How to Be A Blog Ninja In Four and A Half Simple Steps

I lied. It’s going to take more like 4.5 million steps for you to be a blog ninja.  I’m sorry for the fake lead-in, but I needed to get you to read my blog.  Oh, and I do have four and a half simple tips that will at least get you started towards ninja-hood. 1.  Recognize blogging is hard and do it anyway.  I know.  I sound like your 8th grade health teacher with all of this recognize-your-limitations-and-then-blow-past-them talk.  But it’s true when it comes to blogging.  Blogging is hard.  It is not simply buying a domain and setting up shop.  And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “well, I like to write so I figured why not?”  Blogging is so much more than writing or designing or even social media-ing.  It takes finesse and strategy and time and energy and even sweat and tears.  But it’s worth it.  So, my first piece of advice to you is to go in with your eyes wide open, but to do it anyway. 2.  Monetize as a second priority.  I know people who make six figures on their blogs.  And that’s six figures in dollars, not in cents.  But, I also know many bloggers who entered the blogosphere trying to earn a billion dollars and ended up failing.  Why?  Because no one wants to read a blog that’s trying to sell them things.  They like to read good content and may buy something because of it.  So start your blog as a way to share your passion, your inspiration, your heart with others.  And if you end up...

My Writing Process

I was invited to participate in a writing process tour where I write about… writing.  Much thanks to Dabney Hedegard— the amazing author of “When God Intervenes” for inviting me to the tour.  The point of this tour (that was conceived by someone far more ambitious than me!) is to allow a bunch of overly wordy authors to write more than they already do and in the process maybe share a tiny glimmer of what the writer’s life is like.  So here goes: 1.What are you working on right now? A lot of things.  I don’t think I’ve ever been just working on one thing… so here’s the list: –  I’m working on 12 devotions for Daily Guideposts 2016 (yes, they work ahead).  I do them every year and it’s one of my favorite projects– writing the pieces gives me time to reflect, to think, to pray and to grow. –  I’m working on finishing up a book with my mom called “Free to Parent”– it’s about the common discipline traps that parents fall into and how to focus on your kids’ heart instead of on just rote reward-and-consequence discipline.  I’m REALLY excited about it– the book is a little provocative and a little different than your normal good old-fashioned Christian discipline book, but I think that’s a good thing.  It will release in June. –  I’m finishing up a short story for Guidepost’s Thin Places compilation. –  I’m editing a novel I wrote during NaNo in November (That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those who don’t know).  I’m not really a novelist so the book will probably never...

Book Covers! Book Covers!

I am so, so, so, so (did I mention SO) excited to share the cover artwork for my new books which will be releasing in April, 2013.  I can’t take any of the credit for these– my wonderful publisher Thomas Nelson made them– but I have to say that I am thrilled.  And that I might need to see if I can find a cute little flower to start wearing in my hair.  Anyway, without further ado:...

A New Contract!

  See that pretty piece of paper sitting on my kitchen counter?!  That would be the reason that I’ve been all but MIA on social media and at social functions lately.  The reason that I’ve been prying into your personal parenting lives ad nauseum on Facebook.  The reason that I feel like jumping up and down and screaming right now…   Because that, my friends, is my FOUR book contract from Thomas Nelson.  Get ready for The Christian Mama’s Guide to just about everything, coming to bookstores in Spring 2013. (Also, as a side note:  MY MIA status and constant peppering with questions will continue for the foreseeable future…all four books are due October 1st… so needless to say, if you’re wondering where I am, I’m probably...

Why Networking is Marketing (And It’s a Lot of Fun, Too)

My #1 piece of marketing advice?  Network.  And, by network, I don’t mean friend 10,000 people on Facebook and spend all day on Twitter and LinkedIn, but really work hard to get to know people in a real way. Now that I read back what I just wrote, I realize that it sounds kind of shallow to talk about getting to know people in a real way as a tool to market your book.  But that’s not what I mean.  I mean that by working as a partner with other authors, speakers and bloggers, you can build relationships that are mutually beneficial and market your book in the process. For me, I had to start small.  When I got my book contract, I wasn’t some big-shot reality TV star, multi-contracted author or well-known blogger who had automatic name recognition.  I’m just a stay-at-home mom from Texas.  And as of a year ago, I had no blog, no Facebook page, no Twitter account and no following whatsoever.  So I had to start from ground zero—which is a daunting place to start when you have a book hitting the shelves within a few months. But as I started to feel my way around the interwebs—reading other author’s blogs and making friends on Twitter—I was surprised to find this amazing network of authors, writers, speakers and bloggers who work together to support eachother’s work, encourage each other, offer advice and even market for each other.  And as I got to know the people in this network—through reading their blogs and following up via email and Twitter—I realized that this relational network was...

The Amazon Ranking Obsession

I admit it: I’m obsessed with Amazon rankings. Up until a few months ago when Richard Mabry wrote about Amazon rankings on Rachelle Gardner’s blog, I didn’t have a clue that there was even such a thing as an Amazon ranking. But there is. And, ever since my book launched, I’ve been checking mine one, two, seven times a day. Here’s how Amazon rankings work: basically, every hour, the powers that be on the Amazon site calculate how your book is selling compared to the millions of other books for sale. So, someone decides to buy a case of 100 of your book and suddenly your ranking soars. How high? Not sure… that’s never happened to me. Likewise, if there’s a drought and no one buys your book for a few hours, suddenly your ranking flatlines and your back down there in the hundreds of thousands or millions. Last week, after my book launched, I was thrilled when my book soared hundreds of thousands of spaces in a matter of minutes. Woo hoo! Then, two hours later, it was languishing in the 200,000 range. Boo! That evening? Back in the 400,000’s. Eeek. The next morning? Back up in the 30,000’s. After a few days of following obsessively, I came to realize something: Amazon rankings– as much as I love checking them– are really no indication of how your book is being received or sold. They’re simply an indication of how your book is being sold on Amazon at that minute. And really, that doesn’t matter at all? Even my toddler can be charming and sophisticated for a minute. What...
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