Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Visiting Book Clubs

One of the benefits of writing fulltime now is the freedom to respond to more opportunities more easily.

For example, take Book Clubs.

Book Clubs are a wonderful way for book lovers to connect with each other. The idea is the group members read a selected book each month, then meet to discuss it. Some do this online (here's a great site devoted to this very thing, called The Book Club Network).

Other Book Clubs meet in person once a month at a church, a library, a bookstore, a coffee house, a living room, etc. The Book Club leader serves as the scout, previewing books that might interest the group, then selecting a different one each month.

Getting Discussion Questions for your Group:

Publishers now recognize the importance of this rapidly growing trend and actually ask authors to come up with a discussion guide when they finish their books. I do this for everyone of my books now. If you're a Book Club leader interested in using one of my books for your club, you can get one of these discussion guides at Revell's website. Just click here to get to the page with my books, then click on a book to get to its separate page. In the right hand column, there's a place under "Resources" to download a PDF file, with 10-12 discussion questions for each book:

Visiting Book Clubs Live:

I'd love to visit Book Clubs. I can do this in person if not too far from where I live. I don't charge anything (just ask you to cover my expenses). Or we can meet by phone (I could take questions while your group meets by speakerphone). If you're a Book Club leader and you'd like to arrange a visit, go to my website at www.danwalshbooks.com, click on the "Contact Me" button and drop me a line.

I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Writing Fulltime Now!

Last week, I announced I was now writing 25 hours a week and working part-time for 25 hours at a nearby Hobby Lobby.

Well, this just in...

I went in to Hobby Lobby last Saturday and was laid off at the end of my shift, along with 12 others. I decided not to shoot up the place. In fact, I wasn't even angry. When informed, my wife actually smiled and told me she'd secretly been praying for weeks it would happen (I know...sounds crazy).

My agent, editor and my wife all believe it's time for me to take that leap of faith and write fulltime now. I was the lone holdout. It just seems like such a huge step. And as a rule, I err on the cautious side. With our kids grown, my wife working, the house paid off, we can actually make it on what I'm making with the books (although...being a bestselling author would make it much easier...that's where you all come in :).

So this week, for the first time, I began writing fulltime. One immediate benefit, besides having more time to write, is the freedom to respond to a lot more opportunities. Things I'd probably have to turn down with my Hobby Lobby job, because of conflicting schedules.

And it was kind of the Lord to send me strong confirming evidence that He was the actual instigator of this change. All kinds of writing work came in this week, and I've firmed up a number of opportunities to visit several book clubs over the next month or so.

More on that in my next post.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Writing Pipeline

Some of you might already know this, but I retired from being a pastor after 25 years last month. But at 53, I'm not ready to retire altogether (not sure I'll ever do that).

Since I finished my first novel, The Unfinished Gift, in 2007 (which came out last year), I've had a growing desire to devote more time to writing. I'd like to do it fulltime, if possible (as most writers do). Both my first novel and the sequel, The Homecoming, are doing well, and my publisher has contracted me to write 3 more books. But the income is not quite there to do write fulltime yet, so I'm working at a local Hobby Lobby part-time to help close the gap.

But I am able to write about 25 hours a week now, which I'm grateful for. This week, I'm starting to get a real sense of the "writing pipeline." I'm talking about the length of time between an author finishing a novel (or...thinking he has) to when it actually hits the shelves, and the kind of things that usually go on behind-the-scenes during this time.

Let me illustrate by talking about what this past week has been like.

Since my first novel recently won 2 Carol Awards (Book-of-the-Year) from ACFW, it's experiencing a surge of interest and sales (yay!), resulting in a lot of email activity. I've also firmed up a number of visits (by phone or in person) with several book clubs who've selected both of my books in November and December.

My publisher just sent me the galleys for my 3rd book, The Deepest Waters, to edit and get back to her in about 10 days. Galleys are a preliminary version of the book, printed like an old-fashioned manuscript, for the purpose of proofreading. My job is to read it over, check for any possible mistakes or small changes, as well as consider any comments from the copy editor.

I also received from my senior editor at Revell the rewrite edits for my 4th book, a Christmas novel set to come out next year. This is the editing stage just before the galley stage. Thankfully, my editor loved what I sent her and only had a handful of suggested changes. I have to get these done and back to her within 2 weeks.

And finally, I'm hard at work writing my 5th novel in between all the other tasks. It's really starting to hum now (at about the 60 page mark). This stage is the purely creative stage of writing and the most enjoyable. It's hard to pull away from this once I start. I can see why writers dream of breaking away to a nice lakeside cabin at this stage. But I'm also glad I have a pipeline now with so many other things going on at once.

Oh, I forgot one more stage on this pipeline...coming up with new ideas for Books 6 and 7. These books are just gleams in my eye right now, but several things are already stirring.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Friend Deb Raney on the Cover of CFOM

Just wanted to draw your attention to a great magazine about Christian fiction, in case you haven't seen it before. It's called (no surprise) Christian Fiction Online Magazine (CFOM). My good friend and award-winning author, Deborah Raney, is on the October cover.

Deb and Colleen Coble really reached out to me when I first got published and helped me find my way around. Deb is a sweet lady and a talented author. She regularly visits the ACFW writer's loop giving great advice and encouragement to newly published and unpublished writer's seeking help. Click here (not on the pic) to read an excellent interview with Deb in this month's edition.

To the right, is a pic of Deb and I in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis last month, at ACFW's annual conference.