“Unleash the Power of Your Fiction with Story Beats”–Director Denise Speaking on May 11th

The director of Words for the Journey, Christian Writers Guild, Denise Miller Holmes–the Witty Wise Woman–is speaking Monday night, May 11th, at His Writers in Westminster, Colorado. She’s going to wow the crowd with her topic– “Unleash the Power of Your Fiction with Story Beats.”

Oh my cow! Get a caravan together and drive to see it! It’s going to be AWESOME!

Hope to see you! (See address and time below.)

HIS Writers – ACFW North Denver
Meets the 2nd Monday of each month.
Barnes and Noble
9370 Sheridan Blvd.
Westminster CO
7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
If you have questions, email Bethany Williams at
Website: www.hiswriters.acfwcolorado.com

Subtext–Kick Your Writing Quality Up a Notch!

At the March 31st W.I.S.E. Coffee meeting of Words for the Journey, subtext came up at the end of the meeting. Sadly, we were talking about the reputation Christian writers have for putting out “bad fiction.” I gave it an acronym—”BFC,” bad christian fiction, and then there’s “BF,” bad fiction, Christian or not.

In response to the sad looks on everyone’s faces, I said, “You know what the best way to create good fiction is? I mean, really kick it up a notch? You need to learn and practice subtext.

You see,  if you analyze BF, most of the time you’ll find that everything is too spot on, especially dialogue.

In spot-on dialogue, people say what they mean and mean what they say. In spot-on dialogue, characters say they’re angry, and they are! So…they’re is no subtlety in this type of dialogue, no little Easter eggs for the reader to mine. And, obvious can mean boring.

  • One way to add subtext is for people to seem to be talking about one thing, but they’re really talking about something else. You’ll find an example of this in the online article “Ask the Writer: In Dialogue What is Subtext?” (I share the link at the bottom.)
  • Another way is to use symbolism. In the same article, there is a dialogue from The Great Gatsby where Gatsby‘s author uses the shirts—beautiful, richly-made shirts—as a symbol for wealth. Daisy, who truly loves wealth, says over and over how much she loves the shirts.
  • Body language also adds subtext. In real life, people say one thing and their body language can support that, show just the opposite, or show they’re hiding something. That’s subtext.

Dialogue is not the only place to put subtext, it’s just the most obvious. Charles Baxter discusses all the places to use subtext in fiction in his book, The Art of Subtext.

Before I give links, I’ll say one more thing about BCF. I don’t think Christian fiction is all bad. I think its reputation from the ’80s has stuck with it. Ever read Francine Rivers? Susan May Warren? It is getting better and will continue to do so.

And, I’ve heard the same complaints about romance genre!

If we really want, we can see bad writing everywhere. The fix is to stop whining and get to work. You be the one whose work isn’t bad. If every writer did that, there wouldn’t be any truly bad writing in any genre. 

‘Nuff said. Here are the links:

In dialogue, what is subtext?
Nine Steps to Writing Dialogue with Rich Subtext

The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot, by Charles Baxter (print and e-book)
Writing Subtext: What Lies Beneath, by Linda Seger (print and e-book)
Writing Subtext: How to craft subtext that develops characters, boosts suspense, and reinforces theme, by Elizabeth Lyon (print and e-book)

Legal Books for Writers

At our March 10th Words for the Journey meeting, we talked about publishing contracts and what is typically negotiable. We discussed the Writer’s Digest post Book Contract: What’s Negotiable and What’s Not.

In that article, the author Brian A. Klems suggests a book The Writer’s Legal Guide, by Tad Crawford and Kay Murray. The book has a section on negotiating book contracts, plus other legal issues that are a concern for the writer: 

  • Registering copyrights, including online
  • Taxes and bookkeeping
  • Following fair use guidelines
  • Negotiating contracts with publishers and agents
  • Obtaining permissions to use others’ work
  • Dealing with periodical, syndication, film, television, play, and audio rights agreements
  • Handling business disputes
  • Understanding libel, privacy, and the limits of free expression
  • Avoiding self-publishing missteps
  • Planning authors’ estates 

I want that book, but I am more interested in self-publishing, so I found this little gem: Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook by Helen Sedwick.

The two books have some overlap, but, as a blogger, I am interested in internet regulations, so I’ll buy the Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook for that (it’s only 4.99 on Kindle). 

There are other books on publishing legalities and book contract negotiation. There’s Negotiating a Book Contract by Mark Levine, and The Writer’s Legal Companion by Brad Bunnin.

I also shared with the group the link to a website that lists intellectual property lawyers. Some authors use IP lawyers to negotiate book contracts. Once the deal is done, the author does not have to continue to pay the lawyer whenever the author’s work sells, as one would an agent. Here is the link for IP lawyers by state, which then leads you to your city.

We also discussed another post about four main ways to open your fiction story. You can see my write-up of that discussion here.

The Twitter Experiment: Create a Twitter Friend Circle

I said in my last John Locke post that I would tell you the techniques I was borrowing from his book. One of those techniques is creating a “friend circle” from your followers on Twitter.

The General Idea

Stage one of my method, as I’ve explained in the first three installments of “The Twitter Experiment,” includes building up a lot of Twitter followers. In the last few weeks, I’ve been adding an average of 450 followers a week using Tweepi.com.

Stage two is developing a “special friend” list that you derive from your new Twitter followers.

Remember, this is social media. Twitter people (tweeple) expect you to educate, entertain, and relate to them. By posting links to great articles and funny/deep quotes, pictures and videos–you educate and entertain. But, you relate to them by…

  • replying to and retweeting their tweets,
  • thanking them when they retweet your posts, and
  • mentioning them in tweets whenever appropriate.

The concept is–you build a large Twitter following composed of your target audience, then, while still keeping your following large, you cultivate a special friend circle of people who help you sell products and vice versa.  They have a high potential for becoming friends who transform into passionate fans.

Each fan/friend might produce similar products or ancillary products, but there is a match somehow between what you do and what they do that motivates both of you to help each other climb the success ladder.

If people feel they have a relationship with you, they are more likely to retweet you and be interested in buying and sharing your writing.

Ultimately, and I’ll give details in another post, you want to get their email addresses (stage three). This leads to email marketing (stage four).

  • If you can make an email list of people who love you and your work, you are cooking with nuclear fire!

But before you ask anyone for his or her email address, you’ve got to make a deeper relationship first. There must be trust.

My first step in making a Twitter friends circle was to look at my Twitter Notifications page. Twitter notifies you when anyone retweets, thanks, mentions you in a post, or puts you on a list. These are people who are very interested in you.

But not everyone on your Notifications page is simpatico enough to put them on your friends list. They may be people who read the same genre you write, but perhaps they are also into things that are the opposite of you.

For instance, I have a person following me who is interested in the genre I write, but has a hateful spirit about my political affiliation. I do not tweet about politics, but I can’t connect to someone who hates my beliefs, so I did not put her on my “special friend” list.

Pick tweeps from your Notifications page that are good matches who can help you and you can help them.

Another way to find special friends is simply to watch your Twitter feed for tweets that match your philosophy or occupation (reading). Go to that person’s bio and see if they are a good prospect for your list. Many bios will say “addicted to reading,” or “avid reader,”  which may be why you clicked “follow” on Tweepi to begin with. Many genre writers read a lot of the genre that they write.

For me, I’m trying to find people for my friend list who read and write clean books.  They don’t have to be Christian, just clean. I realized early on that readers and writers of dirty New Adult fiction ALSO read clean NA. I don’t mind retweeting some good things they post, but I won’t promote a dirty NA book.

If a dirty NA writer promotes my clean NA book, I can’t do the back scratch thing. I’ll say thank you, always, but I can’t reciprocate exactly tit for tat.

And that’s what friend circles are about…reciprocity.

You can also find tweeps who are special friends by trolling your own follower list. This is more time consuming than trolling your Notification page, but not unproductive. The followers page has the bio right underneath each face and name.

Searching bios using Tweepi.com is now possible! Tweepi can be your magical friend when you buy the Platinum version which has a new bio search. More in the upcoming post on apps.

 Making Lists Directly on Twitter

If you want to make sure you see certain people’s tweets, you can make a list of them on Twitter. That is one way to handle the thousands of people you’re now following. You label the lists so you know what they’re about. In this case, you’ll label them “friend circle” or “special friends” or anything that lets you know these are the people you are relating to in a focused way.  You can make this list private or public.

So here’s the formula for making a special friend circle list. Ask yourself…

  • Does he/she have (predominantly) followers that would like my book?
  • Does he/she have 800 followers or more?
  • Do we get along well enough to enjoy helping each other?
  • Does he/she tweet at least 7 times a week or more?

I also have tweeps who I just click with and have fun with, but I’m not putting them on my friend circle list unless they have followers who want what I sell. Don’t feel guilty when you leave these people off your list. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about them, they just can’t help you in your business. I have a private list called “Enjoy” and I’ve put these kinds of tweeps on that list instead.

How Many Tweeple Should the Friend Circle Have?

A good number to aim for is 100. One hundred people are enough to handle at first. Don’t panic at this number. They won’t all be tweeting at once and you don’t have to tweet to each one every day. You just have to relate to them, and do favors of course, often enough that they feel connected and that you like them. Find your own rhythm.

How Do I Work this System Without Wasting Time?

Saving time in your system is important. You’ll get more and more ideas for this as you practice. For instance, I’ve decided that I am not going to thank for retweets every time. It fills up my Twitter page with boring thank yous. It is also time consuming.

Instead, when someone retweets me, I’m going to retweet one of their posts that hit home for both me and my followers. That thanks them, repays them in kind, and gives my followers good content. Killing two birds with one stone is good, yes? 😀

Streamlining your system and time-efficiency is important, so at some time you may want to get apps that help you or get an assistant. I talk about both in a later post, but I’ve just run into a new app called commun.it which is especially designed to organize your followers list and pick out the influencers. It looks promising!

After you get your system efficient, and it will come with practice, you will want to do three things: create another friend circle 100 list from your new followers, start getting email addresses from your tweeps for email marketing, and create a Guaranteed Buyers List (GBL) from your email buddies (part of stage four).

All of these things I will address in upcoming posts. Until then, continue to get more followers from your target audience, practice adding tweeps and tweeting in less time, and remember–this is fun!

Follow me, Denise Miller Holmes, on Twitter!

Follow Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild on Twitter!

The Twitter Experiment 1; The Twitter Experiment 2; The Twitter Experiment 3; 


Should You Buy John Locke’s Book Now that We Know He Paid for Amazon Reviews?

Not long after I published the articles “The Twitter Experiment: Can I Increase My Following on Twitter and Sell More Books Than I’ve Imagined?” and it’s follow up “The Twitter Experiment: First Stages,” I discovered that John Locke,  back in August 2012, was outed for paying for Amazon reviews–infuriating thousands of readers of his book How I Sold 1 Million Books in 5 Months!

After I found this out, I knew I had a problem: I had bought the book eons ago and had recently recommended it as part of a system I was cobbling together for my own marketing plan! Should I write a post to tell you not to buy the book because the guy’s a shyster, or should I still recommend it because the info is sound?

Some of you might question me…how do you know the information is sound? If he lied about the reviews, he might have lied about what was in the book.

Actually, the methods in his book are recommended by other people in other books and websites, and they have become standard in many marketing plans. So, I’m not worried about the methods.

However, because he lied, there is no way to tell if the methods are what catapulted him to the top or the reviews. In other words, what percentage of buyers came from the reviews, and what from his internet methods?

I cannot tell you, but I do know that marketing in the 21st Century is integrated–with the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts. So, this marketing plan I’m putting together takes PARTS of Locke’s book and cobbles them together with other techniques from other books, in order to make my own method

When I’m done, I’ll have the Denise Miller Holmes’ Marketing Method, not the John Locke Marketing Method.

So, I’m not recommending Locke’s book in it’s entirety, I’m recommending key pieces of it and I will be adding those pieces to the techniques I’m using from other books.

My short answer to this post’s title question is–it’s up to you if you buy his book or not! It depends on how you think about it:

  • If you think the information is still good, the book is cheap, and there’s no reason to punish yourself just because he’s a scoundrel, then buy the book. I would definitely recommend, though, that you scale down the “one million books sold” to perhaps “10,000.” There is no way to know how many books were sold solely due to positive paid reviews, but I’m guessing that without them, he would have sold less than one million! However, his internet-marketing methods were still a solid part of getting attention to his book reviews in the first place.
  • If you think that liars and cheats should not be rewarded with more books sold, then you should NOT buy the book. Other writers are discussing these techniques in internet marketing books, so don’t give him one more dime…the cheat!

As I’ve stated, I already had the book and had recommended it to y’all when I found out about his indiscretions, so I’m still gleaning his methods, even though I don’t think I’ll sell one million books using them. I will, however, sell many more books using some of his methods than if I weren’t using them. Right now, the source of the info is less important to me than the info itself.

But for those in the second camp–throw the bum out!–know that I will be teaching the key parts of John’s system that I am using, and we will learn and experience their use together. So…if you stay here and continue reading my posts, you won’t have to buy the book because I’ll explain it all to you.

Well, that’s all she wrote. If you want to vent in the comments about what a dirty, rotten, cheat John Locke is, then go ahead, but I will warn you–it’s been a while since he’s committed his naughty-ness, and whatever you say has already been said. Everybody wants to cattleprod him off the planet. 😀

Note that the service that John Locke was using–GettingGood BookReviews.com (run by Todd Rutherford)–is out of business. That’s a good thing, yes?

Here are some articles for further reading about John Locke and paid-for reviews:
The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy” by David Streitfeld; “EXTRA ETHER: Buying Book Reviews – Still Admire John Locke?” by Porter Anderson; “Do I Still Recommend John Locke? No” by Holly Lisle.

Carrie O’Toole’s Book Marketing Plan: A Combined Approach for the Book RELINQUISHED

Guest Post by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A 

I’m gearing up to self-publish my first book, Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go. It’s about our turbulent journey through the international adoption, and subsequent relinquishment, of our son who struggled with severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).


It is a memoir, and I am aware that I have to be especially smart in its marketing and promotion because publishers consistently told me, “Memoirs don’t sell.”

I think the hardest thing about selling any book is to make sure it’s well written. I sent mine through two major edits, with two different, but talented, editors. Currently, I’m waiting for my proof copy before I submit to Amazon’s Create Space.

In the meantime, I’m building my platform so the book competes well against the many others in the memoir genre. I’ve consulted with several people for help and guidance, and read books including, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, by John Kremer. It’s a huge resource, and I’m realizing I should have started months ago, but, better now than never!

Here are the strategies I’m using:

  • Twitter
    I followed Denise’s suggestions in her articles on The Twitter Experiment and I am adding 200 followers per day. I use Tweepi.com to add 1000, then wait a day and keep those who followed me back. I delete the rest. I’m trying to find people who will actually read what I’ve written, so I searched “adoption, adoptive families, Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD, Trauma,” etc. I click on “top results,” then begin following their followers. Many follow back, and they are the audience I’m looking for.
  • Facebook
    Using the same principle, I searched the keywords above on Facebook and found several pages to follow.
  • Podcasting
    I started a Podcast in January and invited an attachment-disorder specialist as a guest. I posted the video on YouTube, and the audio on ITunes. You can find it by searching “Broken and Brilliant.” Both are linked to my website.
  • Films
    My son is a filmmaker, so we created some short films . They are all very different, but all have to do with relationships, God’s love for us, growth, healing, etc.
  • Combining Podcasts and Films with Twitter and Facebook
    After we had several podcasts and short films, I started posting on the Facebook pages and Twitter. Doing this for just two days brought over 150 views and several shares. We’ve now topped 500 views in 16 countries. People have started contacting me asking for resources.
  • Guest Blogging
    I’ve asked friends and acquaintances if I could guest blog for them. Many said yes, and I’m preparing a few different posts to help spread news about the book.
  • Book Trailer
    We used royalty-free music, a voice-over of me, reading selected passages, and video from our trip to Vietnam. See it here.
  • Church Bookstores and Adoption Agencies
    I’m purchasing 100 books to give away for marketing. I’ll hand deliver to church bookstore managers, etc., and ask them to read it. If they like it, they may decide to carry it.
  • Newspapers
    I’m now contacting local newspapers. I ask for journalists who cover local stories. Five communities in my area have a significant number of adoptive families, so my story is relevant to these communities. I’ll be able to offer a compelling story for the journalists, who may decide to write about my story and promote my book. Because I am an expert on attachment issues, my information is helpful to newspapers and local news agencies.

I’m finding my audience through this process. With work and follow-through, I hope to sell many more books than I would otherwise. I’ve put a lot of work into this project, so I want it to succeed and have the ministry impact that I believe it can.


About my book:

This wasn’t a book I wanted to write, but found it to be therapeutic after our difficult journey.

I actually wrote the book three years ago. Then, it sat in my computer until this past January. During that time, I worked with a publisher and a coach trying to figure out how to turn this story into a self-help book. As I said in the introduction of this article, I kept hearing “Memoirs don’t sell.” Yet, each time I took a stab at something else, I found myself uninspired and overwhelmed.

Other people had already written what I was attempting to write. They did it well, and I couldn’t find my voice. I didn’t have the desire to write a book just to write a book. I truly wanted to write something that uniquely mattered. As I prayed about the New Year, I kept hearing, “Finish the book.”

So I did.

And now I hope my promotional journey helps you when you finish and publish your book! If you know of anyone that can benefit from the info in this guest post, or my book Relinquished, please pass along this blog link to them!

Carrie O’Toole is a Board-Certified Christian Life Coach by the American Association of Christian Counselors (A.A.C.C.), and holds a master’s degree in Human Services, specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from Liberty University. She practices in Colorado. You can pre-order Relinquished here on her website.





The Twitter Experiment: My First Day Adding Tweeps with the New Method

As promised in The Twitter Experiment: First Stages, I started following people on my Twitter account today, after screening a “source person” for appropriateness, using the method I outlined in that post.

I started out slowly because I’m just getting a feel for this. How long would it take me, for instance, to add 100 people a day? How long for 200?

I started by accessing my account on Tweepi.com, clicking on “Follow Tweeps”/”User’s Followers.” After inputting the source person’s @name, I clicked “Start Following” and the window with all this person’s followers came up.

My husband and I had talked in-depth about how to ascertain who on this list would be my target audience. I am writing a New Adult (NA) novelette with a female protagonist. The source person writes Young Adult and is female. Her followers should like YA or they wouldn’t be following her, and most people who like/read YA also like/read NA (the clean stuff, anyway).

Because my protagonist is female and I intend to continue writing female main characters, I targeted all the females on the list. Hubby suggested this. I could have stopped to read how long it’s been since they’ve tweeted or read their bio, but I just clicked, clicked, clicked, female, female, female.

What will happen with the ones who haven’t tweeted in a while or ones who aren’t good matches is this: the non-tweeters will be flushed later through Tweepi. Tweepi shows you the non-tweeters in one window and you can unfollow them all, click, click, click.

The ones who aren’t good matches won’t follow me back. I will unfollow them through Tweepi in about 2 days.

This person (a writer) had a following of about 350, and I followed 146 females from her followers list. It took me less than fifteen minutes to add them all. At the time of this writing, 6 hours later, 30 have followed me back.

Check back to this post and I will give you the latest statistics on followbacks. [The next day, Tuesday, by noon I had 20 more followbacks, for a total of 50. This is  a third of the amount I added the day before.]

There is one issue I ran into that I’m not sure how to handle. Some say to publicly tweet “thank yous” to everyone who follows back. I did that today. Everyone who followed me back I tweeted something like this:

TY @samanthareads @tanyaolsen @samlikescola for following me!

This is cool, but time-consuming. My quandary is–will this practice have a huge payoff for us all, or is it a waste of time?

What I’ve noticed is that many of those I shouted out to publicly thanked me in return, retweeted my shout out, or favorited the tweet. All positive responses which spread my name and their names to many like-minded followers.

So…I will have to wait and see. If it is productive to thank publicly, then I will have to keep the amount I add daily to a certain manageable amount time-wise. I’ll let you know what I decide and what I find works.

Okay, that’s it for today. I will be writing more on this either later in the week or next week. I’ll keep you updated!

If you want to start this series from the beginning and get the list of books I’m using for this method, go here to The Twitter Experiment: Can I Increase My Following on Twitter and Sell More Books Than I’ve Imagined?

(The John Locke book doesn’t cover this method, but does talk about how you handle your followers once you get them. Good!)

Follow me, Denise Miller Holmes, on Twitter!

Follow Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild on Twitter!

The Twitter Experiment 1; The Twitter Experiment 2; The Twitter Experiment 4; 

The Twitter Experiment: First Stages

In my last post, The Twitter Experiment: Can I Increase My Following on Twitter and Sell More Books Than I’ve Imagined, I shared about three books I’d put together to come up with a promotion method that would a) find my audience for my books and b) draw thousands of them to myself via Twitter.

What I didn’t share was the method. As I’ve said before, I’ve done a lot of work on this and all of you are free to buy these books (listed below) and see the method(s) yourself, but here is the method overview:

  • Register at Tweepi.com and open an account
  • Go to Twitter and select a person who writes or reads what you are writing–your target audience. (You surmise this from their Twitter bio.)
  • Go to Tweepi.com and click on “Follow Teeps,” then “User’s Followers.”
  • Put their @name in the window and click “Start Following.” Don’t worry, you won’t automatically follow them, it will just take you to the follower list.
  • There is a “follow” button beside each name. Decide which follower you want to follow and click accordingly.
  • After you have an increase in followers, you relate with, nurture, and grow your audience. (Particulars are found in John Locke’s book, but you don’t have to buy it. I talk about this in another post.)

Because Twitter allows you to follow up to 1,000 a day, the numbers can add up fast. The goal is not to follow a lot of people, but to get them to reciprocate and follow you!

If you get the Platinum version of Tweepi, you can see each person’s bio and can decide from that who to follow.  But that’s time consuming. Right now, I plan to follow the females because I write for women.

There is a free version of Tweepi, and I suggest you start with that until you figure out what you need. The paid-for versions have their perks, like forcing someone to unfollow you when they have an abandoned account, but start out with the free and then decide what you really need.

The Platinum version allows you to search the list according to your specifications. I put in “new adult,” “SciFi” and “Mystery.” I also did another search for “Christian.”

Again, for details to this method I recommend reading the books I suggested in my previous post.

What I’ve done so far…

What I’ve done so far is make lists of people I either want to follow, want to glean from their followers list, or both. Soon I will input these people’s names into Tweepi and will start following up to 1,000 a day.

Perusing Twitter for possible good matches (your target audience) is a good start. I’ll let you know what happens when I start adding these people as followers!

Stay tuned for more, and remember that these books have more details than what I’m giving you here, so it will help you to read them!

Follow me, Denise Miller Holmes, on Twitter!

Follow Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild on Twitter!

The Twitter Experiment 1;  The Twitter Experiment 3;  The Twitter Experiment 4

The Twitter Experiment: Can I Increase My Following on Twitter and Sell More Books Than I’ve Imagined?

The marketing technique I’m about to share with you should apply to fiction or non-fiction, self- or traditionally published.

I have two works-in-progress (WIPs)–one fiction and one non-fiction.  They will be self-published, after being edited to high heaven and approved by beta readers.

But, I’m discouraged. The book-marketing experts tell us that our first books will not sell well because we haven’t developed a large-enough following. I say “large-enough” because even if we build a platform before we publish, it usually isn’t enough for a new author to sell many books.

What is supposed to happen, the experts say, is that our audience builds with each blog post, each speaking engagement, and each book. When we have a fat backlist, our newest book sells all the rest to new fans.

But, all this takes time!

I believe in building a platform. I don’t care if it takes time–except when it comes to my first few books. To think that my first few books won’t sell as well as they deserve because my audience is so small, makes me cry. And, it discourages me to finish them because I’m writing them so people can hear the message (and be entertained while receiving it, of course!).

Little audience, little impact.

I know there are Christians dying to tell me that it’s the Lord’s message and He will impact who He wants…blah blah blah. Yes, but I don’t want to hide my light under a bushel. So, I think there is some responsibility on my part to do what I can to increase my audience.

I am happy to say that after much whining, I have found three books that have given me hope. They all focus on the use of Twitter to boost your sales.  The choice is Twitter because Twitter’s limits for followers are HIGH. Facebook is effective for some, but they limit followers on your personal page. Twitter does not, if you do it right.

Putting these three books together,  a two-step process emerges: 1) you increase your Twitter followers by thousands and then 2) you go about the relational business of Twitter: retweets, @replies, promoting other people’s work, and launching your book via Twitter. (John Locke’s book will be used primarily for this part, but see my disclaimer here.)

Thing is, Step 2 is ineffective until you do Step 1. And yes, I said thousands.

The reason huge numbers are important is only a small percentage of your audience/followers will buy your book, even if they are like minded. In direct sales books, they tell you that a direct mailing, when sent out to the general public, will only garner a 1% positive response.

But what if you only send your mail piece to everyone in your city that LOVES the kind of thing you’re selling, and have bought things like that before? The response will be a whopping 10% percent! (Insert sarcasm mark here.)

Thus, pumping your numbers up high is important AND you need to make sure those numbers are people who would reasonably buy your book (have somehow demonstrated that they like what you’re selling.)

The three books that I used to cobble together this method are all ebooks, so if you really want to try this you’ll have to get yourself a Kindle or other ereader. I have mine on my Kindle. Here are the titles:

(The John Locke book doesn’t cover the quick-add method, but does talk about how you handle your followers once you get them. Again, see my disclaimer here.)

For those of you who are thinking Cool, we get permission to spam, uh, NO. And for those of who who are thinking, Stay away from this, it’s spam, absolutely not!

This is not about spamming people. It’s about getting real followers who like what you like and may very well want to buy your book! The only thing I’ll be experimenting with is speeding up what before was a very slow process. Hallelujah, there’s hope!

In a couple days, I will post Part II of this and give an overview of the method I stuck together from these three books and how it’s worked for me so far.  I will not give away every single detail, I’ve done some real work on this, but I will give you enough to get you started, and if you read the three books above (and maybe even more) you may find you can tweak my method to suit your own way of thinking and doing things.

Talk to you soon!

Follow me, Denise Miller Holmes, on Twitter!

Follow Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild on Twitter!

The Twitter Experiment 2; The Twitter Experiment 3; The Twitter Experiment 4


Just Do It: Make a Plan and Stick to It

I had an epiphany over the summer: I was tired of not finishing my projects, and I was lamenting my blogs that lay derelict along the roadside.

How could I change things?  I saw two things that I could do immediately that would revive my writing and make sure I finished my projects. Here they are:

Make a Plan

As soon as I realized my problem, I made an inventory of all my writing projects and blogs. There are a lot. I also had to add writing lessons for my writers group –at least one a month.

Whew. The list looked daunting, but before I caved to feeling overwhelmed, I saw one bright dot on the horizon–I could make a schedule.

Okay, for some people that’s a no-brainer, but I had gotten out of the habit of scheduling my time, and was letting life take over. I felt like I was just putting out fires.

Books, short stories, and blogs do not write themselves. You must plan them.

In order to make yourself feel like you can breathe, make sure you make a schedule that allows you to accomplish your goals for that day.  In other words, don’t over-pack your time. Give yourself realistic goals for each day.

In that vein, when you work your schedule, pay attention to what feels like too much. For instance, I found out that on several of my blogs, weekly blogging made me feel overextended, so I’ve reduced one blog  to twice a month and one to once a month. The main blog I will write for weekly.

So feel free to test your plan, but once it’s right, stick to it like tar on a roof.

Write First Thing in the Morning!

I read an article over the weekend about what successful people do first thing. First of all, statistically, successful people get up early. It’s just a fact. The next thing they do is exercise. And the next thing they do is…work. They start right away tackling their projects.

Now here’s an important detail–what successful people don’t do when they first get up is check their emails or Facebook or Twitter. They delay those tasks and instead they work on their projects!

I see why this makes people successful. Those other things are time suckers that take away the time we can be writing. And yet, when I make sure I write first and delay emails/Facebook until later, I somehow get my writing done and all the emails and Facebook tasks as well.

Just Do It!

Both the above points together say one thing: make your writing a priority. If you don’t, it won’t happen. As writers, we all need to combat the mystical force of Resistance, sit our butts in our chair, and quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard when he said, “Make it so!”