Revell books. She also had premades! Unfortunately, none of them fit my book either. Believing I wouldn’t be happy with anything else, I decided to splurge and hire her for a custom design, then gave her all the pertinent information I thought she needed.

Boy, I was on pins and needles, waiting to see what she would create from the descriptions I gave her. And then it came, the email that brought goosebumps. Was the design perfect? No. Was it what I had envisioned? Actually, I had no vision of what would be good. But she got it. She got Hallie and the setting. She got that I wanted well-blended images that looked like they were one. We went back and forth with the changes: colors, fonts, lighten it, enlarge this, full face or partial.

Those were tough decisions for someone who takes forever to make a decision. Turns out, the easiest choice I made was in the designer and to go with the custom order. Variations came to me, then went straight to my advisers (my crit partner, husband, and daughter).

But I learned some things:

Don’t scimp. Those in the know will always tell you to avoid the DIY approach and hire someone worthy of your book. Listen to them.

Take your time. Find that person whose work best suits what you have in mind for your book.

Don’t be afraid to ask for revisions. The designer wants you to be as happy with the work as you want your readers to be. Reputations are on the line.

Get input from others. Don’t be shy about asking someone else what they think. They might point out something you hadn’t noticed or even considered. I’m pretty sure not everyone will like your decisions, but in the end, it’s your book and your need to be satisfied.

Have you been responsible for making the decision about a book cover? What did you learn from it?



When it came time to reveal my new cover, I created a short video, unable to resist teasing the viewer. 


~~~~~~


As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com. Connect with her on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

As a gift for her newsletter subscribers, Sandra wrote a short story to accompany A Love Most Worthy—a “prelude.” It provides some insight into Hallie’s story, something those who read only the novella won’t receive. So, join the Love and Faith in Fiction community and keep up with what’s new, discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials and giveaways.


She didn't know which was colder, an Arctic winter or her new husband’s heart.

Hallie Russell believes life should be lived to the fullest. For that reason, she sails to the gold
rush town of Nome, Alaska to take her cousin’s place as the mail-order bride of a respected shopkeeper. But when her aloof husband’s wedding-night announcement rocks her plans for their marriage, Hallie sees her desire for a family to call her own vanish as quickly as the dreams of hopeful miners.

Tragedy led Rance Preston to repent of his rowdy ways and open a general store for the miners in Nome. He’s content in his bachelorhood, but his two orphaned nephews deserve a proper and serious-minded mother. Duped once by a vivacious female, he’s determined to never again let his heart overrule his head…until the high spirits of his new bride threaten his resolve.

When a misunderstanding comes to light, will they allow the gale force winds of insecurity to destroy what they each need most?






Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Cure for Blank Page Syndrome

By Marie Wells Coutu

Got blank page syndrome? Or even blank mind?

I’m a plotter, so I do create an outline before I start writing a book. If I don’t, I find myself spending way too much time revising and reorganizing.

BUT just because I know what needs to happen in a scene doesn’t mean I know the specifics. “Heroine talks to hero” doesn’t tell me much. 

So I face a blank page. How do I start the scene? Where are they? Who else is there? What do they talk about?

Most of those questions need to be answered before I can start writing.

One of the most effective ways I’ve found to fill in those blanks is to start by praying, asking God to give me the right words to write.

Proverbs 16:3 confirms this approach: 


“Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established.” (MEV)

Invariably if I begin writing and I haven’t committed the writing to God, the ideas don’t come. Or if they do, they’re not very good.

Of course, even when I do pray, the words in my first draft are not very good but at least I’ve gotten something on paper (or into Scrivener).

More importantly, I know God is directing my thoughts and giving me the ability to create a story that will reveal Him to my (eventual) readers. That’s all I want, really.

So next time you face a blank page, try committing the project to God and ask Him to direct your thoughts so your words can accomplish His purpose.

✎✐✎✐✎✐✎✐✎✐✎✐

Marie Wells Coutu finds beauty in surprising places, like old houses, gnarly trees, and forgotten treasures. When she’s not writing about finding restoration and healing through God-designed journeys, she enjoys taking broken things and making them useful.

The Secret Heart, her newest release, was named a finalist in both the 2018 National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Awards and the 2018 Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by Florida Writers Association. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the series was a finalist in the Selah Awards Contest and a semi-finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards. An unpublished historical novel set near Golden Pond has been a finalist in five contests.

She grew up in Kentucky, has lived in Kansas, Connecticut, Minnesota, Iowa and South Carolina. With her handyman husband of four decades, she now divides her time between Florida and the Midwest.You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook page (Author Marie Wells Coutu), at her website (MarieWellsCoutu.com), or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu) or on Amazon.com.

Monday, February 11, 2019

When You Hit the Wall by Peter Leavell

@peterleavell

My grandmother’s cleaning skills are level: freakish.

The patio door was open to let the cool Lake Tahoe air inside to freshen the house. My brothers were out back, and I sprinted through the dining room to the outside patio so I could play.

My grandmother’s elite cleaning skills are especially good with glass.

Face first, I plowed into the closed, glass patio door, leaving a nose print, then forehead smudge, and finally a wide circle that reflected the surprised look formed by my mouth.

As I peered up from the floor, she was already cleaning the marks I’d made, preparing the trap for her next victim.

Many times, as writers, we hit an unseen wall. What happens when we can’t go forward with our writing?

~Have Faith. All things work together for good. Romans 8:28. This isn’t easy, but it’s comforting to know we’re
not abandoned Hebrews 13:5-6
have a friend who always looks after us Proverbs 18:24
always loved 1 John 4:19
no matter what, we win 1 John 5:4

~Baby steps. Getting through the trial and getting back to writing all at once is impractical, and you will be missing the lessons when you’re supposed to be reflecting.

~Let your characters help you. You’re standing on this side of the wall, and you hear digging. They crawl up from a hole they've burrowed under the wall and they are covered in dirt. They hold out a hand to help you under, around, or over the wall you face. Take their hand and let them lead you back to your story. Go at their pace. You chose them for a reason, and while they're imaginary for others, they’re real to you. Trust them to pull you back into writing.

~Patience. Remind yourself you will prevail, you will learn from your trial, and you will get up so you can run into another patio door. You’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again. Remember, when you learn from these walls, you’re not falling down, you’re falling up. You can’t call it a mistake if you learn from the trouble you caused, and the tragedy in your life will help you be kind to others—but only if you chose. 

~Friends. The writing community around you understands. Don't go this alone. Reach out and talk to someone. 

You're in a marathon, my friends. When you hit that glass wall, it smarts. But get back up, dust yourself off, and next time remember where the wall is, so that, unlike me, you won't hit the glass multiple times. Sigh.

CLICK TO TWEET




~~~~~~~
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. A novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com.
~~~~~~~

Friday, February 8, 2019

Dreary, Weary, or Cheery? by Patti Jo Moore

Patti Jo Moore
This time of year can bring on winter woes, and writers aren’t exempt. But check out today’s tips for turning Eeyore-like attitudes around. And be sure to join us on the second Thursday of every month to read more of Patti Jo Moore’s posts as a “regular contributor” here on Seriously Write.


Dreary, Weary, 
or Cheery?

My blog title today may seem a bit silly—but as a former kindergarten teacher, I love rhyming words. 😉

Since we are right in the middle of winter, a lot of people are experiencing bitterly cold weather, complete with snow. Lots of snow. Others have cold weather, but without the snow. Some of us have had a lot of rain—cold rain falling from gray skies. Dreary.

If we’re not careful, that dreary weather can affect our mood, which for a writer may not be a good thing (unless you’re writing a sad scene with downcast characters—but still—who wants their mood to match dreary weather?). 

Other people feel weary in the winter. Tiredness sets in, and it’s difficult to get much of anything done—including word counts. That spark of motivation we had at the beginning of the new year has all but fizzled out. We are tired. Weary.

But take heart! Springtime is coming—snow will melt (eventually), and the sun will shine. 😊 Even though we have no control over the weather, we can do some things to improve our mood and energy levels. **Please note—if you are concerned you have a true health-related issue going on, please see your doctor! My post is not making light of real medical issues!**

Here are a few ideas to help us feel CHEERY in the winter—possibly even boosting our word counts and creativity.

  • Christmas lights! Yes, I LOVE bright, colorful Christmas lights, and keep them handy year-round. I have a string of lights in my office, and it’s amazing how those festive colors brighten up the room (and my spirits!).
  • Music –Whatever kind of music is uplifting for you—play it! I personally prefer to write in silence, but now and then I’ll play soothing, classical music while writing.
  • Physical movement – Yes, this is common sense, but I often need to remind myself to get out of my chair and MOVE! We writers can become so involved in our stories, we lose track of time. Even if you cannot get outside for a walk, simply moving around in your home and stretching will help. 
  • People and Pets – Sometimes writers just need to spend time with another live person (not that we don’t love our fictional characters). Plan to meet a friend or relative for lunch. Do pets make you happy? I love cats and have six. Usually when I’m writing, at least several are snoozing nearby, and their presence makes me happy. 
  • Bible time – For me, this is the most important. My Bible is filled with verses that remind me how blessed I am. Reading uplifting passages of Scripture renews my spirit, and then I’m ready to tackle my writing again.

May the remainder of this winter be filled with productive and cheery days! 😊 





Gracie Norton loves her life on Florida’s gulf coast. When a handsome widower with adorable twins moves in next door, Gracie’s life soon changes. As Gracie helps her neighbor during a crisis, she must face her biggest fear. Could young twins be the matchmakers for an unexpected romance? 


Patti Jo Moore is a retired kindergarten teacher and now a full-time writer. She’s a lifelong Georgia girl who loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee. She’s published two books with Forget-Me-Not Romances, with her third book releasing soon. Patti Jo enjoys connecting with readers and other writers. You can find her on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore. Or visit her blog at http://catmomscorner.blogspot.com   





Thursday, February 7, 2019

Building a Healthy Reader Tribe by Nikki Wright

Before I started working with Mountain Brook Ink as a publicist, I worked as an assistant content editor for junior high and high school creative writing workshops, a virtual assistant for multi-published authors, and as a municipal liaison (ML) for my local National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) region. Through these experiences I became familiar with a lot of different author personalities, writing voices, and goals in the creative writing world. For the workshops the goal was to show writing could be fun. As a virtual assistant I helped my clients maintain healthy boundaries while also keeping their image accessible and friendly. With NaNoWriMo we organized events to build community during the month-long writing marathon.

But no matter the background, most authors eventually get to this question: How do I connect with my readers?

For better or for worse, there is no "one size fits all" answer. Readers will sniff out a lack of authenticity from a mile away, which means that each author has to wrestle with this question quite a bit. How much do you want to share, personally, with your readers? What are you wanting to give to your readers to enrich their lives as people, not just consumers? Also, what do you NOT want to share with the reader? What is off-limits?

Establishing Boundaries with the Reader

"How do I connect with my readers?" is an overwhelming question. In fact, marketing is an overwhelming process in general! But as the old saying goes: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

Bite one? Boundaries. Before doing anything else it is critical to decide what information you are willing to share and what information you are not willing to share with your readers. Some authors love to share stories about their kids, spouse, and family adventures; others have decided that their private family life is 100% off-limits. Both of these choices are okay! But you do need to find things to share, not just things to keep private. 

Giving Back to the Reader  

Even if you don't want to share photos and stories of your kids or your pets, find something to give back to the reader. You can share writing tips, encouragement, devotionals, shenanigans. If you're having trouble pinpointing what it is you want to share, I ask you, "Why did you write this book?" You spent quite a bit of time and energy figuring out the story, then writing the book, likely editing the book, and possibly querying the book. And that's all before you landed a contract if you have one! 

Are you passionate about encouraging healthy relationships? Do you think miniature dollhouse making is the coolest thing ever, which is why your heroine solves mysteries by recreating crime scenes with mini handmade furniture and rooms? Consider talking about the healthy relationships in your life, how you've overcome your own challenges, and what Scripture passages speak to the importance of community (or however this topic speaks to you!). Consider talking about the history of miniature dollhouse making, share some of your work, talk on why you love it! 

Find something in your heart that you're excited to share about…and share it. Consistently. Eventually your reader won't think of you as just another suspense novelist, but The Cool Dollhouse Person who opened their eyes to this niche artform through their books and platform.

Being Accessible

I'm going to let you in a little secret: you don't need to have a social media account on every platform. But you do need to have a consistently active account at least on a couple websites. Your readers want to connect with you! And there are many different types of outlets to try and until you find a place you feel comfortable: Pinterest. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. 

Do you love organizing? Pinterest. Are you short on time? Twitter. Do you love photography? Instagram! (Though I recommend you find a way to like Pinterest or Instagram either way as there's a good amount of readers both places.) 

Find a place where your readers can ask you questions and engage with other followers of your work. This is an important step toward building your tribe. 

Asking Questions (And Responding!)

In addition to giving your readers knowledge or encouragement, ask them questions about them. How can you pray for them this week? Which holiday do they celebrate? What have they been reading lately that's not your book? Ask questions, and then answer them. Pray for the person who is hurting. Ask the person more about the holiday they celebrate that you haven't heard of. Share your mutual love for The Chronicles of Narnia

Asking questions and engaging in the answers helps the reader not just stick around, but feel seen and valued as a person. 

Be Yourself!  

In the end "be yourself" may sound like a cliche, but it's true. There is a part of you that your readers loved (or will love!) put into your books. Don't be afraid to use that to connect with your readers. 

Nikki Wright has worked with a diverse collection of aspiring and published authors since 2005. Every author writes for a different reason and has a different heart they are trying to paint in words. Nikki’s passion lies in helping authors to be the best they can be in their own voice. 
Off the page, Nikki has a cat named Faust, an assortment of plants seeking global domination, and a tendency to stare off into space contemplating some deep question she'll forget momentarily. She resides in the great frozen land of Northern Idaho and drinks coffee by the bucket. 
Connect with Mountain Brook Ink:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mtbrookinkbooks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mtbrookinkfiction/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mtbrookinkbooks/ 
Website: http://mountainbrookink.com/

Connect with Nikki:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nikkinoellew
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikkinoellew/