Dr. Andy Wood is an author, professor, church leader, consultant, evangelist, and seminar leader. In every role, he has pursued a philosophy he refers to as M.A.D.I.S.E.L. – Make a Difference in Someone Else’s Life!
Serving alongside his wife, Robin, Andy offers professional counseling, coaching, consulting, and communication services through The LifeVesting Group.
He blogs consistently and has ghostwritten two books. He has published on both academic and professional levels in magazines and journals and is currently marketing his first e-book, The 12 Pathways to Christmas.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Andy Wood.
Andy: Thank you!
Xochi: Why do you think it’s important for writers to consider blogging?
Andy: For me, it’s about the discipline to continue writing and developing fresh stuff. Blogging is a great way to test drive ideas that may or may not ever make it into a book.
Blogging also gives you a starter platform for building what Seth Godin calls a “tribe.” That is, a group of people who appreciate what you do, keep reading and, hopefully, share your stuff with others.
Xochi: What are your top tips for potential bloggers?
Andy: First – write, write, write.
Second, decide on a realistic schedule and stick to it. If you want regular readers, become a regular writer.
Third, know the purpose of your blog and lean into it.
Xochi: Please tell us a little bit about your e-book, The 12 Pathways to Christmas.
Andy: I’ve looked closely at the lives of the people who were involved in the first Christmas story. I wanted to create a connection between a 21st-century “real world” and the “real world” of the first century and how the coming of Jesus is relevant to all that. This book offers 12 vignettes of real joy, real pain, real healing, real desperation, real hope.
Xochi: How did the idea of The 12 Pathways to Christmas develop into an e-book?
Andy: It started as a series of posts on the “LifeVesting” blog, in 2009. It took me another Christmas season to finish them up, then another year or two to put them into a book form.
Xochi: What was the greatest challenge you faced during the e-book process?
Andy: Learning how to format the book correctly. It’s not super hard, but there was a bit of a learning curve.
Xochi: What did you enjoy most about the e-book process?
Andy: E-book publishing is quick. You can edit or make changes without having to go through the publisher. It also enables you to avoid having to stock piles of book inventory.
I enjoyed the instant awareness of success, or lack thereof. With Amazon, you can always know how sales are going.
Also, it’s fun to be part of a larger community of authors who have discovered this format.
Xochi: What tips do you have for writers who are considering publishing e-books?
Andy: First, get several proofreaders to help clean up your writing.
Second, have a good strategy for marketing your work. Nobody will be more committed to your success than you are. There are lots of tools and resources out there for authors to learn to market their stuff.
Xochi: What words of encouragement would you like to offer aspiring writers?
Andy: Use your writing to serve and love people, and the day will come when your writing will serve you.
There has only been one infallible thing ever written, and that’s the Bible. Anything short of that has room for improvement.
So, never stop improving and working at your craft.
Xochi: Thank you for sharing your insights, Dr. Wood.
Andy: My pleasure.
You can connect with Andy through his blog and check out The 12 Pathways to Christmas, on sale for only .99 cents until December 15, 2013! I’m looking forward to reading Andy’s book before Christmas and am sure it will make a great gift for the book lover on your nice list!
If you’ve published an e-book, tell us about your experience. Would you do it again? What, if anything, would you do differently?
Xochi (so-she) E. Dixon loves Jesus and lives in Northern California with her husband, Alan, their teenage son, Xavier, and their doggy-daughter, Jazzy. She has a passion for teaching God’s Word and writes contemporary fiction, articles and devotions for women and teens. Her work has been published in The Upper Room, ENCOUNTER – The Magazine and Devo ‘Zine. You can connect with Xochi through her blog, Facebook and Twitter.
Join New York Times best-selling author Susy Flory and indie novelist Lorena Bathey for a publishing smackdown. Get the scoop on traditional vs. self-publishing from two authors who have been best friends since second grade but have traveled different paths in publishing.
You’ll get insider information and strategic advice from two pros with different views about publishing.
- Writing queries & proposals
- Cover Design
- Social Media and Platforms
Susy Flory grew up on the back of a quarter horse in Northern California. She has a background in journalism, education, and communications and earned degrees in English and psychology from UCLA. She taught high school English and journalism before embarking on a full-time writing career in 2004.
Susy’s books include Fear Not Da Vinci, So Long Status Quo, Dog Tales, Heaven Hears, and The Unbreakable Boy. Her runaway bestseller, Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero co-written with Michael Hingson, hit the New York Times bestsellers list in both hardcover nonfiction and e-book nonfiction the first week of release. Thunder Dog held the #1 NYT ranking for nonfiction e-books the week of September 11, 2011 and captured worldwide media attention. To date, Thunder Dog has sold over 140,000 copies.
Lorena Bathey attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga graduating with a degree in English.
She started writing her first book, Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother when her world fell apart and she needed to process changes in her life. Lorena found characters Marissa, Andrea, Lily, Deidre and Beatrice were visiting her and wouldn’t leave and her first novel, Beatrice Munson, came to life.
After finishing that book she was inspired to write more novels and she knew that pursuing her passion was the best way to live her life. So a writer she became.
Today Lorena has written several novels, Beatrice Munson, House on Plunkett Street, The X, Coaster, and Meeting Ms. Monroe. She is beginning research on two historical novels.
Saturday, November 16th, 9am-11:30am
First Covenant Church, Chapel
10933 Progress Court, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
The Publishing Smackdown is free for all Inspire Christian Writers members. Non-members pay $15.00 at the door.
Each month Inspire Christian Writers gather for the Build Your Author Platform workshop. This month Cheri Douglas will facilitate our training. Cheri has a huge Twitter ministry and is the author of the upcoming book, Tweeting God’s Love.
Twitter is a great place for Christian writers to minister worldwide! 140 characters facilitates a perfect discussion, and is the length of most Bible verse. No surprise, God is the fastest growing topic on Twitter today. Discussions on God often trend worldwide as the most tweeted topic of the moment. ~ Cheri Douglas
After a brief introduction to Twitter and its value to authors, Cheri will:
- Help writers set up a Twitter account (if needed)
- Explain the follower system.
- Help writers send & respond to tweets.
- Show writers how Twitter facilitates immediate ministry.
- Demonstrate how Tweetlonger can help non-blogging writers
- Explain hashtags and how to use them to connect with others on Twitter.
- Help writers join a prayer/chat with #WriteToInspire.
In order to participate fully, bring a tablet, laptop, or notebook computer. Be sure to visit Twitter.com and follow the prompts to establish a personal account. If you have problems with that, Cheri will be available at 8AM in room 203 to work with you.
Thursday, October 17th
9:00AM – 12:00 Noon
First Covenant Church, 10933 Progress Court, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
You will leave able to share your books or articles with a world of new friends!
This workshop is FREE for Inspire Members, non-members pay only $10 at the door!
I’m delighted to announce that Inspire Christian Writers is expanding to Sonoma County with a brand new group in Santa Rosa!
If you’re looking for a Christian writers group to provide encouragement, prayer support, feedback and fellowship, join us on Saturday, May 11, for an informational meeting with Christy Hoss, our newest group leader. Jennifer Hamilton and I will both be on hand to answer your questions and get the new group off to a great start.
Meet with us at 10 am at Starbucks, 860 Hopper Ave in Santa Rosa.
For more information about this group, contact Christy at Christy.Hoss@gmail.com
If you have questions about joining Inspire Christian Writers, contact JenniferHamilton@InspireWriters.com
Q4U: How has participating in a critique group helped you as a writer?
Every author needs a platform, a way to connect with current and potential readers–our audience.
Whether we publish through traditional channels or self-publish, it’s vital to create a way to connect with our intended audience. Otherwise, our messages or stories will not be read. And really, the point of writing books is that they would minister to others in some way.
Unread books provide no ministry. Ministry only happens when your books are read!
So, how do we get our books read? How do we connect with our intended readers?
We’ll begin probing those questions this Thursday as we kick of our “Build Your Author Platform” series of classes.
If you’re local, join us at First Covenant Church, 10933 Progress Court, Rancho Cordova (rm. 203) from 9am-noon to begin learning how to build your author platform.
Bring a copy of Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.
We’ll glean much of our content from Platform, but we’ll also bring in other experts in various aspects of platform-building to help us develop skills to design a platform that works with our unique gifts and personalities.
This series of classes will meet once a month on the third Thursday. It’s free for all Inspire Christian Writers Members!
What have you already done to build your author platform? What intimidates you about building one? What excites you?
For three days only, you can save $50 when you sign up to attend the 2013 Christian Writers Seminar.
Sign up between Friday, February 15th, and Sunday, February 17th. When you mention this Inspire blog post, registration is only $79.00. That’s a $50.00 savings off the price of registration at the door!
Contact Jon Drury at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this special price, no later than 5pm on Sunday, February 17th.
If you’ve already registered for the conference, just mention this post to Jon and you’ll receive a $20.00 refund.
Sign up today and join us for a fabulous time of learning, fellowship, prayer, and encouragement at the 2013 Christian Writers Seminar.
“The Redwood Chapel Christian Writers Seminar is one of the first places where I felt I belonged. I found encouragement, inspiration, and a sense of community, along with top-notch writing instruction at a very affordable price.” Susy Flory, New York Times bestselling author of Thunder Dog.
“I never expected God to use a local writer’s seminar to give me courage to test my wings and fly into the next season of my writing career. The critiques and workshops equipped me to sharpen my writing and taught me more about the publishing industry.” Xochi Dixon, Writer, speaker and Bible study teacher.
Will you be joining us for the Christian Writers Seminar? What do you hope to learn? If you’ve attended in the past, share what you got out of it.
I watched helplessly as one of the worst storms of all time slammed into the eastern United States. I’m sure you did too.
Hurricane Sandy destroyed thousands of homes and businesses and claimed over a hundred lives in the US.
If you would like to help those who are suffering in the wake of this disaster, I have great news for you. Author Susan Meissner has created a way for novelists to help.
Here’s how you can help the victims of Sandy and also get a little first aid for your novel!
WHAT: Bid on a 50-page critique of your novel by a published novelist. The highest bidder will send their amount to Samaritans Purse toward relief efforts for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. Authors are listed at end of this post.
WHEN: Begins Friday, November 9, ends Friday midnight EST November 16.
HOW: Head to the blog of the author you’d like to have critique your 50 pages. Find their Write Now Relief blog post and post your bid in the comments section of that post. Monitor it closely so that you can re-bid!
If you are the high bidder when the campaign ends, make your donation and email a copy of your receipt to the author with your 50 pages. It’s that easy.
How much is a 50-page critique worth?
Most authors and editors can easily charge $35 an hour and a fifty-page critique is well over three hours of labor. But this labor of love is for victims who have lost everything. Their need is huge! One blogger last week had a top donation bid of $1,000 for a 50-page critique!
What will the critique entail?
The author you choose will read your fifty pages with an eye to giving you insights and feedback on all aspects of your story excerpt, including plot, character, story arc, mechanics, pacing, and reader appeal.
What is Samaritan’s Purse?
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Here is a video from Samaritan’s Purse on their efforts to help Sandy’s victims.
How do I donate to Samaritan’s Purse?
You can head to the Samaritan’s Purse webpage on Hurricane Sandy http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/hurricane_sandy/
and click on the GIVE link imbedded on the page. Whether you are the highest bidder or not, do consider donating to this effort!
How do I start?
Pick an author below, click on their link and head to their blog to make your opening bid!
Susan Meissner Women’s fiction, historical, contemporary http://susanlmeissner.com/write-now-relief/
Ginny Yttrup Women’s Fiction, Contemporary http://ginnyyttrup.com/words-for-life
Hannah Alexander Contemporary romantic suspense, Christian romance, both contemporary and historical http://girlswriteout.blogspot.com
Nicole O’Dell YA http://nicoleodell.com/home-2/o_blog
Rachel Hauck All genres http://rachelhayeshauck.blogspot.com
Jill Williamson Middle grade, and YA or adult for spec fiction (fantasy, science fiction, etc. http://www.jillwilliamson.com/jill-williamsons-blog/
Gayle Roper Romantic suspense, suspense, mystery and romance. Hosted by Nancy Mehl www.nancymehl.blogspot.com
Miralee Ferrell Historical romance, women’s contemporary fiction, romantic suspense www.miraleeferrell.com
Donita K. Paul YA, Fantasy, romance http://dragonbloggin.blogspot.com
Ruth Axtell Historical Romance http://ruthaxtell.blogspot.com
Kathy Fuller Amish, contemporary, historical, screenplays www.amishhearts.com
Missy Tippens Contemporary category romance, anyone targeting Love Inspired. http://lifewithmissy.blogspot.com/
Do you have any comments about this writerly effort to raise relief funds for Sandy victims? If so, leave them below. Otherwise, let the bidding begin!
Writing As Ministry—learn how to use words to cultivate prayer.
If you had words that could make a difference in the life of a cancer sufferer, would you write them down?
If a cancer sufferer had words that could make a difference in your life, would you listen?
If you answered yes to either question, join us October 20 to be inspired by Ethel Herr, well-known author, speaker and cancer survivor, as she reflects on how God heals through suffering, no matter its source or its outcome.
Ethel and her team will encourage you to be part of God’s healing in the life of someone you love facing life-threatening illness. Learn how to use words to build up a praying community around the one who is sick.
Marcia Brim will speak on the ministry of PrayerBook40, building communities that unite friends and family across geographical bounds, as they lift up the sick, and those who love them, to the Father.
As the body of Christ, we can stimulate one another to love and good deeds, learn from one another while life is being threatened, and discover the benevolence and sufficiency of the God who gives life, sustains it and brings deep healing through sickness and suffering.
You’ll leave the seminar equipped to make a difference in the life of a sufferer and renewed in your confidence that God redeems suffering for the good of his people.
Join Inspire Christian Writers:
Saturday, October 20, 2012
at Sun River Church
11223 Trinity River Drive
Doors open at 8:15am, conference from 9:00am-5:00pm.
Seating is limited to the first 60 registrants. Click here to register today!
Admission for this event is $25 for Inspire members, $35 for non-members.
If you have any questions, contact Marcia Brim at email@example.com.
I’m sorry to announce that we have cancelled the Writing as Ministry seminar. If you are interested in learning more about PrayerBook40, please contact Marcia Brim.
I met Thomas Umstattd at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. After chatting with him, I was impressed by his humility and brilliance. He actually made technology less intimidating, and even a bit more inviting.
I’ve come across many writers who cringe at the mention of platform building and marketing strategies. But, with a pal like Thomas, writers can gain the courage and confidence required to develop an effective online presence.
I’m pleased to introduce you to Thomas Umstattd, founder of Author Media and The Best Seller Society.
Thank you for joining us, Thomas. Would you please share a little bit about your background and experience?
I built my first website at age 13, taught my first web design class at age 16, and have been helping Authors online since 2007.
WOW! Building your first website at 13? I can barely post on my website and I’m . . . no comment. So, what made you decide to launch The Best Seller Society?
I was at a writer’s conference where the speaker encouraged us to start a blog and a website for our books. I remember thinking, no problem I do that all the time.
Then, I saw the look of panic on the faces of the other attendees and realized I had something to offer the author community.
We launched the Bestseller Society several years later. Our goal is to provide authors the resources they need to succeed year round.
How can unpublished writers and published authors benefit from your services?
Platforms are essential. And Author Media builds platforms for authors every day.
We do everything from building the website to setting up Facebook and Twitter. We show you how to use social media effectively and will even do it for you. (You can see samples here!)
How does Author Media and The BSS serve writers who are not tech savvy?
If you’re tech savvy, you probably don’t need our help . We hold each author’s hand through the scary world of technology.
I’m already feeling less intimidated by the process. But, what can those super-writers, who excel in all things technology, gain from partnering with your team?
The biggest thing we offer “super-writers” is time. Just because you know how to do something doesn’t mean you have the time to do it.
We work with Bestselling authors. The biggest reason they come to us is that they’re too busy writing and speaking to worry about their website.
In your experience, what is the greatest challenge a writer faces with platform building?
Have you been reading my journal, Thomas? Just kidding. How has your team helped writers overcome that challenge?
We give authors the tools, coaching and encouragement they need to not only help them overcome their fear, but to equip them to thrive in their writing and promotion.
Sounds like a win-win situation, to me. What are some easy, inexpensive ways writers can begin building a platform today?
Start blogging. That is the core of good online platform building for authors because it is so similar to writing. Just avoid blogger, blogspot, typepad and WordPress.com. If you want a successful blog it needs to be on YourName.com or YourBookTitle.com.
Great tip! What final words of encouragement would you like to share with writers who are intimidated by platform building and marketing strategies?
The anticipation of the unknown is the hardest thing to overcome. Just get started. You’ll find it’s not as tough as you might think, especially if you have someone to help you along.
Thank you for joining us, Thomas. I look forward to seeing how God continues to use the BSS and Author Media to encourage writers as you equip them to excel in the art of platform building.
Xochi (so-she) E. Dixon is an writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who loves Jesus and studying God’s Word. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Alan, their teenage son, Xavier, and their doggy-daughter, Jazzy. Xochi writes contemporary fiction, articles and devotions for women. Her short stories and poetry for teens have been featured in ENCOUNTER – The Magazine, Devo ‘Zine, and on the Real Teen Faith website. Connect with Xochi on her website at www.xedixon.com or on Facebook and Twitter.
Our critique groups are the backbone of Inspire Christian Writers. They are where good writers become great writers, where cardboard characters come to life and sagging plots are transformed into page-turners. Where those seeking to share a message discover how to turn a message into ministry.
Because we understand the transformative power of critique groups, we are thrilled to announce the launch of two new groups, one in Modesto and one in San Leandro, California.
If you live within driving distance of either of these locations, join us for the adventure of growing your craft and developing friendships with other writers.
Are you close to Modesto? Jane Baker is launching our Inspire Modesto group. This group will meet for the first time on Thursday, August 2nd from 7-9pm at Jane’s home. You can email her for directions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspire Modesto will meet regularly on the first Thursday of each month.
Are you closer to San Leandro? Danielle McCurry and Stephanie Orr are launching our Inspire San Leandro group. They will host an informational meeting on Tuesday, July 17th at 6:00pm.
For location please contact Danielle (email@example.com) or Stephanie (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they’ll help you get connected.
To see all of our group locations, check out our Groups page.
If you are in an Inspire critique group, tell us how it has helped you in your writing journey. Not in a group yet? What do you expect to gain when you join?