Becoming Known Part 4: Guest Blogging

by Carol Peterson


If Jesus is your Senior Editor, He expects you to get your writing to the people who need to hear the message He’s leading you to share. Becoming known is one part of reaching those people.

Writers are often advised to blog as part of their process of becoming known. But not everyone has the inclination or the time or technical ability to set up a blog and keep it going. The blogosphere, however is still open to you. Even if you already have a blog, you should still consider expanding beyond the cyber boundaries of your own little URL.

One way to expand your world is to guest post on other folks’ blogs. Unless you’re a New York Times bestseller, you might not snag a spot at the hottest blog on the web. But chances are, you will still be able to find guest posting opportunities that will allow you to get your message (and your name) in front of others.

  1. Look at blogs you read. Would a message you have to share be a fit with that site? Check to see if the author has submission guidelines for guest postings. If not, she might still welcome them. Send an email or leave a comment with an idea for a post you might contribute.
  1. Look at sites in the genre you write. If you write Christian novels for women, find sites that have blogs for those readers. If your novel is set in a particular locale, is there a blogger who focuses on that location? If your protagonist rides horses, are there Christian cowboy church blogs that might like to hear from you? Brainstorm and Google ideas where what you have to say might be welcomed.
  1. Look at your personal associations and memberships. Does your church online newsletter post articles from its members? Does your writing association have a blog or newsletter that is looking for articles from its members? (Hint: for Inspire Christian Writers, the answer is “yes” for both the blog and newsletter).

When you find a blog where you would like to guest post, write up a one or two sentence summary of your message; indicate a word count and when you would be able to submit your piece. Make sure you follow the blogs guidelines for guest posts. Then…ask.

Managing a blog is time-consuming. Many bloggers welcome a guest post that will give them a break in their blogging schedule. The key from your end is to think how you can be helpful to others in a way that not only provides something of value to them and their readers but also helps you practice your craft and inches you out into the world.

Work to become known in your own little sphere and then make your sphere bigger.

This series on becoming known has looked at:

Why becoming known as an author follows the example of Jesus.

How to tackle the technical aspects of creating an Amazon book review.

How doing book reviews for other writers can help you become known, too.


Carol Pecarol_petersonterson is a Christian woman who can’t stop writing about God, His great big, beautiful world and our place in it. Carol writes for women and children and blogs at:

She writes to educate, entertain and inspire–children, their teachers and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres.


Get Inspired! Workshop Recordings are Now Available Online


We know you can’t attend every event Inspire hosts–and that you still want to learn and improve your craft. So, we’re happy to announce that our Get Inspired! workshops are now available on our website. These workshops are free for all Inspire members. Just log in on our website and you’ll have immediate access to the recordings. If you’re not a member, but would benefit from these and future workshops, you can join today and you’ll have access a lot of great content.

Michelle Murray and Lori Sinclair present a power-packed training workshop on the three topics listed above.
Publishing Smackdown PUBLISHING SMACKDOWN: Part 1 and Part 2
Traditional Publishing vs Indie Publishing: Not sure how you want to publish your next book? Listen in as Susy Flory and Lorena Bathey debate the pros and cons of both options.
Keli Gwyn and Candace Calvert lead an entertaining, educational and interactive discussion to help writers sharpen dialogue skills.
If you’re like most writers, you know you “should” be on LinkedIn. You may even have an account. But you have only a vague idea why you’re there. You’re not alone!
If you haven’t already discovered the picture wonderland of Pinterest you’re in for a treat. Board pinning is a fun, relaxing, and creative way to draw an international audience.
DrPortiaHopkins DR. PORTIA HOPKINS explores WRITING AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE which leads to healing for both writer and reader as we engage with our hearts and write with vulnerability.
A panel discussion on how writers can effectively use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogging to connect with potential readers.

New recordings will be added soon, so once you’ve listened to these, be sure to check back frequently.

What would you like to learn? If you have a suggestion for a workshop, please leave it along with your comments. Your feedback shapes our mission!

Peer Promotion: How to Promote a Book in 7 Steps

Excitement is growing at Inspire. Several of our members have books coming out this month and many more books will be released over the next few months.

13208387_sWe are having fun with launch parties, book signings and celebrating the successes. One of the questions I hear among our writers is “How can I help get the word out?”

In response I am listing seven things we can do to promote our friends’ books:

1. Pray for the ministry of the book. We write with a purpose of touching hearts and changing lives, which can only happen when the message is read. Inspire writers pray for each other’s projects, asking God to put them in the hands of readers who can benefit from the messages or stories being published.

2. Post book reviews. After reading your friend’s book, consider what you liked best about the content, style, and message, and write a brief review. Then post the review on,, and Readers rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions. Your honest review will have a positive impact on the sales of the book.

3. Blog to promote the book. By posting a well-written interview and/or book review on your blog, you can help generate interest in your friend’s book. Include a book trailer if possible.  You can increase interest by offering a free copy of the book. Don’t forget to mention the book in comments you leave on other blogs as well.

4. Tweet to get the word out. Twitter provides a great forum for peer promotion, allowing you to post brief, pointed tweets about the book or re-tweeting what others say about it. You can also re-tweet posts from the book’s author. If the book is mentioned in an article or review, you can tweet it out to the world. Tweet quotes from the book to whet the appetites of your followers. Then be sure to invite them to book signings.

5. Create a buzz on Facebook. Update your status with a positive comment about the book and “Like” the author’s page. Post quotes from the book. Invite your Facebook friends to a book signing. You can also give away a copy of the book on your Facebook page. Your small efforts help build a big buzz.

6. Distribute marketing pieces. Carry promotional postcards or bookmarks with you. Pass them out whenever the opportunity presents itself. Give them to your local bookstore manager and church librarian. Ask them to carry the book. Distribute a speaker packet to a church leader, ministry director, pastor—whoever makes decisions about speakers. Present bookmarks to your book club and encourage them to read the book. Personally recommend the book to a friend (or lots of friends!)

7. Help with the Book Launch Party or Book Signing event. I recently attended a book launch that was hosted by a dear friend of the author. The party was a huge success! The friend put the same care into the party as she would a baby or bridal shower. Every detail was perfect–and the author was relaxed and enjoyed her guests. Maybe you don’t have time to throw an entire launch party, but there are many things you can do: Invite friends to attend book-signing/book launch with you. Provide refreshments for the event. Offer to help with book sales at book-signing. Create a gift basket for a door-prize drawing. You can also host an intimate gathering in your home for a meet & greet with the author.

Your enthusiasm about your friend’s book can make a difference in getting the word out. Employing these seven steps will make your peer promotion efforts more effective.

Here’s a question for you: What steps are you taking help promote your friend’s books?


beth_thompsonElizabeth M Thompson loves stories–fiction and nonfiction alike. Mostly, she loves God’s story and seeks to share with readers how they fit into it. When she’s not reading, writing, or serving the Inspire writers, she can be found along the American River, pedaling her bike, paddling a kayak or walking hand-in-hand with her husband Mike.


Self-Publish Like a Pro with Lara Van Hulzen

Most of us want to write books that makes a positive impression on our readers–maybe even a life-changing impression. In order to accomplish that, we need to ensure the books we write are published professionally, whether we publish through a traditional publisher or choose to self-publish. If you’ve ever considered self-publishing, you’ll want to learn how to self-publish like a pro.

I’m impressed with the way Inspire writer Lara Van Hulzen approaches self-publishing. Her books look and read like they’re traditionally published. So, I interviewed her about her self-publishing process to find out what she does. Here are the questions I asked her.

About Self-Publishing:

  • With so many publishing options, why did you choose the indie publishing route?
  • When did you decide to self-publish?
  • What was your first step?
  • Your book is very polished. Tell us about your editing process.
  • Did you do the formatting yourself or did you hire someone for that?
  • Your covers are gorgeous! How important is it to have a professionally-designed cover?
  • How did you find a great cover artist?
  • Your second book, Get to Me just released. What did you do differently with it?

About Marketing:

  • What steps are you taking to market your books? Are you working with a publicist or a launch team?
  • What have you learned about marketing since you started this publication journey?
  • You’ve received some great reviews on Amazon and other sites. What advice can you give writers seeking reviews of their self-published titles?
  • What has surprised you the most so far in your publishing journey?
  • Any last words of advice for writers who plan to self-publish?

RememberMegettome3If you’re in the Greater Sacramento area, be sure to stop by Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills on Saturday, April 25 from 4-6pm for a book launch and signing party.

You can find Lara at and sign up for her newsletter.


What questions do you have for Lara? Leave them in the comments for a chance to win a copy of either Remember Me or Get to Me. We’ll draw a winner on Friday, April 24th.

Show us your smiling face!—How to Create a Gravatar

Welcome to Inspire’s new website and community! We’re so excited you’re joining us on this newest journey. Hey, wouldn’t you like to see who you’re traveling with? I know we would!

Below is a YouTube video and printed instructions on how the create a Gravatar—that little picture that shows up in our Member Directory and beside each comment you make, not only on our website, but on other blogs as well.

Here are the written instructions:

  1. Go to and click on the “Create Your Own Gravatar” button
  2. Enter the email you use when signing into the Inspire Writers website
  3. Enter an account username and password, then click on the “Sign up” button
  4. Once you receive the confirmation email  from and Gravatar click on the “Activate Account” button to take you to the Gravatar website
  5. Click the “Sign in to Gravatar” button
  6. Whoops, looks like you don’t have any images yet! Click the “Add one by clicking here!” link
  7. Choose where you want to upload the image from and browse to the photo you want to use. Please use a photo of yourself, it’s the best way for us to build community!
  8. Select the image you want to upload and click the “Next” button
  9. Adjust the crop area, then click the “Crop and Finish” button
  10. Rate your photo, hopefully it’s a G (a new page will open with your account info and image you uploaded)
  11. Vwah-lah! When you go to the Inspire site your gravatar will show up in your profile and next to any comments you made on the blog posts.
  12. Thank you for participating!
julie_williams1I know this sounds like a lot of steps, but it’s easy and I’m here for you if you need help. So, if you’re an Inspire Christian Writer Member, enter your phone number and best time to call you in the contact form below and I’ll personally walk you through the process.
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Becoming Known Part 2: Amazon Reviews

We love to wander the aisles of bookstores. But most book sales happen online over at One of the best tools writers have in marketing our books are Amazon reviews. Those reviews posted beneath the book’s information provide potential buyers with thoughts to help them decide whether to buy the book.

Writers (and their publisher) should be sending out review copies and asking for reviews from fellow writing colleagues, friends, family and people in the publishing world. Unfortunately not everyone knows how to post a review on Amazon. So when you ask for those reviews, provide your reviewers with a step-by-step of how to post reviews.

  1. Locate the book on Amazon. Click on the book title to bring up a new page. Or provide the Amazon URL to take your reader directly to your book page.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to Customer Reviews.
  3. Click the “Write a customer review” button.
  4. Click on the number of stars you would give the book.
  5. Amazon should then ask you how you want to post. If you have posted reviews before, it will suggest the name you previously used. If you have never reviewed books, it will lead you to a screen to create your Amazon reviewer identity. Otherwise first name and last initials work fine or you can create something clever, like Book Addict or Reading Papa. The review name you create is linked to your Amazon account. So next time you post a review, it will remember you.
  6. If you are an author writing a review for another author, you will want to use your own name so that your name is seen in the book world as much as possible.
  7. Click in the write review box and type in your review. The review need not be lengthy or inspiring. It’s more important to be honest and encouraging to people who might be looking for just what the book offers.
  8. Enter a title for your review. It could be something as simple as “Great book” or “This book helped me…” Sometimes it’s easiest to write a review and then enter a title based on a phrase or key word in your review.
  9. After you’ve finished your review, click Preview your review. The screen will show what your review looks like. If it is OK, click Publish review. If you want to make changes, click the white edit button, make your changes, review it again and then hit publish review.
  10. You will receive notice in the email account linked to your Amazon account when your review goes live.


  • Do NOT say your daughter (mother/brother/grandson/best friend) wrote this book. People are looking for information on why the book is good, not why the author is loved.
  • Don’t argue with other reviews. They are entitled to an opinion. Starting an argument brings focus on the bad review.
  • If you don’t want to review the book’s specific content, can you review one aspect of the book? Perhaps you appreciated the writing, the author’s approachable tone, the story line, one of the characters, the setting or theme. Every good review helps an author find an audience.

If you have a book for sale on Amazon, encourage your readers to post reviews. If you don’t yet have a book for sale on Amazon, post reviews for other writers’ books. Sometimes practicing aspects of marketing by helping market other people’s books will make you more comfortable when it’s time to market your own work.

Plus, reciprocity and cross-promotion are one of the best and easiest way to get started in marketing and keep going for the long haul. If you are out helping other writers promote their books, they are more willing to write helpful reviews for your baby when it steps out into the world. With so many books to choose from, honest reviews are a service to others.