Monday, September 20, 2010

Cross-pollination: A Logical First Step to Networking

This is the last day of the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference in Indianapolis. Since I won’t return to Nashville until this evening, I’m continuing Guest Blogger Week. I hope it’s been fun and beneficial to read such inspiring blog posts from some of my talented authors.

Linda S. Clare
Today’s guest blogger is Linda S. Clare, whose debut novel The Fence My Father Built has received wonderful reviews. Unknown to Linda, I had been using the word cross-pollinate to describe how Christians should help one another as writers. She had adopted the same word. Hm. Do you think God is trying to tell us something?

Here’s one of the many 5- star reviews posted on Amazon.com:

The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare is a poignant novel about finding where you belong. Muri Pond is taking her two children, Nova and Tru, home to her father's home in the desert area of Oregon after the loss of her job and the end of her marriage. She grew up never knowing Joseph Pond, but after his death, she finds she has nowhere else to go, so going to his home makes sense.

Until she finds out that his home is a trailer with a group of cobbled together additions and is occupied by her quirky aunt and uncle and their potbellied pigs. That's only the beginning of Muri's trouble, however. Joseph left a fight over water rights with the town's best-loved citizen in which Muri quickly finds herself trapped in as well, plus Nova has no intention of living in the middle of nowhere. Clare puts Muri in the middle of an impossible situation and every turn of the page only seems to turn up the heat. Her writing is powerful and deeply human. I hope she writes more fiction soon! —Christina Lockstein, Oconto Falls, WI, “Christy’s Book Blog”
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By now, even the beginning novel writer knows they'll need to market both themselves and their book once it's published. Some writers believe if they promote themselves, they must step on other writers' toes and that marketing is something like muscling your way to the head of the line. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As daunting as it sounds, all marketing and book promotion starts out as networking. I'd like to encourage you wherever you are in your writing journey to do what I call cross-pollination. For Christian writers, this term has even more significance. Instead of regarding fellow writers as competition, embrace them. Help them thrive, and your career and books will thrive too.

When I first started promoting myself as a writer, I started blogging, joined FaceBook and Twitter—you know the drill. I had exactly one follower for my writing blog, Linda Clare’s Writer’s Tips, http://GodSongGrace.blogspot.com. One.

Then I did two simple things. First, I focused on my blog. I teach writing, so I’ve quit waxing poetic on random subjects and now post brief writing tips several times per week.

Second—and here’s the cross-pollination part—I started asking others to follow me. My followers have increased in a big way.

When my publisher, Abingdon Press, gave my novel, The Fence My Father Built, a free Kindle promotion on Amazon, I contacted every writer I could and asked to swap publicity. The only authors who said no had serious health issues in their lives. But those who did were happy to help me, and I was happy to return the favor. The promotion was wildly successful thanks to all my new author friends spreading the word.

So, how can you grow your traffic/friends/followers? Cross-pollinate!

Bees know this secret. Instead of sticking with one flower or always returning to the same place, they cross-pollinate lots of flowers and places. The bees benefit, the plants benefit, everyone benefits. And we end up with the honey.

If each writer looks up 10 other writers’ blogs, FaceBook and Twitter accounts and signs up to follow, friend, or whatever, we all win. The more you follow another’s pages, the more followers you’ll begin to see on your own.

Most writers and pros I know are busy bees, pollinating readers in Christ’s love. We're committed to the Cross.

As you implement this simple, free way to help get the word out about you and your work, please let me know if your traffic increases. Email me at Lindas352@comcast.net. For now, get out there and cross-pollinate. Bzzzzz.

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Please let me know how today’s blog has helped you. This becomes a two-way conversation when you post a comment. Often I jump back on the blog during the day and will answer your questions or respond to your comments. I have both published and unpublished authors who read The Roving Editor, and we’d love to hear from you so that we can learn from your experience. Let’s talk!




10 comments:

  1. I just asked my agent this morning, via e-mail, what I could be doing to promote myself and be more marketable for potential publishers so this is a very timely blog for me - as if God answered me through your post before my agent had a chance. Thank you.

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  2. I love it when God answers our prayers through an unexpected source! I'm sitting in a McDonald's somewhere in Kentucky as I drive back home to Nashville. During ACFW I had no time to check the blog or answer questions. But when I got out of the car here, I felt I'd better check in with everyone. I'm so glad the Lord invented Wi-Fi. LOL Hope the rest of your day is encouraging!

    Blessings,
    Barbara

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  3. God is so inventive! I'm both flabbergasted and tickled to learn that my editor and I are tuned into the same idea. I've written in both the secular market and the CBA market and I'd have to say it's comforting to know my "competition" is nothing less than the Body of Christ. I'm so thankful for all who write for God's glory. Linda

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  4. Wonderful post.

    The competition is not one another, but instead is the attention of a readership who desperately needs to hear God's truth. The more we can bring quality and cooperation to the CBA, the better we'll be able to convey this life-changing message we were born to share.

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  5. I was working marketing myself today and hating every minute of it. Thanks for the fresh view.

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  6. I think Michael Reynolds hit the nail on the head. Christian writers have a wonderful opportunity to reach a wide audience with God's truth and getting the message from multiple sources increases the chance of understanding and accepting those truths. We are the body of Christ.

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  7. Linda, Thanks for the great tips! I'm back from ACFW conference and processing all the cross-pollination that went on there!

    Thanks, Barbara, for inviting Linda.

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  8. Someone wrote to ask exactly how this cross-pollination works, citing the rfeality that other writers want her to buy their books. Great question! I see it this way: I don't necessarily feel obligated to buy anybody's books. What I offer as a cross-pollinator is exposure (not not that kind!) I expose another writer's work to my network and they do the same for me. Some writers have built up massive networks and others are just starting out. The writer with a bazillion readers is usually willing to give others a leg up. That is being the Body of Christ.

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  9. I found this post very encouraging. I'm a Canadian so the cross-pollination is going across the border... and that's the way I feel it should be. We are all God's people. We have the same purpose and goals; to minister the Good News to unbelievers and believers (I don't think we ever reach a place where we don't need more Good News and ministry.) I was especially encouraged by you saying that for a while you had one follower. I think I have maybe three. But, growing something takes time, whether it's a child, a garden, or a writing career/ministry. Thanks for sharing and encouraging, Linda and Barbara. And thanks to all the commentors. I always read the comments and I'm almost always blessed by them.

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  10. Your ideas fit with what I've seen happening online for writers. Cross-pollinating is a good term! Thanks Linda and Barbara for the post.

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