Tag Archives: books

The 3 word sentence that guides my writing

An unusual survey was taken in which participants were asked this question: What 3 word sentence would you most like to have said to you?

  • The third most common response was: “Supper is ready.”
  • The second most popular answer was:  “I forgive you.”
  • The answer that topped the list was:  “I love you.”

Each answer could serve as a motivation for my writing…yes, even the one about supper being ready. 🙂 You see, as a Christian writer, I want my stories to motivate people to get ready for that one great supper:  the Lamb’s supper. Or, to put it another way, I don’t want anyone to miss out on the great marriage feast where the Bride (the Church) is forever joined to the Groom (the Lord Jesus). Someday the trumpet is going to sound, and it’ll be like God is declaring, “Come on, children, supper is ready.”

And I pray that my writing will show how God can restore the broken, revive the hopeless, and declare the guilty can be pronounced innocent before the eternal Judge. I very much want my books to take my readers on a heart-pounding thrill ride through the darkness that is this world, the whole time making sure that they can see glimpses of light penetrating that darkness. I refuse to ignore or sugar-coat the reality of sin and the destructive consequences it brings, but I want readers to know that God stands ready & willing to forgive them of their sins, to transfer them from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of His Beloved Son, and to give them new life. Our Lord knows a little something about resurrection, wouldn’t you say? Jesus shed his blood–and rose from the dead–for the forgiveness of sins.

But the most popular answer gives me the reason why Jesus came to earth, hung on the cross, and conquered death and sin. I want my readers to know that God loves them. When someone finishes one of my books, I hope that they will be drawn to a deeper fellowship with the God Who loves them. Once a theologian was asked what he thought was the single greatest theological truth he’d learned in his decades of Bible study. He could have mentioned any of the various doctrinal truths that are so plentiful in Scripture. He could have tried to draw water from the deep wells of theology. Instead he replied, “the single greatest truth that I have learned is that Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

I hope my readers can know the same thing because they read one of my books.

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Top 10 Bad Things to do at a Book Signing

As a continued service to writers, I turn my attention to another part of the writer’s life:  book signings. May this list help you avoid the Top 10 Bad Things to do at a Book Signing.

#10:  The minute you walk in the door, you grab the manager and say, “Alright, Buckaroo, let’s round up some suckers and get this party started!”

# 9:  Over the store intercom system, announce that you’ll be signing books in the last stall in the restroom because “that bean dip from last night is really kicking up again.”

# 8:  Stretch out on top of the table and take a nap.

# 7:  Sign every book in the store, whether you wrote it or not.

# 6:  Glare at the first person who starts to walk by your table without stopping and say, “Ohhhhhhhh, I’m gonna get you in my next book,” then do those hand signals for I’ve got my eyes on you.

# 5:  Offer to sign people’s bald spots.

# 4:  Announce an in-store give away that the store didn’t even know about.

# 3:  Tell people they can get the book cheaper at that place that rhymes with “Ramazon.”

# 2:  Put a sign by your book that says, “Better than the Bible!”

# 1:  Throw books at people and yell, “Pay up front, Miss I-Don’t-Have-Time-To-Stop-By-The-Poor-Author-Table-And-Be-Civil! My kids need shoes too, ya know!”

Now, grab that Sharpie and get going!

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“Top 10 Signs You May Have Hired a Bad Agent”

In my quest to find the right agent to represent me, I’ve run into many others who are searching also. As a service to those seekers, here is today’s “Top 10” list:

Top 10 Signs You May Have Hired a Bad Agent

#10:  They think that Kinkos is a major Publishing house.

# 9:  They’re in the Witness Protection Program

# 8:  Their office is in the back of a van, parked down by the river.

# 7:  You can only talk to them every other weekend, and then it’s through plexiglass at the State prison.

# 6:  Your agent only works at night, because he really believes he’s Batman.

# 5:  Everytime you visit them, they invite you to sit on their lap and tell them all about “your wittle bitty book.”

# 4:  Their entire wardrobe is made of Spandex.

# 3:  Instead of using their real name, the insist you call them “Mighty Caesar.”

# 2:  They call you, all excited, because they’ve made a deal for your novel to be the first chocolate-dipped book in the country.

# 1: Their Business Card says, “Guido’s Sewer Cleaning and Literary Service” and their motto is: “All day long, we’re dealing with other people’s you-know-what.”

ohhhhhh boy. Do you have any other suggestions?

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“Batting our Bicuspids for Books”

NOTE: At the end of today’s post, I’ve got an exciting announcement about the first ever interview to appear on this blog! I’m so excited I could scream (but I’m in the library at the moment, so I won’t).

The Apostle John and the Apostle Peter are seated at a table in a nice cafe in Jerusalem, enjoying a kosher breakfast, when in stomps the Apostle Paul, frustration furrowed across his brow. He’s rubbing his bald head and muttering.

“What’s wrong?” asks John as Paul paces next to the table.

“I’ve just come from Parchment Express. The business cards I ordered are still not ready!”

“Oh, for my sake,”Peter blurts. The two other Apostles turn and stare at him. His hand freezes inches from his mouth, a piece of dried fish pinched in his fingers. “Was that out loud?”

John nods. Paul rolls his eyes.

“Sorry,” Peter adds. “That’s a bad habit I’ve got.”

“As I was saying,” Paul says tartly, “I healed two guys in line, only to find out my two-colored cards–with all the relevant contact information for my next missionary journey–are not going to be ready on time. I’m going to have to head across the sea, and when I step out of the boat…no cards!”

“No cards,” mumbles Peter. “Try doing it with NO LAND!” His eyes go wide. “Opps…did it again.”

“Do you want me to oppose you to your face again?” Paul yells.

John bolts to his feet. “Brethren, let us love one another!”

Paul rubs the bridge of his hooked nose. “I’m sorry, Peter. It’s just that it was my whole marketing campaign.”

Peter downs the rest of his non-fermented grape juice (after all, it’s not yet 9 a.m.). “I can understand the frustration, Paul.” He slaps his hand on the table, his cheeks growing redder than usual. “I can’t get the scroll host for the church scrollsite to respond to any of my epistles! And my mother-in-law’s wanting to post recipes.”

“Have either of you ever tried animal stickers?” John asks.

“What?” Peter and Paul say in unison.

“You put them on the back ends of horses, mules, or camels. It’s a new marketing idea. I’m not sure it’s going to stick around,” John says, then busts out in a deep belly laugh. He finally catches his breath. “Stick around” Get it?”

Peter and Paul banish John from the cafe.

Friends, the best marketing strategy known to man hasn’t really changed. It’s called WORD OF MOUTH. Business cards, bumper stickers, bookmarks, and coffee mugs are fine, but they’re not a substitute for getting the word out by “batting our bicuspids.” (I use that phrase in honor of Dr. Howard Hendricks. I heard him use it in a sermon many years ago). I believe that, as writers of Christian fiction, we have a duty to one another to tell other people about the many great books that are available. Most people will pick up a book that someone they trust recommends. So if you loved a book, let someone know. Talk up other authors and their books. If you’ve been blessed by a book, chances are many other readers will be also.

Pick a book you’ve loved recently and tell ten people about it in the next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is it wrong to be “Star Struck”?

I’ve had a chance to meet many of my favorite writers. And I’m star struck most of the time it happens. Sometimes my brain goes into temporary hibernation, refusing to allow my tongue to work properly. Ever been there?

It’s just so doggone cool to meet these published authors, especially if I’ve read their books as a fan. I still remember my fist ACFW Conference (St. Louis 2011). I knew that Brandilyn Collins was going to be there. She’s one of my favorite authors. I really wanted to meet her. Shouldn’t be that hard, right? I’m a grown–relatively mature–adult with workable social skills. Then the moment came…and went. I was preparing to get off the elevator. The doors opened, and there stood mulitpublished, award-winning, Brandilyn Collins. And I had no idea what to say. I had to look down at my name tag to remember my own name. Awkward.  I wandered off the elevator, she got on…and the opportunity was gone. Later, however, after a few rounds of Christian stalking, I did get to meet her. Then, at the same conference, a new friend introduced me to Terri Blackstock. I’m not sure what I said to her, but chances are it resembled that Chris Farley skit on Saturday Night Live. I’m sure you’ve never felt such nervousness in the presence of someone you admired. I’m riding solo on the goofball express, huh?

I just get tongue-tied around people I admire from the standpoint of a fan.

And when my tongue does work, it’s not always a good thing. I’ll spare myself the embarrassment of telling you what happened the first time I met Nancy Mehl. (Picture me slapping my forehead). And don’t listen to the members of the South-Central Kansas ACFW chapter when they say that they think I have a man-crush on Ted Dekker. I’m sure I’ll be just fine if ever given the opportunity to meet him…

And what’s really ironic is that as a preacher/teacher I talk for a living! Yes, God is a God of wonders.

seriously, it is really a thrill to meet so many talented writers whose books I’ve read. I was nice to meet Collen Coble and Rene Gutteridge at this past ACFW conference, then to have Rene come and speak to our local chapter, and sign a book for me. And to be friends with published authors like Nancy Mehl, Karl Bacon, and Deborah Raney is a blessing that has made my writing journey more enjoyable.

But do you know who else has blessed my enormously? The unpublished writers that attend my local chapter, or go to conference. These fellow stewards of story work hard to reach their goals and achieve their dreams. To them I say, “It’s an incredible honor to know you. You make me proud to be a writer. And when you get published and I become a fan of your books, just forgive me if I walk up and get tongue-tied or something dumb comes out of my mouth.”

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Why don’t YOU give up?

No one is born a published author.

I’ll wait while you slip back into your chair.

Brace yourself, because I’m going to rephrase it: Every published author was unpublished at one time. So how did they eventually get published? What do you think were the common denominators for them?

As an unpublished writer, I’m working hard to study the craft, sharpen my writing skills, and build my “networking” muscles. I’m investing in my writing by entering contests, hiring a freelance editor to edit my just finished book, driving an hour to the closest ACFW chapter, going to conference, buying books, etc…. Why do I do all of this? Because it’s part of the journey.

And there is one thing I know with absolute certainty:  I’ll never be published if I give up.

Let me check my calendar/planner…just a second…nope, no plans to give up penciled in anywhere! Nor will I invest a lot of time and effort in whining about how hard it is or how unfair the process can be or whatever else would make for one whale of a pity party. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with venting and snacking on huge amounts of comfort food, or of crying on a trusted friend’s shoulder. But I don’t think any agent or editor would ever say, “I decided to publish that writer’s book just to shut them up.”

What do YOU plan to do to keep pushing for publication? Share your thoughts, please, because your words may just be the encouragement that another writer is needing. Thanks.

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