Speaking of Book Stores

In the last post I said I prefer book stores because people come for the sole purpose of buying books and that I don’t have to carry a lot of cash to make change and they take credit cards whereas I’m not set up to do that.

I also mentioned I want to make phone calls to the book stores I’ve listed or go by and visit them. That is very important and I have a warning for you. I would suggest that if you are going to do your book signing event in any business that you visit that business before hand.

Check it out without telling the cashier or manager that you want to do an event in their place of business. Get the feel of the business, talk to the employees a little, and ask the Lord for His discernment and if this is a place you should do an event?

Why?

Let me tell you of an experience I had. I had a manager of a book store call me wanting me to do an event with them. Stupidly, I agreed without hesitation. We set a date and then a week or two before the event I asked a friend to go with me. “I just want to see where this place is at” I told her. So we went.

The book store was about 50 miles away, lots of traffic, crowded little shops all around the book store. It was actually hard to find, but we managed. We were warmly greeted, the only customers, and without saying who I was we “nosed around.”

Finally, I looked at my friend and whispered, “This place has not one single Christian book in it.” “I noticed that.” was my friends reply. I was not getting a good feeling and I think the discernment was kicking in loud and clear, “Get out of here!”

In having a little chat with the sales woman, we were right. “We don’t carry Christian books. But Joel Olsteen is coming this Saturday and we’re sooo excited!” That did it! My friend and I looked at each other, thanked the woman, and left.

Regardless of what you think of this preacher, he is not a favorite of mine by any stretch of the imagination. And you might think, “what a wonderful way to witness by selling a Christian book in a book store that carry’s none.”

Well, apparently the Lord didn’t think so because I asked, out loud, while sitting in the car, “Lord, is this where I should do a book signing?” My friend and I both received a resounding “NO, NO, NO!”

I called and cancelled the signing event.

Check out where you will be serving the Lord through your book signing events and ask the Lord for His opinion.

Stick around – I’ll return if you will. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Let’s Get This Show on the Road!

Have you heard that expression before? Its the sound of impatience. We all have experienced it whether we’re waiting for God to answer a prayer, or for some event that has has been delayed, or we’re waiting for answers from a publisher.

In my case, right now, I’m ready to get my show on the road, so to speak. I want to announce a release date for my new book, I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories, and yet I don’t have a date.

Why so impatient, Cass?

I have decided to check into doing some book signings. I haven’t done any in a while and it might be fun to do again, so today I spent the afternoon going through the Yellow Pages looking for book stores within a reasonable distance from me. I won’t travel across the state to do a book signing. Its just too expensive with the cost of a hotel room, gas, time, and travel to maybe sell one or two books if any at all.

You see, there is no guarantee that when we line up an event that we sell any of our books. We may sell a few, none at all, or several. It depends on the time, location, and type of book we have, as well as the type of business we are going to.

What I mean by that, are we trying to sell our Christian book in a park filled with atheists?  Is it a coffee shop with the aroma of coffee and donuts or a Pizza parlor? A Bar and grill filled with raucous hulliguns?

Some gift shops work well if they have a book selection. Some craft shows might allow it, but many won’t since a book is not considered an “art” or a “craft.” (I’d like to see them write one!) It really depends on the type of business that the event is held at.

I prefer book stores for a couple of reasons. People come to buy books! That’s why they come. The other reason is, the book store usually handles the sale and I don’t have to carry a bunch of money to make change.

Another reason is because the book store takes credit cards and I’m not set up to do that. I tried that for a short time and was totally misled as to the costs involved in doing so. I loose sales because of it, so I try to stay with book stores or businesses that will take the money and write me a check at the end of my event.

I have my list of book stores ready to call and/or drop by to see if they do book signing events. I can’t make those calls until I can give them a date as to when my book will be released to the public. Plus I haven’t received my purchased books yet. To do a book signing we take our own books. Yes, the ones you have to buy.

So I’m ready to get this show on the road and with the Lord’s help I will grit my teeth, continue to write, crochet, play in the dirt, or do whatever it is that interests me for the day until I get the answers and merchandise I’m waiting for.

Then my “show” will start.

Stay tuned…to be continued.

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Getting Our Ducks in a Row.

We’ve come to a point where the steps have fallen in place. I have a finished product in my hand – now what? The Lord has shown me mercy and I received an e-mail from the publisher that gave a list of the number of books we can order for certain discounts. Of course the more books ordered, the higher the discount and today is the only day for this offer.

Having hot foot it to the post office early this morning to put the free copies in the mail to those who endorsed my book, I met with a friend for a few minutes, and then went to deliver a free copy to my 90 year old precious friend at the assisted living facility. I had dedicated the book to her as well as those who have encouraged me and prayed for me. It is her 91st early birthday gift.

She cried. I knew she would. Of course they were tears of joy and great gratitude. We had a wonderful visit and our conversation came to an end with the laughter and stories about the many deer I feed in my back yard. That’s yet another story.

Rushing home to call the publisher I ordered the books that I will be selling from home, out of my car, or at a book signing event. Which leads me to wonder if I want to do a book signing event and are there any bookstores left that do that?

This is something I need to pray about because it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes time and effort to line up the events. I don’t have an agent to do that for me and cost wise, it isn’t really feasible for me to look into hiring one. That’s something else that has to be taken into consideration once we have the finished product; book signing events, speaking engagements, library appearances, or to friends, family, or whoever we happen to run into, or do we just give them freely as gifts? They do make wonderful gifts, but an expensive gift, for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the meantime I have spent a good part of the day plastering my new book on social media. Announcing it will soon be released and how to pre-order a copy if desired. Advertising is important.

Getting our ducks in a row, so to speak, is the next to the last step. The final one, is selling your work to the general public. How you go about that is up to you.

Thanks for listening – until next time.

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Humbled

The hours spent, the sleepless nights, the reading and re-reading and typing takes so much of our time when writing a book. It is a sacrifice, although some don’t think of it in that way.

The Lord says that when we sacrifice for His name sake He honors that and I think, I know, He does. We come before Him and offer our time, our heart, our finances with the dream that others will benefit from our sacrifice.

The time invested in doing His work is well worth it. The money we invest to bring about the completed work is worth it. Now the time has come when we see the end product.

I received my complimentary copies yesterday. Rereading the entire book to make sure there are no mistakes, the thank you free books have been mailed to my people who wrote endorsements, and its time to get down to the business of ordering and paying for my copies.

Holding the book in my hand and gazing at the cover humbles me. I’m looking at a painting I did years ago of Jesus with His arms stretched wide welcoming all those who will come to Him. I can’t help but gaze in amazement that He would use that painting with the large I AM title across the front. What a blessing to see how He used my painting as His way of welcoming all to read about Him through these short stories, and to proclaim to the world, “I am the I AM.”

Tears of gratitude are blurring my eyes. I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories will be being released sometime in the next month.

If you would like to pre-order a copy from me (USA ONLY) e-mail me: elah501c@bellsouth.net. An autographed copy will be $16.00 + $4.00 S. & H.

ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALES OF MY BOOKS SUPPORT ELAH MINISTRIES, INC.

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Thank you for your support. – more to come.

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Before I Formed You…

Jeremiah 1:5 says that the Lord knew us before we were ever formed in our mother’s womb. This is the scripture I used when I wrote Grace Defined.

I find it interesting that the Lord will use some of the various experiences I have had in some of the books. As stated before, there are bits and pieces of me; my attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, experiences, etc. sneakily incorporated into the stories. This one is no different.

Some years ago the Lord gave me a vision that dealt directly with this verse, and as I started this book and asked, “What do I write for the Prologue?” that vision suddenly appeared in my mind. So the Prologue is the actual vision the Lord gave me back then. Now how sneaky is that?

When I sent the completed manuscript to a couple of people to read for their endorsement I was amazed at their response. “It is so true-to-life I actually cried. It felt like you were telling my story.” That came from a man! There is so much in this story that so many can relate to that it still amazes me.

I love the way the Lord will bring to life those things that people struggle with and yet there is always little pieces of hope slipped in along the way. That is why I continually encourage others to pray and ask the Lord to set their soul aside so He can write the story.

I had someone poo-poo that statement one time. “Yeah, right! God reaches down and holds the pen. Give me a break!” We know the Lord doesn’t reach down and hold the pen and that it isn’t His fingers hunting and pecking these keys on this computer. But if we give Him full reign you’ll be amazed and maybe even totally shocked at how “hunt and peck” seems to disappear and suddenly the words are flowing and being typed much faster than ever before. That’s what happens with my hunt and peck typing skills.

I don’t have to stop and think about what a character is going to do because the Lord already has gone before me and the words just appear and flow. My fingers are on the keyboard but it is His story that is appearing on the screen.

Let the Lord have control when you sit down, even with a story idea rolling around in your head. Ask Him to fill in those blanks when you aren’t sure what or how any of this is going to come about. Watch as the screen, or paper, is filled with a story that you weren’t even sure was going to be written. Or, as with me, one you have no idea as to what is going to be written.

More to come……..

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I confess

I talked a little about my second book but I have to make a confession here. I have been very disappointed in that book for a couple of reasons. After all the work of thinking, pulling things together, hunting and pecking out the words, editing, and making sure everything was as the publisher wanted, and trying to come up with a cover design, as well as reliving the memories, (Its a true story) when I got the completed, published book in my hot little hands I was shocked!

All that work and Sacrifices of a Saint is a mere 36 pages long! It’s also over priced, in my opinion. So naturally I’d sell it for less. Which by the way, I still sell my books for less than the publishers price, unless its a doctor or lawyer. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Just kidding)

The other reason I’m disappointed in it is because it isn’t a favorite in the sales division. It’s thin, over priced, and who knows why else. So since it is one that Vantage Press sent me box loads of I place stacks of them in the hospital clinics ladies rooms on each floor with a sticky note, “Free to take.” You know free will go and its good advertising for my other books since I have a bookmark advertising “Inspirational Books” and Elah Ministries, Inc. and a business card in each one.

It seems that if we have more than one book published there’s going to be one that maybe doesn’t do well. But that should never stop us from going forward. Even if you have only one published and it isn’t doing as well as you hoped and the juices are flowing for another, pray about it and don’t hold back if the Lord is giving you the go ahead.

Don’t expect to be on the New York Times Best Seller list or Amazon’s Best Sellers, immediately. It just doesn’t work that way, usually. I’ll reveal some secrets about that later.

Stick around – more to come.

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A Day Off

When God was creating everything He took a day to rest. Not that He gets tired, but as an example to us and today is my day of rest. No it isn’t Sunday, the day we normally think of as our Sabbath.

Georgia July’s are known for our heat and humidity and I have been working out in it for the last few weeks and it has absolutely caught up with me and the body is saying, “enough!”

Each year, for the past 3-4 years, I have been doing a lot of crocheting; hats and scarves for the homeless and women’s shelters. Last year I added to the collection several crocheted lap afghans for the wheel chair bound residents at the assisted living and memory care center where I have been teaching crocheting.

I was so blessed when all those residents, men and women, were so thankful and so appreciative when we went to each room and let them choose their afghan at Christmas. I started thinking about what to do for them this year as gifts for Christmas and came up with an idea.

And that’s what I’ve been working on the past couple of days. I have put the writing aside for a short time, no I haven’t quit on you, and while staying out of the heat I have been crocheting, painting, and gluing. Another one of my love-to-do’s.

We all have some talent and even though we get engrossed in writing there will be a time when a break from it is needed. I’m not working on another book right now so I can use other talents to glorify God and bring some joy to those who have little due to circumstances beyond their control. I see so many that have no visitors, that seem to merely exist until the Lord takes them home.

It breaks my heart, so while recovering from a lot of hard work out in the heat and humidity, I am working on 40 separate individual gifts to have ready by December 1st so…..

I’ll see you back here Monday while I play in the paint and glue and crochet.

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The Way it Was

Back when I wrote my first book, Laying Down my Net – A Walk of Faith, I knew absolutely nothing about having a book published much less actually writing one. I was merely being obedient to the lord and totally relied on Him to help me to do that.

As I have stated before, each publisher is different. Vantage Press was my first publisher and I paid a very high publishing fee to have that book published. One of the reasons it was $7,000.00 versus the $4000.00 many now charge, was because they stored printed books in their warehouse. If an order came in they had them ready to go. There was no need for printing up whatever was ordered. Faster and more efficient service.

They were a well known and very reputable publisher and had been in business for many years. In fact it was my understanding that they were one of the top self publishers in the country. But as many have, they went out of business several years after mine were published.

When they announced they were closing their doors they sent me a letter stating they had 500 Laying Down my Net books and 500 Sacrifices of a Saint in their warehouse and for $50.00 postage they would send them all to me free of charge. Wow! I’m glad I had a basement. That’s a lot of books!

It also took my books off the market! (and yet they are still being sold today) I sold a lot through book signing events and I have given a lot away as advertising and to friends. Even now, I still have some left and I will leave them in doctors offices, hospital clinics restrooms, waiting rooms, etc. I also would give a free Sacrifices of a Saint away to anyone who bought one of my other books. Buy one – get one free. It helped to sell the others.

In today’s world, books are not usually stored in warehouses anymore. Much to my surprise, and chagrin, a yearly fee is paid to the publisher to keep the, (I’ll call it a C.D. because I don’t know what the official term is,) on their computers, or wherever, and when a book or books are ordered they pop the sucker in the printer and print up however many are ordered.

Even if our book is not selling this fee must be paid yearly. If it is not paid they take your book off the market! One publisher I have the fee is $36.00 a year per book. Another publisher I have is $55.00 a year. This continues for as long as you are under a contract with them. Cancel the contract or refuse to pay the fee and your book goes off the market!

I liked it better when they stored the printed books in a warehouse.

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I’ll be back – Hope you will, too.

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Endorsements

Endorsements are important although I confess, I never even thought of getting endorsements until I had already written a couple of books. Many people may skip over the page that lists the endorsements but there are many who will not. They want to see if others feel like your book is worthy of reading.

A review of your book is different from an endorsement. Joe blow on the street can write a review. For example, “I really like the part about…. but I feel the author fell short in the area of… I thought the author was way off course.” It’s similar to someone writing a critique about a restaurant they ate at. It can be good or it can be bad.

With an endorsement, whoever is writing it is praising your work. They’re encouraging others to want to buy it. I’ve often wondered how an author can have an entire page filled with endorsements. Well, I found out.

Its work! Its selling your story to someone else that maybe has a degree in whatever you’re writing about. A medical type of story, you would want doctors to endorse it. Mine are Christian genre so I seek out Pastors, Christian authors, Christian Counselors, and someone that has a Christian ministry.

Its a matter of making contacts and it can, should be, professionals in whatever genre you are writing. I have blogging friends, people I have never met face to face, that are familiar with my blogs, familiar with my beliefs, and know without question I will not be writing “smut.” So another option is through social media.

Ask those kinds of people and even Psychiatrists/Counselors, Veterinarians, Politicians, (not liberals if you’re a conservative) if that falls in line with your book. Don’t be disappointed and think your book isn’t any good if some turn you down. I have asked pastors that said they would but their schedules were such that they just couldn’t get the time to read the manuscript I sent. I’ve had authors say, “I have several book signing events lined up and I just can’t do it right now.” Someone I asked didn’t like the “hell” description I have in a book, so refused. That didn’t reflect on the story as being bad. It was just that person’s personal opinion.

Start seeking people to endorse a few weeks before you are going to incorporate them into your book manuscript. It gives people time to read what you send them, think, and write it. A gentle reminder can help if you don’t hear back in say, 3-4 weeks. Your endorsements will be a part of your manuscript that you submit to the publisher. It isn’t something you can do later.

There are many reasons why someone might turn you down but don’t give up. Your work is worthy of endorsements but its up to you to seek those out that are willing to take the time. The more you can get the better.

For someone to endorse your book is, to me, a huge blessing. I have happily endorsed a couple myself and the gratitude is genuine so be sure to thank whoever takes the time to read your work, or a summary of it, because you have been truly blessed. For those who endorse mine, I send them a free copy when its released as my thank you.

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Happy writing. I’ll see you next time.

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“If It Isn’t…”

Dawn’s Light is probably the most suspense filled book I’ve written so far and has a powerful message. Pursuit has suspense but is a more family oriented story. I really had fun writing Dawn’s Light for it kept me on the edge of my seat as it does the readers, as well as laughing.

I’ve found that with writing the novels, I’ve leaned toward beach scenes, a little romance, suspense, and always try to add some humor. I think I mentioned once before how various people react to what is displayed on my book signing table. Seek My Face seems to be the shunned one on the most part, the elderly customers tend to gravitate to Pursuit when told its more of a family type story, Laying Down my Net, seemed to be just about everyone, but especially Christians, when I tell them it is a true story about how the Lord taught this independent, stubborn woman to trust, obey, and depend on Him.

When people approach my display and are filling out the drawing paper I’ll ask, “Do you like true stories, suspense, family type stories, or knock you up side the head reading?” At that last one they usually laugh and will name what they prefer. This gives me an idea as to which book to pick up to tell them about.

I had a lady approach the display and when greeted she never said a word. She picked up Dawn’s Light and was reading the back cover. She set it back down and picked up another and as she did I said, “My books are all Christian based so there is no nasty stuff, cussing, and all that in them.” She threw the book, literally threw the book down on the table and said, “If it isn’t like Fifty Shades of Gray I don’t want it!” and stomped off.

It takes all kinds to make a world.

I really like writing the novels even though keeping characters straight throughout is a bit challenging. A novel, versus a true story, gives us the ability to express and create whereas the true stories are based on truth of whatever we’re writing. With a novel we can “go crazy” in a manner of speaking, by creating characters that make us furious, or make us jump with joy, or cry with compassion.

My one character in Dawn’s Light , “Nancy,” makes the reader gasp, get mad, wonder what the heck is this person doing, and when a certain thing happens jump straight out of the chair and yell, “Yes!” I’ve had those that have read it tell me that when……… happened “I literally jumped up and shouted, “Yes!” Even my friend that helps with my editing called me about “Nancy.” I almost had the same reaction myself.

So when you sit down to write have fun. Let your creative juices flow. If its a testimony about something hurtful in the past, feel the hurt, let the tears flow, and keep writing. You’d be amazed at the healing that takes place in writing our story and God uses our testimony to help others.

As Christians, whatever we write should glorify the Lord; be it a testimony or a suspense novel or even a love story. We were given this gift to share with others, make Him proud.

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More good stuff ahead – stay tuned.

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