Monday, March 31, 2014

My Revised Pomodoro Technique

A few years back I found out something interesting about myself. I was bombarded with work, and as I sat at my desk and tried to crank stuff out, I got tired. (No, we’re not to the interesting part yet.) After I got tired, I took more breaks. When I took more breaks, I was more productive.

More breaks equals more work output? Now that’s interesting.

What Is the Pomodoro Technique?

I spoke with another writer friend about this, and she enthusiastically told me about the Pomodoro Technique. This technique centers around limited time chunks and breaks. And they’re serious about this. They want you to time yourself, write down the tasks you’re going to accomplish, and everything.

I do this. But not like they suggest. And that’s where this technique is really great, because you can adapt it to what works for you. First, though, learn the principals so you’ll be better able to figure out which ones work for you and which don’t. 



Here are the basics:

  • Get a timer to have at your desk. You’ll be working in 25 minute increments.
  • Document the things you want to accomplish each day. From that list, figure out what you can do in 25 minutes.
  • Set the timer and write. Focus on what you’re writing. If you think of something else, jot it down on a piece of paper, forget about it for now, and continue writing.
  • When the timer goes off, get up. Yes, up. Walk around. Take a quick, five-minute break.
  • Then, do the whole process again. When you’ve done this four times (which equals two hours of work) you take a 30-minute break.


The Way I Adapted

First, I hate the idea of a timer. I do keep the clock in front of me readily visible and I also have my own version of a timer:



If you’re not lucky enough to have a hyper dog to interrupt you, I pity you. It really is good for your writing. J

Next, this works perfectly with my cluster posting technique, so I combine the two. I’ll take half a day to do several blog posts for one particular blog using this method. The whole time, of course, I’m thinking of all the other things I want to write, so I jot them down in a separate file and get back to them later.

When it comes to getting up for five minutes, I get out. Outside. I look at the pretty flowers out there (even when they’re fake), I feel the sun on my skin, and I take a moment to offer gratitude to the Lord. That way I feel like I’m taking a real break. This is great when it’s summer and awful when we’re experiencing a polar vortex.

Not a Daily To-Do List But an Editorial Calendar

Another way I adapted this technique is by keeping an editorial calendar for each client, each handwritten and in a different color. It might sound old-fashioned, but it works for me. I have a hard time keeping everything straight with a daily (or even 25-minute) to-do list.

Instead, I write posts in one large Word doc for a certain block of time (half a day, for example) and then I schedule them. I write in my editorial calendar so I can look at what’s coming up and what I need to focus on in the weeks and months ahead. A calendar keeps me forward looking rather than just “what I need to do today” or this minute.

Change Up the Breaks

I also adapted from the technique when it came to breaks. I don’t adhere to their schedule, but instead pay attention to my own body. If I’m tired and pushing through, I’ll stop and take a break. Or, I might take a nap instead of lunch. Or do a craft break and then come back to the computer.

I do whatever I feel I need to in order to let my mind wander or get a break from the work. This helps me focus that much more when I get to writing.



__________________________________________________________

Cherie Burbach has written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, and more. Visit her website, cherieburbach.com. 
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Instructions Please

I don't know if any of you write instructions or patterns for anything. I have in the past and am in the process right now. I've been a sewer for more years than I care to tell you. I've written quilting patterns as well as tried to follow many different patterns over the years. Some that I've used have been very good and others have been really, really bad. Since I'm in the middle of writing one now I thought I'd go over a few things about writing instructions. 

  1. Include a list of all, absolutely all, required materials and tools. Please don't so as some recipes do which is to include extra ingredients, such as salt, in the text of the instructions. The goal is to make sure the person can have everything collected when they start.
  2.  Use clear photos and illustrations. Make them large enough so they are easily seen and understood by those who have eyesight issues. Remember, just because you are twenty-something all those who use your pattern won't be.
  3.  Don't use large blocks of text. Break it down into single steps. Put illustrations or photos of the steps next too the text. Many people don't follow written directions well. A picture can be worth 1000 words they won't read.
  4. Include a key. This will help if you use several colors. Labels of A, B, C, 1,2,3 mean nothing if there isn't a key.
  5. Include the total number of each part or unit needed. In quilting the total number of blocks, squares, triangles, etc. with each step. This helps make sure the person doesn't end up with too many or, more importantly, too few when they want to finish the project.
  6. Put all general instructions at the beginning of the instructions. Most people won't read all of the directions first even if it's says to. Having these at the end isn't useful. 
  7. Have contact information included so people can contact you if they have problems. Encourage them to share a photo of the finished item. I'm going to have a page with images of the quilts people make from my pattern on my website. 
  8. Have your pattern made by some others before you release it. They'll find any errors which you can correct. It's beta testing just like editing and proofing.

I plan on giving my pattern away. I'll post it on several craft and quilt sites. It's a form of publicity for my books. It will be a pdf download. If I get the pattern finished before this is posted I'll include a link to it. If not I'll take any beta testers I can get.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Sophie Dawson is an award winning author of Christian Fiction, historical at the moment, with six novels available in print and digital.
 
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Seriously, Synecdoche

Synecdoches, Synecdo-don’ts

This post first appeared on by The Tuesday Prude
Reprinted with permission of Anita Klumpers.

Next time some literary snob type tells you, in a world-weary sort of tone:
“ I suppose you don’t know what a synecdoche is,”

You can answer:
“Everybody knows that. Synecdoches form images in our minds with a convenient sort of shorthand. They help create our understanding of the entirety via a glimpse of only one part. So there.”

Synecdoche possibly isn’t one of your top 100 daily words.

(But if you want to haul it out at your next party make sure you pronounce it right. 
Sort of like Schenectady)

Your synecdoche-comprehension is, however, perfect.

If I told you I got a "new set of wheels" you wouldn’t congratulate me on a tire purchase.

You’d know I was talking about my (mythical) new car.

You celebrate with bubbly, sign your John Hancock, count heads and pay with plastic and you are a MASTER of the synecdoche.

‘All hands on deck’ demands more than just hands, but isn’t it so much more fun than asking all competent personnel to come topside? A Romeo and Juliet couple is headed no place good and if someone calls you Charlie Brown they don’t necessarily mean you are well-drawn.

Charlie Brown carries the burden of all lovable losers on his narrow shoulders. He can handle it. He’s made of ink, for goodness’ sake. A Venus is a synecdoche for lovely women while a Jane Eyre-type is plain but will get the blind bigamist in the end. It’s OK. The originals aren’t real. Elmer Fudd can be a stand-in for cartoon hapless hunters but don’t think for a moment he represents the whole of the real world of hunters.

With all that said, let’s check your synecdoche prowess.

"Single mother" What pops into your head?

How about"Homeschooler"?

"Young black male"?

Is your brain ready to explode with the millions of different single moms, homeschoolers and young black men?

Are you shouting,
“Is that Tuesday Prude crazy? How can one single mom possibly stand for all single mothers? How can one homeschooled kid or young black male create our understanding of the whole?”

You know it isn’t possible.

Not everyone has your grasp of the obvious.

Some will take a hard-working single mother and use her to convince us that "single mother" is synonymous for "hard-working."

Someone whose identity has been stolen by a single mother will use her as a synecdoche for every single mother.

Kids schooled at home are kids. Some neatly dressed who call adults m’am or sir, some with Supreme Court-level comprehension of the Constitution, some playing video games all day in their pajamas. But there are folks out there—really, I have met them—who assume that the single homeschooler they’ve had access to must represent all those who are homeschooled.
Wisecracking Will Smith-type rascals, noble George Washington Carvers/Martin Luther King Jrs, or hardened African American gang members are incapable of helping us comprehend that entire elusive classification of "young black male."

One single mom can’t represent all single moms. No woman can bear that burden. Since homeschooled kids are as varied as otherly-schooled youngsters it would be an impossible waste of energy to find one synecdoche for the whole.

Young black men, like young black women (or whatever hue or gender) face enough challenges. They barely know themselves. Heaven forbid one of them function as stand-in for everyone in their bracket.

Synecdoches make great figures of speech but lousy stereotypes.
Like literary device elitists, they must be kept firmly in their place.



 About the Author

Anita Klumpers’ first novel, Winter Watch released in January, but she has previous experience writing skits and short plays. Romantic suspense is her favorite genre, especially when a bit of humor is interjected. In an attempt to make the world a tidier, more civil place, she blogs as The Tuesday Prude. Anita lives with her husband and mutt in south central Wisconsin. 
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Book Review - Driftwood Lane by Denise Hunter

Meridith Ward's unstable childhood with a mentally ill mother causes her adult choices to be safe and well ordered. A shocking phone call informs her that the father that abandoned her has died, and left guardianship of his three children to her.

She travels from St. Louis to Nantucket to find her 3 young siblings living in a B & B in bad need of repair. Her sense of structure and duty sets her on a mission to have the inn repaired for sale and wait for the return of the children's vagabond uncle. She plans to transfer guardianship of the children to him and get back to her safe and ordered life.

Thirteen year old Noelle hates her. Ten year old Max, and seven year old Ben tolerate her a little better. Meridith struggles to help the children deal with their pain and loss as she also works with a contractor on the repairs for Summer Place.

The contractor, handsome and brawny Jake Walker, upends Meridith's inner structure. He makes her feel unsettled, something she has spent her whole life avoiding. Besides, she has a nice, safe fiance waiting back home in St. Louis. Hope and heartache alternate throughout this story as Meridith falls in love with the children and tries to decide what is best for them.

Her struggle forces her to confront her only real enemy. The last minute reveal of a heart shaking deception threatens to dismantle all she's worked for, including the freedom of her heart to love without fear.

I was drawn to the well defined characterizations in this novel. The seaside descriptions put me right there, feeling the sand in my feet and smelling the salt air. The underlying deception that the reader knows and the characters don't kept me turning pages until I came to the satisfying end. Driftwood Lane is the 4th in a series. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to fans of inspirational romance.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

8 Great Reasons To Be a Writer

Not sure if you want to be a writer? I, Kevin B Parsons, will give you eight great reasons to get into the writing game.



1.) First and foremost, it's all about the money. None of this silly gibberish about you've got something to share, you simply MUST write, or you've got this creative thing that has to get out via the keyboard. No, far and above any other reason, it's the cash that makes you dash to the keyboard. Shoot, Stephen King made over twenty three million dollars last year. And let's be honest, he's way past his prime. Get that book going that's been stewing inside for you for decades, that werewolf/zombie/vampire love story, then sit by the mailbox and wait for those checks. No, forget that. You've got PayPal. Keep writing as the money comes in electronically. You'll make more.



2.) Writing is not a job. That's right, you do almost nothing. Write for an hour, then head to the gym and hit the weights. Write a chapter and stop at a cute little cafe and eat at a little table along the sidewalk. Drink exotic coffee and watch the people around you for inspiration. Tour a foreign country for background for your thriller.
Ask any writer and they'll tell you, if they are really honest, that it's no work at all. Their friends and relatives get it.They say things like this; "Oh,you're a writer. So... you have a real job too, right?" Or after you've explained your job, they mention your life in retirement. It's not work! Just open that laptop and the book magically appears.



3.) There's nothing to it. Just write the book, give it to your agent, and he'll get it published. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Who needs a platform when you've got a blockbuster? How did you get the agent? You sent her a query letter and she scooped you up before anyone else did. Lucky her. She'll do the heavy lifting for you.

4.) It takes no skill. That's write, with computers, cut paste and delete, it's mighty easy to get that tome written. And with spellcheck, yew just right away add it fixes it. Chute, you will knot knead a editor or nothing. People are mush more forgiving about errors, and many times your using artistic license any way.

5.) It's so easy these days! Between computers and the Internet all you do is get it out there. In fact, it's so easy that over a million titles were published last year. I know that sounds a bit daunting, but the cream rises to the top, correct? And you're the cream of the cream, baby. After all, no one else has tackled racism in Iceland.


6.) You'll be a rock star. Oh yes, beautiful young hotties will run up to you, breathless. "Aren't you Mel Zonker? You wrote that awesome thriller about the Siamese twin detectives. Are you free for dinner?"
Practice, in front of a mirror, disappointing groupies and stalkers. You can only autograph so many books. Carpel tunnel, you know.

7.) Movie rights. What's better than seeing your books plastered across Hudson News at the airport? The huge, red plastic letters on the theater marquee, of course. 'The Two Legged Attack Cat.' And when the thing goes blockbuster, see reason number one.

8.) Viral! Oh yeah! Your publisher put together a trailer and youtube took it to the stratosphere. Now everyone knows you. People who ignored you in High School are sending friend requests on Facebook. Don't even THINK about friending them.

Eight greats. Get writing. And get ready. It's going to be a blast.




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Monday, March 17, 2014

Creating Large Print books with Create Space

Did you know you can publish a separate print book that is a large print edition on Createspace?  


When you publish a large print edition, it will then be linked with your Kindle, print and audiobook versions.   I have done this with my book, “A Life of Gratitude.”



Although we have not had many sales of our large print books, one author told me that 50% of her sales are of the large print edition.  It is another way to provide your book to your readers and potentially diversify your income.

How to Publish a Large Print Edition of Your Book

I contacted Createspace about publishing a large print edition book and here is what they said..

“You will be required to set up your title as you would any other using the large font size (i.e. at least 16 pt font).  

Under the ‘Description’ of the Distribution section you will need to indicate that this is a large print book. Once this box is ticked, your title will be listed as ‘Large Print’ on the Amazon detail page.

Furthermore, you will need to set up your book as a new title with a new ISBN. In addition, your large print title will be linked with the paperback and Kindle version if they offer the same content.”



I took screenshots of how you do this within your Createspace account below:




Conclusion


Therefore, all you need to do is change the size of your font, check the formatting for any changes, and finally upload the changes as a new book. 


Amazon has an entire separate section for just large print books that you can see here: http://www.amazon.com/Large-Print-Books/b?ie=UTF8&node=300950

About Shelley:
Shelley Hitz is an award-winning and internationally best-selling author. She is the owner of TrainingAuthors.com and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. She teaches from personal experience.  Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 and has published over 30 books including print, eBook and audio book formats.
Download Shelley's free training “Building a Book Marketing Plan” ($27 value) when you sign up for her newsletter here: http://trainingauthors.com/newsletter/



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Friday, March 14, 2014

Havah, the Story of Eve

Havah
The bare bones of story of Adam and Eve is universally known. God made Adam. God fashioned Eve from Adam's rib. Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden along with the rest of creation, eating fruits and nuts. Two trees were in the garden along with the rest of the vegetation: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They had one "don't" in the few things God ordered them--don't eat of that second tree.
They did.
Put this in the hands of master story-teller Tosca Lee, and suddenly it comes alive. She plays with what life might've been like in the garden, takes a stab at the reason the two violated God's law, she presents what might have happened after they were evicted from the garden. She covers over six hundred years of Eve's life in 364 pages. She did an amazing amount of research for something that seems beyond research, and she presented a story that, in her signature style, is feasible. 
Her ability to make unsympathetic characters sympathetic (like Lucian, in Demon: a Memoir) and present realistic, feasible scenarios, like in Havah, is the primary reason I'm scared to touch her most recent: Iscariot: a Novel of Judas. I have no desire to feel sorry for that man.
In Havah, Tosca addresses two questions throughout the book: "What if" and "How." She said in her ACFW class in Indianapolis last year that the one question starting all this was, "What if you loved the man in your life because he was the only one on Earth?" There were several other "what-if" questions addressed too, along with the "hows" of how did they discover to make linen? How did they learn to work sheep's wool? How did they learn to cook? Remember, Adam and Eve were the first to do absolutely everything.
If I had to pick one thing I really loved about the book, it would be Eve's character arc--and there is a definite arc, from creation to her death over 600 years later. If you read this, study the changes made in her personality. I think you'll agree with me.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cluster Posting for Authors

One of the biggest complaints I hear from authors is that blogging and social media are a chore. Time is always a problem, and balancing the requirement of writing with other things can leave an author frustrated and scrambling from one thing to the next.

I write a lot of blog posts and do a fair amount of social media, but I’ve found some tricks. One of them is cluster posting. I’m doing it right now as I add posts to this blog, in fact. When Lisa asked if I’d be interested in joining the team, I readily accepted. What could be better than hanging out with other writers and talking shop? But my schedule is a little nuts. That’s where cluster posting comes in.

Got a Lot of Blogging to Do?

I’m a blogger by trade so cluster posting also helps me get more work done for my clients. (More work equals more money. Usually.) More than that, however, cluster posting helps me focus and feel less stressed. When I run from Facebook to Twitter to trying to do one client’s posts, then another, then my own… it can get a little overwhelming. When I’m feeling that way, I rarely write the kind of posts I want to write. But when I’m on a roll, I can write quicker and with more clarity. That’s the idea behind cluster posting.

I also use this technique when I have to do a series of articles for a client. It helps me write quicker and come up with ideas at the same time.

How Do You Cluster Post?

Cluster posting is a writing technique that helps build on one idea to create several other ideas. Start with one keyword item, and then think of a long-tail keyword next. For instance, “make money blogging” might be a keyword, but “make money blogging for small business startups” is a long-tail keyword.

Once you start with that first idea, you’ll naturally think of other things that don’t fall into the post you’re writing about but are worth writing up at a later time. Except that the “later time” is right after you finish the first post.

In the above example, if I write about “make money blogging for small business startups” I might think of “how to diversify your client base beyond business startups” as a write. When I finish the first post, I’ll make notes for the second and then write it.

Expanding on Ideas

If you don’t naturally think of another idea (which is rare), try looking for areas where you can expand on what you’ve just written. For example, if you use a term in one post, use another post to dig deeper and define the term. If you use a particular example to reinforce your point, write another post giving more details on that example.

The best way to keep track of all this is to keep one file or notebook that you continually go back to before you create your posts. When you write one post, think about how you can quickly incorporate another idea before you move on to a different activity.

Advantages of Cluster Posting

By far the biggest advantage in working this way is that you will be able to maximum your time. Instead of logging on to one blog, writing up a post and then logging off, you write several posts and then put them up when you have a block of them. This saves time logging on and off and also allows your creative side to pump out work. With this method, you don’t need to stop and start again.

For authors, this is especially important. You have to meet other deadlines, so you don’t have time to write one promotional post here, another guest post there, etc. By blocking off time to do it in chunks, you’ll be more productive and write more original blog posts. This will help you as you promote your books and your writing.

Cluster Posting and SEO

This technique also helps with SEO. By drilling down to the long-tail keywords you’ll get more search engine juice for your posts than if you’d just covered a topic in broader terms. You’ll have a better chance of reaching readers using their specific search engine terms than if you had limited yourself to just one general post. 


__________________________________________________________

Cherie Burbach has written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, and more. Visit her website, cherieburbach.com. 
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Balance


I sometimes get bogged down and foggy brained just when I need to be sharp for writing a scene or editing a manuscript. Don't we all?

Balance. Balance is my pastor husband's favorite word. I hear it often, so it naturally comes to mind when I get in a jam. Remembering this helps me clear my mind and achieve balance in my writing life. My top three ways to do this are:

1. Take a break. I try to take a deep breath and go for a walk. Get out of my chair and take myself somewhere I've never gone before. Something as simple as a different route to the post office can jump start my tired brain.

2. Read outside my genre. I'm always reading my own genre and finding knowledge and enrichment for my craft. But reading something totally foreign to my genre and style give me a fresh perspective and new ideas.

3. Write a soldier. Blessing a soldier with a newsy, encouraging, and grateful letter gives me instant ministry. Our writing projects take months to find their way to the outside world to make an impact. A soldier letter impacts as soon as the brave servant reads it. Just google 'write a soldier' and multitudes of avenues to connect with a soldier are at our disposal. This small act of kindness for our brave men and women reminds me why I write in the first place, and inspires me.

Balancing the bogged down scale with one or all of these three activities helps me balance my writing life. How do you bring balance to your writing?
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Dick Francis 'Comeback' Book Review



Like meeting an old friend, I picked up a Francis thriller, 'Comeback.' Peter Darwin helps out a couple in Miami and accompanies them to England, where things fall apart. Their future son-in-law, a veterinarian, has lost numerous horses on the operating table and his reputation as well. Darwin traces the deaths and soon the ante is upped with a homicide. The comeback is Darwin returning to his roots and digging up dirt from his youth.

Francis, a former steeplechase jockey, fell and suffered a career ending injury and turned to writing as an alternative. His books mix horse racing with other endeavors, such as air freight services for horses, wine, a cross country Canadian train tour and toy manufacturing, to name a few.

Francis spins great yarns, and I'm proof to that. I've read every book he's written, many numerous times, and have never been to a horse race. I'm not particularly fond of horses either, yet his novels, all written around horses and horse racing, captivate me. Even though the books are a bit (okay a lot) long in the tooth, they still keep me reading after all these years- er, decades. He's written more than forty bestsellers.
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lily-Livered Literary Devices - simile, oxymoron, isms, eaus, and ives

This guest post originally appeared on January 28, 2014 by The Tuesday Prude
Reprinted with permission by Anita Klumpers.


Real life wreaks havoc with perfectly good literary devices.
In the hands of professionals, these devices make the world of literature a finer place.

When rank amateurs throw them around, the term "verbal abuse" takes on a whole new meaning.


The simile, saying something is like something else, requires an imaginative mind and clarity of expression:
He uttered a sound much like a bull dog swallowing a pork chop whose dimensions it has underestimated. (PG Wodehouse)
Let an American teens get hold of it and the simile turns into:
‘I was like, just standing there and he, like, winked at me and I, like, died!’
When Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote, “I like humanity, but I loathe persons.” she was brilliantly employing an oxymoron.
When we speak of government intelligence or peacekeeping force or media integrity or red licorice we just use one word in the phrase to cancel out the other.
Anthropomorphism, attributing human characteristics to animals (sometimes interchangeable with personification) raises our consciousness with totalitarian critters in Animal Farm or raises an entire generation of anti-hunting protesters with Bambi.
Toy Story
Now, commercials try to work up sympathy for lonely cleaning products pining for love in attics. Movies like Toy Story and Brave Little Toaster convince us that we can’t throw out broken plastic playthings or obsolete appliances because they have feelings too. That just raises my blood pressure.


Euphemisms. Ah. A way to take something prosaic, unpleasant or distressing and make it palatable.
Lucy wasn’t pregnant in I Love Lucy. She was expecting. Sometimes women in the 1950s were in the family way or on the nest or visited by the stork but they were NEVER pregnant.
The Godfather movies made threatening the life of another sound positively appealing by "making someone an offer they can’t refuse."
Compare them to the politician who has lied, cheated and stolen. Will he admit to lying, cheating etc? No. He will admit that ‘mistakes were made.’
Collateral damage, friendly fire and enhanced interrogation all have a pleasant ring to them.
Someone had the bright idea to call  taxes "revenue enhancements."
See how clever those euphemisms are?
Portmanteau is that fun little device that joins two words to make a new word. Lewis Carroll combined "lithe" and "slimy" to make the great word slithy in Jabberwocky. Smog? I can handle that. Motel? Very clever. How can human beings who come up with a delight called brunch also have infomercials and Brangelina and TomKat?
Invective. If you have ever read the comment section on YouTube videos, blogs, opinion columns,  etc., you’ve probably run across invective. Invective is that nasty, spiteful, lewd, venom-dripping-from-each-word sort of response Internet trolls like to use. Like real trolls, these scourges of social media have a limited vocabulary and use the same four-letter words over and over and over.

Compare invective in the hands of a master. Shakespeare’s King Lear addresses his faithless daughter’s servant as such: “A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir to a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining if thou deni’st the least syllable of thy addition.”(William Shakespeare “King Lear”, II.2)

Maybe when Internet trolls start using words like "beggardly" and "lily-livered" and "filthy worsted-stocking knave" we can take them more seriously.


 About the Author
Anita Klumpers’ first novel, Winter Watch released in January, but she has previous experience writing skits and short plays. Romantic suspense is her favorite genre, especially when a bit of humor is interjected. In an attempt to make the world a tidier, more civil place, she blogs as The Tuesday Prude. Anita lives with her husband and mutt in south central Wisconsin. 
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Monday, March 3, 2014

Spotlight on Small Publishers: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Eddie Jones is a North Carolina-based writer and Acquisition Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is a three-time winner of the Delaware Writers Conference and his Young Adult novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Award in the Pre-Teen Fiction/Fantasy category and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult fiction. Dead Man's Hand, the first book in the Caden Chronicles mystery series, is now available from Zonderkidz.

He co-writes the He Said, She Said devotions, available at ChristianDevotions.us.


His latest adult novel, Bahama Breeze, is a humorous romantic suspense available from Harbourlight Books. Eddie's recent devotional book, My Father's Business: 30 Inspirational Stories for Discerning and Doing God's Will, features Biblical insights and practical applications from the lives of Bruce Wilkerson, George S. Patton, Mother Teresa and more.


1. Why did you choose to open your own publishing company?

We were responding to a need within the industry. Around 2007 we noticed a number of larger houses withdrawing from writers’ conferences, cancelling book contracts, reducing the number of titles they released, etc. Cindy Sproles and I both are of one mind on this: Christ never retreated from a field, He always advanced. Only time he says run is from the Devil. So it struck us that Christians were abandoning the book publishing market because (I assume) they couldn’t make money. To us, that sounded like a business model issue.

We published a few devotional compilations for Christian Devotions Ministries, learned the POD and ebook process, and found they provided a nice revenue stream for the ministry. Within months a couple of authors approached asking if we would publish their devotional book. We explained we didn’t know what we were doing, but we’d try. Those books sold in small numbers; we’d learned more.

Fast forward a couple of years. We had published around 20 books and the ministry was bringing a decent amount of money. So much so, Cindy feared the IRS would no longer consider Christian Devotions Ministries a non-profit. So we spun off the book publishing side into a for profit business. That’s where Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas is today.

In 2013, we published over 40 books, and we have at least that many planned for next year. I don’t have the sales figures handy, but if I had to guess I would say we’ll sell over 50,000 copies in 2014, most of those ebooks. We distribute royalties monthly and those checks (combined) normally run between three and four thousand dollars. So I think this year we will distribute around fifty thousand dollars in royalties.

All because we said yes to an opportunity presented to us by God.

2. How do you see your role in the current industry?--competing? providing a service? filling a neglected niche?


We hope we are providing inspiration for authors and other publishers. I have begged the larger houses to try what we’re doing so more of God’s truth goes forth. Rather than laying off editors and cutting staff, if other houses would set up a separate division and try the POD / ebook model they might find they can reach smaller and profitable markets.

From our perspective there is no competition – we’re all working for the same Boss.

3. What does your publishing house have to offer the author?

Not enough. Not enough marketing, not enough sales, not enough editing. Not enough.

But what we try to do is give them a marketing road map that, if followed, should allow their book to grow legs and find an audience. We give them documents, offer social media help, post their book on our ministry’s websites, help them get on blog talk radio shows. We have a whole marketing arm whose only job is to help grow legs on our books.

Our sales goals for each nonfiction books is 2000 copies sold over a two year period, 5000 for fiction over that same time. Again, this is ebook and print combined. That’s hard to do, harder than it was a year ago for sure, now that everyone is self publishing a book. But really, you’re only looking at between 100 and 200 copies sold per month. That’s like, three to six books sold a day. If an author works their social media platform, helps others, speaks to groups, is out doing the thing God called them to do and not sitting back waiting for their publisher to wave a magic wand over their book, then I believe they can sell three to six copies each day.

We try to keep the price point attractive to consumers. But at the end of the day, every author is responsible for their own book. God gave it to them, we helped birth it, but it’s their baby.

4. What genre/style are you most interested in? What are you looking for?

We recently launched five new imprints: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Romance, Southern fiction, Historical fiction, and devotionals. We are moving our devotional books into the SonRise imprint. We also publish general nonfiction but we have found fiction pays the bills, nonfiction and devotionals change lives. Not that fiction can’t change lives but we view that more as good, solid entertainment.

5. How and when can an author submit to you?

Meet with us at a writers’ conference or have your agent contact us. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts except from agents. We like to meet our author first, see their heart, and find out why they’re writing. We still get tricked into publishing books for authors whose primary goal is fame and vanity, but for the most part our authors understand they are working for God first, not a royalty check.

I do not believe any author is ever satisfied with their sales, royalties, publisher’s promotional efforts, and all. But if we’re all working for the same Boss then maybe we can agree we are (or should be) doing all we can and when that’s done, leave the rest to Him.

Upcoming from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas:


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