Your Mouth as a Destination Point

Remember that renowned ruling of King Solomon, who asked God for wisdom? I bet it comes to mind, the one about the two prostitutes and the surviving baby. Remember how King Solomon deciphered who the real mother was by threatening to divide the living child in two and hand over to each woman a half of their claim?

This creepy and truly astounding court session takes place in 1 Kings, chapter three. Lesson learned. God’s wisdom does not always look like Walt Disney. Hey, but, sometimes it does!

In chapter 4 of 1 Kings, Solomon appoints his chief officials. Some of the chiefs were priests. Some were secretaries. Some were recorders of data, One was in charge of the district governors, one was in charge of forced labor.

After these appointments come the record of King Solomon’s twelve district governors, who they were, and the data about how much and how often they brought provisions to the rather large royal household of the King.

Though the people were taxed for these provisions, the record states, “The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank, and they were happy.” (NIV) Egypt brought tribute to King Solomon. The people had peace and safety on all sides throughout Solomon’s lifetime. “From Dan to Beersheba, everyone lived under their own vine and under their own fig tree. Solomon had four thousand stalls for chariot horses and twelve thousand horses.” (NIV) Can you see it? What a pretty way to describe a life of peace and safety!

Then, in verses 23, the recorder of these chronicles says, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” – so wisdom enough for all the people who were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. He was “wiser than anyone else.”

What is wisdom?

As an author and a writer, and as the managing partner of Capture Books, I pray for wisdom regularly. In fact, I have sometimes prayed for wisdom from puberty. Admittedly, I do not always know what wisdom means, what it looks like until I see it, or read about it, or am amazed by something someone else is able to accomplish.

Do you want to know what wisdom looks like?

King Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs for all of his minstrels to play and sing. This means that he understood philosophy, the way life works and doesn’t work, and could teach this succinctly.

He implemented the right laws, codes, regulations, and case managers to achieve the highest welfare for his people.

But, Solomon also understood musicality, music theory, lyric writing, acrostics, rhyming and rhythm, rules of language, tricks of speech, and how to effect passion and motivate others through songs and proverbs.

He spoke about plant life from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls.

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Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

 

When the King heard about a novelty in biochemistry or mathematics or architecture, he applied what he learned to other vaults of knowledge and human need. People came from all nations to listen to Solomon’s wisdom.

King Solomon’s mouth was a destination point.

After studying these two chapters this week, it didn’t escape reason that I should encourage writers to research the edges of their topics fully and record these findings to apply to everything we pen or type on a subject.

It would seem to me that it is not the parroting of other’s information that becomes wisdom. Anyone can parrot what another person says. In our stories and in our writing, we must combine the skills of data collection, fact-checking with pretty rhythms and parallels of speech, added to philosophical functions of life regarding the living things we say we represent in our essays and books and reports. We cannot choose to avoid the fact that the wisest man on earth got there because he desired wisdom above all else.

We cannot avoid unfortunate data such as the appointed advisor over forced labor, or the collection of taxes. These things should make us sit up and ask more questions so that we have answers for our readers who will ask these questions.

When we write well, we include exaggerations to make the reader smile. Solomon’s data recorder even included phrases like, “numerous as the sand on the seashore” and “everyone lived under their own vine and under their own fig tree” because these are the pictures that cause our souls to stir and smiling lips to detach from between bored chins and noses. When we write well, we mention that hyssop grows out of walls (just because we can, because we happen to know that data).

Maybe your writing will become a destination point, but this is a by-product of asking God for wisdom and doing your due diligence. The A-HAs of life in God’s universe abound! Let’s look a little closer into each our own worlds and follow the wonder.

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Being Author-prenuerial When the Bottom Line is Wavy

When the bottom line doesn’t add up to figures in black – without red dashes before them – what does a writer hope to gain by the publishing of a book?

A new author sent me a list of questions to answer regarding her first month of publishing, which occurred at the end of last year. I’ve now been in the publishing business for four full years, which is practically nothing in the grand scheme of things.

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Why has anyone ever published their work? Has there ever been a financial guarantee?

I had to face and disclose the fact that the outlay of investment so far has been well beyond the income from selling books, and what’s more difficult to assimilate, the outlay of investment would continue to be a calculated risk if she continued to buy advertising and publish other books.

Here are ten gains to consider when you are deciding whether an author’s journey is worth taking.

1. A waterfall of education in literacy and marketing publicity occurs in the life of every rookie author (one to five years expected). People often see hybrid publishing as a way to work themselves into being offered a deal by a traditional publishing house.

2. The opportunity to persevere stakes out its garden lit walkway (character growth).

3. Attending, or presenting to, writers conferences in exquisite places become a surprising blast of wind through the back door. (travel).

4. Bonding with other creatives whose values are similar to your own, or who may enlarge your territory, such as editors, artists, philanthropist partners, agents, publicists, and publishers whose goals intersect with yours and who bolster the vision and energy that you value so highly becomes a wonderland in a world of chill factors (understanding, heart, worldview, exposure).

5. Experiencing the surreal ripples of new connections between and among the four hemispheres of a writer’s brain and physiological moments will make your mouth water, your tears fall, and your lungs fill with the aires of a-ha! (personal exploration of life, engaging curiosity).

6. You will tell your story your way. By the grace of God you will use your voice and your God-given experience to reveal something meaningful to new audiences (calling and ministry).

7. Learning to use criticism as a springboard to excellence will improve your voice and your value to yourself and others (posterity).

8. Discovering the benefits of silence and solitude will make you more at home with yourself than ever before (isolation from the rat-race).

9. Learning to budget the business will grant you control and creative ideas to succeed (accounting, taxes, laws related to income, losses, copyright, and royalties).

10. Cafés☕️📚… and coffee… and classrooms (enjoying alternate universes).

If any of these pro’s outweigh the con’s, I recommend that you set up a savings account in order to publish and/or market not only your first book but also your second. You may have to eat less, forego shopping sprees or vacations.

You might be familiar with the wisdom of old that advises entrepreneurs to count the cost before building a house. But, for me, counting the costs in building a publishing house was not an option. That is, there was no trail of breadcrumbs through the forest leading towards the line items as to how things would add up.  I learned many things in a backward manner and spent time and money that I now see to be the price of personal education. Now, things are clearer.

Different things make different people tick.  Consider shopping, fashion, child care, workout equipment and reps, television, stage performance, animals, industry or career, all of these are things that consume one’s budget, time, and effort.  They bring their own social circles into your life.

If publishing your work is the thing that makes your clock tick, either use the other areas in your life as props, ideas, and research for your book or begin to reclaim the amount of your priority with them and siphon off that priority towards your writing goals.

Tonya Blessing, the three-year author with Capture Books (Soothing Rain and Whispering of the Willows), says,

I also think that passion is a huge piece of writing.  I have a pas|sion (strong and barely controllable feeling) about writing. I like creating a story. I like how writing brings things out in me that I didn’t even know existed. And, I am happy with the responses from readers I’ve had in this past year.”

Use the “author life” as a worthy and reasonable goal for your personal quality of life.  Do this psychological shuffling even if no-one else understands you.  Talk about the joys and frustrations you have with reading and writing and arithmetic to your friends and associates.  Out with it!

When all of this begins happening, and your initial choices begin to snowball into life priorities, you may find yourself in a sardonic mood from time to time.  Do you wrestle with the necessary line items in your pitiful household budget? Not everyone has a difficult budget, but many creatives and writers do. It may be something to get financial counseling specifically related to your author’s line-item budget.

It’s tempting to capitulate into the pool of guilt over budgeting funds towards the costs of launching an author-perineurial business. Don’t do this.  You will need to invest in yourself and create new boundaries for yourself in order to succeed.  This is how anyone in business approaches success.

Take Away: When advertising goes bust or the book expo leaves you addled with waste, then pull out your list of why’s and add to them the how’s.


Laura Bartnick, the Managing Partner at Capture Books, (author of Welcome to the Shivoo! Creatives Mimicking the Creator). She is available to give this presentation in writer’s groups and to field questions in person or over the airwaves, or online.

A Golden Hearts Club for Authors

Sometimes New Authors Feel like Solopreneurs.

You begin publishing, then you learn that maybe you would sell more and gain a wider audience to blog aspects of your book, your opinion pieces, or other parts of your know-how in order to build an audience.

That being said, you decide to find new reviewers to build credentials. Then, you write a sequel.  You seem so busy, but has all this business built you a better microphone? You may be learning many valuable aspects of marketing and publicity, but what are you lacking?

Answer: You need to begin to market your expertise through other channels and platforms.  You need to be the self-starter in asking for this fun new relay to begin transmitting shared signals.pexels-photo-68086.jpeg

Why?

  • Because other people have their own following and are willing to give you access to them in exchange for something they may be interested in.
  • Because no matter how proudly you have embraced your author title, others may have never heard of your book, or your expertise, or the one thing you can offer their clients that they cannot.
  • Because there comes a time when you absolutely must reach out for help. And for savvy business owners, that help often comes in the form of Joint Venture partners.

Also called affiliates, JV partners act as your own private sales army, spreading the word about your products and services to a whole new audience—theirs. Not only do you reach people who might otherwise never encounter you, but you also benefit mightily from your JV partners’ existing relationships. By promoting you, an affiliate is endorsing you to her audience. She’s saying, “I know this seller; I trust her, and you should, too.”28423608_10215713252292125_7059743526985625089_o.jpg

Capture Books did this with Colorado Lark & Lavender Farm for their authors’ Mystery Box promo.

Three Unusual Places to Find JV Partners

Even with all those many benefits, coaches, authors, speakers, and by-product sellers sometimes struggle to find great partners. Sure, lots of people will register for your affiliate program, but the Pareto Principle is alive and well when it comes to JV partners: 20% of your affiliates will do 80% of the work you may ask them to do. That means your goal is to recruit higher performing, loyal, or more experienced partners.

The only question is, where do you find these great partners?

A. Pick the Brain of your Virtual Assistant

Chances are good that your Virtual Assistant, whom you might find here, works for other business owners in similar niches. If you’re a business coach, your virtual assistant very likely works with several other coaches or other business partners, and of course, he or she’s in a position to know…

  • Where the clients are in the business development cycle (ideally you want established partners, not newbies);
  • The audience demographics of his or her own clientele (Are they a good fit for you?);
  • The other business coaches’ willingness to promote (some people simply don’t do JV partnership, so it’s a waste of time to approach them);

B. Look to Your Best Clients

Especially if you’re a business coach, your clients might just be your biggest fans—and they’re in a position to recommend you to friends, family, social connections, and elsewhere.

If you are a spiritual guide, teacher, or coach, you might ask your followers to give you one firm lead to a new audience.  Often they will think up two or three leads, happily. When your approach the new leads, what is especially wonderful about this process is that you can say that “so-n-so just recommended that I reach out to you for an event you may be organizing…”  There!  Your #1 problem is solved.  For this name is your opening hook.  If so-n-so has recommended you, then for your recipient to see that familiar name in the first line of an e-mail, or hear that name in the first line of a phone message,  the potential lead will want to at least hear you out. Be sure your clients all know that you:

  1. offer a referral/affiliate program,
  2. how to sign up, and
  3. what the benefits are.

Right now, if you haven’t done this already, draft up your personal referral/affiliate program through your blog, through social media or through an email blast, a “just hit reply and I’ll send you the benefits of referring me” e-mail.  Imagine if you figured this program out on all three list platforms!


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Never be disappointed with just one referral. This may be all you can handle at first.  Do the one referral justice, and you will gain many more.  Reputation spreads love, and love spreads reputation.


Right now, if you haven’t before, contact your fellow authors and ask them about being guest speakers or guest bloggers, or reviewing your book.  Offer a valuable lead to them or ask what is a need you may be able to help them fulfill.

C. Your Competitors

It’s true—your competitors might just be your biggest affiliates, if you give them a chance.

When you partner with a competitor, you learn many things.

Competition in circles is the best way for each business to attract its most interested followers. Have you ever noticed that where you see a Home Depot you see a Lowes? Where you see one retail outlet, you see a host of them knitted together in a mall?

In some circles (such as business and relationship coaching) clients tend to “graduate” from one coach and move to another. This is normal and to be expected. And when you’re on good terms with your competitors, the coach their ex-clients move to might just be you.

Don’t be afraid to look in unusual places for your next Joint Venture partner. You really never know who can connect you with potential clients and partners. Think big. Big hearted.  A Golden Hearts Club.

Think about all your relationships—from your team to your social circles to your competitors and colleagues—and consider all of their relationships and how far that might stretch.

Then pick up the phone or draft an email and start leveraging your contacts!

 

Why Go Hybrid?

 

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If you are considering whether to publish your book yourself, or with a traditional publisher, there is a third option. But, be careful! Not all publishers rate the same! Where do you find the advertising opportunites after publishing? This the power of Capture Books authors. Watch this short video to learn more.

Watch this short video to learn more.

Testing Your Brand, for Novice Authors

Hi, OH…  GASP!  I MAY BE YOUR PROTAGONIST, BUT I’M CLUMSY! I JUST DELETED AN ENTIRE PAGE TO YOU ON BRANDING AND BLOGGING!  ARGGHHH!

To answer your questions on blogging, I don’t think platform matters so much as being consistent, and branding and building quality, energy and a network. All these things require experimentation, testing and retesting.

I think it is as easy to do articles on LinkedIn – because it is so simple to drop in pictures, links and it makes your blog sharable to all the other social media platforms as well as it builds your professional presence – as it is to blog on WordPress.  You can tag friends, associates or other people or groups, too.

If you would like to become a voice for your target audience of spiritually seeking younger women, and would like to become a speaker or presenter, or just be available to hire, then, I’d recommend using LinkedIn, as I find it more professional and less mired in the overly saturated marketing hype of “bloggers-opinions-going-nowhere”.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that you need to choose one or two voices to “blog” in. If you want to be an online advisor to young women, be your name.  If you want to talk about your writing themes and processes, your style, your motives and other life stories, and encourage other writers, be your name. You can do several authentic things under your real name. Figure out the who-what-when-where-why and how of your real name branding.  If you choose not to write books in a series, you will want to defend your position and choice in that brand.  (And, Capture Books stands behind our authors and will share our authors’ articles or blogs.)

The biggest advice I can give you is to consider everything you do, no matter how hard you work at it, to be a “test”.  Do NOT pay for the upgrades in the first year. That way, if it isn’t immediately successful, you don’t have to get depressed about being a broad spectrum failure!  You simply tweak the “hook” put a different picture into the article, add a couple new links, check your spelling and energy in the article, tag a different audience and try again.  Use your first year or two to get the hang of what you are doing and to find your vocal branding.

Marketing is a test and retest endeavor.  I’ve been testing and experimenting myself and it is a great way to collect data and try to get the word out in a different way.

If you do two different “voices” in your blogging, you can always “share” the other work and tag a new audience for a new purpose, with a recommendation hook from the other persona.

In the beginning of testing, you may write down several questions… why didn’t this go far?  Is it because I haven’t yet established myself, or because I edited poorly, or because I forgot how to hook and question an audience in the opening sentence, or because I forgot to add a couple of the “learn more” linked button to my book in the article?  As, you practice blogging and marketing you’ll figure out these things and grow and become more consistent.

The second biggest advice I can give you is to not like and share everything you see from people you want to encourage.  Be intentional about whom you associate with in your branding.

I’ve learned this the hard way.  People don’t really know what I stand for because I’ve spread myself so thin.  They have become wary.  But, I’m a very philosophical Christian and I’m also a publisher, and I care about the underdogs too much, so … oh well.  Don’t do that to yourself.

So, all of this is to say it really doesn’t matter which platform you choose. Choose one and then be consistently testing and networking to build your quality, branding, energy, contacts, and sales.

Choose one day per month to send out information about your book or new developments professionally.  Make that a firm assignment.  The other stuff can be stories, shares, opinions and limited great family stuff without breaching their privacy, but which makes you wonderfully human and lovable. Use your dogs. OH MAN. People love animal stuff.

Love.

 

What’s a Great Headline for a Creative’s Anniversary?

I didn’t realize. It had actually been two years already. What? Wow. That’s been a bit of a roller coaster, to say the least.

(Is this post public? Eh-hem.)

Nevertheless, I’m excited to discover that – well, yes – I have indeed written a book. The “Shivoo!” may as well commemorate and celebrate the culmination of these first years of managing a publishing company for Christian creatives. Welcome to the Shivoo! it’s called. Subtitled, Creatives Mimicking the Creator, and it is coming out next month. $0.99 pre-orders are taken by Amazon on Kindle.

WHY DO CREATIVE CHRISTIANS STRUGGLE TO FIND BELONGING?

The human impulse to create is a reflection of the Creator’s image shaped inside of us. So, why does a sense of value seem so elusive? Maybe it’s because creatives don’t quite understand our origin. Continue reading “What’s a Great Headline for a Creative’s Anniversary?”