There Is No Magic

Summers' Love, A Cute and Funny Cinderella Love StoryWhen it comes to book promotion there is no magic.  Authors may think a version of pixie dustpixie-dust can be purchased and sprinkled on their book, but they are mistaken. The book buying business is mysterious but the formula for success is not.

Write a great book and get it into the hands of influencers of that genre. Repeat as necessary.

In four weeks I’ll serve on faculty at the Blue Ridge Christian Novelist Retreat where I’m sure the topic of book sales, the publishing industry, Amazon, Nooks, Kindles, eReaders, print books, bookstores, etc… will be discussed at length. (Did you notice the way I included all those key words early in this blog post? This is a subtle way of marketing you and your books.) I know these topics will come up because this discussion dominates almost every writers’ conference I attend.

For example, this week I returned home from the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference. The Somersault Group, a marketing and service firm for authors, ran MCWC this year and several of the workshops – perhaps as many as half – focused on marketing, social media, and platform building. But in one sense these workshops only confounded the conferees.

“Platform seems to be all anyone cares about,” one author complained. “But I’m not (famous author name here) with two hundred thousand blog followers and I doubt I ever will be. Does that mean I don’t stand a chance getting published?”Snoopy, the frustrated writer

No. This author can self publish. But that doesn’t solve the missing magic problem. You still have to find readers. Which brings us back to your first goal: write a great book.

But you may ask, “If I write a great book and no one finds it, no one reads it… what’s the point?” The point is, a poorly written book marketed well will sell … once. A great book marketed poorly may not sell, or may sell years later, but it will always be a great book.

Let me say it again; there is no magic. There is, however, work. Book selling is seed sowing: and authors must sow lots of seeds.

Parable of the SowerThe thing to remember is that not all seed will take root. In fact, in the Parable of the Sower only 25% of the sown seed fell on good soil. That seed yielded a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

If there were magic, the rich would buy, horde, and use it for themselves. Praise God, when it comes to book selling, we’re all farmers sowing seeds.

Work as if your book’s success depends on you; pray as though it depends on God.

And stop looking for pixie dust.

An Open Letter From Your Publisher

An open letter from your publisherI remember your book. I recall when you pitched the idea and how excited you where when you emailed to announce you signed your contract. I often reflect upon the difficulty we had matching the cover and title to your pre-conceived ideas of how the book should look, the struggles with editing, proofing, and those way-to-many corrections.

I remember your book.


In the past few months I’ve come to live by the words of Pastor Mark Batterson: “Pray as if your success depends on God and work as if it depends on you.”

Each day I review our marketing and production strategy and look for ways to improve both. Each day I seek God’s blessing for your book.  I will not give up on its success.


Some question whether LPC publishes too many books. We know our staff is stretched thin, ill-equipped to handle the workload, and quite frankly, not always as professional as we should be. We do the best we can but that’s no excuse for shoddy work.

And so I pray for your book and ask God to look past my flaws and bless your words.

My ministry partner, Cindy Sproles, and I started Christian Devotions Ministries because we believed certain authors deserve “the chance” to see their words in print. As the book publishing industry continues to consolidate and shrink, we still feel called to advance – called to publish more books, take greater risks, and expand our boundaries with great faith.

Launching your book was an act of faith.

This is why LPC seeks authors who are eager for “a chance” to do all they can to make their book a success.

LPC works hard to give authors as many tools as possible for the promotion of their book. We study market trends, take classes at writers’ conferences, connect with vendors, and recommend what we believe are the best marketing practices within the industry. But at the end of each day I know I haven’t done enough. Did all I could, but it’s never enough.

This is why we depend on you.

We need you to believe in your book as much as we do. We need you to pray for your book’s success the way we do. We need you to promote other LPC authors and their books the way they promote your book.

You have heard me say before that silo-platform-building (me, me, me promotion) is at odds with the message of Christ. Jesus did not say, “Do for yourself, as you wish others would do for you.” He calls us to help our neighbor, serve others, and fan the flame of encouragement in our brothers and sisters. In short, we’re to tweet, post, pin, and write reviews for others with the same enthusiasms we use to promote our own book.

I don’t know why you signed with LPC, I really don’t. I do know you took a leap of faith. And for that I am grateful.

I am now asking you to take another step of faith. I am asking you to believe in your book and believe that God is at work in LPC, spreading His Message through a variety of voices.

If you will do that, reply in the affirmative to this email and I will add you to a new Pay If Forward email list of LPC authors committed to supporting and praying for one another.

Thanks for listening.

And thanks for believing in the work of LPC and CDM.


(All typos are my own. Feel free to borrow and include in your next book.)

Below are a few of the books we’ve published this summer.

Paul's Letters To The Early Church Living Like Lions perf5.000x8.000.indd Chapel Springs Revival

Daddy, Can You Make Me Pancakes? America's Star-Spangled Story - Celebrating 200 years of the National Anthem Enduring Faith - An 8-Week Devotional Study of the Book of Hebrews Messiah to the Messed Up - Because I'm a mess, you're a mess, and we all need a Messiah

Site Under De(con)struction – He Said

Site Under Construction

Site Under Construction

“The Lord moved the heart of the king to make this proclamation:

The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth (this ministry) and he has appointed me to build a temple (a website) for him at Jerusalem in Judah (virtually). And (His) people are to provide silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem (website for Christian Devotions Ministries.) ” Ezra 1: 1-4

At least that’s how I read this verse. For the past week Christian Devotions Ministries has battled website server issues. I thought when I sold my web company five years ago I was done with web work. But “web” spelled backwards is “bew” which in Yiddish means, “small dog with a deformed something.” Or maybe it means “small god with a reformed theology.” Yiddish is not my first language. Or even a language spoken in my neighborhood.

My point is our ministry’s web site is sick. Sick as in kaput. ( “Kaput,” by the way, is Yiddish for “Chicago Cubs World Series hopes.”) Seven years worth of daily devotions (365 x 7=2555) are gone. Poof! No more. The cause? A deformed database.

Or maybe it’s the Cubs.

Anyhow, this morning during my quiet time God gave me this encouragement from Ezra. “Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord.”


On the old foundations.

In fear.

And sacrificed.

Look, I’m not asking for donations for Christian Devotions Ministries. At CDM we don’t pass the plate around and beg for bucks.

But it is a good thing to hear a word of encouragement when your temple lies in ruins.

* * *

(any hipppos associated with this possing are pearly my on and in know refract the quanity fo work assocated with Christian Devolution Minstrees.)

They Gave Their All for a Supply of Shoes

The 26th North Carolina brought 843 men to the field at Gettysburg on July 1. By nightfall 588 men were dead or wounded. The colors fell fourteen times. Only twelve men remained of Company E, all but two wounded. Company F consisted of a single sergeant, Robert Hudspeth.

Shortly after noon Pettigrew's men deployed in line of battle on a ridge 60 yards west McPherson's Woods

Shortly after noon Pettigrew’s men deployed in line of battle on a ridge 60 yards west McPherson’s Woods

Pettigrew’s Brigade moved toward Gettysburg early on the morning of July 1. Shortly after noon Pettigrew’s men deployed in line of battle on a ridge 60 yards west McPherson’s Woods.

The 26th North Carolina stood on the Brigade’s left flank, on the ridge in front, facing the woods and Willoughby Run. In front was the 24th Michigan of Meredith’s Iron Brigade. The order to advance came around 2:30 p.m. As they approached Willoughby Run the 26th received a galling fire from the opposite bank. By Maj. Jones recalled the enemy “pouring volleys into each other at a distance not greater than 20 paces.”

With Colonel Henry King Burgwyn, the 21-year old “boy general,” taking his place at the center of the regiment, and J.B. Mansfield, the regimental color bearer, advanced with the regiment’s square battle flag. Eight other members of the 26th’s color guard joined Mansfield at the front.

Four members of the 26th’s color guard were killed or wounded before they even reached Willoughby Run.  Private John Stamper grabbed the regiment’s colors as they splashed across the stream but fell before reaching the other side.  Private George Washington Kelly gathered the battle flag and charged ahead but was struck by shrapnel in the leg and fell. L.A. Thomas, gathered the flag up and began to move up the hillside.

As they approached Willoughby Run the 26th received a galling fire from the opposite bank. By Maj. Jones recalled the enemy "pouring volleys into each other at a distance not greater than 20 paces."

As they approached Willoughby Run the 26th received a galling fire from the opposite bank. By Maj. Jones recalled the enemy “pouring volleys into each other at a distance not greater than 20 paces.”

Thomas was hit; he passed the flag to John Vinson. Enemy fire dropped Vinson. The flag was passed to John Marley. Within a few steps he too fell wounded.  A tenth, unnamed man, hoisted colors.  In ten minutes the 26th North Carolina had lost ten different color bearers.

The men of the 26th North Carolina rushed up the steep bank, coming on “with rapid strides, yelling like demons.” Waiting in the thick woods were the trained rifles of the 24th Michigan and the Iron Brigade.

Seeing the Hardee hats of the Michigan men, some of Burgwyn’s men exclaimed, “here are those damned black hat fellows again.”   With less than fifty yards separating the two lines, the 24th Michigan unleashed a devastating volley upon the 26th.

Standing toe to toe in the deep woods, the two proud regiments poured deadly fire into each other.  Col. Burgwyn, urging his men forward, took up the 26th’s colors.  As Burgwyn turned to hand the flag to Private Frank Honeycutt the “boy colonel” was struck in the chest by a musket ball.  Burgwyn stumbled forward, dropped to his knees, but managed to keep the colors aloft as he attempted to pass them to Honeycutt. A shot to the head felled Honeycutt.

Lieutenant Colonel J.R. Lane, after checking on the mortally wounded Burgwyn, quickly assumed command of the regiment. “Close your men quickly to the left.,” he ordered. “I am going to give them the bayonet,” As the 26th North Carolina’s men prepared for yet another charge, their flag lay on the ground in front. Lieutenant Blair of the 26th, seeing the flag on the ground announced, “no man can take those colors and live.”  Lane picked up the flag and ordered his men forward.

Lieutenant Colonel J.R. Lane, still carrying the regiment’s flag, continued to urge his men forward. Then he, too was struck down, suffering a terrible bullet wound to the back of the neck.  For the fourteenth and final time on July 1st, the colors of the 26th went down.

The retreating 24th Michigan broke and began to retreat towards the town of Gettysburg.

The retreating 24th Michigan broke and began to retreat towards the town of Gettysburg.

The fight between the 24th Michigan and the 26th North Carolina proved to be the bloodiest regimental engagement of the bloodiest Civil War battle. The 26th North Carolina and 24th Michigan each suffered the greatest number of regimental casualties in their respective armies at Gettysburg. The 26th North Carolina entered the battle with 843 soldiers and suffered 687 casualties, including its colonel and lieutenant colonel.  The 24th Michigan would lose 363 of their 496 soldiers at Gettysburg – a staggering 73% casualty rate.

All for a supply of shoes.

Monument at Gettysburg to the 26th North Carolina

Monument at Gettysburg to the 26th North Carolina

(Much of this information courtesy of:

Every Writer Needs a Team – Build Yours at Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference 2014!

Every Writer Needs a Team

Build Yours at Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference 2014!

Join me September 15-18 at the Maranatha Missionary and Bible Conference Center in Muskegon, Michigan.

2014 Theme: Every Writer Needs a Team

It’s true! While writing is a solitary expression of your thoughts and faith, if you  want to grow in your writing  career, then you need a team to help you! Let us help  you build your team. We’ve designed the 2014 program  around these three goals

1. Chart Your Course Through Today’s Publishing Options

2. Build Your Readership

3. Grow in Craft and Creativity

Early Bird Registration ends August 15, 2014

Here’s a sneak peek at the 2014 program in store for you:

All new program features!

  • Witness “Experience it Live” sessions
  • See a mock Pub Board in action
  • Watch as a social media strategy is demonstrated
  • Speed-dating the experts
  • Building your social media strategy

 Favorite program features return!

1. One-on-one consultations with editors and faculty

2. Hands-on small group critique sessions

3. Premium sessions

4. Fun & fellowship with other writers and faculty

4 Enriching Days of…

  • Inspiring Keynote Speakers
  • Compelling General Sessions
  • Expert Panel Discussions
  • Music and Worship
  • Skill-building Sessions
  • Over 30 Small-group Workshops

Go to for complete program, schedule, workshop descriptions, and to register.



 Conference Rates

Total Package – includes tuition, lodging, and meals (Monday dinner through Thursday lunch)

Single Occupancy $673 ($698 after Aug. 15)

Double Occupancy $651 ($676 after Aug. 15)


Don’t need lodging? Tuition and Meals Package: $510 ($535 after Aug. 15)

Coming for one day only? One-Day package: $189 ($199 after Aug. 15)

Bring a group of 5 or more and save $25 each!


Announcing New Leadership

The Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference has a rich 37-year history as an informative, inspiring, and intimate conference. In 2014, Somersault Group

has partnered with Maranatha to design and implement a new program. Somersault believes that the evolving world of Christian publishing provides a playground of new possibilities for authors and publishing professionals alike.


Our 2014 theme verse: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:16 (NIV)


We hope to see you there and we can grow together.

Register TODAY online at


 Follow Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference on Facebook.

 Follow Somersault Group on Facebook.


Questions? Email us at

Are Royalties the New Future for Book Editors?

Are Royalties the New Future for Book Editors?

Are Royalties the New Future for Book Editors?

Several years ago, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas faced a dilemma. With a growing number of manuscripts slated for publication, we needed more book editors. But shelling out thousands for freelance editors was at odds with our business model. LPC is a small press without debt. We prefer to keep it that way.

So we experimented and began offering our editors a percentage of profits. In short, each book editor had a vested interest in a book’s success. The more profit generated by the title, the more earned income for the editor.

It is a risky proposition. Not every book instantly earns back its investment. Some editors spend hours on a book that does not begin to pay out until months after its release.

But, three years into the process, we find many editors like the upside potential of this business model. (Last year we paid close to thirty thousand dollars in editor royalties). Editors pick projects they feel have the most income opportunity and balance that potential against the amount of work involved.

Recently we expanded this idea to our line of new imprints. We solicited managing editors for our historical fiction, nonfiction, Southern fiction, etc., and gave those managing editors the freedom to sign new authors. Managing editors can publish up to eight titles a year, two per quarter. In return, they share in the profit of those titles. If they choose to serve as content editor, they earn additional royalties. They are, in effect, running their own publishing division.

We continue to tweak the business model. Our goal is for both authors and editors to make a living doing the thing they love. Currently, we have managing editor opportunities within the romance line, cozy mystery, and suspense imprints.

This new approach of paying editors isn’t for everyone—or even most. It requires an entrepreneurial spirit. But as the publishing landscape changes and POD/ebooks grab a larger market share, we feel more houses will look at their pay structure and conclude their best assets remain the motivated and inspired book editor.



(Note: LPC paid out over $25,000 to editors last year. See definition below regarding the term: “professional.” Also keep in mind many artists and sales persons are paid royalties or commission for their work.)

  1. 1.
    of, relating to, or connected with a profession.
    “young professional people”
    synonyms: white-collar, nonmanual More

  2. 2.
    (of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
    “a professional boxer”
    synonyms: paidsalaried

The Loss of Bloody Lane & Why Details Matter

The Loss of Bloody Lane & Why Details MatterIt is widely reported that D.H. Hill’s men abandoned the Sunken Road during the battle of Antietam in a disorderly route when their right flank was turned. In fact, General Rodes’ orders to Lieutenant-Colonial Lightfoot were misinterpreted, causing the 6th Alabama to “about-face; forward march” in retreat. When Major Hobson asked if this order was for the entire brigade, Lightfoot answered “yes.”

“French (a Union general) launched several more attacks trying to capture the Sunken Road, but all were failures. Not a man reached the Confederate position. Although he had twice Hill’s numbers, French had lost 1,750 men and still could not capture the road. Reinforcements arrived for both sides. Lee decided to send forward his final reserve division under Richard Anderson (Confederate) to join Hill. French was reinforced by the fresh troops of Richardson’s (Union) divisions. The first attack of an Irish Brigade (Union) was unsuccessful, but the next, the fifth brigade to go into the fight, attained more success. Some Federals attained a good position to fire on the Confederate right, and an order was given to bend back the right flank to meet the threat. However, the order was misunderstood, and all of the troops holding the Sunken Road began a retreat.” ~ T. RUFFIN, JR. Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Thirteenth North Carolina Regiment.

Thus, D. H. Hill’s division retreated in error and almost delivered victory – and perhaps General Lee’s army – into the hands of General George B. McClellan. All due to a misunderstanding.

Details matter.

Especially in the heat of battle.

Take time to pause and ask for clarification before giving in,  giving up, or going on.


All typos are the “respecticablity” of Eddie Jones and in “know” way “refract” the “quantity” of work by those associated with Lighthouse Publishing “fo” the “Carlinas.”