Saturday, August 9, 2014

time well spent

Last week I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with award-winning author, international speaker, and marketing expert Karen Whiting ( ).

Image of Karen H. Whiting
I had a list of questions for her. I wanted to know how to create a marketing plan for a non-fiction book proposal, and when to begin actively building a platform for a not-yet-published book, among other things. We never got to any of that.
First, she asked me what my book is about.
"Navigating life's darkest moments without giving up on God," I replied in under ten words. Yay!
"What image will your readers come away with when they read your book?" she said.
Image? I met her gaze with a blank stare. I'd never thought about that. I haven't heard it mentioned in any of the workshops I've taken or in the books I've read. But she picked right up on the word "navigating."
"Do you use any nautical terms in the book? Do you spend a lot of time on the water? Did you grow up near the ocean?" she asked.
Water ocean waves sea wallpaper
"No. No. No." I shook my head. In fact, I don't really like the water all that much. I'd rather vacation in the mountains than at the beach. I have a pool in my own backyard and I haven't been swimming once this summer. I don't even care to drink water.
Yet, once I started to think about it, it turned out that my manuscript is full of nautical images: God as an anchor, faith as a compass, the rhythm of the tides, the unpredictable current of life, a sinking boat.
Anchor, download royalty-free vector clipart (EPS)
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:19
She suggested I work with these images as a framework for my narrative, for the cover of the book, even its title.

Well, that certainly put a new spin on things. I think this is going to be fun--elaborating on these images, weaving a nautical thread through the stories, searching for relevant quotes.
Thank you, Karen Whiting, for time well spent. You opened up a whole new world of marketing possibilities with a single suggestion.
Is your WIP wrapped around an image that the reader can easily visualize and identify with? Are you writing with this in mind?
"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."
~Franklin D. Roosevelt~

I enjoyed this brief video from Ira Glass: . I hope you like it, too.


  1. Sounds like she gave you some good suggestions.

  2. Would love it if you interviewed her on your blog. Would she go for that?

    Some good writing tips here. And marketing tips. :)