Why I Write – Guest Post by Martin Wiles

Grits and God and MeWith the exception of the weekends, every morning after I eat breakfast and dress I head to my computer to write a devotion. I’ve been repeating this action for the last four years, but periodically I ask myself why.

I’ve now had four books published with my most recent scheduled to be several books with different themes. In evaluating why I write, the following verse came to mind:And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father (Colossians 3:17 NLT). 

Though I’ve written sporadically since my college days, I wasn’t serious about it until my father’s death in 2009. Why this became a demarcation line I’m not sure. He wasn’t a writer…except for his sermons and Bible studies. As far as I know, he didn’t publish anything. His writings were shared only with the college students he taught and congregations he preached to. But for me, God wanted more.

Dad taught me to use the gifts God gave me, and writing is one. And Paul says God uses our circumstances to teach us how to help others traveling similar paths (II Corinthians 1:4). For the last 10 years, I’ve been hobbling along some rocky financial roads. Most of them because of other’s decisions that affected me, but some because of the stagnant economy. Nevertheless, God has taught me important lessons down each road, and my writing is an attempt to help others who are traveling similar trails.

Grits & Grace & God: Manna From Heaven Served Up Southern Style is a series of devotions that represent my effort to use the gift and experiences God has given me to help others along life’s financial journey. Are you using the gifts God has entrusted to you?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, encourage us to use wisely what You entrust to our care.

Are you a freelance editor ?

Big Orange County Christian Writers Conference

The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network is sponsoring an editor convention in Southern California April 23–25. “Keys to Successful Freelance Editing” is for part-time or full-time editorial freelancers who want to grow their business and anyone who wants to learn how to become a freelance editor.

For just $125, aspiring and established editors will enjoy a Wednesday evening meet-and-greet, a full-day speaking event on Thursday, dinner Thursday night, and a final meeting Friday morning.

On Friday afternoon, Family Christian Bookstore in Santa Ana will host a book signing that will include authors from The Christian PEN and from the Orange County Christian Writers’ Conference.

The writers’ conference starts that evening, April 25, and continues with a full day of workshops and presentations on Saturday, April 26. Speakers include agents, book publishers (traditional and independent), magazine publishers, and freelance authors and editors.

For details on the editor convention, visit The Christian PEN.

For details on the writers’ conference, visit OCCWC.

Turning Your Book into a Review Machine

Want to turn your book into a sales machine? Get more Amazon Reviews. Here’s how one social media marketing expert did just that.

“We’ve worked with many first-time authors, but earlier this year I had an idea I wanted to try. I wanted to find a way to encourage readers to review the book by adding a specific request. We asked the author to include a letter in the back of her book asking for reviews. She reminded readers how important their voice is. Did it work? Yes. In fact she’s got well over 70 reviews of which only 10 were solicited. Remember, this is a first-time author with no history online and this book was self-published. All of these things worked against her and still she succeeded in getting tons of reviews. Were they all five-star? No, but that’s not the point. Let’s face it, a book page that’s populated with tons of five-star reviews is pretty suspect anyway. All of the reviews are authentic, written by real readers the author engaged with. Want to know another secret? These readers are now part of her “tribe;” she stays in touch with them and lets them know when her next book is out.

“How did she ask for reviews? She crafted a letter to her readers. Here’s a sample of the letter we included in the back of her second book. You can see the letter here: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/getting-reviews/

“In general, only 1% of consumers review books on Amazon. Using this letter helped to beat that average by a lot.” ~ Penny C. Sansevieri, Author and CEO, Marketing Experts, Inc.