Growing Grass

(Not the kind you smoke)

Growing Grass“All people are like grass … the grass withers.” 1 Peter 1:24

“The grass withers … but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

Some grow flowers or vegetables or fruit, but I grow grass … sometimes. Too many days I merely dampen the graves of dead seed.

Growing grass shouldn’t be hard. It grows natural (I hear) but not in my yard. In my yard I have to coax each blade from the earth. For fourteen years I’ve struggled to cover our lot with Bermuda grass. Experts say Bermuda likes hot weather and doesn’t need a lot of water. They should tell this to the blades of Bermuda in my yard.

Southern Living MagazineFor me, growing grass is like selling books. At first I have high hopes that all the seed will take root and soon I’ll have a lush, green lawn. Then, as the hard-baked soil blooms into wind-blown dust, I merely hope for some grass. Weeks pass, months, years … A few patches of green appear but it’s never what I imagined and certainly not what I see in Southern Living Magazine.

I do my part. I buy new top soil, sow seed, water as directed, and still all I get are bare spots with a few sprigs. I’m still speaking of grass, but my lawn is a metaphor of my book sales.

And not just my book sales, but the sales of many of our LPC authors. For two years I’ve prayed that each LPC book would sell 100 copies a month. That’s 3 sold copies a day. Doesn’t seem like that would be hard, but as with the seed in my yard, selling even one copy a day can be a tall task for some titles.

That’s why I’m always looking for new sales avenues – and help from God.

“Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” Job 8:7

I don’t give up on books. Not mine – not those of our LPC authors. If it’s God’s will to bless our words and effort, then we will reap a full harvest – of this I’m sure.

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

Selling books is like growing grass. We can do our part – sow, water, pray – but only God can make a thing grow. This is one reason I place such great value on prayer. Based on my experience, it’s the only thing that causes grass to grow and books to sell.

Please circle in prayer: “Lord, LPC and Christian Devotions Ministries are our church – a community of believing authors committed to serving You. Please show Eddie how to lead. Give him strength, wisdom, discernment, opportunities, and stamina. May you bless his hand. Expand his boundaries; enlarge his areas of influence for You. Keep him from sin and pain. May your strong hand be upon him. Lord, you have promised to be with us wherever we go. Lead us forward, now.”

If you would like to join my Circle Maker Prayer Team, click on this link. No pay – just a chance to pray and help a struggling writer and book publisher.

In Memory of All Our Soldiers

he North Carolina monument is southwest of Gettysburg on West Confederate AvenueOn this day, when we remember those who fought to keep our nation free and liberate the oppressed, allow me to offer a native North Carolinian’s perspective on why Southerners honor our dead with such passion.

Most historians believe that only six percent of Southerners owned slaves. Thus, it’s probable that of the 289,000 Confederate dead, 271, 660 never owned a slave. For them, the struggle was to protect their homes and be left alone. Even then, many had no choice but to fight for the South. On April 16, 1862, President Jefferson Davis authorized the first Conscription Act. This legislation required all white males aged eighteen to thirty-five to serve three years of Confederate service if called.

Author James I. Robertson, Jr., author of Tenting Tonight writes, “Just as most Northerners did not fight to end slavery, most Southerners did not fight to preserve it. The rank and file of the Southern armies was composed of farmers and laborers who volunteered to protect home and everything dear from Northern invaders.”

As a nation, we have come to accept that those who fought in Vietnam did their duty, regardless of their leaders’ motives and purpose behind that war.

While I cannot condone the enslavement of any human, I can still honor those men on both sides who, when summoned, left their homes and did their duty. Thanks to all the men and women who fought and continue to fight for our nation’s freedom.

 

 

Rise of the Hybrid Author

To Self Publish or Not

Not long ago, literary agents sold books to publishers, publishers sold books to booksellers, and booksellers sold books to the reading public. But as the book publishing industry continues to consolidate and contract, mid-list authors find it increasingly difficult to land contracts with their previous publisher. Enter the new hybrid author.

While the definition of hybrid author remains fluid, the term generally means a traditionally published author who occasionally self-publishes when the project is served best by taking full ownership.

When To Go Hybrid
First, make sure you have a platform to sell your books. Successful hybrid authors know their readers, have access to their reader’s contact information via newsletters, emails, fan mail, and usually have an extensive social media reach. If, as an author, you are doing the bulk of the marketing and moving the majority of the books, hybrid may be a good option for you. Here are three publishing options for hybrid authors.

Traditional Publisher

  • Large advance (any figure over $1000)
  • Heavily invested in bookstore distribution
  • Submits your work to prestigious review outlets
  • Physical location with salaried employees
  • Prints books offset press and stores them in distribution centers
  • Pay royalties on a quarter or semi-annual basis

Advantages of a Traditional Publisher
Traditional publishing remains the gold standard. Often you receive an advance, validation or your work (the house is paying you to write), and the prestige of reviews, bookstore distribution, and hope that your book will become a best seller. While the number of slots continues to dwindle, remaining loyal to a house (and waiting longer for a contract) may pay dividends later.

Small Press

  • None or a very small advance ($50 to $200)
  • Very little bookstore and library exposure
  • Few salaried employees
  • Virtual staff
  • Ability to adjust or adapt a title after its release
  • Agile marketing
  • Treat imprints as consumer brands
  • Use print–on-demand
  • Heavily promotes ebooks
  • Higher royalty percentages than with traditional houses

Advantages of a Small Press
Small press publishing gives debut and mid-list authors the chance to write and sell more books – provided their titles sell a reasonable number of copies. With a lower overhead, a small press doesn’t need to sell as many copies to recoup its investment. Many mid-list authors find that a small press is the best option since the author does not pay for the book’s production yet still retains some input in the book’s title, cover, and marketing.

Self Publishing

You pay for the production of your book, marketing services, and / or may be required to purchase a certain number of books.

According to Bowker, the number of self-published titles in 2013 “increased to more than 458,564, up 17 percent over 2012 and 437 percent over 2008.” Bowker’s data is based on ISBNs issued. It’s widely acknowledged that self-published authors frequently avoid buying an ISBN, so the number of titles is certainly larger.

Advantages of a Self Publishing
Self-publishing give authors the most control over their books. Authors can often buy books for much lower than what a small press might offer. This is important if you are a speaker and expect to move most of your books at the back of the room. Many self-pub firms offer extensive marketing for a fee. With self-pub, you risk your money but have more control and receive a greater share of the profits. Below are several self publishing firms.

(Note: The listing of these links does not represent our endorsement of these companies. We define self publishing as any firm that requires you to spend money in order to have your book published.)