Friday, July 10, 2015

Laura Hilton: Touching A Reader's Heart In Today's Market


Everyone's Story welcomes back author Laura Hilton. Without fail, whenever I read anything by Laura, her words stir me and I want to shout a "yes!" in agreement. I hope you will find this also true when you read Laura's encouraging words she shares with us this week. Please check out her lovely BookGiveaway. Both Laura and I look forward to hearing from you.







BookGiveaway:
Laura is generously offering 1 copy of any her novels, including the recently released THE POSTCARD to 1 randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, July 17th between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment.



Writing A Faith-filled Novel In Today’s Market 
by Laura Hilton

We live in a rapidly changing world. We’re used to the internet and instantaneous gratification. You want something, you can stay in your pajamas, go online, and order it. With one-click purchase, it’s super easy to buy what you need and it’ll be in your mailbox in two or three days. Or in the case of e-books, instantly available to read on your device.

With this kind of service, gone are the days of planning a trip to a bookstore, and browsing shelves, wondering if your favorite author has a new book out. The joy of finding out there is, and pulling this crisp, new paperback book off the shelf, hugging it, and reading the back cover. Then opening it up and reading the first chapter before you either continue shopping for another new book—and maybe discovering a new author—or take your treasure and going to the checkout counter.

One winter a book I really wanted to read came out. It was titled “Snow.” I lived in Michigan at the time, and we had braved the icy, messy road conditions in Grand Rapids to go to Alpine Avenue to do some needed shopping. I asked my husband to stop at the Christian bookstore for a moment. I went running into the store and startled the employees who probably had planned for a quiet evening with no customers. The man working asked me, “May I help you?” And I said, “I’m looking for Snow.” He looked outside, at the white flakes falling, the messy parking lot. “Don’t we have enough already?” The store did carry the book. I grabbed it, hugged it, read the back cover, paid, and went home happy.

With bookstores closing faster than most people change their sheets, it’s a challenge for new authors to try to break into the traditional market. Publishers don’t want to take a chance on a newby. They want tried and true. They know what is selling (and it may not be your favorite genre.) And with so many established authors out there who’ve already been proved to sell, how is a Christian author supposed to get their work out there in a rapidly diminishing market.

The professionals will tell you, story matters. Make your story sing, the characters alive, the words so gripping the acquisitions editor won’t be able to put it down. And they are right. But I’m not here to tell you that good advice or even how to do it. Your way isn’t my way. Your favorite reading material is different than mine. I’m here to tell you to give your writing to God and write the story for Him and Him alone.

Pray, before writing any words. Write the story He tells you to write, even if it’s too preachy, or addresses tough issues. He knows who He wants that story to reach. It may not be millions; it may be one of your critique partners. If the story changes even one life for God, it’s worth it, even if it doesn’t get a second look by one of the top five Christian publishers.

Once your story is written, edited, and told the way you feel God intended, there are plenty of other options for publication. Small press – and I don’t mean vanity press – that sell books mostly online. Or you can self-publish. Write a good story and readers will find you. Word of mouth works the best of any marketing plan out there. If a reader is touched by your story, they will tell a friend, “I just read this amazing story. You’ve got to read it.”

To quote a well-known writing coach, pray and then “go, write something brilliant.”

Laura's previous Everyone's Story's blog feature: Amish Fiction Author and Advice On Your Passion and God's Permission

Laura's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Author Laura Hilton @Laura_V_Hilton: Writing A Faith-filled Novel In Today’s Market (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: Visit with #AmishFiction author Laura Hilton @Laura_V_Hilton (Tweet This) 

Like #AmishFiction? Check out Laura Hilton @Laura_V_Hilton’s #BookGiveaway! (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard,  and The Birdhouse in September 2015. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.

Places to connect with Laura:
Goodreads

****Please take a moment to take this month's new Poll: When the first paragraph of a novel loses its grip on you. (found on the right-hand sidebar) Thanks so much!



59 comments:

  1. It was nice to learn a little more about Laura. I think the Post Card sounds so interesting.. thanks for a chance to win one of her books :)
    dkstevensneAT outlookD OtCoM

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    1. Deanna, it's a pleasure to see you again! I'm glad you enjoyed Laura's feature. You'e in the drawing.

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    2. thanks for stopping by, Deanna. Good luck.

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  2. Enjoyed the interview with Laura. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of one of her books. Hope you have a great weekend. abilene_nana(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. And may you also enjoy your weekend, either with your grandkids, adorable cats, or a great book. Thanks for visiting, Ann.

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    2. Enjoy your weekend, Ann! Good luck.

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  3. I enjoyed this post, Laura, and I agree!

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    1. Paula, so funny: I was just on FB saying I hope you drop by for a visit and leave a hello for Laura and here you are! Thanks so much for your visit.

      Hope to see you again!

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    2. Hi, Paula Rose. Have a great weekend!

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  4. Post Card sounds so interesting. Love her story about looking for Snow. Only a writer...

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    1. Thanks for the smile, Pat.

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    2. Yeah, I think the bookstore employees will remember that story too. I still have the book too.

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  5. Time will probably be spent with all three at some time during the weekend.

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    1. You certainly can't go wrong, Ann! Enjoy and cherish.

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  6. I love "Go, write something brilliant!" You really have to believe in that every time you sit down to write. Thanks for the encouraging post!

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    1. I appreciate your visit, Sara. I appreciate you!

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    2. Susan May Warren says that in her posts. I added the pray... because without prayer I could write nothing.

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  7. A lovely post thank you. I love finding books that I can't wait to tell others they must read.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. It makes me happy to know that you enjoyed Laura's message. Thanks for visiting, Mary.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Mary. Good luck!

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  8. Laura, The Postcard sounds like a really good book I'd like to read. frontiersoffaith@annaleeconti.com

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    1. AnnaLee, thanks for visiting today. I always am happy when you visit.

      You're in the drawing!

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    2. Good luck, AnnaLee! It was fun to write.

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  9. Love to win Post Card.
    Thanks for give away.
    Carolyn J.
    carolynj67@att.net

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    1. Welcome to Everyone's Story, Carolyn. Thanks for visiting with Laura today.

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    2. Hi, Carolyn! Good to see you here. Good luck.

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  10. AnonymousJuly 11, 2015

    I hear more and more Christian authors say they are going to have to abandon the message and switch to the secular market for the sake of sales. It is encouraging to me, as a Christian author, to hear someone say it's not about the masses, it's about the person or persons God might speak to through one book. "give your writing to God and write the story for Him and Him alone" This was something I needed to hear that inspires me to press on! Thank you!

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    1. I'm so thankful for your visit, as well as that you've been encouraged by my guest.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. You're welcome. It's all about Him. He knows.

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  11. I loved the interview. "Write the story He tell you to write. He knows who He want that story to reach." That's why your stories touch so many readers. You write with grace, and compassion while writing a story only He can direct you to write. Thanks for your books that touch so many of us. I would be honored to read "Postcard." My email is jhdwayne(at)peoplepc(dot)com

    Deana

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    1. Deana, I'm glad you were heartened by Laura's words. Thanks for stopping by.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. Oh, Deana, that made me cry. I pray over every word, scene. It's all Him. Really.

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  12. I tweeted this post. :)

    No matter what the market looks like or how many bookstores and publishing houses are going out of business, I choose to trust the Lord. It took awhile, but I've stopped looking at problems as obstacles and view them as opportunities to see Him work miracles.

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    1. Thanks for the Tweet, Susan, and for visiting, and for most of all, a blessed perspective!

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    2. Yes, the business news is discouraging, but we have to keep our eyes on Him. He knows.

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  13. Thanx for the giveawaay!!! I resemble that remark about slipping down Alpine Ave in the snow to go shopping!!!!!!!I I was born and raised in Michigan and attended college in GR! Looking forwrd to reading more of your works. j4hibdon (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

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    1. Jennifer, I can appreciate your enthusiasm over Laura and her awesome Giveaway. Thanks for visiting.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. Good luck, Jennifer! I kinda miss snow now, but when I lived there it began to get a little old when I looked at snowdrifts in May. :)

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  14. We used to have a small Christian book store in town and a
    Borders near by. I miss those days of shopping in those stores!
    It was nice to have a poignant reminder of "the old days,"
    Laura. :)

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    1. Yes, Kathy, oh, those golden olden days of what… sniff, sniff, just a couple of handfuls ago. My husband and I ducked out last evening into a major mall in the area where there used to be a Walden Books. Does anyone remember that one? We strolled (and yes, I purchased!) through a still-open Barnes and Noble but I couldn't help but wonder how long they're be open despite the amount of business they were thankfully doing. Next door to that mall used to be a Borders. In the mall on the other side of the highway used to be both a Walden Books and Borders. Interestingly enough, in this area, it is the independent book stores, and used book stores, that seem to be hanging in there. As for a Christian book store, the closest one to me is a 50 minute drive.

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    2. I miss living near bookstores. Where I live now there are none. I went to a book signing in Conway, AR and the bookstore was mostly all gift items. That was so sad.

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    3. I miss having bookstores near. I went to a booksigning in Conway and the bookstore was all gifts. Sad.

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  15. I love taking trips to the book store, whether it's Lifeway or Barnes & Noble, and being greeted by that very distinctive book store smell right as I walk in. It's so calming and peaceful but also exciting because there's always a new treasure to find! Thanks for the interview. I thought it was very encouraging! ☺️ Mdp94 (at) bellsouth (dot) net

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    1. Morgan, welcome to Everyone's Story! Funny, I thought it was just me who strolls down through aisles of shelved books and immediately feels at peace.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. My daughters love to go to the library too. Good luck

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  16. Would love to win this book. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this contest. God Bless! ruth.kyser@gmail.com

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    1. Ruth, thanks for taking the time to visit today. You're entered in the Giveaway drawing. Best wishes.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. thanks for entering, Ruth

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  17. I have read the first book in this series and am looking forward to reading the continuation of it. The first was great ! Ah, the smell of real books ! Give me a real book any day over a ebook !
    It's great to visit with you today, Elaine !
    Deanne
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

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    1. Deanne, a warm welcome back. I love your excitement! There's nothing like a great read to get lost in. So glad you enjoyed the visit with Laura and me.

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    2. Deanne, I'm so glad you enjoyed The Snow Globe. I hope you love The Postcard, too

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  18. What a great blog post! I haven't read any of Laura's books, so this is an exciting giveaway!
    Susan in NC
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi, Susan in NC! Welcome to Everyone's Story. Giveaway contests are a great way to try a new author. Good luck. And I'm glad you enjoyed this blog feature.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. Susan, thanks for subscribing to my blog! I so appreciate that!

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    3. Thanks for entering, Susan, and even if you don't win, I hope you give my books a try. Request your library to carry them, if they don't.

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  19. I enjoyed this article. It held my attention from the start. Great testimony on doing what God calls you do for His glory and His glory alone! This is a new author to me and definitely books I will read.
    Karenskrayons(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi, Karen, and welcome to Everyone's Story. I'm glad you enjoyed Laura's feature. Her words are certainly uplifting, both for the writer and reader.

      Hope to see you again!

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    2. I like your email, Karen. Thanks for entering, and even if you don't win, I hope you request your library to carry them. Good luck!

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  20. What an exciting week here on Everyone's Story! Gauging the comments left, I believe Laura did an excellent job uplifting writers' outlooks on publishing as well as exciting readers on her newest release. Laura, I'm so pleased for you and hope this blesses you with an even larger and adoring reader fan base.

    And, thanks for your fab BookGiveaway! And the winner of Laura's giveaway is…

    Carolyn J. Congratulations, Carolyn. Both Laura and I will contact you shortly in a direct email.

    Blessings to all.

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