Thursday, February 22, 2018

CWD Highlights November 2017--February 2018

Christian Writers Downunder is a diverse group of writers, editors, bloggers, illustrators. As a group we support each other through our facebook page and blog.

Today's blog will highlight some of the achievements of our members from July-October 2017


Congratulations Nola Passmore

Nola Passmore's debut novel Scattered was the fiction runner up in the 2017 FaithWriters Page Turner competition. She has also signed a contract for the novel with Breath of Fresh Air Press. You can read more about it at the following link

New Releases

Jeanette Grant-Thomson

Jeanette's short anecdote, Amazing Gracie, is included in the Stories of Life anthology, The Gecko Renewal.  Jeanette says, 'My story is the account of how our car broke down in New Zealand on a cold evening and God came to our rescue.'

The Gecko Renewal is an anthology of true short stories about how God intervenes in our lives. It consists of the long list selected from entries.

Published by Morning Star Publishing October 2017

Jeanette Grant-Thomson has been an author most of her life and currently lives in the Moreton area.

Christine Dillon 

Grace in Strange Disguise

Christine Dillon's Grace in Strange Disguise was released in October 2017

Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise

After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations.

Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart?
Grace in Strange Disguise won a Gold star for cover design from Joel Friedlander Coverdesigner competition (October 2017)  You can find how to get a copy from here.

Christine Dillon is an Australia author working in Taiwan as a missionary since 1999. She writes non-fiction (traditionally and indie published) and this is her first novel. 

Stories aren't just for kids

Christine also re-released Stories aren’t just for kids: Busing 10 myths about Bible storytelling (indie published, Oct, 2017)

In a world increasingly anti-Christian, how can you communicate in a way that slides under listener's defences? How can you leave them hungry for more?

Stories are God-designed way to impact hearts. But many Christians reject stories as just for kids. Christine Dillon has trained thousands of people in storytelling. 10 myths come up over and over again, and they block Christians from using this life-changing ministry tool.
MYTH 1: Adults won’t listen to stories
MYTH 2: Stories are only for non-literate cultures
MYTH 3: Men won’t listen to stories ...
MYTH 6: Storytelling won’t grow mature disciples
MYTH 8: Storytelling will lead to heresy ...

Using stories from around the world Dillon tackles each myth and challenges you to master this tool. 

Christine Dillon is a Bible storyteller and trainer who works in Asia and Australia. Her book, Telling the Gospel Through Story: Evangelism that keeps hearers hungry for more (IVP, 2012) has inspired many to start telling the greatest story of them all.

Mixed Blessings: As Time By Go By

This delightful collection with one-hundred-and-one perfectly bite-sized stories, articles, devotions, and poems, on these ten time-related topics: Minutes, 24-Hours, Weeks, Seasons, Years, Centuries, Era, Time-Consuming, Once in a Blue Moon, Eternity...

Mixed Blessings—As Time Goes By is filled to the brim with fun, encouragement, food for thought, and inspiration. You may find yourself chuckling one moment and shedding a tear the next. In fact, it is the perfect mix of blessings for your daily reading enjoyment.

Includes stories by Christian Writers Downunder members:
Nola Passmore
Jeanette O'Hagan
Kirsten Hart
Rachel Timms
Debbie Roome
Helen Curtis
Noel Mitaxa

18 November 2017
Published by Breath of Press Air Press

Available on Amazon  or at Breath of Fresh Air Press.

Wonderment edited by Leigh Hay and Maree Silver

WONDERMENT – a poetry anthology – Grand themes do have their place in literary works, but good poems are more often the result of carefully observed ‘spots of time’, to use Wordsworth’s term. Being attentive to these moments in our lives, moments when we see the wonder of God’s creation in the world around us, is an aptitude that gifted poets develop. They observe what many often miss, divine glory revealed in the small things of life. This collection contains many such poems.

Including poems from Christian Writers Downunder members Valerie Volk, Nola Passmore, Jeanette O'Hagan, Rachel Timms and Pamela Heemskerke.

Poetica Christi is running the next competition - on the theme of Interludes - deadline 30 April 2018.  You can download an application form here.

Published by Poetica Christi
2 December 2017

May-Kuan Lim - Fish in the Well

May-Kuan Lim with Hen Chin Lim and Penne Lim, have relaunched Fish in the Well: A memoir of faith and aspiration. 

In his memoirs, Lim Hen Chin, born in 1940, recalls his early years around Ipoh and his search for a way out of poverty. His journey is described against enormous socio-political changes: Malayan independence, war against Communism and birth pains of a new nation, Malaysia. It tells of a young man's determination and his sister's unwavering belief in him. In later years, success brings its own troubles. Resigned to the life that fate has dealt him, peace remains illusive until he makes a decision that changes his life.

First published in 2013, relaunched as eBook on 16 Feb 2018. Available on Amazon

May-Kuan is the administrator of the 2018 Stories of Life faith-writing competition and a freelance writer, who blogs on migration and crossing cultures as The Curious Scribbler.

Jeanette O'Hagan - Ruhanna's Flight and Other Stories

Jeanette O'Hagan's Ruhanna's Flight and Other Stories (By the Light Books) is currently available for pre-order on Amazon for 6 March release.

Tales of wonder, romance, adventure - dip into the world of Nardva with this collection of stories.

* * *Ruhanna's Flight - Ruhanna’s father is coming for a rare visit from the capital. When everything goes terribly wrong, she discovers a mysterious gift that could save her --- if it doesn’t kill her first.

* * *Heart of the Mountain – When shapeshifter Zadeki slams into the mountain side, he finds himself trapped in a strange underground realm. Can he escape or is he there for another reason?

* * *The Herbalist's Daughter - Anna has her heart set on an burly guard at the palace, but the antics of the young Prince could jeopardise both of their futures.

* * * Rendezvous at Alexgaia - In her last mission, Space operative Dana secured the Infinity Cube at the cost her partner's life or at least his humanity. Will Neon's sacrifice be for nothing or will Dana be able to retrieve the key to the mysterious cube's use?

Also Anna's Dilemma, Lakwi's Lament, Moonflame, Withered Seeds, Space Junk, Rookie Mistake, Inferno and other stories.

Ruhanna's Flight and other stories includes Nardva tales previously published in a range of anthologies plus some new stories. While mostly set in the southern hemisphere of Nardva, the adventures range across the ages - from early days on the Lonely Isles to the space age of Nardva.

A delightful introduction to Jeanette O'Hagan's fantasy world of engaging characters and stirring adventures.

Jeanette spun tales in the world of Nardva as a child. She enjoys writing fantasy & poetry. Her stories span continents, time & cultures in another world.

Release date; 6 March 2018
Publisher By the Light Books. 
Preorder now for low price of 99cUSD at Amazon US or Amazon AU

Other News

Hazel Barker 

- Sides of Heaven Friday 23 February 10-11 am

Safe Harbour

Congratulations to Simon Kennedy. SBS is presenting a Four-Part Drama, Safe Harbour developed from Based on an original concept by Simon Kennedy and Phil Enchelmaier.

Old secrets come to light, relationships are shattered and lives are put in danger. One question hangs over it all – who cut the rope?

Friends on a sailing holiday discover a struggling fishing boat overloaded with asylum seekers. Deciding to tow the refugees, they wake the next morning and find the fishing boat gone. Who cut the rope between the two boats? 
Did they know it would end with tragic consequences?

Simon Kennedy is an award winning writer who loves discovering stories that will move people's hearts and challenge their minds

Safe Harbour count premieres on SBS, March 7th at 8.30 pm. You and watch the trailer here

Missionary Biography

David Bennett has a new release, his latest missionary biography -  Hudson Taylor and China
Published by Rhiza Press in March 2017

 Book Fairs, Conventions, Events

Rochelle Manners will be running an online Rhiza Celebration on Tuesday, 6th March - 3-8pm (Brisbane time) here.

Omega Writers Book Fair (Brisbane) - a number of CWD authors will be at the Omega Writers Book Fair (Brisbane) 10am-2:15pm 10 March, 19 Queens Road, Everton Hills.

Several CWD authors, publishers and editors will be there - including Rochelle Manners, Deb Porter, David Bennett, Lynne Stringer, Anne Hamilton, Victoria Carnell, Nola & Tim Passmore, Adele Jones, Hazel Barker, Jeanette O'Hagan, Jan Morris, Ruth Bonetti, Raelene Purtill. If you are in or around Brisbane - this will be a great opportunity to meet up with other Christian writers, do a fantastic workshop with Gary Clark (creator of Swamp) and/or have a table to display your books.

To find out more look at the Omega Writers Website - or the FB event page.

Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones and Jeanette O'Hagan will have a stand at Gold Coast Supernova from Friday 27 - Sunday 29 April. We'd love you to drop and say hello and talk to us about our books :)

Towoomba Writers Retreat - Bookings will soon be open for the Omega Writers May Retreat in Toowoomba from 4th-6th May 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018


For all those Sesame Street Fans, today’s blog has been brought to you today by the letter ‘D’.

In recent months, I have faced more than the usual amount of disappointments in both my personal and writing life. I recognise that this has affected my level of positivity, and if we were looking at it on one of those mathematics graphs, it has dipped below zero into negativity a few times. Add to this the amount of negativity that is the side-product of what we see on the news every day, and the social and political tension there is on so many different fronts, my soul has become disturbed and at times disgusted. This puts heavy pressure on any positivity index, and I find myself staring at the negative side of the ledger. I realise I am not the only one like this, who has personal and creative disappointments, and unless we unplug completely from the news media, we all have the potential to be disturbed by the things that are swirling in the world around us.

I was heading out bush to the family farm (my favourite place to escape), and my father asked if I would bring the word to their country church the next Sunday morning. I’d done this many times before. There are not many folks out there in that church, but I still believe they are as important as if I was sharing with the larger congregations in the city that number in the hundreds. I was feeling down, to be perfectly frank, but I said yes anyway. It was Dad’s turn to share, and he has been feeling a bit blue himself of late. 

When I hung up from the phone call, I said to God: ‘What on earth will I say. I have nothing. I am feeling really down at the moment.’

As is usual for me, God always starts speaking to me with a thought and here is where it started:

The Downward Spiral

It starts with disappointment or feeling disturbed or disgusted.
Then it leads to:

  • Discouragement
  • Downcast
  • Depressed
  • Despairing
  • Disillusioned
  • Doubt
  • Deceived
  • Destroyed

In my state of negative mind-set, I thought how ironic that there were so many words that started with a ‘D’ leading to that place of destruction – no hope. Then I thought, I bet there are hardly any words starting with ‘D’ that will lead us back the other way.

I bet wrong. 

I teased this all out into a long sermon with Scriptures, but these are the dot points

  •   Decide – Do not keep heading further down. Stop and decide to face the other way, towards God and towards hope.
  •   Delight – Delight in the Lord. Bless his name in worship. Give thanks for every good thing (Yes there are good things. You’re breathing, aren’t you? Do you have clothes and food and water? Start there.)
  •  Declare – From a Scripture in Isaiah 45:19-24 “Declare what is right. Declare what is to be … present it.” There was much more to this point, but essentially, do you have Scriptures or promises from God? Speak them out loud in prayer.
  •   Divine Direction – Keep your heart and ear inclined to God. Let him speak to you. Let him give you direction. Be obedient when he tells you to do something.
  •   Divine Deliverance – Of course this involves the waiting part—waiting for God to reveal how he’s going to sort things out, because we all know, after our best shot, we’re still fumbling around in the dark. It is God who will bring the deliverance.
  •   Destiny – We might have made plans, and sorted it all out nicely in our head, but when it all comes down to it, God is the one who orders our path. He is the light to our feet. He is the rock upon which we stand. He is the one who is our strength when we are weak. If we are going to have a destiny, let it be in God. 

Meredith Resce is author of seventeen published fiction titles, including the ‘Heart of Green Valley’ series.

She is currently working on two non-fiction titles “When Hell is on Your Doorstep” and “Saints Sinners and Zombies”

To learn more about Meredith and her writing work, visit her website:
Or contact her through her Face Book Author page

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Member Interview - Hazel Barker

Each Thursday in 2018 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about our members and their writing/editing goals.

Today’s interview is with Hazel Barker

Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.

1. I was born in Burma of an Iranian Muslim father and an English Catholic mother, and have
lived in Australia for 50 years.
2. I’ve always loved reading – especially the classics.
3. As a teenager, I dreamed of freedom, travel and love.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?

I write memoirs and historical novels, and wanted to be a writer from an early age, after reading Little Women. But my writing journey only commenced in 2013, when my short story, ‘Hunger’ was
selected for publication in the Redlitzer Anthology.

2016 saw the publication of my memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind: Story of a War Child, Armour
Books, and my debut novel, Chocolate Soldier. The Story of a Conchie, Rhiza Books.
Part 2 of my memoirs, The Sides of Heaven, Armour Books, was released in February this year. I’m
now working on Part 3, Count Your Blessings.

My historical novel, The Soprano is in the pipeline.

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?

My memoirs have mainly attracted female readers, but my novel, Chocolate Soldier: The Story of a
Conchie is popular with both sexes. This is probably because of the war theme and romantic scenes,
but particularly due to the message of PEACE.

I’d love all those who wish to give glory to the Lord by witnessing his message and forgiveness, to
read my books.

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the

My greatest challenge is the lack of time. I usually spend my mornings writing, but I can’t hold back
the clock, and my age is against me. I ask myself, ‘Will I be able to complete Part 3 of my memoirs
and finish my novel? How long will the Lord give me the health and strength to continue writing?

My husband Colin helps me the most. He encourages me and takes me to writers meetings,
conferences and workshops. He’s most understanding and considerate. God Bless him!

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?

My favourite writing craft book is K.M. Weiland’s, Structuring Your Novel. It was recommended to me by Iola Goulton when she did a sample edit of my work. It helps keep my writing on track. Thanks Iola.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who
would they be?

If I were to give a shout for a CWD writer, it would be Paula Vince. I met Paula when I first joined
Omega Writers at an Omega Conference in Brisbane, and was struck by her kind and gentle ways. I
enjoyed the fellowship, the encouragement and the workshops. I love her books on Divine Healing.
Her romantic suspense novels. I enjoyed reading her books, particularly Picking up the Pieces and
The Risky Way Home.

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2018? How will you achieve them?

My writing goals for this year are:
. to polish Count Your Blessings and to revise my historical novel, The Soprano.

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

My faith and my writing go hand-in- hand.
My faith is like a candle that lights up my work.
My faith rules my life, and hopefully, my writing will strengthen my readers’ faith, hope and trust in the Lord.
My faith and prayers too, may lead the despairing to hope, the sinner not to despair of the Lord’s
mercy and the prodigal to return to the Fold.

Hazel Barker lives in Brisbane with her husband Colin. She taught in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane for over a quarter of a century and now devotes her time to reading, writing and bushwalking.

From her early years, her passion for books drew her to authors like Walter Scott and Charles Dickens. Her love for historical novels sprang from Scott, and the love of literary novels, from Dickens. Many of her short stories and book reviews have been published in magazines and anthologies.

Hazel’s debut novel Chocolate Soldier, was released by Rhizza Press in September 2016. Book One of her memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind, was released by Armour Books in August 2017. Both books are set during World War Two – the former in England and the Far East; the latter in Burma.

Her latest book, The Sides of Heaven, is the sequel to Heaven Tempers the Wind: Story of a War Child, which was shortlisted in the Australia and New Zealand-wide CALEB Competition of 2017.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Cherry Red Nails and Emoticons: the must-have style-guide, by an extroverted-introvert

The older I get, the more I am embracing my style in life. And, I have to say, I think my inner extrovert is overpowering my inner introvert!

My nails are always painted bright, bold colours; cherry reds, sparkly blues, metallic pinks and purples. I just can't stand having "naked nails!" This is a relatively new thing; just a few years ago, my preference was pale, barely noticeable shades that didn't make me stand out. 

It's similar with my hair, which is currently rocking beautiful 3-tone blonde highlights that match my cat! Eventually, the aim is to go pink! Rose gold ombre pink; I know you want to google that now. I can wait.... Gorgeous isn't it!

My clothing and accessories are a little less out there, perhaps, but are still somewhat bright and I tend to avoid the blacks and navies I used to always choose. 

So, what has changed? One thing: I have finally found my style! I am no longer concerned what others' opinions might, or might not, be, of my style. And I am also far less afraid of standing out from the crowd and being noticed. This is me, bright, enthusiastic, and often laughing far more loudly than I ought to! 

I have friends who are more conservative than I. Their nails are shorter and, if painted at all, they are in soft, pastel pinks or "nude" shades. Their hair is untouched, and their clothes are muted tones of blue, brown or beige. Their speech is perhaps, quieter than mine, and their laughter is always at appropriate decibels when in public. We all have our own styles; different, for sure, but none better than the other. And yet we all get along swimmingly, and often end up talking and laughing for hours on end.

When it comes to writing, I am first and foremost an encourager. That's my thing. It will probably always be my thing, and especially written for creative people. My writing style is light and fluffy and plagued with an over-abundance of !!!s and, when possible, lots of these:  😃 😋 😌 😡 😸 🙎 🙋 I use descriptive words like "very, really, super, fantastic and excellent," and when possible, highlight my message with at least one photo. Often of a cat. Or my kids. Or the beach. Or me pulling ridiculous faces. 

Fun, right?! Perhaps...but I'm sure to some, (particularly editors!), reading that last paragraph was akin to eating 22 packets of fairy floss and washing it down with lemonade! Sickly-sweet and just too much! 

And you know what? That is absolutely okay. Really, it is. Because I know that my style is not going to communicate effectively to everyone. Just as your style will not communicate effectively to everyone. And the great thing about this is, we don't need to reach everyone! In fact, I highly doubt than any one individual could possibly appeal to every single reader of Christian literature in the country. 

Just as my friends and I all have our own personal style, so do we have our own writing styles. And far from being divisive, they complement one another so beautifully. I wonder if that's why Jesus told so many parables in so many different settings; what some related to, others wouldn't, and vice versa. 

Perhaps you don't know what your style actually is? Just as it has taken many years - and let me say, some very tragic style choices - for me to develop my style, perhaps you are still trying to find where you fit? Could it be in an entirely different genre to what you'e used to? 

Maybe you were told that romantic novels are your thing, but deep down you long to write a sci-fi series, set in a cluster nebula some 5000 light years from earth? Perhaps you are struggling to write an historic documentation of the plagues of Egypt some 50 000 pages long, full of meaning and depth and factual information - you know, because "you're so good at it!" - but when your mind wanders, you see the faces from the light-hearted romance novels you long to write. Novels that allow your readers to let go of reality for just a moment, and be swept up in the plight of Candice and Brett, the almost-but-never-quite-together-couple! 

Let me ask you...are you creating out of the style that God wants you to, or out of what you feel you ought to be? Or feel safe hiding behind? Or any other reason you might think of? If you are truly comfortable with your style, I encourage you to keep on being you. But, if this is even slightly resonating with you, then maybe it's time to let your true creative persona shine forth. Yes, it may be very different, and people may notice you, but won't it feel amazing to be rocking your true style?! Perhaps it's just a small tweak that's needed for now? Like a bright pink streak in your untouched brunette hair?! Literarily-speaking, of course 😉 

Just remember...whatever your style, in whichever genre, God will bring your audience to you. Trust his creative hand in your life, and be your most authentic you. 


Helen 😊 😄 😇 😉 😎 😸

Thursday, February 8, 2018

CWD Member Interview - Linsey Painter

Each Thursday in 2018 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.

Today interview: Linsey Painter

Beautiful beach in Indonesia

Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.

I am a child of God, a mum to two rambunctious boys and wife to a wonderful husband.

Where I come from is a bit of a complicated question to answer. J I kind of do life on the move. I was born in Melbourne, I grew up in West Papua, Indonesia and I’ve lived in Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea and Cairns.
Each place I have lived, has contributed to making me who I am.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?

I primarily write for young people. I love kids books. When I was growing up, reading was a safety net for me, it was a place I could disappear and feel safe and secure. I want to write books that will help kids when life gets tough, that will open their eyes to other worlds and write books that will be their friends.

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?

Friends and family and kids of friends have read my work as well as other adults around the globe. I would like my work to reach whoever it needs to. I still turn to kids books as my first love in reading and I’m thirty-six, so I’m more than happy for whoever at whatever age to read my work.

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?

My workspace

I’m a pantzer. I get an idea and I write. I skip all over the book and write a chapter in the beginning, then I’ll write the ending, then I’ll start filling in the middle bits. I do get to a stage where I need to do lots of mapping and looking at my structure and plot.
It’s usually a huge mess for a long time but I’m learning that ‘mess leads to clarity’ so there’s hope.
Music helps me a lot. I get so much inspiration from listening to songs. Also, going outside and being inspired by nature is amazing.
I have a lot notebooks because I love to actually write on paper. The majority of my work goes straight onto the computer but I doodle and draw pictures and write down tid-bits, dialogue and even whole chapters into my notebooks.

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?

Hmmm, this is a bit of a hard one for me to pin down. I really love Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. It reminded me that writing is not all about getting published. It’s a gift to be shared in lots of different ways.
Libby Gleeson’s Writing Hannah is a fun, practical look at writing for kids.
I also loved Katherine Paterson’s The InvisibleChild. It is actually different papers she’s written and talks that she gave over the years about her experiences and what she's learned through reading and writing children's books.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

I will give a shout out to my amazing Sci-Fi/Fantasy Skype group that meets once a month. Jeanette O’Hagan, Adam David Collings, Raelene Purtill and Catriona McKeown. They have been such an incredible encouragement for me being such a newbie to writing. Their wisdom, experience and generosity in sharing has taught me so much. Thanks guys!

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2018? How will you achieve them?

I have quite a number of things that I want to finish off. This interview was one of them—tick! I'm working on a couple of short stories that I would like to finish off with a view to submitting them to anthologies. I'm also writing a fantasy series. My goal this year is to write the second book in the series, so I’ll keep plugging away at.
We’re having an interestingly disruptive year. We’re heading off to Africa for about six months. So, that will influence not only how much I get done but also what I write. I’m excited to see what impact it will have on the stories that I am working on at the moment and what new concepts I might come up with.


Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

I write from a Christian worldview though not necessarily for the Christian market. So my faith saturates what I write. I want to write in a way that glorifies and honours God. I want to write to have a deep impact. I want to write in a way that the reader is distracted by what’s at the front door while the truth slips in through the side window.

Linsey Painter loves to write stories that draw on her rich heritage of growing up overseas. Her children’s stories focus on growing young hearts, challenging assumptions and exploring courage in the face of life’s difficulties.
Linsey’s books are drawn from real life and imaginative fantasy adventures. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect and sometimes we need to be brave and find out how to love and trust again.
Through her books Linsey shows that joy and beauty are everywhere even when life is difficult.
Linsey lives in Cairns with her husband and two lively boys.
You can find information about Linsey on her website or follow her on facebook or twitter

Monday, February 5, 2018

Exploring Genre: How Genre Impacts Book Marketing

By Iola Goulton | @IolaGoulton

Australasian Christian Writers and Christian Writers Downunder share a post on the first Monday of every month, and this is the first joint post for 2018. Happy New Year!

Our 2017 posts focused on genre, and we are continuing that theme in 2018. If you'd like a catch-up, click here to read the useful summary Jeanette O'Hagan provided us with in December.

Because we believe that every author needs to understand the concept of genre, what genre they write in, and the expectations of that genre. Why? Because understanding is the core of your marketing strategy.

We're not alone in that belief. In her recent blog post 18 Rock Solid Book Marketing Strategies for 2018, Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts says:

Be clear on your genre. You shouldn’t even be considering publishing unless you know, without question, what genre you’re in. Book sales only happen when your book is in a clearly defined market. Don’t make the reader try to guess.

In fact, although Penny doesn't say so, most of her marketing recommendations can be related to genre:

Social Media

Knowing what genre you write will help you focus your social media efforts on the networks your readers use, not the networks recommended by the latest social media guru.

Write More Books

... in the same genre. Especially series. Readers love series.

Price Your Books to Sell

Pricing is often related to genre. If you're trying to sell the Kindle version of your self-published romance novel for $9.99, you're not going to make many sales because that's out of line with what romance readers expect to pay.

Make Sure Your Cover Matches Your Genre

Thriller readers aren't looking for books with werewolves or unicorns on the cover.

Connect With Your Readers

Which means knowing who your readers are. Which means knowing your genre.

Maximise Amazon

In particular, make sure your books are categorised properly on Amazon, so people who are looking to buy your genre find your books. Because people search Amazon for three main things: author, title, and genre. And they'll never know to search for you by author or title if they don't know your genre.

Build Your Fan Base

The easiest way to start is by finding and following readers who've read and reviewed books like yours. You know, books in the same genre.

Redo Old Covers

Especially if they don't reflect your genre.

Be Aware of Your Brand

And make sure it reflects your genre. If you're writing urban fantasy, your website should have a dark, gritty urban feel. No matter how much you like lambs frolicking in fields, that's the realm of Rural Romance.

Support Other Authors

Especially in your genre. Because if their readers keep seeing your name and realise you have a book, they might just check you out.


The best collaborations are the ones where there is something that unifies the collaborating authors. Like genre.

For example, 13 members of Australasian Christian Writers and Christian Writers Downunder have recently collaborated to develop and promote an Australia Day Giveaway—books by Australian authors, set in Australia, or both. That promotion has raised awareness of Australian Christian Fiction as a genre, promoted the participating authors, and given us all a boost to our mailing lists.

(We're considering running a couple of genre-based group giveaways during the year. Keep an eye on the Facebook group for details.)

Most authors I know find marketing harder than writing. 

If you don't know and understand genre, you're making marketing even harder. Certainly harder than it needs to be.

If you do know what genre you write, great! Perhaps you'd like to contribute an article? It's called content marketing, and it's a great strategy for people who aren't comfortable with pushy-pushy-pushy self-promotion.

If you're not sure what genre you write, go through our previous posts and make sure you check out the new post on the first Monday of each month. And leave a comment telling us something about what you write. Maybe we can help!

About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, and currently works as a freelance editor. When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, two teenagers and one cat. She is currently working on her first novel.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Writing Disciples

I am a student of Life. In all my explorations and inquiries, I have found that Life produces life. When something is healthy it reproduces. Within my years of leadership and ministry I have seen some amazing growth where life has sprung forth and inherent multiplicative growth occurs. I saw this as a young university student where incredible disciple making was occurring. People coming to know Christ. Growing in their faith. Telling others. A movement of people changing the world. At other times, in other settings I have seen that growth was sluggish if even life existed. It was in these places that a revival of hope, re-engagement with purpose, and authentic adjustments done together (with Christ as the core and a willingness to multiply) had the effect that life sprung forth again.

The church is existing and thriving in places today all over the world because Jesus and the apostles and the 1st century believers discipled each other, and faithful followers of Christ for the past 2000 years have done the same. This has meant countless generations of lives that have been impacted by God’s love and life expression have passed on what was gifted to them in others. What a joy to be carriers of eternal Life. What a wonder that this gets expressed through all our diverse cultures and talents. The awesome thing is that you too can get in on the pleasure and fulfillment of multiplying the life God has given you into others. 
In fact, Jesus makes a bold claim in Matthew 28 we can reach the world through this kind of multiplication. 
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT)

The latent power of the Kingdom of God is simple and reproducible. Jesus strategy for growth for those who would be followers of Him is the intentional engaging of people to be empowered believers who then engage and empower others in a simple yet effective method of sharing the Life He has given, the Good News, and growing in discipleship, that continues to multiply across relationship networks. This reproduction happens in like manner how God orchestrated order and growth in His creation … after its own kind. As writers we can be encouraged that our discipling of others can occur out of the fertile soil of our own creativity.  As God has released His creative gift in you, so it also has the dynamic potential to be released in others through you.

This is what Jesus intended when He sent His disciples to make disciples. He expected them not only to be equipped and released in His gifts and creativity themselves, but to help equip and release others who would do the same. It is no wonder that this expression could be expressed through and with our writing gift. Equip and release others. The exciting thing about this is you just might raise up a generation of writers that are even more effective and creative and published and blessing the world with their craft than what you are.
Paul gives us a sober reminder that we are called to esteem one another in their gifts.
“”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”” Philippians 2:3

Jesus expected us to pass on the creative spark that is inherent in discipleship, and is activated by His Spirit mobilising us with the diverse creativity He loads us up with. Think about what God has given you: Imagination and the way to access and use it well, storytelling, practical talents, honed skills, editing, writing nuances, understanding of publishing, editing, typing, formatting, editing, character development, spell checking, editing, communicating, marketing, editing … you get the picture. There is probably a fire of passion in each of us that keeps us writing. There is hopefully a fire of God’s Love that keeps us humble and seeking His heart and passion to pass on the fire. 

Some have highlighted that this “passing on the fire” is a command, not option: When Jesus said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth,” He was telling His disciples that He held the highest authority in the universe. Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords. As such He has commanded His church to make disciples. If we ignore or neglect this command, we are committing what may be considered high treason against the King of the universe. Jesus told us to go to people with His life.  There is an intentionality clause that is written into how we should live this act of discipleship.  We must be willing to get out of our comfort zone. This could mean we spend time with someone who is not a great writer yet, or someone who just needs encouragement and a helping hand, or even going to people who are possibly far from God with the only message that can save them. Sharing our lives, sharing our craft, sharing our faith.

Inside every follower of Jesus is the spark of multiplication and when that spark is “fanned into a flame,” it can ignite an entire culture of multiplication. Imagine the multiplication that would take place if everyone you raised up were also committed to doing the same. Effectively training others to train others. This is what Paul had in mind in 2 Timothy 2:2 – “And the things which you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” Imagine if every time you spent time with someone to encourage and release them in their God given ability, teaching them elements of writing and about their walk with Jesus that, those whom you taught caught this passion too and they also taught others what they were learning. What if the message and gift you have been given was not simply taught and learned, but passed on to others who passed it on to others?

Every disciple is called to make disciples.
Therefore every disciple is actually mandated to make disciples who are making disciples.

What an exciting prospect that God could use our craft not only to write about discipleship, but to actually create a multiplicative, life filled movement of writers who fill the world with His light and love .

Perhaps the simple question is this …..

Who are you mentoring or coaching or discipling to be the writers God has empowered them to be ?

"Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." John 4:35 (NIV).

God bless you as you grow in your own writing gift so that you can be blessed to be a blessing. 

Yours in the Harvest