Archive for November, 2009

In this season of giving thanks, I’d like to offer a “giving back” program for our family of Thomas Nelson Fiction authors.

It’s totally optional…so no pressure at all. But I think many of you will really enjoy this opportunity!

Here’s the idea in a nutshell – we’re making a new program available where you can experience the fun of introducing your fans to another Thomas Nelson Fiction author you enjoy reading. We’re calling it “You’ve Got to Read This!”. It’s a new optional feature that would go in the back of your novel (if you wish) where you interview another Thomas Nelson Fiction author of your choosing and share why you enjoy that author’s writing.

It’s 100% voluntary program. If you’re not interested, then it would not appear in the back matter of your novel. But if you are, the Q&A would appear in the back of one of your future novels. The interview would be 5 – 10 questions that reveals some interesting insights into that author, their work(s) and why you enjoy their writing. The choice of if AND which Thomas Nelson author you interview – as well as the questions – are totally up to you. Only requirement – the author you’re interviewing needs to be an “active” Thomas Nelson Fiction author with current or new novels being written.

The benefits are numerous:
1) It’s freeing to give back with something extra in your novel that is “other” focused. A nice gift to yourself.
2) You’ll be introducing your fans to what may become one of their other favorite authors. A nice gift to readers.
3) You’ll also help another author gain more traction outside of their current circle of fans. A nice gift to authors.
4) Through your questions and your referral, your fans will gain fun insights into you as well.
5) We can then direct them to that author’s website for a free download of several chapters from the novel you’re talking about.

What if there’s limited space in the back of your novel and if you do the Q&A there may be no room for your own book ads or excerpt? Not to worry. The interview would only take a few pages – and, if necessary, we’ll add an extra signature to your novel for space. But rest assured, you won’t lose space in the back of your novel to promote your other titles.

And just because an author interviews you – there’s no pressure to interview them back. In fact, it really would work best if you interview someone different to add variety to the process and not feel like an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” process.

And hey, you could interview someone new in every novel for the next few years…or just try it once. Again – your decision.

Interested? If so, let your editor know which author you’d like to interview and they can coordinate which of your future novels the Q&A can appear.

It’ll be fun to see what happens when we give back in this way by inviting readers to discover other stories we’ve enjoyed.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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by Michael Hyatt

Thomas Nelson CEO


If you are a leader, you are going to attract critics. It is inevitable. In fact, if you aren’t attracting critics, you should be wondering why. Criticism is normal.

Why? Because real leaders upset the status quo and make people uncomfortable. As Finley Peter Dunne once said about journalists, “Our job is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” The same is true of leaders. Unfortunately, this almost always meets with resistance.

But let’s be honest: criticism hurts. At least it does for me. I’ve been in the public spotlight since my first book, The Millennium Bug, hit the New York Times bestseller list over ten years ago. Writing three more books, becoming a CEO of a large publishing company, and launching a very public blog hasn’t helped.

Theoretically, I know this is just the price you pay. But emotionally, it kills me. It always knocks me off-kilter. You might think I would be past that. But I am not. I obsess about it, spending way more time thinking about it than I should. I wish this wasn’t true, but it is. (Just ask my wife!)

One of the things that has helped me in the past few years is to distinguish between three kinds of critics:

  1. True friends. Not all criticism is bad. God forbid that we should turn a deaf ear to everyone who disagrees with us. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6). Some people are in our lives to save us from ourselves. As a leader, the trick is to create an environment that is safe for dissension, so these people can speak up.
  2. Honest critics. Some people decide that they disagree with you and go public. They aren’t malicious. They aren’t out to destroy you. They simply disagree with you. That’s okay. We need to allow for a diversity of opinion. Besides, we might learn something from it. It enriches the conversation. We need to engage these people and refrain from making it personal. Not everyone has to agree with us.
  3. Unhealthy trolls. These people have an agenda. They are out to hurt you—or at least use you for their own ends. They want to lure you into a fight. I have had three this week. They taunt and mock you. They are unreasonable. If you engage them, they will only distract you and deplete your resources. The best thing you can do is ignore them. As someone once said, “resistance only makes them stronger.” You will never satisfy them. Just keep doing what you know you are called to do.

As a leader, you must learn to distinguish between these three. I personally assume that everyone is a friend or an honest critic until they prove other otherwise. I may be naive, but I would rather give people the benefit of the doubt than live a life of paranoia. What about you?

Questions: Do you have critics? How do you respond to them?


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Your social network

Hi, friends.  It’s been several weeks since we launched the blog.  I hope you are finding this to be a great resource and a place of connection with other authors. 

At this point, we all know the value of social media. So I’d like to take the next step and talk about ways to use things like Facebook, Twitter, and blogging creatively to build connections and grow your audience.

Before I jump in, I want to mention something important.  Each of you was called to write.  It’s where the bulk of your time is (and should be) spent.  While we see the value in social media and growing your tribe, we know that your time is precious and writing the best story possible needs to be your primary goal.  I want to be sure you know that on the marketing side, we understand the challenges you face in being great storytellers while also wanting to do all you can to promote your books.  And while we expect to have a partnership with you in finding new readers, you are not alone.  We are truly walking together in all of these efforts.

If you are an author who has chosen to live in the social media space, it’s not enough to just sign up for Twitter and Facebook accounts.  Without engagement, these places will still be one-way conversations.  You have to do it with the intention of getting to know your fans, seeking out friends and followers, responding to messages, and building relationships.  Because once you’ve built an audience of people who are listening to what you have to say, you can begin to do some really creative things.  Things like:

  1. Author chats—connect with libraries, bookclubs, bookclub websites like goodreads.com, etc.
  2. Video—Why not create a video blog on your FB page or blog as a new way of engaging your fans?
  3. Contests—turn Twitter into a word-of-mouth machine.  Offer free books for the most retweets of info about your book.  Or offer a giftcard to winners of trivia questions about the story.
  4. Join fiction groups and topical groups in Facebook-spend time in Facebook researching potential groups built on topics from your story.  Join their group and then post info—offer the story, as pdf of the ms or galley to ten people who would like to read it and post a review on the fan page.
  5. Offer incentives for buying your books—signed bookplates, bookmarks, etc. are easy to mail (and we help get  them made) and give buyers something extra.

Hopefully this gives you a few ideas on things you can do with social media.   If you have questions, email me and we can brainstorm together.  We love living the adventure with you.



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Thomas Nelson has been a household name for me since I can remember. I was older than I’d like to admit when I realized this name, Thomas Nelson, did not refer to a person my dad worked for but was actually a company, and quite a large one at that. I visited the Thomas Nelson booth a few times when my sisters and I traveled with my dad to the CBA conferences, I saw advance copies of books delivered to our house from 501 Nelson Place, I even met some people in the biz. However, these vague familiarities proved little help when I entered the world of Thomas Nelson not as the daughter of an author but as an Editorial Assistant.

After day one, my spinning head echoed with foreign words like proforma, galley, first marks, net revenue, P:/drive, and twitter (ok, I already knew that one, but people are crazy about it here and I am joining the frenzy: @andrealucado). Not to mention the array of acronyms: CIP, PCF, ABA, CRS, SOP, AFP, AP, TPC, HC. These are not the words, or initials, that come to mind when one thinks of an editorial-type job, but I have learned over the past five weeks just how essential these things are. Without them, your prose would remain in the Word Document form. With them, they are transformed into a bound and beautiful novel available world-wide.

A lot of this process¬ – from words in your head to bookstore shelves – is still deeply mysterious to me, but as the editorial assistant to Allen, Ami, Natalie, Amanda, and Becky, I’m coming to understand it a bit more each day. You write, you create, you find inspiration, you craft and add adjectives until your Word Document has the looks of an entire world of new characters, personalities and events. This I knew. What I didn’t know is that your words, in order to complete their journey from mind to shelf, must undergo myriad details that require a passionate group dedicated to sharing your stories with as many people as possible. And what an honor it is to be a part of that team.

I still have many words and acronyms to learn in the Thomas Nelson language, and I still have many facets of this mysterious publishing process to demystify, but I am hopeful for a Historical Romance-like happy ending: the day when I look back on these first few weeks like they were a different era in which I had no idea what was in store, but knew me and publishing were meant to be.

Andrea's picture for backporch blog

Kindest Regards,
Andrea Lucado
Editorial Assistant

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