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Month: December 2011

GUEST POST BY CJ HITZ: Building Faith Pedaling Across Florida

 

 
During my 4 ½ years at Anderson University (Anderson, IN) I had the opportunity to participate in three spring break bicycle trips organized by Jim & Louise Pickens.  This dear couple called these trips the “Recyclers” in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.”   Each year, they would send a simple flyer to AU students in hopes of filling forty spots to trek across a different 400-mile route in Florida.  Upon receiving this flyer my freshman year, I was immediately intrigued and set out to find a way to come up with the $170 fee.

Little did I know what kind of impact Jim & “Lulu” would have on me over the course of my time at Anderson.  They practically became my grandparents away from home since I was literally 2500 miles from my family in Oregon.  It became a tradition to come over to their house (merely a block from campus) on many a Sunday where they fed me a hearty meal and allowed me to do my laundry.  Along the way, I think Louise took me through every Recyclers photo album she ever put together and Jim was quite possibly filled with more stories than any man I ever met.  It was nothing to come over to their house at noon and leave at 7pm.
 
In one of their across the country (3000+ miles) summer bicycle trips, Jim recalled spotting a set of “brand new looking” tire chains on the side of the highway in Arizona where temps were over 100 degrees.  “I couldn’t pass on a perfectly good set of chains”, Jim said.  So he put all four tire chains (over 60 lbs) around his neck and pedaled the remaining forty miles to their destination!  I kid you not, the man had tree trunks for thighs well into his 70s and THE most powerful handshake I ever encountered.  He was a legend.
 
The spring break trips certainly attracted students of varying backgrounds and skill levels.  From foreign students with virtually no cycling experience to guys who could give Lance Armstrong a run for his money, we had quite the mix and match.  Jim & Louise had a gift of meshing everyone together as a team…Team Recyclers.
 
Not About the Bike
 
One of the most vivid things I experienced on these adventures is the power of prayer.  If you were uncomfortable praying in public coming into the trip, you were comfortable doing it by the end.  Each morning began with a short devotion led by someone different each time.  Following the devotion, everyone picked a name out of an envelope and this was the person you prayed for all day during the 40-80 mile ride.  If someone wrecked, we would jokingly ask if their prayer partner was sleeping on the job.  At the end of each cycling break which came about every 10-15 miles, the whole group of forty riders would gather in a large circle while holding hands to pray.  This had to be an interesting site for drivers who saw us along busy highways.  We attracted our fair share of honks.
 
And what were we praying for?  I forgot to mention that Jim & Louise built a faith component into these trips.  Each day, we had no idea where we were going to sleep that night.  Most of the time it was churches but we rarely knew exactly which ones when we began each day.  There were many days when our place of lodging didn’t materialize until the last minute and in the last moments of daylight.  But the Lord always came through.  This spoke volumes to people of all faith levels.
 
Another example of seeing the Lord come through came in the form of his protection.  We always made an effort to ride on roads and highways that had ample shoulder space or specific bike paths available but this wasn’t always possible.  One day we found ourselves on a fairly busy road with almost no shoulder and traffic buzzing by at 50mph. 
 
I happened to be riding behind a Lebanese girl named Michelle who was one of the more inexperienced riders when her bike went off the road and onto the gravel alongside.  Unfortunately, she overcompensated as she tried returning to the paved road too quickly.  In a split second her Schwinn Voyager crashed and she went spilling into the busy highway.  Not having any time to react, those of us behind her rode over her bike before coming to a stop.
 
Amazingly, she avoided being hit by any cars and sustained mere scrapes and bruises.  The closest car that would have hit her pulled over a little further ahead and a man got out to make sure she was ok.  “I felt a strong urge to slow down shortly before the girl wrecked”, the man said.  “I just felt like something was going to happen.”  After realizing we were a Christian-based group, the man was thrilled and said he’d given his life to the Lord only a month before.  Quite shaken by the experience, Michelle decided to ride in the Recyclers van for the remainder of the trip but she was thanking God that she was still alive.
 
Imagine having thirty years’ worth of stories from these trips.  All the chances to see God provide and show Himself to so many.  All the friendships and bonds (and marriages) formed along the way.  Never realizing you could eat so much oatmeal in one week.  Praying like you never had before.  Experiencing Jesus in ways you never dreamed.
 
Thanks for that flyer Jim & Louise.  I’ll never forget you
 

 

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BOOK MARKETING: “Tips for Setting Up Categories on Kindle,” by Award-Winning Author Lorilyn Roberts

According to the latest information from Amazon, here is how to get your categories set up for a Kindle e-book.
 

Second
, sign in to your account.

Third
, click the “action button” for the book you would like to update

Fourth
, scroll down to number three, select your book to customers

Fifth
, click on “add categories.” That will open up to a new screen to add or change categories

Sixth
, click on the plus button in front of these main categories to open up subcategories and sub-subcategories. Make your selections.
 

Seven,
click on save.
 

The screen will return to the default page, where you started. Please notice that this is also where you make other changes to your e-book, including editing your book details.
 
This information is taken from my book, How to Launch a Christian Best-Seller, the John 3:16 Marketing Network Manual, available on Amazon by clicking here
We just published our first book as a Network, Taste and See, Volume 1 available on Smashwords and Kindle.
And if you would like to watch the video about the Taste and See book, you can see it on Youtube.
 

 

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BOOK MARKETING: INTERVIEW WITH LORILYN ROBERTS: “Taste and See,” First Chapters by John 3:16 Authors

Interview with John 3:16 Marketing Network 
Founder Lorilyn Roberts

 

About
New Book
Taste and See

QUESTION: Why did you decide to publish Taste and See?

LORILYN: The idea for Taste and See, a Sampling of First Chapters, came after reading Nathan Bransford’s blog on September 29, 2011. He asked the following question:

“There is so much talk about self-published books in the writing-o-sphere. But have you actually read one?”  69% said yes and 30% said no out of 1,772 votes.

That made me think, that one out of three readers has never read a book that is self-published, and if you include print-on-demand books, the percentage is probably higher. I thought, why not give those readers an opportunity to enjoy a sampling of first chapters by authors they have never heard about who are published in a variety of ways?

The John 3:16 Marketing Network doesn’t make a distinction and I have always maintained that readers don’t care how books are published. If someone finds a book he likes, he will buy it. From that thought came the idea, why not give authors an opportunity to share the first chapter of their book in a “First Chapters Sampling”?

We have all enjoyed chocolate samplings, coffee samplings, tea samplings, and other such assortments, and it’s fun to “experiment” and try something new. Sometimes we find something we really like and then we head to the store or web and buy the product, whatever that might be. It’s long been known as a proven marketing strategy to give people samples of free products to try, so we are just “piggybacking” on an old idea with a new twist.  I sent out an email to our members to see how many would be interested and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

A very small portion of the publishers was reluctant to let their author contribute a first chapter, so we offered the option to contribute something else; hence, the miscellany section. We wanted to include everybody who wanted to participate.

QUESTION: What are your long-term goals for Taste and See?

LORILYN: My long-term goal is to increase the opt-in list for the John 3:16 Marketing Network.  I hope to eventually offer free e-books, more sample chapters, and other book opportunities. Perhaps we will have a book club where books can be purchased at a discounted price.

The short-term goal is to provide exposure for the John 3:16 Marketing Network as well as Network authors. New and low-profile authors’ greatest obstacle to successful sales is exposure. I hope readers will take advantage of this FREE opportunity to sample first chapters and other offerings by close to sixty authors. It’s a win-win for everyone. Readers discover new authors, and authors get exposure to readers who may want to buy their books.

QUESTION: How were the books chosen for Taste and See?

LORILYN: The chapters in Taste and See were chosen by the authors themselves. The opportunity was weighted toward those who had contributed the most to the John 3:16 Marketing Network; i.e., featuring authors in the network on their blogs, posting Facebook and Twitter announcements for book launches, offering free e-gifts for book launches, participating in the forum, and other social networking activities.

QUESTION: How does Taste and See expand upon the John 3:16 Marketing Network’s ability to help authors market their books?

LORILYN: Because this is an innovative idea, I am not sure how successful it will be to promote authors’ books, but my feeling is we focus on process and God controls the outcome. My overall goal is to promote books with a Christian worldview, and in so doing, we are making an impact on the world. If we make a difference for one reader or one author, that is a profound accomplishment. Every great book ever discovered began with one person.

QUESTION: What other plans do you have for the John 3:16 Marketing Network in the future?

I have lots of ideas but until I finish my Masters’s in Creative Writing, my time to implement them is limited. I do struggle with that because I tend to be impatient, but God is teaching me patience and to wait on Him. As it is said in Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” (King James Bible, Cambridge Ed.)  It is then I remind myself that the John 3:16 Marketing Network is bigger than my vision and that God has a purpose and a plan. When I give my dreams to the Creator, He does far more than I could ever have hoped for or imagined.

My biggest “reward” from the John 3:16 Marketing Network has been the relationships I have formed with members. We pray for each other, encourage each other, share knowledge, post links to articles, announce upcoming opportunities, provide answers to questions, write book reviews, and offer encouragement when needed. We even share heartaches and disappointments, for there is a genuine humility among members. There is nothing else like it on the web.

For more information on Taste and See: Volume 1, click here.

 

 

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BOOK MARKETING: SIXTY “FIRST CHAPTERS” IN ONE BOOK – “TASTE AND SEE” Volume 1, edited by Lorilyn Roberts

SIXTY BOOKS IN ONE, AND IT’S OUR FREE GIFT TO YOU! 
Christmas Gift 2011
Volume One
We are on the cusp of a revolution in publishing, and the John 3:16 Marketing Network is at the forefront of marketing innovation. Readers want diversity, options, and choices. The John 3:16 Marketing Network has released the most innovative way to expose readers to the latest in fiction and nonfiction Christian publishing.

Check out our new book, Taste and See, A Sampling of First Chapters by John 316 Marketing Network Authors.

Dear Readers of Christian Books, you are in for a treat! This is our gift to you for Christmas, and it’s completely free through Smashwords or the John 3:16 Marketing Network!  You don’t have to sign up for ANYTHING through the holidays, not even give us your email for an opt-in list.

Enjoy reading the first chapter of fifty-eight books and other surprises by sixty authors
AT NO COST. Nothing like beginning a new book that whets your appetite for more. You won’t have to travel to a book store or surf the web to find the kind of book you want. We have made it easy for you to sample close to sixty books and authors while drinking your latte at Starbucks, at home curled up on the sofa, or during your lunch break at work. Sit in front of your fireplace and relax. Taste and See is over 165,000 words long–the equivalent to TWO BOOKS.

Our John 3:16 Marketing Network authors are known and unknown, young and old, first-time published and multi-published, standard-industry published, self-published, and print-on-demand published. Our goal is to glorify God in our writings and help each other to promote books with a Christian worldview.

Taste and See is also available on Amazon for  $0.99 if you prefer to “purchase” it there. Don’t miss out on this FREE OPPORTUNITY through the holidays. Find a chapter you like? There is a link at the end of each author’s original work to buy the complete book HASSLE-FREE.

Remember, this is the season of our Savior’s birth. We want to celebrate that with this FREE GIFT from us to you.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in Him”
Psalm 34:8


Kindle (99 cents)

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