Sarah Mae's How to Market & Sell Your eBook - A Review





After finding out how quickly Sarah Mae was able to sell a LOT of copies of her eBook, 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way, I was anxious to learn how she did it! So… I was excited to find it ready to download yesterday afternoon.

I sat down last night and was able to finish the whole book quickly. It is 77 pages, and a very easy read. Clear. Concise. Detailed. Well written.

You will find the following information in this book:
  • Sarah’s story
  • How the book business is changing… eBooks are becoming extremely popular
  • How to choose your topic
  • Marketing/promotion
  • Upfront costs
  • Where to publish
  • How much to charge
  • Social Media for Newbies
  • Lots of resources… everything you need to get started

Sarah’s passion comes through in all of her writing and communication. This book is no different. If you have ever considered writing an eBook, this is a must-read. You will see that anyone can do this! You do not have to be a published writer or someone with a huge platform. You can do it!

Download Sarah’s awesome eBook here (and it’s pretty cheap!): How to Market and Sell Your eBook: Everything You Need to Know to Make Money With ePublishing.

Plastic People Syndrome



Today I'm posting another one from a couple of years ago. Why have I been re-posting so much lately? A couple of reasons. First of all, I haven't had a lot of concentrated writing time lately. And second, as I moved my blog over from Blogger to Wordpress, I looked over my posts and realized that  I learned some good lessons along the way while writing some of my older posts. So... here is today's... a lesson from Casting Crowns. I have edited this one quite a bit because of MORE lessons I've learned in this area since. You can read the original here.

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Casting Crowns has a song for just about anything you may go through in life. An example of this is Stained Glass Masquerade. My friends and I have lovingly referred to this one as "the plastic people song." In thinking about the words, I make a mess of it myself.

Here are the lyrics (with special emphasis on certain parts):
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

(back to chorus)

Isn't this so true? We go to church with our painted-on smiles. We make sure we look our best (sidenote... honestly, aren't we doing that to impress man instead of God?). We answer "fine" to "how are you?" I remember one day, I responded with a "fine" and then I turned around to a friend of mine and said, "why did I say that?" I wasn't fine. We assume that everyone else is too consumed with their own problems to really care what may be going on with us. So in turn, we miss out on true blessings of deep, meaningful relationships.

In reality, we are ALL BROKEN PEOPLE! None of us are perfect. So why do we want to pretend we are? Why do we want people to think we have it all together? Think about it… if the world only sees people who appear perfect, and they see themselves as imperfect, what does that tell them? They come into the church and think they need to hide behind their own walls... and then they disappear through the cracks because they just don't feel like they could ever measure up.

People want to see authenticity. Transparency. People who love them where they are because they have been there.

Hurting people and God seekers don't want to find the perfect church, the perfect outfits, the perfect worship "box"... they don't want the perfect anything.

Hurting people want something real. And if they can't find it in the church, they'll try to find it somewhere else.

Ready for God to really use you? Let others see your scars (old ones and new ones)... Scary at first, I know. But as I've heard Rick Warren say (paraphrasing), I believe that our greatest hurts, disappointments, failures, and struggles are what God uses as our greatest ministries. And you just might find that as you share with others, you will continue to heal in the process.

So, let's not end up like this Casting Crowns song. Let's be real!

The Hard Is What Makes It Great



This is a re-post from a couple of years ago. It has been edited a bit... adding things relevant to my current struggles. The hard really is what makes it great... and don't let the enemy tell you otherwise.

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"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great!" - Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own

One of my favorite quotes… one of my favorite actors… one of my favorite movies. If you are not as obsessed with baseball as I am, you may have missed “A League of Their Own.” It's Hollywood's version of the AAPGBL (All-American Girls Professional Baseball League), a women's baseball league set up during the war from the 1940s to the early 1950s. At one time in my life (about 15 years ago), I actually wanted to try out for the Colorado women’s professional baseball team. I know, crazy dream… one of many I have never chased.

Some recent things in my world have gotten me thinking more about this quote, and my mind has gone back to times in my life when I have let the “hard” keep me from going after my dreams. One in particular was during my freshman year at ECU. During the first couple of weeks of the semester, I actually went to the first day of tryouts for the tennis team. There were 6 of us trying out for 1 spot, and instead of giving it my all, I quit after the first day. Chicken.

Well, here I am again. I'm working toward something that God has called me to... and I'm scared to death. I feel like quitting... like I won't be ready in time. I'm having moments where I'm just not sure I can handle the warfare that I surely am about to face. But He keeps reminding me of the calling. Of the experiences in my life that have brought me to this moment. That I should keep pushing.

No more looking back. From this moment on, I cannot allow the "hard" of something to keep me from giving my all.

Sometimes, I feel like I just keep banging my head against the wall... 1 step forward, 2 steps back. The same mistakes. The same selfish ambitions. The same self-consuming thoughts. The same pride.

Over and over again...

This cycle seems too "hard" to break. And in my OWN strength, it is.

God never told us that His way would be easy. He only told us that He would see us through. HE alone is our strength. HE alone is our Creator and HE created each one of us with a purpose. If we are too afraid to go through the "hard," how can we really see His true purpose for our lives? This is a challenge to go forward... stop looking back... do what HE wants you to do, no matter how tough, no matter what it takes. The only way to true LIFE is to push on through the hard parts, letting HIM lead you! Don't be chicken!

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." - 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!" - Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

The Doughnut Shop Ladies... & Comfort Zones













The image is forever etched in my memory. It was implanted there a few weeks ago, and hasn’t left my mind since.

On that day, I was sitting at Krispy Kreme eating a doughnut (chocolate-covered, creme-filled, of course), when my eyes were suddenly drawn to a scene outside the front window. Two ladies, who looked to be in their 80s, sat at a table on the front patio. They were facing away from me, just chatting away about who knows what. Life? Love? What might have been? I couldn’t pull my gaze away. It was such a beautiful picture.

My thoughts immediately went to my best friend. I set my coffee down and smiled as I was reminded of all the “gotta get out of the house” trips for coffee we have enjoyed over the years. The conversations that have spontaneously occurred over our cups of coffee. The tough times we’ve shared. The joys we’ve shared. The day they told us they were probably moving… The text that said it was official… The day they packed everything into those moving trucks and changed their address to a different city.

Maybe a year ago, her husband and I were talking about a group of women at the church who have been the best of friends through many, many years… who are so in sync that they are just fun to watch when they are all together. And he said to me, “well, you know that’s how you guys are going to be.” I smiled at the notion… at that time believing they would “just always be here.”

So there at Krispy Kreme, in my “doughnut shop ladies” moment, I realized that I was losing something extremely valuable to me. Not losing completely… she didn’t move that far away. But at least losing things “the way they were.” The way I always expected them to be. She’s just not right up the road anymore. That “comfort zone” is gone.

Change and letting go of comfort zones is something that does not come easy to me. I would dare say it is tough for all of us. However, God calls us to move out of comfort zones. Even our friendships can become places of such comfort that we miss out on missions God has for our lives. Sometimes, He takes people out of our lives (or just moves them further away) because He is calling us to draw closer to Him. If we are too reliant on any other human in this world, we cannot be totally dependent on our Savior.

There will always be people with whom we relate the most… those like-minded kindred spirit type people who don’t come along every day. Those friends we love to “do ministry” and “do life” with. But sometimes God lets us share with and learn from each other for a time, so that He can then separate us and use us in different places. He never wants us to stay TOO comfortable. God wants us to rely completely on Him. And difficult as it may be, sometimes He has to pull our strongest comfort zones completely out from under us to accomplish His greater purposes.

Got a comfort zone in your life that you’re scared of losing? A person? A job? A place? Ask God to make you completely reliant on Him. Ask Him to pull your heart so close to Him, that NOTHING in this world can pull you away from His great purpose for your life!

The Stages of Home



Today, Lisa-Jo invites us to think about the prompt “home” and to write for 5 minutes… not worrying if it’s just right. This one brought up a lot of thoughts for me, and here is where I settled…

GO

The concept of home changes over our lives.

When we are young, home is where our parents are. We depend on them for food, clothing, a roof over our heads, vacations, fun in the yard, laughter, teaching. Basically, we look to our parents as home for our security. Our big eyes look up at them, just waiting for them to give us wisdom.

pride... the cheater {re-post}



This is a re-post from a couple of years ago. I don't know about you, but pride is one of those big monster strongholds that I battle everyday.

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I've spent some time with King Uzziah tonight in the book of 2 Chronicles. What an incredible reminder of how pride can take over our lives! It's time to stop the "cheater" of pride before it destroys us! The following is an incredible poem by Beth Moore:

"My Name Is Pride"


My name is Pride. I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God-given destiny…

because you demand your own way.

I cheat you of contentment…

because you “deserve better than this.”

I cheat you of knowledge…

because you already know it all.

I cheat you of healing…

because you are too full of you to forgive.
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A New Look...A New Season



A few weeks ago, I wrote about the changing of the seasons. In the past six months or so, several seasons of my life have changed:
  • I left work to come home and be a mommy;
  • Joshua was born;
  • Jeffrey graduated preschool;
  • Because of changes at the church AND my not working there anymore, the sense of my “identity” in ministry has changed;
  • My best friend moved away.

Accepting change has proven extremely difficult for me. I get stuck in comfort zones that seem to be missing the exits… at least in my mind.
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5-Minute Friday: Backwards



As I do most Fridays, today I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo's blog to do her 5-minute Friday. We are challenged to write for 5 minutes just for the pure joy of the written word... without going back to edit to perfection. Today's prompt it.... "Backwards."

GO

One step forward. Two steps back. You've heard it before.

Sometimes I feel that this is just the way my life is always going to go. I know that we all experience times when we seem to be falling backward even though we have just spent time trying to make sure we keep going forward.

We set goals. We push forward. We trust... then for some reason, we seem to fall down again.

My life has felt like that for the past several years. I feel much like the children of the wilderness as they continued to wander around and never progress to where God is calling them to. "We're going to see a promised land?" But this. But that.

I'm tired of wandering, feeling as though my steps are moving in the wrong direction. God does not want me to continue on a backward path. His desire is for me to look to Him. To have tunnel vision and move forward toward His promises. To stop looking away... to stop being Peter and looking down at the waves that scare me to death. Instead to reverse my direction. To get out of backwards mode and focus only on forward motion.

How is your motion at this moment? Are you forward-focused? Or are your steps headed backward? It's a good thought to ponder on this beautiful (but very hot) Friday afternoon! If you trusted God enough to focus ONLY on Him, where could He take you? If you keep looking/moving backward, you'll never know. Just a little challenge.

STOP

Okay, that was a good one to think on! Want to jump in and join us?



Come Awake



Some days, Katherine goes to bed singing… then she wakes up singing. Definitely a music lover to the core. (I have NO idea where she gets that from!!) :o)

One day last week, in her cute little way, she couldn’t stop singing these lyrics… “Christ is risen from the dead. We are one with Him again. Come awake, come awake, come and rise up from the grave.” If you haven’t heard Christ Is Risen by Matt Maher… listen to it below. In fact, play it while you’re reading the rest of this post. Awesome!



So back to Katherine. After she sang the same lyrics several times, I decided to play the whole song for her on my iPhone. For the rest of the day, she would ask for it again and again with a big smile… “Play Come Awake, Mommy!” “I want to hear Come Awake!” You know what's funny? Come Awake is not the title of the song. Sometimes I think we should let the kids name the songs.

Think about what the lyrics are saying to us. So often, we remain in our guilt and shame. We take up residence. We dwell on the past. We dwell on the regrets. Yes, I do it, too. (By the way, if you missed my testimony as shared about a week ago, you can read it here on my friend Karen’s blog.)

This song has taught me that if I choose to stay in my guilt and shame, I am not doing what God has called me to do. Christ died and rose again so that we would “come awake” and live in the risen mindset. He doesn’t want us to stay dead in our sin… in our shame… in our regret. If we have truly repented, then He is calling us to wake up. To let go of the past and reach FORWARD! In the RISEN life! In Philippians 3:14, Paul calls us to “…press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

If we live defeated lives, we are useless for the kingdom.

How are you doing in the regret area? Have you realized that all of your past sin can now be turned around and used in others’ lives? Do you seek out opportunities for God to use you to help others move out of sinful patterns and lifestyles? Or are you still dwelling on the sin? If we try to forgive ourselves in our own strength, we will just stay in a defeated cycle. But with Christ in control, we can put the sin behind us so that we can come awake and live again. A new life! A new day! A new song!

Oh church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!
Our God is not dead! HE’S ALIVE! HE’S ALIVE! 

We can learn a lot from our kiddos. When I keep my eyes open, our little ones teach me something every day. They view life from an innocent perspective. A point-of-view that we grown-ups sometimes miss because of the doubt, regret, and fear in our lives. I'm thankful that God used our little girl to remind me to come awake!

More Than Everyday Ruts



Most Fridays, I participate in Lisa-Jo's 5-Minute Friday. She encourages us to just write without worrying if it's just right. Today, her prompt was "Every Day..." Here is my take on it...

GO

Every day, I try to just make it through. With 3 little ones (one with health issues), it can be tough to take care of everyone’s needs throughout the day. At the moment, my 2 oldest ones are fighting in the kitchen. It is just difficult to get through this post.

Every day, instead of thinking about all of the things that are happening while I’m just trying to keep my sanity, I should be resting in God’s grace. His hand is the only thing that can guide me through the day anyway.

Every day, I think about the reasons for why we are even here on this earth. It seems that we just get stuck in the same routines and ruts. Isn’t there more to this?

God wants us to have more than just the everyday ruts that we fall into. He wants us to accept His invitation to a better “everyday.” A better time with Him. A better time with our husbands. A better time with our families. A better time in this world that He has created for us.

The only way that our “everyday” can be more than just existing is to trust Him and allow Him to guide our steps. And to check in with Him throughout the day… not just out of routine, but out of pure, unconditional love for our Creator.

STOP

Want to join in the fun? Visit Lisa-Jo's site and link up with us!


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