Lynnette Bonner Conquers the Indie Publishing Jungle

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

Because of Lynnette Bonner’s unique upbringing, one might almost think she was destined to forge a new path as an independent author.

She began life in Malawi, Africa, where her parents were missionaries. She learned to speak Chichewa (Chee-chay-wuh) fluently, climbed acacia trees, sampled fire-braised termites, and ran through tall, crisp grasses playing “cows” with her young African friends.

From fourth grade on, she resided at a Kijabe, Kenya, boarding school during each curricular term. When she came to the US to attend college, she met a young man who had grown up “in the sticks of Idaho. That’s just about as close as you can get to African ambiance and still be on US soil,” she says. That man is now her husband, Pastor Marty Bonner.

LynnetteBonnerPinableAfter Lynnette finished her first novel in 2000 and submitted it to many publishers and agents, a small e-book publisher finally offered her a contract and released her book. Then the company promptly went out of business. By that time she was homeschooling her two oldest kids, had a toddler, and then gave birth to her fourth child.

“I told the Lord the book was in his hands,” she says, admitting she was pretty sure he already knew that. She also determined that if God had given her the story just to help her through those tough, stressful years, she’d try to be content.

“But I kept asking him to direct my steps where the book was concerned. I specifically remember praying that if the Lord wanted this book to be published, he would need to ‘drop a publisher in my lap’ because I didn’t have time to shop it around again.”

Several years later, a small press—the first she’d submitted to in seven years—eagerly picked up the book, and Lynnette was on her way.

Eventually she realized that she could be even more effective if she became an “indie” author—a writer who publishes independently instead of with traditional publishers. That decision encompassed much more than mere self-publishing. It involved every step of the process: writing, editing, proofreading, layout, cover design, marketing, and even legal concerns, such as acquiring each book’s ISBN number.

Perhaps adapting to a new culture when she came to the US as a young adult helped Lynnette acquire the skills she’d need years later for negotiating the jungles of independent publishing.

She has been successful in her endeavors. To date, Lynnette has indie-published ten books. At the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, she will share the secrets she has learned.

An Overview of Indie Publishing-1) An Overview of Indie Publishing: Nothing Less than the Best (Friday, May 15) – What exactly is indie publishing? How is it accomplished, who is best suited to go that route, and what’s the best way to go about it? Let’s talk about print and e-book formatting that shines, and much, much more.

Making Your eBooks Work for You2) Making Your E-books Work for You (Saturday, May 16) – Learn about the many passive marketing techniques you can incorporate into your e-books to make them work harder for you. We’ll talk about the first things all successful indie authors need to have in place, along with other verified marketing techniques proven to work for the instructor and many of her indie author friends. If you have an e-book you want to take to the next level, this is the class for you.

Lynnette’s latest book, Song of the Surf, will be awarded to every qualified person who enters this year’s Grand Prize Contest. Don’t miss your opportunity to win a free ten-page manuscript critique by our keynote speaker, Angela Hunt, along with an e-book copy of Lynnette’s newest Christian romance.

To learn timely insights about indie publishing, sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal!

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

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Save Time, Market Better with a “TweetSheet” Cheat Sheet

by Mindy Peltier, Director of WriteTech Conference 2015

Twitter is a great way to promote author events, such as book launches, book signings, book sales, and conferences. It’s free, fast, and far-reaching. Gone are the days of buying mailing lists or newspaper ads. To easily garner social-media support from your staff or launch team create a “TweetSheet”—a Word document that’s a cheat sheet of hyper-linked tweets.

Try saying that three times.

TweetTwitter is a free, fast, and far-reaching way to promote author events.

A TweetSheet is a Twitter Cheat Sheet used for an effective social media campaign.If you have a few hundred friends who have a few hundred friends who have a few hundred friends, the impact on social media can be tremendous. But, you need to make it easy for people to help you market through Twitter. If you ask them to tweet, they’ll want to, but not know what to say, what hashtags to use, or which handles to use.

A TweetSheet makes sure it takes around 5 seconds to promote.

TweetSheet developed for the Twitter campaign to promote the WriteTech conference in 2015.Northwest Christian Writers Association’s amazing Publicity Coordinator, Kim Vandel, created a two-page TweetSheet for promoting our WriteTech Conference through Twitter.

She wrote two suggested tweets for each conference workshop and included hashtags, Twitter handles, and a shortened link. We chose the hashtag #WriteTech2015 for our conference. NCWA’s Twitter handle, @NWCWriters, is used in each tweet, and since all of the workshop presenters are also on Twitter, each presenter’s handle was added to the tweet that promotes the workshop that particular individual is teaching.

To create a TweetSheet, start by writing in a Word document the text of your tweets. Include relevant hashtags and handles. Then you need to use two tools: one to shorten the URL of your website and one to make each tweet a clickable link.

SHORTEN THE URLS

The link to the WriteTech Conference on our website http://nwchristianwriters.org/page-1829379 uses too much real estate in Twitter, which allows only 140 characters per tweet. Bitly is one of the tools that can be used to shorten links for Twitter.

Bitly long pm

Cut and paste the URL into the appropriate box on Bitly.com and click Shorten.

bitly short pm

The shorter link is easily used by clicking Copy. Paste the link into your environment, whether it’s Twitter or your Word document.

yellow links pmTHE CLICK-TO-TWEET TOOL

When all your tweets are completed, you’re ready for the Click to Tweet tool that creates a shortened hyperlink of your entire tweet. Then, when you click on Click Here to Tweet, all the information below that line opens up in Twitter.

clicktotweet new pm

In the box at clicktotweet.com type or paste in your tweet text, shortened link, hashtags, and Twitter handle. Click Generate New Link.

clicktotweet two new pmThis shortened link now represents all the material you typed into the box above.

CREATE THE HYPERLINK

The final step is to hyperlink the words Click Here to Tweet with the shortened link you created.

clicktotweet three pm

When you click the words above Click Here to Tweet–go ahead and try it–a dialogue box in Twitter opens and your message is ready to be tweeted. Then click Tweet.

TweetSheets can help you promote conferences, monthly meetings, book launches, and book-signing parties. Whenever you invest time in creating a cheat sheet for Twitter, your social media campaign will produce results.

TweetCreate a TweetSheet, a Twitter cheat sheet, for an effective social media campaign.

 

 

TweetSheet header

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Learn to use Scrivener #writing software with @dennisbrooke. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Increase your #writing productivity with cloud technology. @dennisbrooke #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Organize your #writing life with cloud technology. @dennisbrooke #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Capture inspiration with on-the-go tools. @GigiMurfitt #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Turn waiting time into #writing time with on-the-go tools. @GigiMurfitt #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, gain a horde of raving readers on @goodreads. @ThomasUmstattd #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, learn how to boost book sales using @goodreads. @ThomasUmstattd #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Unleash the power of hashtags, lists, and more with @TreDigital. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, learn how to grow your @twitter platform in 15mins/day. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Build #author credibility with a professional media package. @RedemptionPress #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, brand yourself with a professional media package. @RedemptionPress #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Make the most of Track Changes and Document Sharing in MS Word. @EditorMWords #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Tips and tricks from @EditorMWords to maximize communication in MS Word. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Want to #indie publish? Learn about cover design, formatting, and more w/ @lynnettebonner. #WriteTech2015 @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Learn what you need to know before you #indie publish. @lynnettebonner #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, turn blog browsers into book buyers. @MindyJPeltier #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Blogging strategy for published and pre-published #authors w/ @MindyJPeltier. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Simple strategies to create a powerful @twitter profile. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Strategies to create a strong @twitter following. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, create a brand your readers will eat up. @jameslrubart #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, create a brand readers will share with the masses. @jameslrubart #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

Our Most Embarrassing Moments at a Writers Conference

Writers conferences are a great source of instruction, encouragement, and blessing to the writer, but they can also cause stress.  Writers know attending a conference can be crucial to their success.  They’re told that the agents and editors are the gatekeepers to publication and they usually have less than three minutes to get through the gate.

Shaking voices, trembling hands, and sweat-stained armpits prove writers are aware how  each encounter could fulfill or flounder publication dreams.

embarrassing moments

In the final countdown to the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal April 11-12, 2014,  with Davis Bunn, the proverbial butterflies have begun their migration to registrants.  To relieve pressure with laughter, NCWA members decided to share our worst conference experiences.

 

 

Ocieanna


Ocieanna Fleiss
– An editor from a prominent Christian publisher told me to not be afraid to write a @#$% first draft. LOL! At my first writers conference EVER! I about lost it and the very sweet, conservative older lady sitting next to me almost fell off her chair.

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Roberta-Kehle

Roberta Kehle –  I used to  pick up our speakers at the airport, but often got lost going to the hotel, usually when they needed to go to the bathroom and were in misery.  Another time I was trying to get a Starbucks for an agent and had a minor parking lot mishap. They quit asking my pick-up help. Wonder why? Hmm, this might scare off attendees.

 

sonjaSonja Anderson – My most embarrassing moment related to a writing conference came after the conference. I had the opportunity to submit a manuscript to an agent and an editor from the annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in Seattle. After I wrote a query letter to the female editor from a fancy New York publishing house, I thought I’d save time and cut and paste the letter for the male agent from Chicago.

Big mistake! Imagine my great grief and embarrassment when I looked at the letter more carefully (after hitting “send,” of course, to the male agent ), and saw that I never removed the line about hoping that the rest of her PREGNANCY went well!
Needless to say, I never heard back from that agent. Sigh.

 

LynnetteLynnette Bonner – At an NCWA conference several years ago, I sat in on a pitch session with a big-name agent. She liked what she heard and requested that I send her a proposal after the conference. Later that same day she was chatting with Jim Rubart.

I needed to talk to Jim about something so I approached and was standing off to one side as they chatted. Jim turned to me and in his gregarious way said, “Hey! How’s your day gone? Did anyone request your stuff?”

And I replied that yeah, “Actually she requested that I send her a proposal.”

To which the agent jolted back and gasped, “I didn’t request a proposal from YOU!”

Jim did a double-take between the two of us as I said, “Well, actually you did.” She then apologized profusely and admitted she remembered me. Needless to say, I never sent her a proposal.

 

Mindy HeadshotMindy Peltier – After hearing how volunteering at a conference can impact your ability to get published, I arranged to meet two editors at the airport. They were from the two Christian publishers I dreamed of writing for some day.  I’d rehearsed a line I thought was clever and would prove my passion and need for writers conferences.

Feeling brave as I deftly merged into I-5 rush hour traffic,  I said, “Writers conferences have become counterproductive for me. I’m writing less…

One editor didn’t realize the airspace was meant to be a dramatic pause before my brilliant punch line.

He began defending conferences and instructed me on my need to attend and appreciate them.  I didn’t want to interrupt.  I merged into the carpool lane. The editor in the back seat added to the defense.

Shocked, I was convinced the misunderstanding had crash-dummied my  publication dreams.  I figured my name would be passed around the editors’ circle, along with the guy who tried to pitch his book at the urinal.  I couldn’t even finish my sentence.

The punch line he missed was “… because the more conferences I go to, the worse my writing becomes.

I was trying to cleverly reveal how conferences were impacting my writing life.  I was learning about writing, but on a larger scale, I was understanding how much more I needed to learn about writing and the publishing industry.

I’ve relived that agonizing moment over and over since then, and even in my dreams, I crash before the punch line.

Every year I attend and volunteer at several  writers conferences, and I’ve even taught at a few. But, they’re still counterproductive for me, because the more writers conferences I attend, the worse my writing becomes.


If an embarrassing moment at a writers conference occurs, don’t worry, it won’t affect your publication dreams.  All of the above writers were published after their  blunders.

Brush it off and move on, but only after you send the story to us.  We’d love to use in a blog post next year.

 

TweetEmbarrassing conference moments didn’t hinder chance of publication.

TweetNCWA writers expose most embarrassing conference moments.

Writers, Readers & Book Reviews

These are small sample of numerous books written by our own NCWA writers. Have you read any of them? Consider writing a book review!

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NCWA’s Lydia Harris, in her article “Break Into Print With Book Reviews” (in 2004 edition of The Write Start) stated:

Since reading takes more time than writing reviews (except for children’s picture books), write several reviews for each book. Multiple marketing allowed me to publish 55 reviews in eight different periodicals by reading 28 books. I published reviews of When Mothers Pray in five magazines, each slanted for the audience and magazine’s guidelines. Guidelines also indicate how to submit reviews. Many markets accept e-mail reviews; others prefer hard copies or disks.

Once you’ve found your markets, chosen your books, and written your reviews, you’re well on your way to publication. I agree with the seasoned author who told me: ‘Writing book reviews is a good way to break into print.’

(Lydia Harris is the author of Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting.)

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Charles Ray at “Writinghood” in his post “The Writing Life: Breaking Into Print with Book Reviews” wrote:

Writing book reviews is a good way to get your name into print. The pay is low; usually you only get to keep the books you review; but it’s a good way to build a clipping file and get your name in front of editors and the reading public.

Click here to read more.
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Do you blog? Bloggers are readers! Never before have there been so many choices for books. Books in print,  ebooks, Kindles, Nooks, Kobo, GoogleBooks and even iTunes, the choices seem to be growing by the day.Some are wonderful reading! Some not so great. And some….well… one wonders what the author was thinking.Here’s where you can have an impact! There’s a new book review community especially for bloggers; Blogger’s Choice Book Reviews. Check out the guidelines and opportunities for free books!

2012 Workshops Revisited: “Whose Point of View Is It Anyway?” By Lynnette Bonner and Lesley McDaniel

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

NCWA will highlight 2012 Renewal Conference workshops with links to handouts (pdf) and ordering the CD’s.

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Understanding point of view is crucial to creating a good story. Laugh and learn as we discuss the various points of view, practice how to write in them, and take a long hard look at deep 3rd person and its greatest strengths.

For the outline handout, click here.

To order CD’s for conference workshops, click here.

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Lynnette Bonner is the daughter of missionaries, was born and raised in Malawi, Africa, graduated high school from Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya, and attended Northwest University in Washington. Her first book, Rocky Mountain Oasis, released from OakTara in 2009 and has since been reissued as a second edition. Her second book, High Desert Haven has just been released. Lynnette works in the office of a local Christian school, enjoys chocolate of any kind and watching her kids play sports. Click here for her website.

Lesley McDaniel juggles a career in theatrical costuming with writing women’s and young adult fiction. She also dabbles in entrepreneurial pursuits and home schools her two daughters. In her spare time (ha!), she chips away at her goal of reading every book ever written. Click here for her website.

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Winners of the  “Polish up Your Elevator Pitch” contest are:

Grand Prize winner of  a $25 emailed gift card from Amazon:

A stranger wants to share her future; a man from her past wants to make sure she doesn’t have one. WIP unpublished manuscript, submitted by Sherri Stone

2nd Prize winner of a $10 Starbucks e-gift card:

Our culture values consumption with an insatiable appetite. There is One who can quench our cravings but where is He?  Constantly Craving: How to Make Sense of Always Wanting More by Marilyn Meberg. Submitted by Robin Roste

Christian Fiction: Birth of a Genre

Christian Fiction has evolved through the years to take a prominent place in mainstream publishing. Fiction writers will want to read this article in the Library Journal written by Melanie C. Duncan.

These books are a sample of great selections by NCWA authors. Click on each book to purchase or know more about them.