Maximizing Your Marketing

Writing an excellent book is only half the battle in becoming a successful author.  A critical half, yes, but half, nonetheless. The other half of the battle is getting your story in front of your readers. This second half is called marketing.

Marketing involves skills and strategies that differ from the creative act of writing your novel. At the same time, the strategies you use to write your story–creativity, understanding, and the use of words–all play into your marketing strategy. In short, your skills as a novelist can inform your skills as a marketer of your novel. 

How?

Let’s take a look:

1) Utilizing SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  When writing your novel, you must be careful in your choice of words. You must choose words that will push your story forward without prematurely revealing its ending. When marketing your book, you must also be careful in your choice of words.  You must use keywords that people will use to search for your story.  This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

2) Targeting Your Audience. When writing your novel, you have a particular audience in mind (readers of romance, middle grade readers, etc.).  Likewise, when marketing your story, you must have a target audience in mind. That target audience will generally be the same as the target audience for whom you wrote your story, but don’t stop there. Remember, for example, that if you have written a children’s book, your target audience will not only include children. It will also include their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and caregivers, as well.

3) Building a Following. This is sometimes called “building a mailing list” or “building a platform.”  Building a list of people to whom you can send your marketing information is critically important. What good is an outstanding story if no one knows about it?  We all know of less than excellent stories that have been big sellers simply because of great marketing. We also all know of superb stories that never saw the light of day because of poor marketing.  Some of those stories may be our own.

Many authors struggle with the marketing aspect of writing because they view marketing as inferior to writing.  Writing is an art, they think, while marketing is business, and business is crass. This is a false paradigm, a lie that prevents us from achieving superior sales. It is also a prideful attitude. Business is just as important as art. Indeed, throughout the centuries, business revenues have supported art. Just think of the many patrons of the arts who supported great artists during the Renaissance. Even today, we find such patrons supporting both visual artists and word artists.

So the next time you engage in marketing your book, remember that marketing is an art unto itself. And he or she who does it well will reap its rewards, not only financial but professional as well.

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Copyright 2014 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.

Interview with Author Golden Keyes Parsons

GoldenKeyesParsonsMARYANN:
Today I am delighted to welcome to The Write Power multi-talented author Golden Keyes Parsona. Welcome, Golden, to The Write Power Blog.  We’re so happy to have you here.

GOLDEN: 
Thank you, MaryAnn. I am so delighted to be here.

MARYANN:
Golden, please tell us when you knew God had called you to write for Him.

GOLDEN: 
I have written all my life, having been raised in a family of newspaper editors and writers. However, I didn’t start writing full-time until I started speaking professionally in 1996. It’s a long story, but I came to a place in the local church where I was hindered in following God’s call on my life, so I had to go outside of the church to do so. That’s when I realized that not only speaking, but writing was an area to which God was directing me.

MARYANN:
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing. 

GOLDEN:
On a personal level, I am a wife (just celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary), mother of three adult daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. I fell in love with Jesus when I was fourteen years old and never got over it. And I felt a call to ministry from the very beginning. I’ve been discussing that journey on my blog recently at www.goldenkeyesparsons.com

As a teenager and young adult, I loved historical fiction. I devoured Thomas Costain’s The Black Rose and Ivanhoe, also Gone With The Wind, Dr. Zhivago, and similar books. However, when I first started seeking publication, I wrote non-fiction, with no success at securing a contract. I got very close on a couple of my proposals, but no contract. 

During that time I came across a 1907 published genealogy of my mother’s family who were French Huguenots who fled the Catholic persecution of Protestants in 17th century France. It was not only the lineage of my ancestors but stories and accounts of their journey. I didn’t even know we were of French descent. That launched me on my career of writing historical Christian fiction. I wanted to tell their story.

MARYANN:
When do you write, and how do you organize your life to make room for writing?

GOLDEN:
We are retired from the pastorate now, so my mornings are given to writing and the afternoons to marketing. I try to keep my mornings clear, so I make doctor’s appointments, luncheon engagements, mentoring, etc. for the afternoons if I can.

MARYANN:
Would you describe a typical writing day if you have one?

GOLDEN:
We arise anywhere from 6 – 7 am. Being retired is nice that way 🙂 I spend time with the Lord, usually around an hour or so, but if I have a meeting that morning, it will be shorter. I read a devotional, usually have some Bible study I am working on, and then pray.

Then I get started writing. I try not to get distracted with emails and FaceBook, but I do check them to see if there’s anything I need to attend to immediately. My assistant and I communicate mainly through emails, so I am constantly checking to see if there’s something she needs me to do.

MARYANN:
Where do you see Christian fiction heading in the next five years?

GOLDEN:
Generally, I believe fiction will move more and more toward the digital format, however, I do not foresee that it will entirely replace paper books. I think people will be reading more instead of less because it will be so accessible. 

I am hoping that Christian fiction publishers will move toward allowing a more realistic slant, while retaining the biblical worldview. I have more to say about this under the next question.

MARYANN:
How would you define Christian fiction? 

GOLDEN:
You’ve been reading my mail 🙂 I teach a class on this, What Makes Christian Fiction Christian? In fact, I taught it for the alumni association at Baylor University a couple of years ago. 

The simple definition is that Christian fiction is fiction which is published by a Christian publishing company. However the issue is much more complex than that. 

We attempted during those four weeks at Baylor to come up with an answer to the question, “What exactly is Christian fiction?” Is it just a gentle read with no curse words or violence or sex? Is it a book in which the characters are Christians? Is it a book set in biblical times? Is it a novel which contains a salvation scene? Or Bible verses?

The answer we came up with was this: Christian fiction, as opposed to general market fiction, is a story which has God’s redemption as the solution to the conflict presented. 

Then using the definition we formulated, we looked at a couple of classics, The Scarlet Letter and To Kill A Mockingbird, plus a contemporary fiction, John Grisham’s A Time to Kill and also at some Christian fiction to determine if they were Christian fiction or not.

One can see right away that Christian fiction can come from the general market as well as the Christian publishing field. By the way, we determined that To Kill A Mockingbird would not be classified as Christian fiction, whereas The Scarlet Letter would be. It’s an interesting thread to chase.

My agent tells me my books are too Christian for the general market, and too edgy for the Christian market. Not a comfortable place to be, I can assure you!

MARYANN:
What books do you have planned for the future? 

GOLDEN:
We are negotiating a contract for a non-fiction Christian living book. And I am trying to finish a Christmas book to shop in the general market.

MARYANN:
What single piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

GOLDEN:
If I have to just give a single piece of advice, it would be “Write, write, write and keep perfecting your craft.” 

MARYANN:
What single piece of advice would you give to a seasoned writer?

GOLDEN:
It would be the same: “Write, write, write and keep perfecting your craft.”

In addition I would say to the seasoned write to not get discouraged. One would think that after being published, that one would have it made. Not so. We are always looking to get the next book published. Keep writing. 

MARYANN:
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?Hidden_Faces_front

GOLDEN:
Support your local authors. I’m serious. It means so much to those of us who write to have the support of local book clubs, libraries and bookstores. The conundrum in our city is that local Christian authors get better support from Barnes & Noble than from the Christian bookstore. That shouldn’t be. We need you.

MARYANN:
Golden, thank you so much for your wisdom and your time. It was a pleasure to have you with us today.

GOLDEN:
The pleasure is all mine! Thank you for having me. 

MARYANN:
You may learn more about Golden and her writing at www.goldenkeyesparsons.com. You may reach Golden at golden@goldenkeyesparsons.com

Interview with Author Elizabeth Baker

EBMARYANN:
Today, I am delighted to introduce you to author Elizabeth Baker. Hello, Elizabeth!  Welcome to The Write Power. It’s great to have you here.

ELIZABETH:
Thanks, MaryAnn. I have always admired your work, and it is great to be interviewed on your blog.

MARYANN:
Elizabeth, you’ve had a fascinating journey toward writerhood, if that’s a word. Please tell us a little about how you became a writer for King Jesus.

ELIZABETH:
I suspect I was born a writer for I never remember a time when I wasn’t scribbling and putting words together. I think this is true of a lot of folks and for many the journey to publication is far longer (and more difficult) than the journey to being a writer. There are those who approach writing just as they would any other career and do very well at the craft. For myself, I it was impossible NOT to write. Publication came much later and in small doses.

MARYANN:
You are a shining example of a woman who has overcome hardship. Please share with us a little about your story. 

ELIZABETH:
“Shining example?” Those are very nice words. Thank you. But if I have any example worth sharing it is probably the value of courage. Somehow it always made sense to take life as it is, not as I wish it to be. After the tears and whining I could take a deep breath, do the best I could with what fragments that remained and leave the rest to Jesus. 

In my opinion, my history is far more common than unusual. Difficult childhood, abuse, poverty; I dropped out of high school, married young and carried baggage with me into the relationship. Later, I taught myself to type on a garage sale typewriter and wrote my first book with a two-year-old on my lap pushing the carriage back every time the bell rang. I was widowed at 32 and after that ran our cattle ranch single-handed for five years. Then, I went back to school and became a Licensed Professional Counselor and worked in Dallas for about 15 years. I received my Ph.D. in Religion and Society when I was in my mid-fifties.

Anyone who wants to read my life in more detail can check out my biography page at http://www.elizabethbakerbooks.com/about.html. As I stated, I think of my life as very typical. Everyone has a story and if they’ve lived that story following Jesus it can’t help but be adventurous, because God cares far more about our character than our comfort, and building character always comes through trial. Today, I can write about poverty, fear, failure, arrogance, shame, self-pity and many other life experiences because I’ve been-there-done-that. Most of those reading this interview could write about those things, too.

MARYANN:
I hear you, Elizabeth, especially your observation that “God cares far more about our character than our comfort.”  So true!  And I’m so thankful for that. What do you like to write most, and why?

ELIZABETH:
I think my greatest pleasure is not a certain kind of writing but in what any writing may produce. There is something very special and satisfying about touching another soul. It doesn’t matter if it is a small connection when one of my books gives someone a slightly new perspective or if it is an article or blog post that inadvertently included a sentence which deeply impacted someone for years. Both situations make being a writer something special.

But I suppose a common denominator I enjoy in all writing would be the details and research. I can get bogged down chasing rabbits or ferreting out an obscure scripture reference or historical fact. Often these tiny tidbits add little or nothing to the text—they may even eventually be edited out—but I sure enjoyed the chase! Of course, pursuing this pleasure is a real detriment to deadlines and plot flow!Whispers Front Cover.jpg

MARYANN:
Do you have a typical writing day? If so, would you describe it?

ELIZABETH:
Since I write part time and work shift work at a retail job part time, finding a “typical” day is a challenge! As with any endeavor, discipline is an absolute requirement. It is not so much building my day so there is a consistent time to write, but persuading the lazy side of me to use the hours as they become available.

I find it hard to write when there is noise in the house, so most of my computer work is late night. Also, I often play classical or spiritual music through earphones. For some strange reason Christmas carols are the most effective for helping me concentrate.

Because there is often more than one writing project going at a time, organized computer files are a must. Learning a system that works for me has been tough. I may have a guest blog, a magazine contribution, my weekly devotional blog, and a book all going at once. This week, I have all of the above and TWO books in progress. I just finished a short devotional book, Whispers in the Darkness, 10 Messages from God When Times are Hard, and I am sketching the outline and plot for the second in my series, Angel Trilogy. Whispers will be out by the time this interview is published and The Silent War should debut early 2015.  

MARYANN:
You are a busy lady!  What do you believe is the primary responsibility of the Christian who writes for Christ?

ELIZABETH:
The primary responsibilities are the same for a Christian as they are for any writer: Honesty, dedication, producing quality work, being on time, keeping commitments, etc. In addition, a Christian has the privilege of helping readers see life through a Christian world-view. Even if our work is fantasy or pure entertainment, it should lift the soul of readers higher rather than playing to base instincts. It is not that we avoid evil characters or thrilling plots, but when readers close our books they need to feel that justice and morality matter.

MARYANN:
Would you share some of your writing plans for the future?

ELIZABETH:
Whispers in the Darkness, 10 Messages from God When Times are Hard, is volume one of a four part series. The others will be: Songs in the Morning, 10 Messages from God When You Need a New Beginning; Shouts in the Sunlight, 10 Messages from God When Glory Shines; Rest at the Eventide, 10 Messages from God When You Must Let Go. I hope to produce one every 4-6 months from now through 2015.

Another project is the second edition in the Angel Trilogy. There will be three books: JaKobe’s Assignment is a book about faith; The Silent War is a book about spiritual warfare and the Christian’s eventual hope; the last in the series, Rachel’s Quest, is a love story with a twist. All three books allow the reader to look at every day events while angels and demons are active characters in the plot. I started the series when I became fascinated by the possibilities of what our day-to-day lives would look like if we could see and hear the action from both earth’s point of view and heaven’s. I wanted to both let my imagination run rampant AND stay within the boundaries of scripture. It was a challenge to say the least but the work has been life-changing for me personally and I hope it will challenge readers, too. 

Of course, there is my weekly devotional blog that has to be constantly fed. Sometimes I am able to use something from a non-fiction I am working on, but most of the blogs are written especially for that audience. Anyone interested in sampling this work can sign up at http://visitor.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?m=1102771164403&p=oi 

MARYANN:
What was the most difficult time during your writing career?

ELIZABETH:
Now. It has always been “now.” Each step is always more difficult than the last one. 

MARYANN:
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

ELIZABETH:
Learn to see the value of small things. If, to the best of your ability, you have done what you feel the Lord would have you do, be satisfied. If readers benefit from your writing or if you make money, that is extra.

MARYANN:
What advice would you give to a seasoned writer?

ELIZABETH:
Never cheapen your craft by reducing your standards in order to make a sale.

MARYANN:
Where do you see Christian writing heading in the next five years?

ELIZABETH:
I think there will be fewer “famous” writers and more—far more—first time and “small” writers working on private projects and self-publishing.

MARYANN:
Elizabeth, it has been a joy to have you with us. Thank you!

ELIZABETH:
Thank you, MarryAnn. Visiting with you is always a pleasure.

MARYANN:
Thank you to our readers for stopping by today. You may visit Elizabeth’s website at www.elizabethbakerbooks.com

Interview with Author Jennifer Delamere

Delamere author photo trimmedMARYANN:
Hi, Jennifer! Welcome to The Write Power. It’s great to have you with us today.

JENNIFER:
Thank you so much for having me! I’m honored to be here.

MARYANN:
Jennifer, please tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

JENNIFER:
I’ve lived all over the United States for both work and study, plus I spent three wonderful years in Canada (Montreal and Ottawa). My husband and I are now happily settled in Raleigh, North Carolina. Although the wandering bug hasn’t left me, I’ve decided I prefer to travel with a suitcase rather than a moving van! I have a “day” job too, editing educational materials for school systems. As for writing, my first interest was in screenwriting. I studied this in college, and have written several screenplays. Then a few years ago I discovered that the tools for writing screenplays can be applied to novel writing as well. At the same time I discovered Romance Writers of America, a fantastic organization that really taught me what I needed to know to write and sell a novel. My first novel, An Heiress at Heart, was the first inspirational romance in Grand Central Publishing’s Forever line and was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America RITA award.

MARYANN:
When did you discern that our Lord had called you to write fiction for Him?

JENNIFER:
It probably began when I was in my teens. I heard a very dynamic teaching on a record from the Book of Acts. At one point the teacher said, “These accounts are so fantastic, I don’t know why someone doesn’t put them on television!” I remember thinking, “Yes! I would love to do that!” Even though I have yet to write any Biblical fiction, I still enjoy showing in my stories the remarkable ways God can work in people’s lives.

MARYANN:
What do you believe is the primary role of Christian fiction? Of the Christian fiction writer?

JENNIFER:
I believe the primary role is to entertain. Readers want to be drawn in by a good story and characters they can relate to. The inspirational aspect should be so intrinsic to the story that it’s hard to separate the two. That’s my goal. I want my stories to be uplifting but not shy away from the realities of life. We know life can be tough at times. I think that should be realistically reflected in Christian fiction, as well as the even greater truth that God can bring victory in every situation. In that sense Christian fiction can be uplifting and inspiring as well as entertaining.

MARYANN:
What does your writing day look like?  I know you have a day job. How do you balance that with writing?Delamere A LadyMostLovely

JENNIFER:
It is definitely a challenge to balance the two! I leave for work early and get home around 5 p.m., so most of my writing is done in the late afternoon and early evening. I would personally prefer to write in the morning when I’m fresh, but because of my schedule I had to train myself to write later in the day. I have several strategies for finding that “second wind”: I’ll walk on my treadmill for twenty minutes or so, or go to a coffee shop for a few hours, or even take a short nap and then begin writing. Each day is a bit different in that regard. I write two or three evenings a week and plan my weekends carefully so that I have Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons for writing.

MARYANN:
Are you a plotter, a pantster, or a combination of both?   What technique works best for you?

JENNIFER:
I’m primarily a plotter. This comes from my background in screenwriting. Before I begin writing, I need to have a good idea of where I’m going. But the plotting only gives me the “big picture.” When it comes to how the actual scenes will play out, I’m a bit of a pantster. One drawback to this method is that at times I’ll need to get from point A to point B but not know for sure how to get there. I might have to rewrite a scene several times in order to get it right. However, a wonderful benefit to this method is that sometimes my characters will do or say something “out of the blue” that floors me—which I always find very exciting! At those times I do my best to adjust the plot accordingly. For example, the character of Lucinda Cardington was supposed to have only a “walk-on” part in my first book, An Heiress at Heart. But she came alive for me in such an interesting way that she ended up becoming my heroine for book three (A Bride for the Season).

MARYANN:
What authors have influenced you the most?

JENNIFER:
When I was in high school I discovered the romantic suspense novels of Mary Stewart. Many were set in France, Greece, or Great Britain, and she wrote such evocative descriptions of the locations that I knew I just had to go to those places someday. (Still working on getting to Greece.) Her books were intelligent and absorbing and kept me turning the pages. I also love many novelists from the nineteenth century, such as Charles Dickens. I read quite a bit of nonfiction too, primarily books about history. This has probably been the greatest influence on my decision to write historical fiction.

MARYANN:
You write about Victorian England. Why did you choose this time period?

JENNIFER:
The Victorian era stretched over decades, from 1837 to 1901. My books are set in the 1850s, when Victoria was still fairly young and her husband, Prince Albert, was still alive. This “mid-Victorian” period, as it’s known, was a time of exciting changes and lots of optimism. Their energy and inventiveness were incredible, and the future seemed full of enormous promise. Many things we take for granted today were brand new to them—the railways and photography, for example. Imagine if you were an adult and had never traveled faster than horseback. Now you can step on a train that will take you barreling through the countryside at 50 miles per hour. What would that feel like? I was able to explore that a bit in my second book, A Lady Most Lovely. In A Bride for the Season, which will come out later this year, the hero and heroine are brought together by their fascination with the new science of photography. It has been fun to incorporate these things into my books.

MARYANN:
I was delighted to learn that you are a Francophile. (My PhD is in French.)  Has your love of the French language and Canada influenced your writing? If so, how?

JENNIFER:
A fellow Francophile! Merveilleux! As a matter of fact, I love watching French films, and one of them provided me with the germ of an idea for An Heiress at Heart. In my book, the heroine impersonates a missing heiress whom she resembles. I got the inspiration for this from the French movie The Return of Martin Guerre, which was based on a real incident in medieval France. The two stories are completely different, of course. But I was intrigued by this concept of what happens to a person when they take on someone else’s life, step into someone else’s shoes. How are they affected on the inside, and how do they affect the lives of those they touch? What does it cost them to live this lie, and yet can some good come from it? Those were questions I loved delving into for the book.

MARYANN:
What single piece of advice would you give to a beginning novelist?

JENNIFER:
Don’t follow trends just for the sake of writing something you think will sell. Write the story you want to read. See it as allowing God to work within you “to will and to do of his good pleasure,” as it says in Philippians. When you love what you are writing, it will show, and you will be much more successful in the long run.

MARYANN:
What single piece of advice would you give to a seasoned novelist?

JENNIFER:
Since I still feel like a “newbie” myself, it seems almost presumptuous to give advice to more seasoned novelists. As a reader, I know one thing that disappoints me is when I read a book by a multi-published author that does not have the same energy and care as in his or her earlier work. In theatrical terms, it’s called “phoning in” a performance. My goal is to never stop learning or working to improve my craft. I work hard to make each book better in some way and to ensure that my enthusiasm for writing will be evident.

MARYANN:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

JENNIFER:
Whenever I contemplate decisions I need to make in my writing career, whether in the writing or the business side of things, I often think of Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Do your best, trust God, and don’t be surprised if He provides the answers just a little bit differently than you might have imagined!

MARYANN:
Jennifer, thank you so very much for being with us today. You have been a blessing.

JENNIFER:
It has been a thrill to be here. Thank you for these awesome questions, which have helped “dust off” some things I haven’t thought of for quite some time!

MARYANN:
You are most welcome! Thank YOU!  I invite our readers to visit Jennifer’s website at http://www.jenniferdelamere.com.

Interview with Author Candy Arrington

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday I am delighted to welcome author Candy Arrington to The Write Power. It’s a blessing to have you here, Candy.

CANDY:
Thanks, MaryAnn. I’m glad for the opportunity to join you.

MARYANN:
Candy, please tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

CANDY:
As an only child, I read a lot and often made up stories and had my friends act them out with me. I’ve always been intrigued by words, their cadence, structure, and diverse meanings and enjoyed diagramming sentences in school, something I think they don’t even teach anymore! That led me to major in English in college. But I didn’t begin writing for publication until about fifteen years ago. I had a devotional accepted for publication at the first conference I attended and a year later received a nonfiction book contract as a result of a breakfast conversation with an acquisitions editor at another conference.

MARYANN:
I think you’re right about diagramming sentences as a thing of the past in our schools. Such a mistake, IMHO. When did you first know that God had called you to write for Him?

CANDY:
My husband and I were on a Master Life retreat. I woke up early one morning with words swirling in my head, forming phrases. I got up and sat on the edge of the bathtub and wrote a poem about how I put others things in my life ahead of God. Later, in a group meeting, I shared the poem. Afterwards, people came to me asking for copies of the poem. It was then I realized God had given me the ability to reach people with words.

MARYANN:
Wonderful testimony! Do you have a typical writing day? If so, what is it like?

CANDY:
I try to write in the mornings when my mind is fresh. God often speaks to me in dreams and I wake up inspired to write. But I have discovered that I am a cyclical writer and sometimes only write five or ten days at a time. I’ve had to learn to make the most of the days when I am in writing mode and not beat myself up for the days when I don’t write a word. The other thing I’ve learned about my writing is I do well working on multiple documents at the same time. It seems to spark my creativity to write on several different subjects at once.

MARYANN:
I love ti when God speaks to us in dreams about our writing! I also share your need to work on different projects at the same time. What do you think is the most important role of the Christian writer?

CANDY:
I believe Christian writers have the opportunity to provide truth, hope, and healing to a hurting world. So many people are seeking answers for the emptiness and hurts they experience and looking for those answers in the wrong places. But God can use our words to touch people and change lives.

MARYANN:
I agree. What type of writing do you prefer and why?Book Cover (1-13-09) Aging Parent 9780736925266_cft_l

CANDY:
I have written some short fiction, but I know, without doubt, I’m a nonfiction writer. Most of the time I think in outline form when writing and that lends itself to writing nonfiction in a clear, practical advice type format. I grew up in a family of storytellers so I incorporate stories into my nonfiction. It’s a great way to make an initial connection with readers because it usually sparks their own memories and helps them form mental pictures. Using the power of story to convey truth reaches people in a unique way.

MARYANN:
Yes, story is, indeed, powerful. Are you currently working on a project?

CANDY:
I write for a number of magazines and websites on a regular basis so I have on-going assignments, but I am also working on a book about grief. And I have a “secret project” I’ve been compiling information on for several years. I hope it will be a book one day.

MARYANN:
What has been your most challenging moment as a writer?

CANDY:
I served as a caregiver for my mother during the last years of her life. Ironically, I was writing a book at the time on caring for aging parents—When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Obviously, my writing time was compromised as I cared for her, but what I didn’t expect was my inability to write for quite a long time after her death. I made notes and wrote a few articles and devotions, but since her death, I have found it difficult to focus on longer writing projects.

MARYANN:
This is not unusual in writers who have experienced the loss of a loved one. It seems that your book on grief will offer a lot on this issue. What has been your most enjoyable moment as a writer?

CANDY:
Stringing words together, finding my unique voice, and providing practical support for those who are hurting gives me joy. Defining moments for me come when a reader contacts me to say my writing has caused them to think about situations in a new way or affirmed them in some way.

MARYANN:
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

CANDY:
Aspiring writers need to realize getting to the point of publication is often a slow process. Every writer, novice or not, needs to be willing to learn the craft, realize the need for editing, and be patient. Attending a conference is a great way to learn about the business side of writing, receive inspiration, and make contacts. Be willing to learn and realize pushing your way into the writing arena without the necessary training will result in frustration and disappointment. Just as an athlete trains and conditions himself before trying out for the Olympics, so new writers need to put in some time learning the craft.

MARYANN:
What advice would you give to a seasoned writer?

CANDY:
Don’t compare yourself to others. Pay attention to what God is leading you to write and let him determine the timeframe. Be open to new opportunities, but don’t feel you have to say yes to everything that comes your way. And don’t feel you won’t be successful unless you do everything everyone suggests. Your writing journey is unique.

MARYANN:
So true! Candy, thank  you very much for being with us today.

CANDY:
Thank you! It was my pleasure.

MARYANN:
I encourage our readers to visit Candy’s website at www.CandyArrington.com.