Kickstarting Your WIP

Imagine finding hundreds of people eager to read your book. Now—are you ready for this?—imagine those same people financially backing you to write it.

Enter the crowdsourcing awesomeness of,, and These sites are funding platforms for creative projects. But their concept isn’t centered on folks just handing you money—it’s centered on connecting you with people who want exactly what you’re creating.

Like your work in progress.

SIX WEEKS, $10,000

I started my Kickstarter campaign after learning that enthusiastic backers pledged $100,000,000 to projects in 2011, a 300-percent increase from the previous year.

How amazing, I thought. People believing in what their artists believe in. Tribes supporting their advocates.

I did some digging and discovered that when the production team of Blue Like Jazz (the movie) ran out of funds, Kickstarter saved the film—to the tune of 4,495 backers raising $345,992 … of a $125,000 goal.

Below, I’m going to break down the basics of Kickstarter, then reveal some of the secrets that helped me raise $10,000 in six weeks.


Here’s what you’ll do to start your Kickstarter project:

1) Make a page for your book project on (free), detailing your vision and personal investment in your Work-In-Progress. The goal here is passion, clarity, and to connect your audience to why your book must be written.

2) Launch it and spread the word via email and social media to friends, family, and complete strangers (who just might make up the largest percentage of your supporters, as was the case with my campaign).


1) Your Kickstarter campaign doesn’t begin when you launch—it begins the second you decide to do a campaign

Let people know about your Kickstarter project right away, even if it’s a year in advance. Mention it in your family newsletter or blog or just conversations with friends. This helps you stay accountable to run the campaign while also educating potential backers about the crowdsource concept.

2) Don’t wait for backers to find you—find them

Find people who want to jump on board even before you launch. This lets you gauge how much momentum your project will have out of the gate—and momentum is everything.

Even if you have a fabulous idea, few are eager to fund your project if it doesn’t already have backers. Great idea, they think, but why waste my time if it isn’t going to get funded?

That said, if you meet 30 percent of your goal, people are much more likely to jump on board. Kickstarter claims that 90 percent of their projects that reach 30 percent of their goal—succeed.

3) Use Facebook strategically

If you’re not sold out on the power of Facebook, now’s the time. I couldn’t believe how many pledges I received from Facebook. Not from people I know well, but rather from acquaintances who read my newsfeed without my knowing.

I also highly recommend Facebook Ads. This is a bit of an art form, learning how to make your ads cost-efficient and worthwhile, but it’s worth investing a day or two Googling “Facebook Ads” or taking an online class on the subject.

4) Best tip ever: You gotta believe

If you’re serious about crowdsourcing your book, you need to believe in it. Just liking your book won’t do. You have to be able to say, with conviction: “This is my message, and I believe it will make a difference in this world.”

People don’t like backing projects just for charity. They want to birth art that will make the world a better place. Does that describe your book?


What are you waiting for? There are thousands of people out there willing to support you. Go check out,, or


Caleb_Jennings_Breakey_Mug (3)Caleb Jennings Breakey is an ACFW Genesis Winner (Speculative Fiction), visionary, and author of two books with Harvest House Publishers (Following Jesus without Leaving the Church, September 2013; Falling in Love without Falling on Your Face, January 2014). He teaches at conferences throughout the country, and likes to explore the how of following Jesus, healing the church, and glorifying God. Check him out on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube.

Authors: Are You Overlooking Your Hidden Profit Opportunities?

NCWA blog welcomes Tony Marino! Tony will be our main speaker for the February meeting. See end of post for links.


tony marino picEver heard of  “Back-End Selling?”  You may think of it as follow through, or maybe VALUE added. Both are good terms. Let’s take a quick look and see just how you can profit from this idea.

For our purpose today, let’s just key in on the benefits of “Back-End Selling.”  “Back-End Selling” is simply the SELLING you do AFTER the first sale. Your profits come primarily from repeat business rather than from the initial (first order) sale of your product or service.

Your greatest COST (accumulated expenses) is in the FIRST sale. This is certainly true in most cases. How long did you have to work before that first sale? Did it take you ten minutes or ten years? All the time this customer was NOT buying from you there was still the overhead to shell out.

Obviously, some high-ticket items can absorb the cost and still be profitable. You only need the one sale from a customer. However, we could probably agree that most items that we sell or buy are of a more moderate dollar value. Meaning the profit return comes from the repeat customer.

Have you ever known a razor company to give away the razor? Why? The profit is in the blades! It’s happening today on the Internet. Computers are getting cheaper and cheaper. Even free when you sign up for a service. Sometimes a company will giveaway or “loan” a machine to a customer because the profit is in the supplies. This is known as “back-end” selling.

You have the challenge to find your “back-end!”  How can you make more sales to the same customer? Sell more of the same product? Service? Can you offer an add-on? Related items? It can even be something entirely different. Put another way, just keep selling “something” to the same customer. Your best source of new or continuing revenue.

Many firms stop with the one (1st) sale and never realize the added profits they are leaving behind. YOU would never let this happen. On the other hand, maybe it would just be a good exercise for all of us, to ASK yourself, am I selling everything I possibly can to ALL of my current customers? Hits hard, doesn’t it?

Think about it! You have been successful in making that first sale. Why? Our basic assumption is that you have earned their confidence. Trust. You have lived up to your promises. Your product or service has met or exceeded their expectation. It’s only natural to believe that you will live up to this same level of competence in the future.

Search for your “USP” (Unique Selling Proposition). What is it that makes YOUR firm stand out from the pack? Are you REALLY any different? Do you offer something special that only YOU can provide? This is what separates the great businesses from the also ran. You have to be unique. Different! A visionary. Added VALUE is every customer’s expectation today.

Your next challenge is to find as many “back-end” products/services as you can. There is no better customer than one who has already done business with you. YOUR greatest business asset is your customer; without him/her there is no business.

Secret Online Up-Sell Technique:

If you are operating an online business, you may want to simply add (embed) an “up-sell” product right inside your “Thank You” page.

Let’s face it, your new customer has just made a purchase from you and you can rest assured that they do in fact understand the value of this freshly purchased product and/or service. Furthermore, trust in you by your new client has been realized. Capitalize! “Why not get it while it’s hot?”

Over time, check the added increase to your bottom-line. Chances are, you will undeniably discover a significant positive difference.

Key Point:

Treat your customer like “Gold!” Look for new products to compliment your initial sale. Separate yourself from the plain and ordinary. Be a crucial source of information. Make suggestions. Offer unlimited assistance. Work hard at keeping every customer happy. After all, they are your most valuable business asset. PERIOD!


Click here for details regarding Tony’s February appearance at the NCWA meeting.

Tony Marino is a husband and father and is the founder of  Christian Discipleship Ministries International, Christian  Times Online, and Trinity Web Works. He is the founder and Executive Producer of the Alive In Christ Radio Network. 

 He has represented acclaimed authors Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield, James Robison, Dr. James Dobson, Ted Nicholas, Jerry Jenkins, Luis Palau, Beth Moore, and Joyce Meyer.

 Tony proudly and honorably served in the U.S. Navy and is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Colorado Technical University and an inductee into the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society for Business, Management, and Administration. He has actively and passionately served the body of Christ for over 15 years as a worldwide evangelist, teacher, discipler, author, Christian music artist, international business and marketing consultant, and as an international Christian radio program host and Executive Producer.

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.

5 Keys to Literary Agreements by Matt Hooper

 NCWA blog welcomes Matt Hooper. Matt will be NCWA’s guest speaker on December 3rd. See end of post for links.


Authors often ask me: “What are the top 5 provisions I should be concerned with in my literary agreement?” Literary agreements are filled with important provisions, and every contract term has a meaning that should be carefully considered. While it’s hard to narrow down a list, there are five common provisions that authors should carefully weigh:

(1) Copyright.  The author should own the copyright, plain and simple. The author should grant the publisher the right to exploit the work in certain forms and fields for the duration of the agreement (which is usually the duration of the copyright, and any renewals thereto, unless earlier terminated in accordance with the termination provision in the agreement). The author should never grant or assign the copyright in the Work to the publisher.

(2) Royalty.  The author should expect 10% to 15% as a print royalty (sometimes on a sliding scale), and 20% to 30% as an eBook royalty. Publishers will try to argue that their expenses do not change between printed works and eBooks, but that is just not true. Also, most publishing agreements provide that if the Work is licensed or assigned to a third-party publisher, the author’s publisher can pay the author 50% of the royalty otherwise owed to him or her. If the author agrees to this provision, he or she should make sure that the publisher cannot license or assign the Work to any affiliate, subsidiary, or parent organization.

(3) Cross-Collateralization.  If the author agrees to create multiple books for a publisher under one agreement, he or she should be sure that the publisher cannot cross-collateralize expenses across all of the books. For example, pretend that an author’s contract calls for the author to deliver 3 books to the publisher: the author gets paid $50,000 in royalties for the first book; $100,000 in royalties for the second book; and then the third book tanks, even though the publisher spent $100,000 in marketing support for the book. If the publisher is allowed to cross-collateralize expenses across all books, then the publisher can demand that the author repay the publisher $100,000 from the royalties the author has received to date. No author wants to be in that situation.

(4) Option / Non-Compete.  Most stock publishing agreements have a provision that provides that the author may not ever draft any book that competes with the book that they have drafted for the publisher, and then defines a “competing work” as “any work of fiction” or “any work of non-fiction,” in line with the book that is the subject of the contract. These provisions are over-reaching, sometimes unenforceable (dependent upon the jurisdiction), and should be revised. Make sure to place a reasonable time limit on the non-compete provision (12 to 24 months after date of publication), and narrow the “competing work” definition as much as possible.

For example, if the book that is the subject of the contract is on travel to Washington wineries, try to narrow the provision to: “For a period of one year from the date of publication of the Work, Author agrees not to publish any work that addresses the subject matter of wineries in Washington.”

The publisher will push back, but you will find middle ground. Most contracts also contain option provisions, which basically provide that the publisher has the right of first refusal on the author’s next work. These provisions are normal, but the option should be for a very limited time (usually within 60 to 90 days of delivery of the draft).

(5) Accounting & Audit Rights.  Because publishing agreements are almost always royalty-based, the author should always include an accounting and audit provision in the agreement, providing that the publisher will provide quarterly or semi-annual statements to the author, and that the author may, once per year, audit the publisher’s books and records as it relates to the Work. If the audit reveals a discrepancy of over 10%, the publisher should have to pay for the audit.


Matt will be NCWA’s guest speaker on December 3rd. Click here for details.

The above posting should not be construed as legal advice.  If you have any questions, please contact your literary attorney, or you can contact Foster Pepper attorney Matt Hooper at (206) 447-4400.

Matt Hooper practices law in Business, Intellectual Property, Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Arts and Entertainment, Sports, Yacht and Aircraft. He serves as the Chair of Foster Pepper’s Arts and Entertainment Group. Matt’s wide variety of experience includes serving as a film producer, entertainment executive and business consultant, and CEO of an online proprietary television network viewed in 44 countries.

November Meeting Highlights

Terry Hershey spoke about “Soft Hearts from Hard Places”

We know that we should love one another; practice kindness and compassion. But here’s the deal: love can only spill from a heart that has been softened and in most cases broken. There is no doubt that when faced with tragedy or chaos or uncertainty or misfortune, we want to have a “handle” on it, or fix it, or make it go away.

Terry teaches how to live and love from a soft heart. This is not about a way to figure life out. Nor is it about assigning blame. It’s about the permission to see the world–this day–through the eyes of our heart.

It happens when. . .
. . .we allow ourselves to feel, fully and wholly. . .without a need to defend, justify or explain,
. . .we allow ourselves to receive love, compassion and kindness without suspicion,
. . .we are free to embrace an extraordinary core of strength and coura’ge that resides inside of us. . .and let it spill to those around us.


     TERRY HERSHEY is an author, humorist, inspirational speaker, dad, ordained minister, golf addict, and smitten by French wine. He divides his time between designing sanctuary gardens and sharing his practice of “pausing” and “sanctuary,” to help us do less and live more. Terry’s newest book, The Power of Pause, offers the permission to slow down, and to be gentle with ourselves, in a world that demands More-Bigger-Faster. Most days, you can find Terry out in his garden–on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound undefined because he believes that there is something fundamentally spiritual about dirt under your fingernails.


In Write Start, Ann Gaylia O’Barr Breedlove asked, “How Christian Should My Christian Fiction Be?”

Therese Froehlich presented the Devotional and challenged us to write compassionately for those without a Shepherd.

President Dennis Brooke

Click here for Dennis’ website.








Michelle Hollomon and her young writing group



All photos courtesy of Karen Robbins.

Soft Hearts From Hard Places

“Hi, I’m Sharon.  You ready?”

I follow her.  “Can you make me look young, distinguished and handsome?”  I say.

She glances back, “Well, I’ll try, but there is a surcharge for handsome.”

I’m in downtown Atlanta with a conference for Spiritual Directors International, doing a presentation about how spiritual care is grounded in self-care.  I have a window of time and need a haircut.  So I take the recommendation of the concierge and find myself in a salon near the hotel, following a young hairdresser toward a chair near the back, debating whether I want to pay the “surcharge.”

One of my philosophies is this: In a barber chair–an inevitability on par with airplanes and bank teller lines–conversation is a bother.  Just cut my hair, and let me go.  After all, I have important stuff to do.

Because she made me laugh, I break my rule about staying mute saying that maybe a buzz cut is in order, telling Sharon about my Father’s decision after cancer to enjoy his new hair-free care-free look.

“I’m a survivor too,” she says.  “Just finished my chemo.”

I wasn’t ready for that. 

Because if there is conversation, these chairs are for small talk only–no different than coffee hour after church.

“I’m sorry,” I say.”When did you learn about the cancer and what kind of treatment did you go through?”

“I had the whole nine yards,” she laughs.  “Surgery.  And then more surgery and then chemo.”

We are quiet, except for the sound of scissors.

“Best thing that ever happened to me,” she adds.

I’ve heard people say that–about tragedy or loss or heartbreak or misfortune–but am honestly unsure what to think.  How can such a statement be true?  I do know that something inside us wants (needs) to find a silver lining, a way to make sense of what appears to be an utterly senseless invasion of our body, or life, or world.

I watch her in the mirror.

Sharon is young, mid-30s, petite, her facial features delicate and freckled, carrying a youthful innocence.  There is no sign of any recent clash with the drug treatments that traumatize body and spirit, all in the name of health.

She looks into the mirror and holds my gaze.

“It has made me softer,” she tells me.  “And now, I love different.”

A single mother, Sharon talks about her 15 year-old daughter, in a tenor both wistful and filled with pride.  She describes a young girl whose life was turned upside down with the possibility of a mother’s death.  And about a renewed relationship between mother and daughter.

I nod.  I understand.

“We never know,” she continues.  “A year ago if you had told me that this is where I’d be, I’d have told you you’re crazy.  But not now.  Now I look at people different.”

I compliment her hair.  She shakes her head, tossing her hair, looking cute and sassy.  “Thanks.  I made it.  It’s something I do now.  Make personal wigs for people going through chemo.”

Go figure.

I’m at a conference with spiritual directors from different faith traditions around the world, and my moment of enlightenment and grace is gifted to me in a beauty-salon-barber-chair.

I was taught–in church–as a boy, that we should love one another.  You know, practice kindness and compassion.

But here’s the deal: love can only spill from a heart that has been softened and in most cases broken.

There is no doubt that when faced with tragedy or chaos or uncertainty or misfortune, we want to have a “handle” on it, or fix it, or make it go away.

But this is not about a way to figure life out.   

Nor is it about determining whether we have intentionally or unintentionally invited chaos or sickness into our world. 

It’s about the permission to see the world–this day–through the eyes of our heart.  Our heart made soft. 

It happens when. . .

. . .we allow ourselves to feel, fully and wholly. . .without a need to defend, justify or explain, 

. . .we allow ourselves to receive love and kindness without suspicion,

. . .we are free to embrace a core of strength and courage that resides inside of us. . .and let it spill to those around us. 

Today someone asked me, “What did you do this week?”

Well, I got a haircut.

And felt my heart soften just a little.


Terry Hershey will speak at NCWA’s November 5th meeting.

TERRY HERSHEY is an author, humorist, inspirational speaker, dad, ordained minister, golf addict, and smitten by French wine. He divides his time between designing sanctuary gardens and sharing his practice of “pausing” and “sanctuary,” to help us do less and live more. Terry’s newest book, The Power of Pause, offers the permission to slow down, and to be gentle with ourselves, in a world that demands More-Bigger-Faster. Most days, you can find Terry out in his garden–on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound undefined because he believes that there is something fundamentally spiritual about dirt under your fingernails.

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.

Come Over


Groups of four students each were scattered around the Beijing university classroom—each group intently playing “Tell Us About…” These were my Oral English students. They were to roll the dice and move their marker the number of squares indicated. Upon landing on a square, they were to tell the other students in the group about the designated topic.

The prompts were simple—for example, tell us about your family. Each game board contained a few squares labeled: Question to Teacher. Upon landing on one of these, they were to raise their hand and ask me a question.

Soon a young man’s hand went up. I was stunned when he said, “I want to know how you come over bad things in your life.” I took a mental step backwards. I wasn’t allowed to discuss God in my classrooms; however, I was allowed to answer questions!

Breathing a quick prayer, I replied, “Well, first of all, the English word we would use is “overcome,” but I like the way you say it—come over. I’m a Christian, so when bad things happen in my life, I pray. Sometimes God removes them, and other times He gives me all I need in order to come over or overcome them.”

Later I pondered “come over” or overcome. A picture came to mind of a walker facing an obstacle so large it could not be circumvented. The only way to get to the other side was to go over it, but its dimensions were so enormous there seemed to be no way.

Thus far, the greatest obstacle I have faced in my life was the sudden death of my husband in 1997. I was stopped in my tracks! Fear gripped me, loneliness overwhelmed me, and numbness robbed me of the ability to proceed. I could see no way around the barrier death created.

During this time, I received a call from a Christian Brother. Speaking to me about the Children of Israel who grumbled, complained, whined and cried their way to the Promised Land, God used him to teach me a simple yet profound way to deal with life’s difficulties.

“Sis, write it down, lay hands on it, pray over it, and praise through it.”

And so it began. I wrote, laid hands on what was written, and prayed. Then I praised Him for His mercies, His faithfulness, His love, His grace, and for the difficulties!

He made a way for me to overcome!

Jesus said in John 16:33, “…in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”¹

Therein, my friend, lies the answer! It is not we who will overcome the obstacles, but it is Christ in us who has already “come over” them! You have within you all you need!

What obstacles are you facing?

1)      Write them down.

2)      Lay hands on them.

3)      Pray over them.

4)      Praise through them.

God will make a way where there seems to be no way!


Janie is a 2002 graduate of Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. She has a BA in Music and a TESL Certificate. In 2003, Janie moved to Beijing where she spent six years teaching ESL to university students. She is a singer/pianist, inspirational speaker, ESL tutor, and piano teacher. She is a member of the Evangelical Chinese Church of Tacoma and has been a member of NCWA since 2010. Click here for Janie’s website.