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Category: Book Marketing

BOOK MARKETING: LORILYN ROBERTS SHARES SHORT ANECDOTAL STORIES: SUNSHINE BOOK FESTIVAL

 
Enjoy this twelve-minute video I put together as part of a special event of Writer’s Alliance of Gainesville. I read a short excerpt from my newest book Tails and Purrs for the Heart and Soul and more. 
 
 
 

To purchase Tails and Purrs from Amazon, click here.

 

To view all the local authors’ books and stories from around the North-Central Florida area, click on this link: http://sunshinestatebookfestival.com/

 

PLEASE SUPPORT INDEPENDENT AUTHORS – AND HELP US TO KEEP WRITING BOOKS FOR YOU!

 
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BOOK MARKETING: “Taste and See, Volume I” – POSSIBLE Removal from Amazon to Preserve Integrity of Book’s Rating for Christian Readers

 
Taste and See – Volume I, is a compilation of books and other reading materials from over thirty authors in the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Published several years ago, hundreds of ebooks have been downloaded from Amazon for free. Since 2011, sixteen ratings had been posted although only nine reviews appeared on the Amazon book page. 
 
Of all the reviews posted, they were five-star reviews except for one. I will post a jpeg here of that one 1-star review so the reader here can see what the reviewer wrote.
 
Until about a month ago, the overall rating for Taste and See, Volume I, was listed as 4.7 or 4.8, I can’t remember exactly, but if you add up all the reviews and do simple math, the overall rating by Amazon comported with what statistically would be expected.
 
However, a month ago, Amazon lowered the overall rating to 3.5. No recent reviews had been posted that would have altered the overall review rating in either direction. I couldn’t understand how a book could be rated 3.5 with eight 5-star reviews and one 1-star review, so I contacted Amazon to find out why. They never responded.
 
 
 
When I went back and read the 1-star review, I noticed the person who rated it never read the book. Here is the review the reviewer posted.
 
 
 
Because Amazon was unwilling to restore the appropriate rating for Taste and See, Volume I, as it had been rated for the last several years, and since the reviewer rated the book as one-star although she never read the book, I contacted Amazon to remove the 1-star rating.
 
 
Here is Amazon’s response:
 
I’ve read the review titled “Felt put upon” for the book titled Volume 1, Taste and See, A Sampling of First Chapters by John 316 Marketing Network Authors.” I understand your concerns, but the review doesn’t violate our posted guidelines, so I’m unable to remove it in its current format.
 

We try to encourage our customers to give their honest opinions on our products while staying within our guidelines. As a retailer, we are interested in cultivating a diversity of opinions on our products. Part of that is allowing our customers to air their honest thoughts on items they have received. Here’s a link to our guidelines for reference: 

My reply:  So a person can post a review on a book they have not read? If that’s the case, then I will just encourage people to post a five-star review to get the ratings back up to where they should be. The only reason I care is that your algorithm is rating this book as a 3.5 and there are eight [5] stars that should be pulling it up to a 4.75. 

That means someone who has not even read the book is able to reduce the overall rating of the book from 4.75 to 3.5. It seems to me like Amazon’s algorithms are censoring what books they want to do well and what books they don’t want to do well. This is against a higher law of ethics, and I will be looking into what I can do about this, including contacting the Federal Trade  Commission.


Their final reply back was the following:

We’ve investigated the review “Felt put upon” for the book titled Volume 1, Taste and See, A Sampling of First Chapters by John 316 Marketing Network Authors.” and looked into your previous correspondence of “February 18, 2020” with my colleague. We’ve determined that this review is within our Community Guidelines (available here Taste and See, Volume One) and will not consider the removal any further.

Here is a sampling of the eight 5-star reviews that Amazon seemed to disregard in their overall rating.

 

As shown from this selection of random five-star reviews, what Amazon has done is unethical. They have allowed one 1-star review to be posted by a reader about a book she had not read and then allowed that one review to lower the overall rating of the book to 3.5. Against eight 5-star reviews, statistically, that is impossible. There are no other reviews on this book. They are all five stars with one 1-star.

Because all the first chapters from thirty books highlighted in Taste and See Volume I, as well as other materials, including poems, devotionals, et cetera, are written by Christian authors, I truly believe Amazon is now censoring Christian authors/books. 

Once the overall rating was artificially lowered to 3.5, not a single book was downloaded. Would you want to download a 3.5-rated book when there are so many books rated four stars and above?  

I will be posting at least one more blog post on my experiences this last year with Amazon and all the reviews they have removed from various books of mine. And that’s not all they have done to me.

I have a couple of marketing experiments going on as I write this to test my hypothesis and pull together a compelling case to present to the Federal Trade Commission – if Amazon blocks my marketing efforts as I anticipate they will.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to add to my thoughts.

Taste and See, Volume I, is available across the web on multiple websites, including Apple, Barnes & Noble, Pay Hip, and more.  You can visit http://bit.ly/LRTASTEANDSEE to see a partial listing of websites. I will continue to add more as time permits.

 
UPDATE:  The current ranking is 4.0, so Amazon made an adjustment to the ranking, although it is still lower than it should be ranked (as of June 1, 2020).
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BOOK MARKETING: Sunshine State Book Festival Makes Its Debut In Gainesville, Florida

Author Lorilyn Roberts 
Saturday’s inaugural Sunshine State Book Festival hosted by WAG (Writers Alliance of Gainesville) was a resounding success. I learned a lot about the rich literary history of Gainesville. World-renowned poet Robert Frost and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings once called Gainesville home. Today, over two hundred authors live in the Alachua County environs.
My book table was at the exhibit entrance; I was thrilled to greet book dabblers and story lovers, but no homeschoolers stopped by to check out my books. In hindsight, I should have reached out to that audience on social media before the fair. WAG promoted extensively on television and radio, but most homeschooling families don’t watch TV or listen to the radio.
The books I sold included three copies of my memoir Children of Dreams, one copy of my children’s picture book The Donkey and the King, and two copies of my cookbook Food for Thought. I also gave away dozens of postcards to download Seventh Dimension – The Door for free from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
I connected with a librarian who invited me to speak at a local school, and I helped an elderly couple who locked their keys in their car to call for roadside assistance using my AAA card. Most of all, I enjoyed mingling with the authors and learning about their writing pursuits.
 

If you have an opportunity to visit a book fair, don’t miss out. 

Click to tweet: Reading is a pleasurable pastime and print books are making a comeback—especially among young adults and teens—as the most eco-friendly, sustainable form of entertainment on the planet.

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BOOK MARKETING: “Why Readers Should Read Books by Indie Authors,” by Lorilyn Roberts

Lorilyn in Juneau, Alaska 2018 volunteering at Echo Bible Camp

Did you know that indie authors are genuinely independent? That is, they do not have the backing of large (or small) publishing houses. For these determined writers, money or fame doesn’t motivate them. Their passion is to write. Indie authors who persevere keep writing even if they sell only a few books. Successful indie authors refuse to give up, sometimes overcoming incredible odds to succeed.

Did you know indie authors tend to discount their e-books more than traditional authors? This is in an effort to entice new readers. Often, indie books are available on Amazon for free through Kindle Unlimited. 

Did you know indie authors often write outside the box? By this I mean the plots of their books often cross multiple genres, and they may even invent an entirely new category. They can take risks because they aren’t constrained by the rules of traditional publishers.

Did you know many famous authors debuted as indie authors? For example, Beatrix Potter, who wrote the Peter Rabbit Series; Darcy Chan whose book, The Mill River Recluse, appeared on the USA Today and New York Times Best-Seller lists for twenty-eight straight weeks; and Amanda Hocking, who was an indie author before she clinched a contract with a traditional publisher for over $2 million.

Did you know readers discovered these extraordinary talents even when traditional publishing houses rejected their books, not once or twice, but dozens of times? Why not make a New Year’s resolution? Read more indie-published books in 2020. You might be surprised by the talent you discover.

Available from Amazon by clicking here


To read more of Lorilyn Roberts’ blog posts, go to LorilynRoberts.com

 


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BOOK MARKETING: “Vote for a Christian Book Cover Depicting the End of Days,” by Lorilyn Roberts

UPDATE:  I MADE IT TO THE THIRD ROUND
SEVENTH DIMENSION – THE HOWLING: A YOUNG ADULT FANTASY


To continue in the best book cover contest at All Author, I need to be in the top 24, and I’m at number 28 right now. That means without your help, I won’t be able to continue. I have six days to get there. 

The main reason I want to make it to the next round is my book is a Christian book, and anytime we can promote our Lord Jesus Christ to a secular reading audience, we should do everything in our power to be a witness to the unsaved.

I am asking those who love Christ to help me keep going. Perhaps someone who is not a Christian will see my book cover and be led to purchase it. I lowered the price to 99c on Amazon as long as I’m in the running. That means for every book sold I make 33c on Amazon, so this isn’t about money. It’s about spreading the love of Jesus Christ to secular readers.

I truly believe the Lord’s return is imminent. The Howling is the final book in the Seventh Dimension Series and is about the end days. Many people will never pick up a Bible, but if they are hooked in the first chapter of a book, they will usually keep reading.

Getting people to pick up a book by an unknown author requires a book cover that intrigues them. If you think my book cover is “awesome,” please vote. It only takes a second.

You can do “open voting” by signing in with your Facebook account. Someone told me All Authors asks for your birthday, and that’s to make sure people only vote ONCE in each round.

Round three just opened yesterday, and so if you are wondering if you have voted in round three, if you haven’t voted in the last twenty-four hours, you haven’t.

Again, thanks for your help. To have a realistic chance of winning, I need about two hundred votes.

 

 

Click to Vote
⛪⛪⛪⛪⛪⛪
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BOOK IDEAS FOR CHRISTMAS: ”Seventh Dimension – The Door: A Yong Adult Fantasy,” a Great Christmas Gift for Your Teen Reader

Seventh Dimension – The Door is the first book in the Seventh Dimension Series. The Kindle and Nook versions are free.


The print version is on sale through Amazon for only $12.95 through Christmas. Order it using your Amazon Prime and you can get free shipping.

Available from many websites by clicking here.

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BOOK MARKETING: “Do Free Books Increase Negative Reviews?” by Lorilyn Roberts

 
My advice is to begin reading the Seventh Dimension Series with book one, The Door, or book two, The King.  I feel so strongly about this, after a reader left a one-star review presenting misleading information about the plot (because he hadn’t read the first four books and then said he didn’t understand the five stars by previous reviewers), I’ve decided to raise the price of the last three books in the series to $5.99 and remove all the books in the Seventh Dimension Series from KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited so they no longer can be read for free. No one that I know would spend $5.99 on a book if he or she hadn’t read the previous books in the series.

I have given away close to sixteen thousand books this last year, but what I’ve discovered is people will read a free book without any knowledge presented in the previous books in the series and then write a review that is inaccurate and negative. I realized after a reviewer posted a one-star review, that those who haven’t read the previous books are not invested in the Seventh Dimension Series and therefore have no desire to buy the previous books. And they also have no problem trashing a free book and misleading readers because they don’t know the backstory presented in the previous books.

For example, the writer of the one-star review says:  

Main character nags her betrothed constantly. Has animal friends that she talks to, her own revelations of Revelation, and zips back and forth between dimensions as some sort of privileged emissary. Acts according to modern-day norms without anyone apparently noticing. In the first century, she and her betrothed would have been called out for being alone together.

All these criticisms are unfounded. By book five, The Prescience, there is no reason to bog down the plot by addressing these topics because they have been dealt with at length in the previous four books.

As a result of this one-star review, I’m no longer offering any of the books in the Seventh Dimension Series for free except for book one, The Door, which is perma-free. If you are a family and cost is an issue, email me at authorLorilynRoberts@gmail.com and I will gladly provide a free book for you/or your child. I write for an audience of one, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My goal is to please Him in everything I write and reach as many readers as I can with HIS TRUTH. The last free offering will be for The City, book four, because it was selected by Robin Reads to be featured on Sunday, October 7, 2018.

The Seventh Dimension Series at last count has won thirty-five awards. To win that many awards is not easy and speaks to the hours of painstaking research I put into each book, the great care I spend developing the plot, the numerous rewrites I do self-editing, and the excellent work my editors do in making suggestions and corrections. However, in a sixty-five thousand word book, it’s very hard not to have errors in the first print run. 

I am currently working on book six, The Howling, and hope that it will be available soon.
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BOOK MARKETING: WHICH BOOK COVER DO YOU LIKE THE BEST FOR SEVENTH DIMENSION – THE HOWLING: A Young Adult Fantasy

Cover One
Cover Two
Cover Three
Cover Four
Cover Five

My cover designer Lisa Vento gave me twenty-one sample covers for Seventh Dimension – The Howling and I’ve narrowed it down to these five. Let me know which one you like the best or the one that would most likely grab your attention at a bookstore.

Two comments:  There are two protagonists in the Seventh Dimension Series, Shale and Daniel. Shale has appeared on two of the previous book covers. Daniel has not appeared on any, so I feel like I should have an image of him on the final cover. 

On the other hand, while romance has been an underlying element in the series, it has not been a dominant theme. I’m not sure why having a female on a book cover seems less romantic than having a guy on the cover. So, that’s why I’m asking for your thoughts.

The covers are labeled one through five, so if you are inclined, you can let me know in the comments your favorite or your thoughts.  

I’m doing research now on Seventh Dimension – The Howling and can’t wait to begin writing. 

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BOOK MARKETING: Marketing Books in 2018 and Beyond, by Lorilyn Roberts

In the future, I predict publishing books will take on the business model of commercially produced products:  The public will buy the books they like regardless of how they are published. As a popular commercial sums up, it’s not complicated. 

While many rules have changed, others are non-negotiable. You better write a good book, hire a top-notch editor, and grace the front of your book with an outstanding cover. You will need a rocket full of energy to launch it and not enough hours in the day to promote it. Otherwise, your book may end up in the slush pile of broken dreams.
 
In spite of the challenges, the new norm is a win-win for both the producer and the consumer (the author and the reader). But for the uninformed, it has also created a void that needs to be filled. The biggest problem with this new norm is the lack of training for self-published authors. As the founder of a network of authors (John 3:16 Marketing Network), the lack of training in what it takes to market and the unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved is a legend. I could give you many stories, including my own. While consumers will slap down a debit card for a Starbucks latte without a second thought (including me), ask someone to spend 99 cents on a book from you, an unknown author, and you will feel the parting of the Red Sea. You wonder if you have B.O. or bad breath.
 
As a self-published author, I have made my share of mistakes. One of my books had an amateurish book cover and a well-known author told me so. I quickly learned that I can’t sacrifice quality to save money. I grew up a lot that day—people notice the good, the bad, and the ugly in books. If I am in this for the long haul, I better not be looking for a quick buck, or I will be disappointed.
 
To that end, I would encourage writers and hopeful authors to think of writing as a business endeavor—approach it with that attitude. It’s not a hobby, it’s a job. Talent and willingness to learn will serve the serious writer well, along with some good business savvy. 

The goal should be to build a platform and seek out readers who will fall in love with your book this year and come back and read future books—and share your books with friends and family. That mindset will serve those authors well who are serious about writing and marketing. It’s a business. The industry deserves that kind of quality.

 
Despite the challenges, I am glad the publishing world of the future won’t be controlled by a few highly successful companies. In the past, those publishers held a monopoly on the market. If I were a betting woman, I’d say they missed some real gems. What other answer is there for why some authors had so many rejections for excellent books? No wonder many writers gave up. The world will never know what books they didn’t get to enjoy. Not every wannabe author has the gumption to keep knocking on closed doors.
 
I can tell you that traditional publishers have never looked twice at me. I am too old for them to invest their cash in but too young (or stupid) to believe I can’t start another career. When I crawl into bed at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. in the morning, after writing a few words on the computer following several hours of broadcast captioning, I sometimes wonder if I am insane. Still, I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned for any contract from any publisher. 

Why? Because knowledge is power. While some information just doesn’t stick in this old brain of mine as I wish, that doesn’t mean I am going to give up. After all, we live in a world of information overload. I sometimes tell my daughters the C-drive in my brain is full. I need to delete something before I can take in any more information.

 
But with that power come opportunities. Today is a readers’ world in spite of television and computers and smartphones and tablets. In fact, it’s because of the plethora of these gadgets that more people are reading. Perhaps we make our hopes and dreams too small—too many rejection slips have convinced some they can’t make it at all. The journey is what it’s all about. And for me at least, I know the outcome is in God’s hands.
 
***
 
I published the above article a couple of years ago and my reflections on this topic are the same, actually truer now than back then. However, I want to add a few more practical suggestions. 
 
Save your money and don’t spend a lot on advertising. Build your Twitter following, blog regularly, and grow your email list.  
 
The KDP Lending Library has hurt all authors, and I don’t think it’s a viable business model over the long haul. Authors will eventually figure out that readers aren’t stupid. Why should consumers buy your book when they can borrow it from Amazon for free? 
 
My advice: Take your book out of KDP Select and make your book available all over the web, and write more books. Eventually, if you are patient and your books are good, you will build a following of loyal readers, not just Amazon fans who want YOUR books for free. 
 
Give readers one or at most two free books, and sell the rest. Consumers appreciate quality, and if they like your books, they will buy them. 
 
Be as free as the water – and let God take you along.
Three more suggestions for marketing: 
Don’t write books to sell – write books that make a statement about what you are passionate about. Success shouldn’t be construed only in terms of numbers. Authors can’t make people buy their books. Success should be about writing them. Focus on the process, not the outcome. Leave the result with God. Ultimately, your real success should be measured in what you have given back to God with the gifts He’s given you. Whatever rewards He’s laid up for you in heaven will far surpass anything monetarily you might receive here.
 
 
 
Enter book contests. Whatever you can do to draw attention to your book will help your book to get noticed. Don’t know what good contests to enter? Here is a link to get you started:
https://selfpublishingadvice.org/allis-self-publishing-service-directory/award-and-contest-ratings-reviews/
 
 
 
Turn your books into audiobooks. See my recent blog post about how to do this at the following link: http://john316mn.blogspot.com/2015/11/audiobook-narrator-rebecca-roberts.html
 
 
 
Join a small community of writers – like Word Weavers, a Facebook group. the John 3:16 Marketing Network (we will open back up in the summer), the Author Independent Network, or some other group where you can be encouraged. Don’t be a loner. Become part of a “tribe.” And learn as much as you can about writing and marketing. 
 
 
My Word Weavers Group in Gainesville, Florida

Lorilyn Roberts is a Christian author who writes children’s picture books, adult nonfiction, memoirs, and a young adult Christian fantasy series, Seventh Dimension. 

Lorilyn graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama, which included international study in Israel and England. She received her Master’s in Creative Writing from Perelandra College and is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature.
 
Lorilyn is the founder of the John 316 Marketing Network, a network of Christian authors who are passionate about promoting books with a Christian worldview.
 

 

To learn more about Lorilyn, please visit her website at http://lorilynroberts.com. You can follow her on twitter at http://twitter.com/lorilynroberts
 
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BOOK MARKETING: Seventh Dimension – The Prescience: A Young Adult Fantasy – Black Friday Bargain

I’m so excited to have The Prescience published. I wrote it while battling breast cancer and there were days writing anything was completely exhausting. Sometimes I think God gives us our dreams so that we look beyond our pain, and our suffering, and we see hope, we see goals, we see things God puts on our hearts. It’s so easy to doubt, so easy to quit, but I’m thankful God helped me to finish it.
 
 
 
***************************************
 
 
 
This book will probably be one of my favorites because I know the only way I was able to complete it is because God gave me the strength to do it. So now He gets the glory.
 
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COVER REVEAL: SEVENTH DIMENSION: THE PRESCIENCE: A Young Adult Fantasy, Book 5

 
 
The Prescience – A Young Adult Fantasy
Book 5 in the Seventh Dimension Series!

As we near the Lord’s return, I hope the witness of The Prescience will strike a nerve in those who have not accepted Yeshua as their Lord and Savior.

Shale and Daniel have returned from the demonic world of The City with plans to marry. When bombs fall on Jerusalem, the young couple rescues an orphan and returns to the first century. There they hope to uncover the truth concerning Daniel’s father and the goal of the New World Order – to erase Shale’s witness of the Messiah’s first coming.

Amid supernatural tribulations, God reveals once again time is an illusion as Daniel races toward an apocalyptic future. A dystopian society ravaged by demons and evil leaders has replaced the world the couple left behind in 2017. Time is short before Armageddon when Daniel learns the pivotal role he plays in the Messiah’s triumphant return and victory over the end time’s beast and dragon.

 
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BOOK MARKETING: Made It to The Finalists for the Contest “50 Authors You Should be Reading”


If you would like to help me to win in the winner’s phase that would be awesome. Again, just click on the link below and then on the page where the names are listed on the little dot beside my name.


If you would like to re-read my article, or you didn’t have an opportunity to read it previously, here it is again.  

My love for writing began with a homework assignment in third grade. The teacher asked us to write a short story. Fifty-plus years later, on occasion, I’ll pull the old, faded, handwritten story out from underneath my bed and read it. I still remember writing the words.
 
In fourth grade, I wrote poetry. 
 
In fifth grade, my teacher accused me of plagiarism in front of the class. My father went to the school and talked to her. He never once questioned my integrity. 
 
By the time I was in ninth grade, I had written two unfinished books. Yeah—I didn’t know how to finish them.
 
When I was thirteen, my parents gave me a guitar for Christmas. The next few years my writing waned as classical guitar took up most of my time. I loved the attention and self-worth it brought me as I performed at many major events. 
 
 
 
When I went to the University of Georgia during my freshman year, I rediscovered my love for writing. Since I grew up in a family business, however, English wasn’t on the list of “qualifying” majors; maybe physical therapy or business administration, but not English. No starving authors were allowed in the Roberts family. 
Then, as often happens, I fell in love. 
 
I hit a crossroads. What was I going to do with the rest of my life? In a moment of insanity, I threw my college degree out the window, and at my parent’s urging, agreed to go to court reporting school. My future husband promised someday I could go back to college. 
 
As a court reporter, I was writing, if you can count thousands of pages of depositions writing. I imagined how many books that would be, and I longed to write something different. 
 
When my husband finished medical school, we moved to Gainesville, Florida, where he began his residency in radiation oncology. I enrolled in college and earned my two-year degree toward a bachelor’s in journalism. I took my first creative writing class, and my writing appetite was whet once more. 
 
My life changed forever when tragedy struck. I discovered my husband was having an affair and got his girlfriend pregnant. Not only was I devastated because I loved him, but I had sacrificed a lot for his career. My dreams were just beginning to be fulfilled, although my inability to get pregnant caused me great depression. My hopes of becoming a mother, earning my college degree, and writing books evaporated overnight. 
 
 
 
I cried oceans of tears and didn’t want to live anymore, but God heard my desperate wails. I sought counseling, began to read the Bible, got involved in a local church, and started attending a prayer group. Most importantly, I recommitted my life to Jesus Christ. 
 
Perhaps the hardest part was accepting God’s will. I had to go back to work as a court reporter since that was the only skill I had. I had dreamed of so much more. 
 
While it took some time, God gave me new dreams and better opportunities. I obtained that elusive college degree, and in the process, did quite a bit of traveling that included studying in England, Israel, Italy, and Australia. On a whim, I got certified as a scuba diver and made over a hundred dives around the world. 
 
However, my longing to be a mother remained unfulfilled for eight more years. Then, on May 8, 1994, on Mother’s Day, I arrived home with a three-year-old Nepali girl. Five years later, over Christmas, I adopted an infant girl from Vietnam. 
 
Manisha a couple of months after arrival.
 
Joy in Vietnam When I Adopted her
 
Reading picture books to my daughters unexpectedly rekindled my love for books and writing. We made frequent trips to the library, and I would come home with armfuls of books. We read hundreds of books together, even into their teens—one of the best things about homeschooling.
 
Not surprisingly, the first book I wrote was a children’s picture book, The Donkey and the King. When I finished it, God told me something I didn’t expect. He wanted me to wait until my children were older before I wrote more books. My passion for writing was all-consuming. As a single mother, my daughters needed me when I wasn’t working—now as a broadcast captioner. 
 
 
 
I waited four years to write my memoir Children of Dreams. I was afraid if I waited any longer, I would forget my daughters’ adoption stories. I wanted them to know how God had brought us together as a forever family.
 
 
After writing Children of Dreams, my passion for writing grew. However, I only knew how to write picture books and nonfiction. How could I learn to write fiction? I remembered those two books I wrote as a teen—the books I never finished. 
 
At the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, I heard about a Masters in Creative Writing degree from an accredited online college. I later enrolled at the spry young age of 53. When I completed my Masters, the book I wrote as part of my thesis became a best-selling book in Christian fantasy on Amazon. Three years later, Seventh Dimension – The Door is still listed in the top twenty Christian fantasy books (I eventually made it free on all eBook platforms). 
 
 
 
Following Seventh Dimension – The Door, I wrote three more books in the series: Seventh Dimension – The King, Seventh Dimension – The Castle, and Seventh Dimension – The City. Currently, I’m working on the fifth book in the set to be published next year.
 
What drives me to write? I write for an Audience of One. God gives me the desire to write, and He gets all the glory. I feel God’s pleasure and spiritual insights I can’t explain. 
 
 
As I look back, I’ve learned I needed to live a little so God could teach me much. God has shown me He never wastes anything and limits the feasts of the locusts. They can only eat what He allows. It is never too late to start writing, and it’s always too soon to quit. If we commit our way to our heavenly Father, God will multiply our time, effort, and ability. If my writing can change a life—even if it’s only my own—then I know I’m in God’s will, and really, isn’t that all that matters?

 

 
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MEDIA: HOW I BECAME AN AUTHOR: “50 Great Writers You Should be Reading 2016 Contest,” by Lorilyn Roberts

Lorilyn Roberts

 

I JUST ENTERED A CONTEST    
50 Great Writers You Should be Reading 2016 Contest
(contest closed but enjoy the post)
 
 
 
My love for writing began with a homework assignment in third grade. The teacher asked us to write a short story. Fifty-plus years later, on occasion, I’ll pull the old, faded, handwritten story out from underneath my bed and read it. I still remember writing the words.
 
In fourth grade, I wrote poetry.
 
In fifth grade, my teacher accused me of plagiarism in front of the class. My father went to the school and talked to her. He never once questioned my integrity.
 
By the time I was in ninth grade, I had written two unfinished books. Yeah—I didn’t know how to finish them.
 
When I was thirteen, my parents gave me a guitar for Christmas. For the next few years, my writing waned as classical guitar took up most of my time. I loved the attention and self-worth it brought me as I performed at many major events.
 
 
 
When I went to the University of Georgia my freshman year, I rediscovered my love for writing. Since I grew up in a family business, however, English wasn’t on the list of “qualifying” majors; maybe physical therapy or business administration, but not English. No starving authors were allowed in the Roberts family.
 
 
Then, as often happens, I fell in love.
 
I hit a crossroads. What was I going to do with the rest of my life? In a moment of insanity, I threw my college degree out the window, and at my parent’s urging, agreed to go to court reporting school. My future husband promised someday I could go back to college.
 
As a court reporter, I was writing, if you can count thousands of pages of depositions writing. I imagined how many books that would be, and I longed to write something different.
 
When my husband finished medical school, we moved to Gainesville, Florida, where he began his residency in radiation oncology. I enrolled in college and earned my two-year degree toward a bachelor’s in journalism. I took my first creative writing class, and my writing appetite was whet once more.
 
My life changed forever when tragedy struck. I discovered my husband was having an affair and had gotten his girlfriend pregnant. Not only was I devastated because I loved him, but I had sacrificed a lot for his career. My dreams were just beginning to be fulfilled, although my inability to get pregnant caused me great depression. My hopes of becoming a mother, earning my college degree, and writing books evaporated overnight.
 
 
 
I cried oceans of tears and didn’t want to live anymore, but God heard my desperate wails. I sought counseling, began to read the Bible, got involved in a local church, and started attending a prayer group. Most importantly, I recommitted my life to Jesus Christ.
 
Perhaps the hardest part was accepting God’s will. I had to go back to work as a court reporter since that was the only skill I had. I had dreamed of so much more.
 
While it took some time, God gave me new dreams and better opportunities. I obtained that elusive college degree, and in the process, did quite a bit of traveling that included studying in England, Israel, Italy, and Australia. On a whim, I got certified as a scuba diver and made over a hundred dives around the world.
 
However, my longing to be a mother remained unfulfilled for eight more years. Then, on May 8, 1994, on Mother’s Day, I arrived home with a three-year-old Nepali girl. Five years later, over Christmas, I adopted an infant girl from Vietnam.
 
Manisha a couple of months after arrival.
 
Joy in Vietnam When I Adopted her
 
Reading picture books to my daughters unexpectedly rekindled my love for books and writing. We made frequent trips to the library, and I would come home with armfuls of books. We read hundreds of books together, even into their teens—one of the best things about homeschooling.
 
Not surprisingly, the first book I wrote was a children’s picture book, The Donkey and the King. When I finished it, God told me something I didn’t expect. He wanted me to wait until my children were older before I wrote more books. My passion for writing was all-consuming. As a single mother, my daughters needed me when I wasn’t working—now as a broadcast captioner.
 
 
 
I waited four years to write my memoir Children of Dreams. I was afraid if I waited any longer, I would forget my daughters’ adoption stories. I wanted them to know how God had brought us together as a forever family.

 

 
 
After writing Children of Dreams, my passion for writing grew. However, I only knew how to write picture books and nonfiction. How could I learn to write fiction? I remembered those two books I wrote as a teen—the books I never finished.
 
At the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, I heard about a Master’s in Creative Writing degree from an accredited online college. I later enrolled at the spry young age of 53. When I completed my Master’s, the book I wrote as part of my thesis became a best-selling book in Christian fantasy on Amazon. Three years later, Seventh Dimension – The Door is still listed in the top twenty Christian fantasy books (I eventually made it free on all eBook platforms).
 
 
 
Following Seventh Dimension – The Door, I wrote three more books in the series: Seventh Dimension – The King, Seventh Dimension – The Castle, and Seventh DimensionThe City. Currently, I’m working on the fifth book in the set to be published next year.
 
What drives me to write? I write for an Audience of One. God gives me the desire to write, and He gets all the glory. I feel God’s pleasure and spiritual insights I can’t explain.
 
 
 
As I look back, I’ve learned I needed to live a little so God can teach me much. God has shown me He never wastes anything and limits the feasts of the locusts. They can only eat what He allows. It is never too late to start writing, and it’s always too soon to quit. If we commit our way to our heavenly Father, God will multiply our time, effort, and ability. If my writing can change a life—even if it’s only my own—then I know I’m in God’s will, and really, isn’t that all that matters?
 
You can read more of Lorilyn Roberts’ blogposts at LorilynRoberts.com
 
*~*~*
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BOOK MARKETING: “Has Your Experience with CreateSpace Been a Positive One?” by Lorilyn Roberts

Recently, I received this question from William Burt, a YA Christian fantasy author, and a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network.
 
I’m curious: Has your experience with CreateSpace been a positive one? New authors are asking for recommendations.
 
📘📘📘📘📘
 
My initial reaction was another question: Do you need to have an account with CreateSpace if you load your book at this new Ingram Spark website:  http://www.ingramspark.com/
 
I’m in the process of helping a traditionally published author make the transition to indie, and since this is a new Ingram/Spark website, I’m looking into this as I write.
 
This is a complicated question — short answer, yes, I have been happy with CreateSpace. But Lightning Source is of higher quality, and if you can get author copies as cheaply through Ingram Spark as you can through CreateSpace (at the above website), you may not need to publish through CreateSpace.
 
My books are on Lightning Source through a different platform, much less user-friendly, so that’s why I have my books on CreateSpace — it’s free and convenient.
 
The one time I had issues with CreateSpace, they made it right.  I had ordered 30 books for an event, and two days before the event and long after they promised delivery, I called them because I hadn’t received the shipment. They sent those books out expedited free of charge through a different printer.  They have more than one printer.
 
I eventually received the first shipment and CreateSpace gave the books to me for free.  Sometimes a book isn’t printed properly, but in my opinion, having grown up in a family business that published maps, I know that is to be expected. There will be some that need to be thrown out.  When I was a child, that was one of my jobs, to cull out those that had any kind of issue — and CreateSpace will reship those books for free. I’ve done this in the past.
Also, I saw on one website where authors were complaining that CreateSpace wasn’t free and they would try to sell you all their other products — covers, editing, et cetera.  That’s YOUR CHOICE.  I felt like that was misleading and unfair.  
 
The site where the article was posted was also a competitor, and they had stirred up the fires to generate more business for themselves—what I consider very deceptive advertising. Authors had simply jumped on the bandwagon with complaints, some of which were unfair. I have nothing to gain or lose with this statement. This is my opinion based on years of being an indie author and having published my books with multiple publishers. 
 
I have never paid a dime to CreateSpace to publish my books, and I have nine books published through them. Those extra paid services are there for those who need them.  AND — I have republished the same book through CreateSpace when I have found mistakes or done revisions, and I have never been charged for those updates. 
 
That is VERY DIFFERENT from Lightning Source or any POD publisher. There is a fee for everything. I would recommend new authors learn the ropes with CreateSpace (for free), and then once they know what they are doing, add on Ingram Spark. Why? You will never get your books into bookstores and libraries in any significant way without returnability. CreateSpace doesn’t give you that.
 
Also, one final comment on CreateSpace: Your books are almost immediately available through CreateSpace once they have been vetted. That process might take a couple of days. You can also use their online program to check your book before giving the final approval to CreateSpace — for things like margin placement, and you can start the process over as many times as you need FOR FREE until you get it right. CreateSpace gives you a free template to use, and they have phone support FOR FREE. 

I don’t think you will find any publisher that gives you this level of support FOR FREE.

Great question, William. If you have more questions, send them my way, and I will try to answer them through blog posts.
 
To learn more about Lorilyn Roberts, the founder of the John 3:16 Marketing Network, visit LorilynRoberts.com
 
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BOOK MARKETING: “Kindle Scout – How Does It Work?” by Lorilyn Roberts

I am trying something new – Kindle Scout. Kindle Scout is Amazon’s way of discovering unpublished books that might be the next bestseller—after all, they are the greatest advertisers in the world and they sell millions of books each year.
 
The good thing about Kindle Scout is you can still submit your book to a traditional publisher or self-publish. The contract is only for eBooks and audiobooks, so it doesn’t affect the print copy. Your book must be categorized as literature, romance, science fiction, fantasy, suspense, mystery, or thriller.
What attracted me to try Kindle Scout is they guarantee $25,000 in royalties for the first five years, or you can terminate your contract. 
Out of the thousands of books submitted, Kindle Scout has published less than two hundred. I have submitted my book and am waiting to see what happens. 
 
I would encourage new authors to study all the books submitted on the site at the moment (there aren’t that many). You can learn a lot by being observant. Check out the book covers, the one-line blurbs, the descriptions, and the first five thousand words. See what works and work doesn’t. See what’s in the “hot and trending” category. I believe it’s very important to know your competition. What are readers buying? What do people want to read?
As Christian, we have a tougher road because our books should meet a higher standard, always remembering we write for an audience of one. One of the biggest challenges is not to get discouraged. As Christian authors, we can be a great encouragement in sharing and building each other up—for God’s glory.

So, as I pen these words, I hope you will take a look at my book on the Kindle Scout site. Let me know what you think. Lisa Vento, who was recommended to me by Jerry Jenkins, designed the cover. Her website is LisaVento.com (no longer available).

Right now, Seventh Dimension – The City, A Young Adult Fantasy is trending in the “hot” category on Kindle Scout, so thanks to everyone who has nominated my book. (The links are no longer available). 
 
 
 

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