Sending out a Christian Wave upon a Secular Sea

Meet the Author Monday, April 21

You are invited to the Monday, April 21, meeting of CAG in Woodstock, GA to hear guest speaker/author Gordon Lawrence.

Gordon Lawrence is the author of Great Men Bow Down – 150 one-page profiles of
great men throughout western culture who have honored God.  Gordon
is the President of Lawrence Design Group, Architects in Lawrenceville, and is a
former pastor, educator and Associate Director for the North American Mission
Board.

Picture1author Gordon lawrenceHis new book is generating quite a buzz amongst Christians. For meeting directions see “Meetings” tab on this website.

See link below for a review of his new book: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1KF79XTVF4BKM/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0983082308

 

Happy Birthday CAG!!!

CAG 8th birthday cakeJoin members and visitors Monday, April 7, at 7pm, at Prayer and Praise Christian Fellowship for a special meeting of the Christian Authors Guild as they celebrate their 14th year as north Georgia’s premiere Christian writers group. After a brief business meeting, attendees will enjoy special “mini” presentations by member authors/speakers Cynthia Simmons aRelief Notes covernd Bryan Powell. Also, opportunity to re-order CAG’s new anthology Relief Notes for a deep discounted price will be given attendees. The new release nearly sold out at the recent Coffee & Quill “Mini” Conference. For detail directions, click on the meetings tab above.

 

Coming Soon: Coffee & Quill

Coffee and Quill Flyer 2014Coffee and Quill Flyer 2014 (Copy)What better way to usher in the new season of renewal than by attending the 8th annual Coffee & Quill “mini” conference for aspiring writers. This special Saturday morning meeting allows attendees a glimpse of what the Christian Authors Guild is all about. Experience an inspirational, entertaining, and encouraging morning of instruction from two great speakers as you learn more about the writing opportunities, fellowship, and fun found in CAG membership.  Book tables, door prizes, gift “goody bags”, and a breakfast buffet abound and are included in the FREE adamission!

Coffee and Quill Flyer 2014

Coffee and Quill Flyer 2014The 2014 Coffee & Quill special meeting is set for Saturday, March 22 from 8:30 AM – Noon, with the breakfast buffet at 8:30. The  C & Q is held at Prayer & Praise Christian Fellowship,   6409 Bells Ferry Rd, Woodstock · (770) 928-2795. For directions and map, see the CAG website at www.christianauthorsguild.org

2014 Coffee & Quill

A special Saturday morning meeting “mini conference” is set for March 22 from 8:30 am- noon for breakfast goodies followed by two top-notch inpirational speakers bound to encourage aspiring writers. For more info please see the Coffee & Quill tab under our CAG website at www.christianauthorsguild.org

Meet, Greet, Critique

Aspiring Christian writers are set to meet on March 3, 7 pm, at Prayer and Praise Christian Fellowship in Woodstock. This monthly meeting is open to visitors and refreshments are served.  For more information about the Christian Authors Guild, please contact www.christianauthorsguild.org

CAG to meet
CAG to meet

 

 

Dillard to Dazzle Writers

Pastor DillardPlease plan to attend the February 17 meeeting of the Christian Authors Guild with guest speaker/author George Dillard.

Dr. Dillard, Senior Pastor of Peachtree City Christian Church also just happens to be the Chairman of the Board of Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ and has a passion for the mission field.

Dillard is also the author of Seven Things That God Desires For Us and The Big Mission. He has been the guest pastor of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Georgia Legislature.

This free meeting is open to all and refreshments are served.  The meeting begins at 7 pm. For directions to the meeting venue, see the CAG website  http://www.christianauthorsguild.org

 

 

Fine February Meetings

February is a busy meeting month for the Christian Authors Guild. With so many aspiring writers trying their writing wings (and pens) this New Year, each CAG meeting radiates inspiration and encouragement to all attendees. Open to all.

February 3: Meet, Greet, Critique

General Business Meeting including project updates, new group book launch plans, critique groups and much more. Visitors always welcomed.

February 17: Guest Speaker

Pastor DillardGeorge Dillard – Sr. Pastor, Peachtree City Christian Church
(Chairman of the Board of Actors, Models & Talent for Christ)

With a Doctorate of Philosophy from Evangelical Theological Seminary and 30 years in ministry, George S. Dillard III is the Senior Pastor of Peachtree City Christian Church. He is also the author of Seven Things That God Desires For Us and The Big Mission. He has been guest pastor of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Georgia Legislature. With a passion for the mission field of entertainment, Dr. Dillard leads the AMTC Board.

 

The Business Side of Writing: Part II by Bryan Powell

dollar sign

Okay, you’re booked in a half dozen locations, that’s great. Congratulations!

If you’ve done your homework and built a platform, you can have a great time talking to your friends and customers.

The question now is, “How do I get compensated? After all, isn’t that the goal (at least somewhere down the list after being a blessing and having fun and getting the word out and creating a wave and all that stuff)?”

Before we discuss the compensation from the retail side, we need to understand the wholesale side. If you are published through a traditional publisher, you need to read and understand the commission split in your contract.

I know it’s hard to read all that fine print, but you need to know it or you’ll end up embarrassing yourself. The one thing you don’t want to do is call your publisher and demand to know why your royalty check didn’t come the day after the end of the first quarter.

Let’s say you completely understand your contract (not). What next?

Negotiation

Know how much you paid for your books on the wholesale side. If you paid 40% of the retail price. That means you make a whopping 60% profit, not bad. It would be better if you could wheedle out of your publisher 35%. That’s the negotiation part of this blog.

I begged my publisher, using all sort of spurious excuses such as: I’m a poor, starving artist, my kids will go hungry if I don’t get a better discount, and I’ll have to put my mother-in-law in a nursing home if you don’t give me a better discount.

To my dismay, he didn’t budge. I was crushed, but he did throw in an extra 25 books. Free I might add. Shew! That was a relief.

Retail Compensation

Some venues will charge a “consignment fee” and others won’t.

  • Let’s start with the coffee shops.
    • They are usually a free event.
    • You make the sale, you keep the money. It’s that simple.
    • Keep a log of your sales and if yours is a sales tax state, be sure to charge the tax and record it in a log book.

If you don’t charge your customers the sales tax, you’ll have to pay it and that comes out of your profit margin.

  • Next, are the independent or new and used book stores.
    • I have been in many and they all do it differently.
    • One store discounts my books 10%, but then pays me 60% of the retail price. They make a 30% profit and I make 20% (if I paid 40% to my publisher).

That’s where profit margins are so important?

  • Next are the Christian bookstores, Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Million and other big and little box stores.
    • If they try to charge you 50%, walk away. 40% is the best you can hope for, 35% is even better, but that’s a rarity.
    • Some bookstores have a “Local Author” corner. This is great because after a signing event, some people who don’t purchase a book when you are there may come back.
    • Being a good steward is vitally important.
    • Never leave your books without making a record of how many books you’ve left, the price, the percentage split, how long they are to stay on their shelves, and when they send out checks. Be sure to get the manager’s signature and make two copies.
    • Make a follow-up call in three months to see how many books sold.
    • Along with your log of venues, create a file of “Consignment Sheets” and look over it from time to time.

Remember, they are your books. No one cares for them as much as you.

  • The next are Fairs, Festivals and Literary Events.
    • Choose your events wisely.
    • What’s it going to cost to rent a 10×10 booth? If it costs more than $150.00, you are running the risk of losing money.
    • If it’s a large event, you may take a chance on it, but it could be a wash.

So What Have We Learned?

Writing a book is only half the fun. The other half is meeting people and signing (selling) your books to an adoring crowd of happy, smiling, anxious readers. But the other side, the Business Side of Writing, is your profit margin.

Don’t back away from your price unless you have a good reason. A poor economy, they are your friends, and you’ve only sold one book today are not good enough reasons to cut your price.

You wrote it, your publisher set the price, so smile, and quote your price.

Now go sell your books!

 

 

Finding Another Person’s Voice by Bryan Powell

journal

 

Much has been written about finding your “voice.” You can attend a writer’s conference and learn how to reach deep within yourself, discover the real you and express it in cogent terms.

But how many of us have found someone else’s voice? How many of us have been charged with the responsibility of expressing another person’s thoughts without tainting them with our own?

Recently, I had the privilege of doing just that.

By divine appointment, I was given an older gentleman’s journal. As I sat and read it and later interviewed him, I discovered he had a story to tell. He had a message to give us. Like a canary, held captive within a cage of flesh and bone, his spirit yearned to be set free. However, with his limited vocabulary and lack of skill, it languished, thinking it would never take flight. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to  set it free. When that happened, his voice echoed throughout the pages of his story, and it rose to new heights.

The more I studied his life, the more I saw his motivation and message. I discovered his love and passion, his goals, his dreams and yes, his weaknesses and failures.

He taught me two important principles that guided his life. The first one; God can use a person for His glory no matter how unskilled that person is. This simple man took faith’s baby steps and soon found manly strength to run the race, keep the faith, and win the crown.

The second guiding principle was a bit harder to find, yet it was there. He said, “Find people smarter than you to do the things you don’t want to do and hire them.”

That was his message and his motivation. He spent his life finding jewels in the rough and developing them, polishing them, getting them ready to take his place. And by doing so, he built people and a fortune. 

From his humble beginning as a dirt farmer in central Georgia during the Depression years to the present day, he invested his life in helping people reach their potential.

The benefit to me was that I was privy to those formative years through his journal. I watched him grow to manhood; I grew with him, I hurt with him and even loved with him. I heard his voice, captured his thoughts, emotions, his heart. For those precious hours in which I labored over the text, I became this man. And so will you when you invest the time to get to know the person you are writing about.

So the next time you undertake a story: fiction or non-fiction, biography or historical, get to know your character. Plunge deep into the well-spring of creativity or reality and discover their voice. In so doing, you may find your own.

The Business Side of Writing – Part 1 by Bryan Powell


So, you’ve written a book. Congratulations!
book promo

Putting in the time and effort to write your thoughts is a great accomplishment. Greater still is publication.  Now you can sit back and watch the dollars come rolling in, right?

Wrong!

 

Besides the hard work of writing and editing, there is, The Business Side of Writing.

If you plan on selling your book there are several important aspects that must be taken into consideration: promotion, compensation and negotiation.

The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion

How do you get to be a New York best seller?

In a word—promotion; shameless, relentless, white-knuckled promotion.

It is a necessary part of the writing process. No matter how much you may hate public speaking, it is a necessary evil.

While much of today’s focus is on cyber marketing, good old-fashioned public appearances are another important part of the mix.

Why do some writers succeed at this and some fail? The better question is; why do some of us persevere, and others give up? The answer is simple. There are those of us who will give anything to achieve our dreams, and there are others who will give anything to stay on the couch. Okay, so I’ve convinced you. Where do you begin?

Start With a Smart Strategy

The phone can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When I was in real-estate, my broker challenged me to make 100 calls a day and ask two simple questions: “Do you want to sell your house?” and “Do you know someone who wants to sell a house?”

I was chasing customers I know, but it worked. The last house I sold was a $400,000 home to a woman from Brazil.

I learned to get tough skin and make the calls, but in the book business, who do you call?

Reach Out

1. Start with your niche market. If your book is about gardening – call stores that deal with gardening. If it’s a cookbook  – call restaurants and sandwich shops. Ask if you could set up a display and talk to the customers about your book.

  • Know your market – learn where your book sells best. Christian books sell better in Christian environments.
  • Talk to people – when you are at an event. Don’t just sit behind the table. Stand as much as possible, greet the customers and talk about your books.
  • Link up with a local pregnancy crisis center, or the local chapter of a Cancer Society and have an event together. This will take planning and advertising.
  • Use your social media connections to promote your event. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Eventful.com, Events.GSTV.com, Eventbrite.com, Goodreads.com, Oogle.com, bookmarketing.com, salesspider.com to name a few.

2. Independent bookstores

  • Have a nice display and buy push-cards. Vista Print and ColorFunmerch.com are two places where you can get quality promotional material.
  • Have a poster displaying your book cover and hook.

3. Libraries. They love authors. Ask about literary or local author events.

4. Christian book stores and big-box book stores are the last targeted phone calls for retail stores. Invariably, they will charge 40% to sell your books on consignment. We’ll discuss this in greater detail in my next blog.

5. Fairs, Festival and Literary Events.

  • There may be a cost involved in this, but it will be worth it. Try sharing the cost with other authors.
  • Have plenty of cash on hand and learn to make changes.
  • Also, you will need to have a way to process credit card payments. I use Square, but Pay-pal also has a card reader.

6. For the fun of it, call independent living facilities. (Those are the ones where the residents control their own money). Have the activities coordinator to promote you as a local author coming to do a reading.

7. Call schools and ask to speak with the English/Language Arts teacher and see if you could be scheduled to come and speak to their class.

8. Become your own competition.

  • You may even post your book on Ebay and Craig’s List in order to boost your sales on a national scale.
  • When your book is listed with Amazon, they will under-cut your price by a sizable percentage. I went to Amazon and found how much they were selling my book for and under cut them

The take away of this is simple. If you want more than the satisfaction of having your book published, and I hope you do, then you must establish goals and a marketing plan. Work within your time and finances. Step out of your comfort zone and let’s sell some books.

Our contributor, Novelist Bryan M. Powell is also a composer/arranger with over eighty choral works to his credit. He now enjoys pursuing a career as a full-time writer. Some of his fifteen Faith-based “G” rated mystery novels have found their way into publication by Tate Publishing, Kindle Direct and Vabella Publishing. His website is www.newlifepublicationsonline.com

 

 

 

 

CAG Spotlight Podcast

Member Cynthia L. Simmons spotlights David Fessenden - Literary Agent
Literary Agent with Word Wise Media, David Fessenden shares about the writing world.