Writing Goals! Notes from our January meeting of the Southeast Georgia Christian Writer’s Group.
Think of all the people that annoy you, make you feel “ick,” and those you ignore… God sees both sides. Take the time to see the other side. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord. On that day, we will all stand side by side with those we have ignored, laughed at, and made fun of. And God will tell the stories that we refused to listen to. Make every day count. You have the power to influence the world, and whatever choice you make, you do influence and make a difference. Will it be for good, or for evil?
Many people tell me they want to write a book. They have great ideas and creativity and are excited about completing their book. The problem is they don’t know how to start, stick with it, or stay motivated. It’s a common problem, but it doesn’t have to be your problem.
Being a part of a community of creative thinkers makes all the difference in my life. When I lived in Texas, I was a part of a writing group that met weekly. I didn’t go to every meeting. I only went about once a month, but those meetings inspired me. They still inspire me. I think of the people I met with and the work they did, our talks and our goals. Their support inspired me to take writing to the next level.
When I wrote my first book, Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance, I had a community of support. Angel herself was of course the number one support. We met weekly for interviews and I knew she was counting on me to send her what I wrote each week. And I did.
When I moved to Georgia one of my main concerns was finding a creative community to be a part of, one which shared my values. I checked out a couple of local groups, but nothing drew me. The Lord led me to start a monthly group, which has proved encouraging and has helped me keep going in my writing pursuits.
If you’re in the local area, please check out the Southeast Georgia Christian Writers Group and join us! If you’re not in the area, find a group local to where you live, or start one. If you start talking about your writing goals and dreams, I promise you will find many others around you who share your desires. When you encourage one another, you WILL reach your goals!
If I can help you reach your writing, editing or publishing goals, please feel free to contact me and visit the Our Written Lives website for information.
(Note: I typed this in the old editor, too.)
Let’s talk about your new stats screen for a bit. I put up a one-sentence post a few hours ago to confirm that other people feel the same way I do, and it’s amassed eighteen comments and twenty likes in that time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own here. I’ve been actively blogging on your site for about a year and a half, although I’ve had the account for several years longer than that, and I spend a lot of time obsessing about my stats. An unhealthy amount of time, in fact.
You recently changed your stats page, and by a number of indications you seem to be interested in user feedback on it. However, using your feedback form really didn’t give me a chance to explain what I actually dislike about it. It could be…
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I love what my friend and fellow-writer John F. Harrison had to say about writing and real life… Read more on his post Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury.
“…Real life is intense. So there is no excuse for writing sterile, emotionally flat fiction. This was a gut-wrenching trial for the complainant, her family, the defendant, and the jurors. . Furthermore, there is intense drama around all of us; people experiencing unspeakable joy, or shattering grief, or blinding rage, or crippling fear. We need only take the time to look around and see it. If our fiction doesn’t provoke strong emotion, it’s because our characters and/or their stories aren’t real enough.”
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” -Fred Rogers
What does it mean to love? How do you feel love? How do you show love? Do you feel loved? And possibly more importantly, do the people you love feel your love?
I am afraid to ask the people in my life if they feel my love. I am afraid of the answer. What if they said no?
Too often love feels more like a struggle than it feels like love. “To strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now” isn’t always easy.
What does it mean to withhold love? In my mind it is avoiding another person, refusing to speak, putting them down, not spending time with them, ignoring their cries for help. Maybe these behaviors go beyond “unloving” and fall into the realm of emotional abuse.
Love, to me, is emotional support. I may not be able to fix my loved one’s problems, give them finances, a new job, take away their emotional or physical pain… But I can be there with them through the pain. I can give them emotional support. I can empathize. I can show concern. Express condolences. Bring flowers. Spend time with them. I can accept them right where they are, amidst the struggle, and unselfishly acknowledge life with them.
Today, I will take the time to love someone. I hope you will too.
Rachael Hartman, owner of Our Written Lives editing and publishing services for independent authors.
A beautiful morning in Morgan County Ohio
Connor Morgan, model Christian and exemplary young person, is lured into the seductive philosophy of a college professor. He finds himself caught up in the fast and decadent lifestyle of the nation’s premier party school. Things soon spin out of control, causing Connor to freefall into addiction, treachery of friends and deep trouble with the law. Romantic intrigue, surprising twists, heartbreaking tragedy, and an epiphany of God’s faithfulness and forgiveness mirror the journey of many modern prodigals.
Book 1 of the Connor Morgan Series. Click here for Book 2, Morgan County Midnight. Fiction story takes place in Morgan County Ohio.
J. Mark Jordan
Raised in the Midwest, J. Mark Jordan now lives in Sylvania, Ohio with his wife, Sandy. They have three grown children and a granddaughter. Mark fell in love with southeastern Ohio many years ago and situated his first novel, Morgan County Morning, in the hills of Morgan County along the banks of the historic Muskingum River.
Mark earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Relations from the University of Toledo, and has spent his career as a pastor, organizational official and author. He stays busy writing books and articles, speaking at various engagements, and serving as the Ohio District Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International. Mark has over ten published books including Living and Leading and The View from the Back of the Pulpit. When he has time, he enjoys playing golf. You can read more of his work online at jonathanjordan.squarespace.com
For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing a four-part Bible study on contentment.As I dug deeper into the Word of God, I was honestly surprised at the depth of what the Word said about contentment. Contentment is one of those concepts I’ve heard all my life, but struggled to obtain.
One of the most striking points I learned in my study on contentment was the original meaning of the word. One Greek word that translates into “contentment” in the King James Version is “Arkeo.” Arkeo is the word found in Luke 3:14, 1 Timothy 6:8, and Hebrews 13:5.
The original definition is very close to our definition of contentment: “to be satisfied or contented with.” But it also takes the meaning of the word to the new depth of: “to be sufficient, to possess sufficient strength, to be strong, to be enough for a thing.”
I often find myself and other people I meet feel inadequate when it comes to facing difficulties in life. We feel we aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough, rich enough, or you-name-it enough.
Finding contentment in who God has made us to be isn’t always an easy task. We think a new look, a new car, a new high, a new friend, a new ‘something’ will fill the void and make us “enough.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are strong enough for the task God has called us to. God has given us enough strengths and wisdom in His Word to make the right choices for our lives. We are ENOUGH for the day.
Rachael Hartman is a Christian author and publisher. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press creating lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.
Every month or so I meet with a small business mentor who helps me focus on the next steps in growing my business. During our first meeting he encouraged me to write a business plan. I started and then stopped for quite a while… I’m meeting with my mentor again this Thursday, so I decided it was time to continue working on my business plan. It’s not finished, but here’s what I’ve got so far:
Our Written Lives provides publishing services for independent authors. Working with OWL saves authors the time and money required to set up their own publishing business if they want to break into mainstream production and sales without waiting to be picked up by a large publishing company, which could take months or years. The OWL collection includes fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children. Each book has an element of Christian inspiration or teachable values.
- OWL business will grow as the title collection expands and independent authors around the country promote their books. As authors make local business contacts and sell books at bookstores, sales numbers increase proving books are sellable. These numbers assist in promoting each book to major bookstore chains, retail shows, and special non-returnable sales to organizations.
- Join the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), which will represent books at the International Christian Retail Show.
- List particular books with Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS), which will promote the book for large quantity non-returnable sales to various buyers in the non-retail market (organizations, etc.)
- Work to have 200 active published books
- Work only at OWL
Business Activities, Services & Products
- Social Media, LinkedIn, etc. send emails to new contacts
- Talk to librarians, bookstore managers, etc.
- Join business lunches and other networking groups
- Leads local Christian writers’ group
- Makes several new contacts monthly, signs people up for newsletters
- Public speaking at schools, community events
- Social Media: Newsletters, Bog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, website
- Press Releases for each author, adjustable for each event (book signings, speaking engagements, etc.)
- Ads: email blasts through larger publishing houses & distribution systems ($50-$60)
- Promotions for resale opportunities through larger companies
- $50 for a one hour constructive feedback meeting
- $30/hour social media training
- $50/hour writing coach (currently working on Life Coach certification)
- Freelance Editing & APA:
- Secures freelance editing jobs from authors, gives free estimate
- Provides editing and APA formatting primarily for international doctoral students
- High School – $10 for the first page, $1 for each additional page
- Undergraduates –$15 for the first page, $1.50 for each additional page
- Master’s Level –$20 for the first page, $2 for each additional page
- Doctoral Level – $30 for the first page, $3 for each additional page
- o Undergraduate APA – $20 an hour with a minimum of one hour per project
- o Master’s APA – $25 an hour with a minimum of one hour per project
- o Doctoral APA – $30 an hour with a minimum of one hour per project
- Freelance Writing:
- Elanc.com, Link247, P7 Bible Clubs, Ghostwriting, Resume Updates, guest blogs
- Publishing Services: $600*
*Based on 200 pages or less, for black and white paperback books with color covers. Prices vary for full-color or hardback books. Does not include manuscript editing. Free quote and consultation with accepted manuscript submissions.
- One-on-one consulting and collaboration
- Layout and design of book
- Original cover art
- Library of Congress catalogue number
- Listing in Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Amazon.com
- E-book edition (Kindle)
- Book and author listing on the OWL website and blog
- Inclusion in OWL overall book marketing plan
- Includes information and discounts on ads and promotions available through associations OWL is a member of
- Includes promotion of book to various business contacts and stores
- Blog posts, reader reviews, Facebook event promotions
- The first 50 books mailed directly to author
- A discount on all future book orders (printing + shipping + $2/book)
- Public Relations assistance as needed, including press releases, flyers, and assistance in setting up book signings and other events and yearly marketing meeting
- Available Products
- Books available for resale at a 40-55% discount from the listed sale price:
- Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance, $15
- The Tiniest Tree ~ El Arbolito, $25
- Pot Belly Pies, $11
- Lovable Lappy: The Fish with the Golden Coin!, $23
- Pending Publication:
- Patterns of Light (poetry)
- My Time in Atlanta (poetry)
- Plastic Reality (educational, self-help)
Market and Competition
OWL has two markets: independent authors and retail businesses. OWL sells services to independent authors and products for resale to businesses. Business partners include bookstores, churches, counseling centers, non-profit social and human services organizations, coffee shops, gift shops, etc.
What makes OWL unique from other publishers?
- Open to Christian topics secular businesses may not be willing to promote
- One-on-one with the writer, more personal collaboration
- Affordable and cost effective way to access the benefits of mainstream publishing without the hassle of setting up a whole new business for authors who have a business, congregation, or a venue to sell their book
- Author maintains more control over the product and has unlimited potential
- Print on demand doesn’t require warehouses or purchases of large quantities up front
- Independent, small press publisher, a hybrid between a traditional and self-publishing company.