Sonja Anderson: Book-Loving Librarian, Educator, and Children’s Author

by Eric Gollings

The first time I went to a book launch, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My family arrived at the Burien Public Library a little late and found a crowd packed into the expansive meeting room.

I stood at the door listening and craning to see the author over the throng. Behind me, the sun shone through tall windows on rows of shelves with countless books. I thought, “What a perfect place for a book launch.”

That book launch debuted Sonja Anderson’s novel, Sophie’s Quest.

The first thing you notice about the book is the beautiful cover art depicting an owl wearing a purse and hat, soaring over a sunny harbor. As you read, you find that it deals with deep questions of faith, culture, and the differences that often divide us. It does this all in a way that is accessible and engaging for young readers. For an aspiring novelist, the story of how this book and its sequel came into being is as uplifting as the adventure itself.

Sonja Anderson loves books. She is a multi-published author, an educator, and a librarian—the perfect vocations for a book lover.

Her love of reading and teaching has taken her many places. In Chicago, she studied history at North Park College. At Harvard University in Boston she earned a Master of Education degree. In Tokyo she taught kindergarten and second grade at an international school.

Since coming to Washington State she has taught every grade as a substitute teacher in Seattle Public Schools, and for twelve years she served as the Christian Formation Coordinator for the North Pacific Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. She is currently the library tech at her local elementary school where she helps children find books that will ignite their own passion for lifelong reading. Sonja Anderson is also an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators and of the Northwest Christian Writers Association.

At this year’s Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Sonja will share her insights in two break-out sessions for emerging writers.

Authors and Children’s Book Illustration: How the Publisher, Illustrator, and Author Work Together (or Not) to Create a Great Book – Learn common misunderstandings many writers have about the way children’s books are illustrated. This includes both picture books and the cover art for novels. Gain an understanding about the quality of the art that should be submitted with your story—or if it should even be submitted—and learn what to expect when working with a publisher. (Emerging-writer level)

Sleuthing for Success: How Nancy Drew Would Get Her Children’s Story Published – Learn the pros and cons of indie publishing vs. royalty publishing for children’s works. Discover how thinking creatively, flexibly, and realistically about the best ways to reach kids can help you find the right agent/editor/publisher for your children’s story. Learn how prayer and a generous attitude toward other writers can help make connections, build relationships, and provide encouragement during not-so-successful days of writing and marketing. Included: tips on using print resources and conducting successful Internet searches for potential markets. (Emerging-writer level)

Don’t miss hearing Sonja Anderson at the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal. Sign up now!

____________________________________________________________

Eric Gollings, a humanitarian professional with an MBA, is fluent in Spanish, Chinese, and English and has spent years living and serving in Latin America and Asia. For the last eight years, he has worked for World Vision. His writing and speaking interests include history, theology, humanitarian affairs, and speculative fiction. Eric enjoys creating clear and compelling communication, whether through blog posts, stories, professional e-mails, or speaking engagements.

2013 Workshops Revisited: “Public Speaking Start to Finish” by Michelle Hollomon and Laura Smith

Missed a workshop at the conference? Lost your handouts? We’re here to help!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At NCWA’s Renewal Conference, Michelle and Laura Smith presented: “Public Speaking Start to Finish.”

Click here for “So You Want to be a Speaker” handout.

Click here to order CDs from the conference.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Michelle Hollomon picMichelle Hollomon, MA, LMHC, is the host of Relationship Coach Radio on the Alive in Christ Radio Network, and author of God Unwrapped. She is a licensed counselor in Redmond, Washington, a wife to one dashing man and mother to two sassy daughters. She has been a member of NCWA since 2010. Click here to visit her website.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Laura Smith picLaura Smith is an accomplished speaker and graduate of the Butterworth Communicators Institute. She is experienced as a corporate presenter as well as sought-after faith-based retreat speaker. Laura is the author of Questions From a Single Heart.

Click here to visit her website.

January NCWA Meeting Highlights

Laura Smith1Laura Smith’s topic was “Speaking with Relevance.”

“If you feel like you’d rather jump off a cliff than stand in front of a group of people and speak, you’re not alone.  However, in order to establish that all so important platform, writers are being called upon to speak in a variety of venues these days.”

She taught us “the one principle that will make your speaking resonate with all audiences.  Beginner, intermediate, and accomplished speakers will become relatable when they learn to consistently employ this one key ingredient to their public speaking.”

Laura Smith is NCWA’s own Speaker’s Connection Coordinator and is an accomplished speaker and graduate of the Butterworth Communicator’s Institute. She is experienced as a corporate presenter as well as a sought after faith based retreat and event speaker.

Laura’s adventures and daring spirit shine through in her words as a speaker, contributor to magazines, blog articles, and book Questions from a Single Heart. To learn more about Laura visit her website or her blog.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In “The Write Start,” June Temple taught about “Organizing Through Story Boarding.”

June Temple

Marilyn GrayThe Devotional, “Breakthrough and Cross Over” was presented by Marilyn Gray. Click here for Marilyn’s website.

All photos courtesy of Karen Robbins.

Ten Unusual Tips for Public Speakers by Bill Giovannetti

NCWA blog welcomes Pastor Bill Giovannetti with tips #6-10. Click here for #1-5.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bill's pic6. Notes on one side.Don’t use both sides of the paper for your notes. Just use one side. That way, your audience won’t mark time every time you flip over a sheet. Slide them, don’t flip them.

7. Don’t look at your watch. Take it off and set it on your podium. If you keep checking your wrist, your audience will join you. Or set your iPhone timer on your podium. Make sure your ringer is off. I learned the hard way — during a radio interview — that the timer’s alarm will sound even with the toggle switch for sound turned off. Ugh. P.S., end on time.

8. Don’t shade your eyes.Bright lights and a dim audience put you blindedbylightsat a disadvantage; don’t admit it. Don’t even hint at it.  Only a rookie would say, “Wow, it’s dark in here and these lights are blinding; I can’t see anybody!” You’ve just signed a permission slip for the rowdies to goof off. Again, you’ve created emotional distance — a big mistake. Instead, look into the darkness and make eye contact with nothingness. Do this in random places, all across the space where you think your audience is. Don’t shade your eyes; it’s unprofessional. If you’re early enough, you can work with the light-board operator to find out what your settings will be, and negotiate accordingly.

9. Deliver valuable content. Substance makes up for style [almost] every time. Have something to say — something valuable, and rich, and deep. Especially if you’re a preacher. Sermons should offer meat, not just milk. Give deep truths your audience really needs. We do not enter the pulpit to entertain, nor to make a name for ourselves. We stand and deliver the oracles of God, straight from the Written Word of God, to spread a feast before the people of God. An audience will forgive unpolished speaking if they feel they’ve obtained valuable content, as long as it’s well-organized. Unless you’re Jerry Seinfeld, don’t do a talk about nothing.

10. It’s not about you.Nobody cares how excited you are to be there. They may be excited to hear you, but that’s not the point. All that up-front gushing about how cool it is you got to speak to this group is back-asswards. Instead of telling them how you feel about yourself, tell them how the world feels about them (I’m assuming you’re a guest speaker at a one-time event, not a regular preacher to the same people, in which case they’ll get sick of this really fast, so skip it). For example, “I want you to know that everywhere I go, I hear about your church [say name] and the great things [specify] you are doing. In the pastor groups I’m part of, I want you to know how highly respected your pastor is. When Pastor Melchizedek speaks, other pastors take notes. I’m honored to be here.” Something like that. Don’t be a false flatterer and don’t lie. And never undercut your own credentials (=credibility) by saying how unworthy you are to be there. Just honor your audience and get beyond yourself so you can bless your listeners.

What are some tips you have learned? Or some pet peeves you’ve seen?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post first appeared October 29, 2012 on Bill’s website . Re-posted by kind permission.

Dr. Bill Giovannetti, is the senior pastor of Neighborhood Church in Redding, CA. His third book, Secrets to a Happy Life, hits the shelves Spring 2013 from Bethany House Publishers. Bill serves on the faculty of A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary and Simpson University. He has written numerous articles and devotionals that “engage the mind and touch the heart.” A city-boy by birth, Bill now enjoys life with his wife and two kids amidst the snow-capped peaks and pristine forests of northern California.

Be Relevant to Your Audience

As if my ill-timed joke were a dried-up leaf, I watched it hover mid-air before it slowly drifted to the ground where it lay quivering for a moment before disintegrating on the spot. I stared at the floor where the joke had landed and then looked into the hostile faces of my audience. I was not liking what I was seeing, and that’s when I threw out the desperate prayer, “God, help me!”

In an instant, He gave me an answer. “Why, Laura, would you try to tell this group of people a joke? They’re upset. Skip the jokes, and give them something they can use.”

I’d been called in to patch things up with employees whose workload had been doubled by new policies. They didn’t need me to be funny! They needed me to tell them that what they were doing made a difference.

I skipped the next three slides on my PowerPoint presentation and spent 40 minutes explaining the methodology behind the new policies. As I described the importance of their individual contributions, I saw arms unfold, pursed lips relax, and bodies lean forward as they engaged with the information.

The change in performance over the next month was dramatic, and I’d learned one of the most valuable lessons for what would eventually become the basis for all of my speaking.

Be relevant to your audience.

Jesus’ message was not always popular, but His words changed lives. Whether He was charging a man of his sinfulness, pointing out the need for forgiveness, or speaking words of compassion, His message was always relevant to the need at hand.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Laura Smith picLaura is NCWA’s own Speaker’s Connection Coordinator and is an accomplished speaker and graduate of the Butterworth Communicator’s Institute. She is experienced as a corporate presenter as well as a sought after faith based retreat and event speaker. Laura’s adventures and daring spirit shine through in her words as a speaker, contributor to magazines, blog articles, and book Questions from a Single Heart. Engaging and fun, Laura wants to meet you at your place of need. Learn more about Laura at her website or blog.

Ten Unusual Tips for Public Speakers by Bill Giovannetti

NCWA blog welcomes Bill Giovannetti!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bill's picHere are a few unusual tips for public speakers, no matter your setting. These are not your standard tips… it’s stuff I don’t think I’ve ever read, but have learned the hard way, in three decades of public speaking. Here we go:

1. Gesture backwards.Do a quick experiment: count out loud to five, and gesture with your right hand to indicate each number as you say it. Which way did your hand move? We read left to right. Most of us gesture that direction. A public speaker should gesture backwards, so your audience sees it from left to right. So, if you’re outlining America’s wars, you would go from right to left: Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, etc. Ditto for physical movement across the stage. Place the Jews in Egypt on the stage right (your right), and then step to the left to talk about the Red Sea, and more to the left to talk about the wanderings in the wilderness, and then even more to the left to talk about the Promised Land. Your backwards is your audience’s forwards. Get it?

2. Speak in the singular, not the plural.Speaking in the singular helps close the emotional distance between you and your audience. When you speak in the plural, you subtly add to that distance. For example, when you say, “Please turn off your cell phones,” your listener feels (without thinking) “I didn’t bring cell phones; I just brought a cell phone.” I do not say, “Open your Bibles to John 3:16.” I say, “Open your Bible” because each person only has one. Sometimes I use the plural on purpose: “Some here today have never made the choice of faith…” But that’s intentional. Otherwise, you should always try to close the distance between you and your audience by speaking in the singular. That’s how you create intimacy.headinsand

3. Love consonants. Articulate. The great orators pronounce every consonant, especially final consonants. They don’t get lazy and mumble their words’ last syllables. Babies make unintelligible vowel sounds with weak consonants at the begining… “goo goo gaa gaa.”  Grown ups close their vowel sounds with crisp consonants at the end. The oldest listener with the most obsolete hearing aid should have no problem deciphering your words. For years I have told preaching students to slow down. Now I tell them to articulate; it automatically makes them slow down. It also forces them to pause more frequently, a very good habit of public speakers.

4. Second person, please.One can only do damage to one’s speaking abilities when one insists on the third person mode of address. Yuchh. I want to get down and dirty and get in your face. Again, if you do it right, you’ll create intimacy; your talk will feel like a conversation.

5. Microphone management.If you have to hold it, hold it super-close. Don’t tap it. Don’t say, “Am I on?” Don’t pop your P’s straight into it; speak across the top, sending your breath into the distance, not into the mic. If you get feedback, and there’s a sound board operator, pull it away, but then bring it right back so the operator can adjust. If there’s no operator, good luck. When you get loud, pull back from the mic. You don’t need volume, you just need intensity, and that will translate without the mic up close. Watch how Frank Sinatra moves the mic in and out. Yeah, like that.

Next Thursday, tips # 6-10

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post first appeared October 29, 2012 on Bill’s website . Re-posted by kind permission.

Dr. Bill Giovannetti, is the senior pastor of Neighborhood Church in Redding, CA. His third book, Secrets to a Happy Life, hits the shelves Spring 2013 from Bethany House Publishers. Bill serves on the faculty of A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary and Simpson University. He has written numerous articles and devotionals that “engage the mind and touch the heart.” A city-boy by birth, Bill now enjoys life with his wife and two kids amidst the snow-capped peaks and pristine forests of northern California.

How to Handle Stage Fright by Bill Giovannetti

NCWA blog welcomes Bill Giovannetti!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I speak in public; I am a preacher. Most weekends I speak 4 times to a total audience of a couple thousand people.  Public speaking is the normal person’s greatest fear — so say the statistics. I have stage fright, yet I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. It’s been said that Johnny Carson had stage fright before every show. He kept paper clips on his desk so he could fiddle with them during the program.

For my first two years as a pastor, I was sick to my stomach before I preached (not barfing, but the other end… sorry… ). So while everyone was preparing to start our church services, I was in the bathroom… Ugh.

I have not fully conquered stage fright; but I’m able to manage my fears and get the job done. Here are some hard-won tips:

  1. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE. You can reduce a whole lot of fear through thorough preparation. Know your topic, know your main points. I am a manuscript preacher and like to write out my whole sermon. That doesn’t work for everybody — you have to find what works for you. There is no excuse, however, for a preacher, or any public speaker, who wings it. Lazy prep is our unpardonable sin. Prepare well, especially…
  2. FOCUS ON YOUR OPENING. If you don’t want to write out your whole talk, at least try writing the opening. The hardest part is getting started. Once you’re going, you’ll do great. Spend extra time figuring out your exact opening words and sentences. This may include a thank you to whoever introduced/invited you. It may include a Scripture verse (easy, because it gives you permission to read, thus getting your voice properly modulated). Whatever gets the ball rolling, prepare it well.
  3. USE HUMOR. If it suits your topic, use humor. Make sure your funny story contributes to your overall theme — a random joke will come across as just that. But if you have a funny illustration, story, or opening that is RELEVANT to the group, use it.
  4. ARRIVE EARLY TO NAIL DOWN LOGISTICS. Come long before the crowd arrives. Stand behind the podium. Look across the empty chairs. Figure out how to arrange your notes. Do your sound check. Find the clock. Know your stop time (don’t look at your watch unless you want the whole audience to follow suit). Find out how you will be introduced. Find out where you will stand/sit before you speak. That last thing you want is to have to pick your way around instruments, or to discover you have no podium for your notes, right when you’re beginning to speak. No surprises. Do not come late; do not make yourself feel rushed. Yikes! Getting comfortable with your surroundings well before speech-time relieves a lot of anxiety, thus freeing up mental and emotional harddrive space for your talk.

Click here to read more on Bill’s original post. Re-posted here by kind permission.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dr. Bill Giovannetti, is the senior pastor of Neighborhood Church in Redding, CA. His third book, Secrets to a Happy Life, hits the shelves Spring 2013 from Bethany House Publishers. Bill serves on the faculty of A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary and Simpson University. He has written numerous articles and devotionals that “engage the mind and touch the heart.” A city-boy by birth, Bill now enjoys life with his wife and two kids amidst the snow-capped peaks and pristine forests of northern California. Click here to visit Bill’s website.

 

Do Book Signings Really Work? By Bryan Heathman

Bryan Heathman will be NCWA’s speaker at our October 1st meeting. See end of post for links.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Authors often ask “Is it worth it to do a bookstore tour?”  This is a valid question!

Organizing a tour of bookstores is time-consuming and can be expensive, so this question comes up often with authors.  Nobody wants to be “that author” sitting behind a table in a bookstore with no line, no fans and not a single book sold.  Yet it happens more often than you think.

So what can you do to make a book signing rock?

The formula I’m about to share was formulated by the President of Andante Publishing, Bill Chandler, which he used to sell over 10,000 copies of his book “The Ultimate Inventors Handbook”.  This was not a vampire novel, nor a book about casting spells.  It is a book for inventors.

Bill’s background as a Marketing Professor helps, as he understands the psychological dynamics of buying behavior.  But one day, Bill was “that author”…sitting behind his book table for one hour without a single person talking to him.  How embarrassing and what an incredible waste of time!

Soooo, Bill set-out to create a formula for making books signings a success.  And did he ever!  Here is how Bill made book signings work, and how you can too by following this simple 10-step formula.

1.   Call a local bookstore and schedule your signing.  Be prepared to talk-up your book.  This is easier than you think and the bookstores will welcome your call.

2.   After scheduling your date, send your author bio, photo, cover artwork, ISBN number and a description of your book to the store contact.

3.   Contact the local radio stations and newspapers in the area of the bookstore and send them a Press Release with the details of your book signings.  You’ll be staggered at how they respond.

4.   Create a list of questions for media interviewers (radio, TV), along with a topic of interest to talk about.  The more current or controversial is always a good bet with the media.

5.   Check-in with the bookstore to ensure they have produced flyers promoting your signing.

6.   Call, email and make social media posts so all your friends know about your event.  Try to ensure at least 20 friends/family/co-workers can show up.  There is power in a crowd, and a crowd draws a crowd!  When you bring a crowd, the bookstore will love you!

7.   Get to the store 1 hour before your signing and hand-out postcards talking about your book.  Personally invite shoppers to join you at your time and tell them where to go.

8.   Personally get on the In-Store Announcement system to call people to your table.

9.   Deliver your well-rehearsed 20-30 minute speech about your book, tell some stories and do a reading from your book.

10.  Don’t be shy about giving people the opportunity to take home a signed copy of your book at the end of your speech.  Taking home a signed book is highly valuable to the general public.  Remember this, as this is the most important part of this formula:  Ask for the order.

But wait, you’re not done yet!  The key to this formula is to schedule five to ten store signings within a 2-3 week period, with the emphasis on Steps #3 & #4 above.  The repetition of your message is the magic, and you’ll find that the 2nd or 3rd time people here about you and your book, they get more responsive and more willing to buy.  Repetitive messages lead to trust and trust leads to purchase behavior.

Once you have saturated the bookstores in one market, move to the next market.  By performing these 10-steps for several months, you too can cross the threshold of selling 10,000 books and be on your way to becoming a Best Selling author!

Good Selling!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Join us on October 1st to hear Bryan speak at the NCWA meeting. Click here for more details.

Bryan Heathman is a sales and marketing expert, author of Conversion Marketing and President of AudioInk Publishing.  Bryan helps authors overcome the hurdle of “book obscurity” with a clever blend of publishing and marketing techniques.  His Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, 24/7 Real Media, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.  Bryan is a featured speaker at the National Speakers Association and Direct Marketing Association.  Bryan holds a BS Degree in Economics with minors in Marketing and Music.  Visit AudioLink to learn more.

What Happens in Vagueness Stays in Vagueness

NCWA welcomes Clark Whelton from City Journal.

The decline and fall of American English, and stuff.

I recently watched a television program in which a woman described a baby squirrel that she had found in her yard. “And he was like, you know, ‘Helloooo, what are you looking at?’…(click on the link to read rest of article).

http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_1_snd-american-english.html