Marquee Monday – Bartram & Hill

TheStoryOfMyLifeThis week’s Marquee Monday is a bit different from others. Marquee Monday is all about paying it forward, taking the spotlight off of myself for a day, in the midst of this life of self-promotion, and shining it on the people who have helped me. Neil Bartram and Brian Hill have certainly helped me, but almost certainly in ways of which they aren’t even aware.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of reviews. Every single time I see that there is new review posted for one of my books, I click on it as if I’m watching a horror film – fingers over my eyes, peeking out just enough to know if it is safe to proceed… I live equally in fear of them and in giddy anticipation. Reviews are huge – particularly to indie authors like myself. Good, bad, indifferent…whatever. A review means someone cares. They care enough to tell the world how much they loved it or they care enough to make sure everyone knows they shouldn’t waste their time. But at least they care.

The first review I ever wrote on Amazon (or anywhere, as well as I can remember) was posted on July 8, 2009. I wasn’t a writer then – at least not a published one – and I didn’t understand the significance of reviews, but I knew that I cared about the Original Broadway Cast Recording of The Story of My Life more than I had ever cared about any CD ever. I’ve been a Broadway fan for my entire life, and in 2009 I was hosting a theatre-focused radio show. I discovered The Story of My Life because I was (and if we’re being honest, still am) obsessed with everything Malcolm Gets does. And Malcolm Gets is amazing in the recording, as is Will Chase, but I was as surprised as anyone to discover that Neil Bartram’s score and lyrics and Brian Hill’s book were what made me care so much. I was inspired in ways that I honestly didn’t understand for a very long time. I was fortunate enough to get to talk with them and feature them on my radio show, and they are incredibly humble, nice guys who answered silly questions and made me laugh a lot (and even arranged for me to meet Malcolm Gets, but I gleefully digress…).

In many ways they also turned me into a writer. Through their work, I experienced the joy which comes from deeply connecting with a written work. I was made to think about the lasting impact a book can have. I was made to care.

Thank you for that, Neil and Brian.

Learn more about Bartram & Hill at bartramandhill.com

Follow Bartram & Hill on Twitter

Purchase or Sample The Story of My Life on Amazon

Purchase The Butterfly for Kindle

Click here to go beyond The Story of My Life

Marquee Monday – Jason Zandri

On Marquee Monday, I don’t self-promote at all. Whatever time and energy I have goes instead to another author to whom I want to say thanks. I’m genuinely excited to spend a day promoting today’s marquee author, and I hope you will help me raise him up a bit.

Just so you know, I decided on Saturday that Jason Zandri would be on the marquee this Monday. And then on Sunday, Rave Reviews Book Club named him Member of the Month. Why do I point this out? Because it just drives home the fact that everyone is taking note of the support Jason Zandri is giving to others! I’m not featuring him on Marquee Monday because he is the RRBC Member of the Month, but that fact does make me even more proud to send a little more attention his way.

Last week in a Rave Reviews Book Club online book chat, Jason was having some technical difficulties and had to leave the chat and come back in with a different identity. Only his first identity didn’t go away. So, when he reappeared with his second identity he made a remark to point out how funny it was that he appeared to be in the chat twice. But really, that’s just the way it seems lately! He is so quick with his support, so steadfast, so faithful that you almost can’t help but wonder if there are two of him.

So, Jason…thanks. Thank you for all of your awesome support. I’m thrilled that everyone is taking note. You deserve it.

Follow Jason Zandri on Twitter

Like Jason Zandri on Facebook

Visit Amazon’s Jason Zandri Page

Marquee Monday – Beem Weeks

“…one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

“An absolute gem…”

“…it is astonishingly well written.”

“I rarely give 5 stars unless I really love the book – there’s nothing you can’t love in this one.”

Reviews like these would be expected to accompany a New York Times bestseller. Author Beem Weeks is one of those indie authors who proves that good stuff comes from indie. In fact, sometimes the best stuff comes from indie. In this case, all of those reviews are for Beem’s Jazz Baby.

Not only is he an amazing indie author, he is an amazing supporter of indie authors. Today, he’s on the marquee. I hope you’ll help me give a little bit back to this awesome indie author who proves that independent doesn’t mean fewer skills or less talent. But in Beem’s case, it does mean increased generosity.

Follow Beem Weeks on Twitter
Visit Beem’s Blog
Download Jazz Baby
Download Slivers of Life

Rave Reviews Book Club – #onthemarquee

Today is the last day of Pay It Forward week, and I thought it fitting to end the week by placing Rave Reviews Book Club on the marquee.

If you have had many personal converations with me, or you follow my daily personal blog, The Year of Blogging Faithfully, you know that self-promotion is a struggle for me. I just don’t like doing it. I am a fairly confident person, extremely proud of my work, and I know that self-promotion is absolutely necessary for an indie author. And yet I hate it. I love promoting my friends. I love being someone else’s advocate. I love shining the spotlight on someone I believe in. I just love that! But that doesn’t sell books – at least not mine. That doesn’t bring awareness to my work.

Or does it?

Self-promotion is necessary. I know that. If only I could find a group of some kind – a book club, perhaps? – which allows authors to promote their own books, but even more importantly encourages you to support other authors. If only there were a book club like that which created opportunities to become advocates for others by letting you host them on your blog, or by shining the spotlight on them, or by offering contests and incentives which reward authors for supporting other authors…

Of course by now, everyone has hopefully realized that my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek, because such a group already exists.

Rave Reviews Book Club is more than 600 members strong, and growing all the time. I am in constant amazement at the talent which exists within RRBC.  There are bestselling authors, award-winning authors, top-rated bloggers, poets, novelists, biographers… The talent is overwhelming, but the kindness and generosity are why I’m paying it forward. When one of those talented authors wins an award, congratulations abound. When someone hits #1 on a best seller list, members of RRBC make sure the whole world knows.

This week I have tried to pay it forward to authors whose support has been incredibly impactful in my life. There are more, and I wish I could thank everyone in this way. I’ll be working on that as we move forward, but for now I want to give a special shout out to the Governing Board Members of Rave Reviews Book Club. Do me a favor…help me support them today. Click on their names and you will be taken to either their individual site or their author page on Amazon. Pick at least one book by one of these supportive individuals and download a book today. After you read their work, write a review. Follow them on Twitter. Or just drop by their websites or blogs or Facebook pages or Twitter feeds and thank them for their support, which is second to none. They spend so much time giving to others. Today, let’s give to them.

RRBC

President
NONNIE JULES
Vice President/Mentor Program Dir.
BRUCE A. BORDERS
Secretary/Blog Tour Host Coordinator
MARLENA HAND
Administrative Assistant 2
LIZ GAVIN
Administrative Asst. 1/TST Manager
HARMONY KENT
Membership/Incentives Director
JOHN FIORAVANTI
Reviews Coordinator
BEEM WEEKS
Social Media Director
NICHOLAS C. ROSSIS
“Spotlight” Coordinator
MICHELLE ABBOTT
Site Monitor/TST
JAN HAWKE

Author Nonnie Jules – #onthemarquee

Tomorrow, Rave Reviews Book Club will be on the marquee. Today, it’s Nonnie Jules, the creator of RRBC. I want to very clearly separate the two, though I’ll admit that is sometimes a challenge. Not because Nonnie doesn’t have her own identity as an author, because she most certainly does. But she is always promoting others, always offering support, always coming up with new ways to strengthen the community which is Rave Reviews Book Club. And that is the primary reason that it was important to me that I pay it forward to Nonnie individually.

I recently read Nonnie’s SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS!: “Yes, I Said It!” and let me tell you…it was just what I needed at just the right time. In addition to SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY…, Nonnie is the author of THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS, which one reviewer called, “a refreshing take on modern motherhood.” DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND is her debut novel, and according to one reviewer, it is a debut which establishes Nonnie Jules as “a skilled storyteller of the first order.”

Nonnie often says that, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle,” and she doesn’t just talk the talk. In fact, I would go so far as to say that every time Nonnie Jules lights someone else’s candle, hers burns even brighter. Thank you, Nonnie, for all you have done and all you continue to do.

Here are just a few of the ways you can help me say “Thank you!” to Nonnie:

Follow Nonnie Jules on Twitter

Like Nonnie Jules on Facebook

Subscribe to Watch Nonnie Write!

Learn more about the published works of Nonnie Jules at Books By Nonnie

Author Tamie Dearen – #onthemarquee

TamieSometimes there are people who you just instantly like. You don’t know them well, or even know much about them, but for some reason you just like them. Author Tamie Dearen was someone I instantly liked. As a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club, I frequently saw her supporting other authors. That is not unique to Tamie, of course, but right away I picked up on Tamie’s kindness and sincerity. So, imagine my delight upon discovering that I also love her writing! I have not been able to read nearly as much of her work as I would like yet, simply due to time and obligations, but what I have read has me anxiously anticipating being able to dive in deeper.

Tamie offered me some awesome support last week, and it’s time to pay it forward. So today is all about Tamie! Three blogs, my author Facebook page, and Twitter are all about saying thanks. Look below for some ways that you can support Tamie. A download, a Like, and a Follow can go so far! I especially encourage you to check out The Best Girls series. You can download a brief introduction to the series, entitled THE BEST IS YET TO COME, for free on Amazon. Also, Tamie has been posting a serial romance on her blog. Soon, that serial romance will be published as a novel, but for now you can still read A ROSE IN BLOOM for free by clicking HERE!

Follow Tamie Dearen on Twitter

Like Tamie Dearen on Facebook

Download Tamie Dearen’s Books on Amazon

Author Debbie White – #onthemarquee

Author Debbie White was one of the first authors I got to know once I published. From the very beginning she stuck out to me as exceedingly kind and supportive. We struck up a friendship which I treasure.

As kind as she is, I believe she is equally hard-working. She is constantly promoting, constantly sharing, constantly putting in the work and essentially pounding the pavement. But she doesn’t only tirelessly promote her own work – The Salty Dog and Passport To Happiness. She promotes the work of others as well. Check out the work she does to promote others on her Authors Revealed site.

Debbie writes romantic novellas which always feature strong, independent women and, quite often, lovable animals. She is an avid lover and supporter of animals, and donates a portion of her proceeds to animal shelters and rescue organizations.

Visit Debbie White’s Author Website
Visit Debbie White’s Amazon Page
Follow Debbie on Twitter
Like Debbie’s Facebook Fan Page

And be sure to keep up with these special events which the always busy Debbie White has on her schedule!

~ Featured Deal on PeopleReads.com from February 16 – 22.

~ Week-long romance blog giveaway February 13 – 20.

~ “I Love Romance” blog giveaway February 13 – 20.

Author Traci Sanders – #onthemarquee

TraciI’d been building towards my return to self-promotion for a while, but it was author Traci Sanders who kicked me into gear. We are both members of Rave Reviews Book Club, and I had seen her name in my newsfeeds and such, but we had no real interaction. And then she asked if I would be interested in appearing on her site for a February promotion she is having. I jumped at the chance, decided to tie it into a promotional blitz, and here we are.

As the week went on, I truly came to consider Traci a friend. Someone I have never met in person, and had never interacted with at all until a couple of weeks prior, became such a supporter. She cheered me on, told others they should cheer me on, and quite often she made me laugh – right there in the middle of the stress.

The more I learned about her the more I wanted everyone to learn about her! Her first books all centered around family child care, which is clearly where Traci’s heart is in her life. But her big heart doesn’t stop there.

Her first novel, When Darkness Breaks, is the story of local news anchor, Amber Woods, who seemed to have it all – a thriving career, two beautiful children, and a doting husband. Life was perfect…until her world was turned upside down in one fateful night.

A compelling story by a good writer could have been the end of it. And to most of us, that would have been enough. But Traci decided to make it about something more. Half of her proceeds fromWhen Darkness Breaks are donated to Kim Gibby, a single mom in Traci’s community who has been fighting several forms of cancer for years. We pay Traci for the right to read and enjoy her creative work, and she pays it forward by giving to a family with a very serious need.

Get to know Traci. Download When Darkness Breaks and help Kim at the same time. And let Traci know that what she does matters. There are links below. Take just a few minutes and click on all of them as a way to thank her for sharing the spotlight.

And Traci…thank you for all you’ve done for me. I’m glad you came into my life!

Visit Traci’s Website, A Word With Traci

Learn more about When Darkness Breaks

Download When Darkness Breaks

Read more about Traci’s decision to donate 50% of her profits

Like A Word With Traci on Facebook

Follow Traci on Twitter

Learn more about Kim Gibby

Origins of The Marquee Project

(Post by BT)

Sometimes I just feel like this crazy, ambitious freak. I mean that. Sometimes I really wonder if something is wrong with me. (And other times, I know…)

So, I’d mentioned this whole Pay It Forward idea on my daily blog. Awesome. Great! One whole week of paying it forward and promoting people who helped me so much last week – and always. Nice. Simple. But then I took it a step further and decided I wouldn’t promote myself AT ALL during this week of paying it forward. I want it to be all about the other people, and not at all about me. Again…nice. Simple.

But then my inner cynic started thinking. If someone else was doing this, I would think, “Okay, that’s great! Good for them! But…they’re still getting traffic directed to their site, aren’t they? They’re going to promote other people exclusively, but at the same time, they’re getting new visitors to their blog. Smart! And not quite as selfless as it seems…”

But see, that really isn’t the case here! I don’t have a hidden agenda. Nevertheless, someone out there will think I do. And while I don’t really care what they think (Just kidding…ofcourse I do.) I also want to avoid the appearance of doing something for others in order to benefit myself. Does that make sense?

So then I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if there were a forum for authors/artists/performers/etc. who are in the business of continual self-promotion? And in this forum, self-promotion is off-limits? And everyone puts all of their efforts into promoting others, just to say thanks?” I had been using the term “Pay It Forward” but it suddenly occurred to me that it was possible that term was trademarked. I didn’t care enough to look it up and find out. It’s overused anyway.

Long story short, I came up with The Marquee Project. The tag line is “You’re a star. Share the marquee.” Take your name off of the marquee for a day, and put someone else’s up there instead. And what do you gain from it? Well, in terms of promotion, maybe nothing. You don’t include a link to your site, or your Amazon page. You just support to support. And who knows? Maybe someone will want to say thanks, and you’ll end up on the marquee. Maybe not. Does it matter?

I feel as if I have had a major breakthrough. During lunch I was talking this over with Kelly, and I told him that I really believe the reason I had to walk away from all the book stuff before was that I just couldn’t reconcile in my mind the idea of me, me, me while still living the life that Christ has called me to lead. It’s not that there is anything wrong with self-promotion. I really don’t believe there is – not in and of itself. That’s what you have to do to sell books, or whatever it may be for each person. But if you’re like me and you don’t know any speed except “All In”…

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.” (1 Timothy 1:12)

He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to his service. I’m not going to pretend to fully understand what that means for my life, but I know it’s true. Promoting these books isn’t wrong. Writing novels instead of building churches and teaching English and spreading the Gospel in foreign countries isn’t wrong. In fact, I believe God is telling me that this is what I need to do. I’m supposed to write these stories, and I’m supposed to share them with people. I don’t understand why, but I believe it. That’s not wrong. What’s wrong is focusing on myself so much that I start to take exclusive credit. What’s wrong is working so hard on self-promotion that I convince myself am the only one who can make my dreams come true.

So, there you go. All of this came to me as I showered this morning before church. (If I could live in the shower I would be the most productive thinker in the history of mankind.) Okay…great. So, yeah…those are some good ideas which are definitely worth thinking about, right?

This is where the crazy, ambitious freak part comes in.

I’ve created a site (themarqueeproject.wordpress.com), a Facebook community (facebook.com/groups/themarqueeproject), and a Twitter handle (@marqueeproject).

I don’t know what’s going to come of any of it, but I’m excited about it. I don’t need another project, but I need this.