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What an author does

Writing is like giving birth, but the labor lasts much longer.

I have realized that the experience of becoming an author has been similar to giving birth. First, I was pregnant with the thoughts, feelings and ideas. They grew inside me like a new baby. I shared some of this with family and friends, the way a pregnant woman would let people rub her tummy to feel the baby kick.

I nourished my writing by reading and learning, and forming friendships with other authors. I began researching the writing industry and learning everything I could on the subject, along with information about publishing, marketing and promotion. In this way, it was similar to what is referred to as “nesting”, when a woman “prepares” for the coming arrival; cleaning and setting up the nursery, and getting all the necessary supplies on hand.

Then it was time to give birth.

The actual writing part came naturally enough, though there were some minor complications. I got stuck with my words several times. During the process, I ended up erasing entire pages, at times on purpose, and accidentally at times. There were times when I felt so frustrated and began to think that I might never finish my book. But just like being pregnant, you know the baby can’t stay in there forever.

Finally, my book was completed. Victory! And I felt very proud of this accomplishment. It took a lot of hard work, dedication and determination, but it had become a reality. I could hold it in my hands, my “baby”.

Then came the job of raising the baby, getting the word out and promoting it to the world. That was even harder than the giving birth! Naturally my new “baby” was eagerly accepted by my family and friends. But if that is the only audience to buy your book, you are going to need another job to support yourself.

Of course, several people in my inner circle spread the word about my new book to their family and friends. But let’s face it, I am no super-star with thousands of followers.

I needed some serious help in getting the word out, to promote myself and my book. As I had been reading and learning about the marketing industry, I learned about using social media and networking. It is much more than just posting a few ads on Facebook and Twitter and such. (I’ll be covering more on that later.)

Through social media I began to make new friendships, many of which were with seasoned authors. And to my surprise, quite a few were very willing to share tips of the trade and some much needed guidance on what to do next. Many of these fine and generous people even bought my book and promoted it to their own fans! And while my book may not be on the best-seller list in New York yet, I was quite honored to receive the mentions and lovely reviews.

One aspect I learned from all of this is about the concepts of “pay back” and “pay it forward”. The “pay back” is kind of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” sort of thing, where authors cross-promote each other’s works. The “pay it forward” is where someone helps out a new author, without any expectations of returning the favor. It is simply a way of giving a new author or new book some support, and perhaps opening a door to new avenues for them.

This brings me to the point of my post today.

It has been my privilege to make friends with a few Christian authors that are about to release their new books. As my way of saying “thank you for your friendship”, I will be doing a few guest posts, interviews and reviews with these authors over the next few weeks.

I am really excited about these new books and the adventures the authors are about to begin! As I said at the beginning of this post, “writing is like giving birth, but the labor lasts much longer”, and I am happy to be a small part of these new births.

I realize that my work alone will not make these books successful bestsellers, so I will be asking for the help of all of my readers to spread the word. It’s not easy being a new parent. And neither is becoming a best-selling author. But with a little help and determination, it can be achieved.

So please join me in welcoming these wonderful upcoming authors and help us in sharing their work, their babies, with the world!

And if you know of any new authors or works that you would like to see promoted, I would be happy to take a look and see what I can do. Just send me a link or a note.

Thank you in advance for your help and support. I look forward to hearing from you, and God bless! – Amber

 

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Good morning! Before the post, I wanted to share a quick update on Daniel. He did have to go back into surgery on Tuesday due to some bleeding, but he’s doing much better and recovering now. He’s been moved out of ICU and he’s eating solid foods, even being a little ornery. I am one thankful mom! And thank you all again for your prayers and support!

And now, on to the post:

Technology and the Distant Family

Lately I’ve been reminiscing about the “old days”, as my 10 year old puts it. It has always intrigued me how children’s minds perceive time and distance. Thankfully I am not easily offended when my son asks me questions like “did you ever see any dinosaurs when you were young”? At the same time, since he’s growing up surrounded by technology, it’s hard for him to imagine what it was like to live without it.

In many ways, parts of Alaska have been somewhat sheltered from the constant barrage of technology, though it’s been rapidly assimilating our younger generation lately. It used to take a few years longer for our state to catch up with the use of current gizmos being used regularly in the Lower 48 states. Things like personal computers and cell phones took longer to become a “normal” way of life here.

I’ve shared many stories with my young son about the days when I first moved here. Yes, we had TV’s back then, but no VCR’s and DVD’s. The telephones still had coiled wires going from the handsets to the base set (no wireless). Answering machines were mainly used in businesses, not homes. And most video games were in the form of large stand alone machines in arcades. Christian tries to imagine that time, but I get the feeling it’s an alien world to him.

I was thinking about living so far away from my family without all this technology. When I first moved here, personal computers were still in the idea stage. So the only forms of communication were long distance phone calls, or hand written letters sent through the post office. The time it took to write letters and the expense of long distance calls made it more difficult to keep in constant contact with my family. It also made me realize more just how far away they were. I could no longer just jump in the car and go for a visit. Airfare was also expensive, and it still took over 12 hours to get there. As a result, the visits have not been very frequent over the years.

I can remember the day I bought my first computer. I was so excited! The internet had only recently been brought to Alaska, and I had never actually seen it except screenshots through TV shows. I carefully read the manual and got everything all hooked up. Back then our local phone company didn’t have a server, so I had to find an independent provider to get access to the internet. I spent hours learning how to “surf the net” and send emails. Not many people in my family had computers, so I still had to call or write for a while. But eventually, my parents got a computer as well as my sister. Our communications improved, though at times there was a lot of frustration on both ends as the quirks were still being worked out. Slow modems and spotty transmissions were a real bother, especially for impatient people like me.

Slowly, reception and speeds improved, while better and faster processors were being invented. By then my computer needed replacing. The new one worked so much better, and the ties to my family improved. I was only able to manage airfare every couple of years or so, but at least I could talk to my loved ones when I wanted to.

I had always dreamed of living in a place such as Alaska, and that dream had come true. But it was at the expense of putting a great physical distance between my family and me. And that has taken its toll on all of us to some degree. We have always agreed that no matter the miles between us, or the time that goes by, the ties of our hearts remain strong. Today we use emails, Facebook, Twitter, text messages, and phone calls. But no matter how advanced our technology is, it simply cannot replace the feeling of a real hug, or the touch of a hand on yours.

In my younger years I never realized how much my family meant to me. I was too involved in myself, thinking about what I wanted or thought I needed. I have since learned that my family is one of the most precious parts of my life. They are what I want and need, second only to Jesus. As I’ve grown older and more mature, and more importantly, grown with His grace, my priorities have changed. I’ve learned it’s not the places and things in our lives that are the most important. It’s the people and the relationships we build with them.

Technology is advancing at an almost scary pace now. There is little that we do now that doesn’t include some form of it. We can do so much more than ever before in history, and some of it is good and useful. But no matter how great science and technology are, they can never replace our family or friends.

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