Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Ministering to Our Readers by Patty Smith Hall

In the month since my last blog post, our world has drastically changed. Social distancing and self-isolation have become the catchphrases of the new decade, and toilet paper is a hot commodity. Stay-in-place orders confine us to our homes, leaving people stir-crazy and ready for human contact.

It’s also served as a huge confirmation for me. One of the things I’ve been praying about as I begin this indie journey was how I could love on my readers. It’s hard sometimes to connect with people we don’t know, especially when the only way we’re familiar with them is with our books. But how do we make it more personal? How do they know that they’re truly on our hearts whenever we started a new book?

Over the last few months, I’ve been looking at ways to love on my readers. Some would call it a marketing strategy and I would agree to a point, but it’s also a faith-building process too. If we’re called to love our neighbors as ourselves, shouldn’t we love our readers the same way?

It’s a scary prospect, loving someone who doesn’t know you, and I’ll be honest, I balked at the idea at first. But God worked on me, and as I heard from my readers, the need to serve them in some small way swelled up inside me.

So, what does it look like to minister to our readers between books?

First and foremost, this is where your newsletter comes into play. I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m not a big fan of newsletters, mainly because most writers don’t come across well in them. It’s like they’re writing to someone they don’t know, and it shows. Two that do a good job at them are Rachel Hauck and Susan May Warren. Both have a way of making you feel as though they’re sitting right across the table, and I know both of these ladies well enough to say their newsletters are a reflection of who they are.

The last few weeks, I’ve been sending out newsletters once a week. People are craving relationships right now, and I wanted to reach out to them to let them know that I care. In the first one, I asked them how I could pray for them. I’ve sent them devotionals, short stories and given them one of my novellas. A small number have unsubscribed, but most have stuck with me, some have even responded with encouraging messages. I’ve discovered who my dedicated readers are as well as a new beta reader. It’s come to a point where I don’t know who’s getting more from it, them or me.

Another idea that a friend of mine gave me was having a Facebook Live prayer meeting with the folks on my newsletter list. I love the idea and it may end up with me having a ‘webinar-type’ prayer time, but I’m looking into this as well as taking prayer requests from my readers.

These are just a few ways I’m ‘loving on’ my readers right now but I’d love to hear yours. What are you doing to minister to your readers?

One of the things I’ve been praying about as I begin this indie journey was how I could love on my readers. via @pattywrites #SeriouslyWrite


Hearts in Flight

Serving her country as one of the Women's Army Special Pilots is Maggie Daniels's dearest wish. But there are obstacles to overcome above and beyond the enemies in the Pacific, including her overprotective family, skeptical fellow pilots—and handsome, distant squadron leader Wesley Hicks. Whatever it takes, Maggie will prove herself to Wesley, until she succeeds in winning his admiration…and love.

Wesley can see that Maggie's a first-class pilot. She's also too fearless by half. The war has cost Wesley so much already. Can he let go of his guilt for a chance at happiness—and can he learn to trust in God…and Maggie…enough to believe in love for a lifetime?

Patty Smith Hall lives in North Georgia with her husband of 36+ years, Danny. Her passion is to write tender romances based in little-known historical moments. The winner of the 2008 ACFW Genesis award in historical romance, she is published with Love Inspired Historical, Barbour and Winged Publishing, and is a contributor to the Seriously Writing blog as well as Journey magazine. Patty is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.