Persistence, Key Success Trait for Life and Business

Crash. Boom. Lightning strike! Was it going to rain on our . . .
(Well, not actually a parade)? Persistence, a key success trait for life and business, was going to figure prominently for us on that day.

The Trip

Last Thursday, I went to Holiday World with Chip, my son-in-law, and Ralanna, my second oldest daughter. They have four children (four of my Grandchildren!). Three of them went with us. The eight-, thirteen-, and sixteen-year olds would be able to navigate the park very well. Their youngest stayed with my wife, Rhonda, who doesn’t care anything about most of the rides anyway.

We started the trip in a storm. Then the rain progressively seemed to get less and less heavy. We, after a couple of hours, could see bright spots in the clouds as we got closer to Santa Claus, Indiana. Yes, that’s really the name of the town where Holiday World is located.

However, about ten miles before the exit off of the interstate, what many would call a “cloud burst” hit–The hardest rain yet!

Would we have to go back home?

The rain let up again, and by the time we got to the parking lot, it was just a little harder than a sprinkle.

The Decision

The bottom line–We went on in. We had plastic ponchos, and they served us very well.

The rain continued off and on. That was OK because after riding the old-fashioned cars, where even the youngest could drive, and the bumper cars, which were inside, we were in the water park the rest of the morning.

Right after we ate lunch, the loud speaker announced that weather with lightning was approaching and all rides would be shut down temporarily. So, for about 45 minutes we sought shelter in some areas with rooftops.

The storm ended, and we changed clothes and went to the other part of the park. Our ponchos came in handy again when we rode the Raging Rapids and the log ride, both of which usually drench us.

The Rewards

Several rewards and nice surprises came our way because we persisted through the storm: The crowd was much smaller than usual. The lines were shorter. We even rode the Raging Rapids three times in a row–which delighted Makenna, the youngest member of our party, very much. Because some of the larger rides were closed, we rediscovered many of the smaller and medium-sized rides. Again, the was a great benefit to Makenna. The weather was cooler than usual. Furthermore, since some of the major attractions shut down for two hours, we also found out that we get to use the same tickets for another trip with no additional charge!

What does this have to do with writing books, having online businesses and other entrepreneurial pursuits?

Realize the value of persistence. Many failed businesses have been estimated to have quit right before their moment of success. Many experts say if those businesses had just hung on a little longer, they would have made it.

So, persevere through the storm. Many unexpected benefits may come your way.

For you, success may be just around the corner and right after the current storm dies down.

Where are you in your business ideas? If you are thinking about writing a book, for instance, here is a great way to start.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Writing Nonfiction PDF Books – A Great Way to Start

writing nonfiction ebooks

Here is another post on writing. Specifically, about writing nonfiction PDF books. They are a great way to get started! Even if you’ve never written a book before, you can do this. If you have a computer and the capability of saving your files as PDF files, you’re ready to go.

Do you have a real book?

Several years ago, many people did not consider eBooks, or PDF books, to be real books. Then Amazon developed this thing called “Kindle.”

Not long after that, eBooks increased in popularity and credibility. Actually, in some years, Amazon sells more digital books than print books. I don’t know the current statistics on that, but I remember a few years ago that the number of digital books (eBooks) exceeded the number of print books that were sold during that year through Amazon.

They Practically Became Equals

What that meant was, that eBooks increased in popularity and credibility. In effect, they became “equals” to print books. A print book was a real book, and an eBook was a real book too.

Give People What They WAnt

When people want a book, they want what they prefer. I actually like holding a book in my hands and being able to rifle through the pages. I have also bought many eBooks, and I really like those too. So, some people will want a print book, some will want an e book, and some will want both.

I Highly recommend you do both

Now, even though I’m talking here about using a PDF file to get started with your book, I really think that you should have the goal to do both. Because once you have your eBook written and set up, and you’ve learned how to format it yourself, you just have so much of what is needed to send the file off for a print on demand (POD) print book. So I think that you should have the goal of doing both.

The distribution won’t be as wide, but it is a place to start

The way to get started is to simply to produce a PDF book. Of course, if you have it set up only as a PDF book, your distribution will not be as wide as it would if it was available via Kindle, Mobi, or an ePub format, but you will still have a book and it will be a real book. It will be a book that you can sell right from your own website. Some of you reading this may already have your own websites. If you do, then you are good to go, and you can get started with your own PDF book

8-1/2 by 11 produces a real book

PDF stands for portable document format. It’s something that’s often used to send things through email, because the file is not as large as it is in other formats. It’s also easier to use. You can produce an eight and-a-half by eleven real book. That’s just the easiest way to do it. Use your preferred word processing platform, Microsoft Word, for example. You can then set it up as an eight and-a-half by eleven, and come up with your own cover page. Then, learn about other pages you need, copyright pages and such, by looking at other books. Be sure to add them.

be consistent with size and formatting

Then you can just produce an eight and-a-half by eleven real book. You need to be consistent with the size of the words in different parts of your book. You can make the title whatever size you want it to be; of course it will be larger than the chapter titles, headings, and subheadings. Then figure out what size you want and just be consistent. Use the same type of formatting and style for the chapter titles, and do the same for each type of heading every time. If you use subheadings, again, be consistent with the formatting and style.

So, the title of the book, chapter titles, headings and subheadings: Be sure you’re consistent with what you are doing so that they all look like.

next steps

Once you get all that done, and you’re satisfied with the book, what’s next? You may have hired an editor to look at your book and go over it for you. Maybe you had a writing group look it over, give you all the input that you need, and you’re satisfied, and you think you have a book.

Get your cover page on there. You can hire someone to produce a good cover for you, but you also can do some yourself. If this is your very first book, and you’re experimenting, you might want to produce your own cover.

get a way to accept payment

Now, you can sell it from your own website. Get a shopping cart of some type or go to PayPal where you can accept payments, and then sell your eBook. It is a real book, especially nowadays. So that’s one way of getting started in the self-publishing world.

basis for print books

Once you have all that done, go back to your word processing file, go over to Kindle or some platform like or48 hour books, (I don’t get any kickback for mentioning those names) read their instructions, and you will have what you need to have a print book produced also. Then you will have an e book, and a print book, and you definitely would have a real book then.

If you did it through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you certainly would have that book available on Amazon where people could find it. Some people say, “That’s another mark of having a real book, when it is on Amazon.”

So, here’s a nonfiction writing tip: writing nonfiction PDF books are a great way to start, especially if it’s a first book for you.

If you’ve watching this on YouTube, or in the link above, I encourage you to subscribe to my channel. There, you’ll be able to get more tips like these. Here on the blog post, you can go to the top of the page and click on the word “writing”, and you will find many many more tips.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

A Writing Solution from a Chainsaw

A writing solution from a chainsaw? Really?

Day before yesterday, I went out to use my chainsaw. I really like when I can start it back up several times during a work session.

I pulled on the starter rope six times. Then the saw uttered that familiar sound of actually starting and running for a second or two before it dies.

Then I gave it several more pulls, and it never offered to start again.

I tried putting the “on/off, run, and choke switch” in several position.

After that failure, I resorted to a YouTube search.

I found the problem. I had flooded the engine when I gave those extra pulls in the choke position.

The solution (and how I got it to work many other times, not knowing what I was doing)–When the saw offers to start the first time after a few pulls, immediately move the switch up one notch. Then it should start on the next pull.

They also showed a method for starting an already flooded engine, but it didn’t work that day.

Yesterday, I tried again. I pulled 5 or 6 times, and I heard what some call, “The Burp.” That’s when it runs for a second or two and then quits.

I moved the switch up one notch to the next position, and it started right away. I used it for several minutes until it died when I tried to let it idle.

Then, I couldn’t get it to start again.

So, I haven’t learned all the tricks, and there have been days in the past where I ran the saw for hours at a time.

Still, I know more than I did.

What is the writing solution? Like anything in life, keep learning and improving upon what you do know. You can do that by reading books, buying courses, investing in coaching, and, most of all, persistently and consistently working on your craft.

If you would like more detailed writing tips, click here.

Writing Nonfiction Articles – A Good Addition to Writing Your Books

When talking about writing nonfiction articles, we want to talk about where you can have these articles placed, the length of the articles, the research required, the structure, and the best places to put your articles.

Jill, heard the phone rang. She ran and answered it. She heard from an editor of a magazine that she had been hoping to write for. Then she woke up.

Wouldn’t it be good if you were to have a magazine editor call you and offer you an opportunity to write an article? Not only to write one article, but to write many short nonfiction articles, on any topics that you are passionate about, as many articles as you wish, with no chance of rejection! Well, that would be an even greater dream for Jill, and for us.

Where Can I Publish My Articles?

Let’s talk about where we can put articles. It can be in magazines, on websites, and they can some sections of newspapers.

How Long Should I Make My Articles?

What about the length of your articles? If you do some research on this, you will find one site says anywhere from 800 to 1000 words, while another site says 500 to 1500 words, and another one says 300 to 1000 plus So let’s just take the outside parameters of that and say 300 to 2000 words.

Considerations for Research

We also need to think about the research that’s involved. What kind of information do you need, and then how much information do you need? That will depend on how many words you’re shooting for. Where is the best possible place to get it?
Well, think about what you’ve ever read on this topic. Think about what you’ve ever thought about this topic – you have your own research. Think about what you have written. Then turn to outside sources.

Now, the internet has provided us a wonderful thing in being able to do a search on many different topics. So you can go do some online research. But whenever you do this, need to be a little more careful maybe then in the past on checking some of the sources for online articles or information. You may find three different places that say about the same thing, and you discover that they got all their information from the same place. So just be careful in checking out where you get your information when you’re verifying it.

Then you can talk to interesting people. If you know somebody who is an expert in the field or somebody that has experience in the area, you can interview them. Now you can even do that from a distance. You could do it over the phone or Skype or Zoom or some other online platform. Of course you could meet with them in person too.

Next, you’ll want to add some interest factors. These could be interesting facts that are related to your topic; maybe not directly related to what you’re writing about but you can throw in an interesting fact or two. You can start throw in some humorous items, that are related to your topic in general. Also, as I mentioned in the last post, you could add some stories that would illustrate your point.

So, we talked about where, and the length, and the research. Then you want to structure your article. It would have a beginning, a middle and an end.

The beginning you want to try to hook your reader, tell them why they need to read your article, and state the main point your article. In the middle, you will have more paragraphs that give more detail. Then at the end you tie it all together.

Where is the best place to put your articles? I mentioned magazines at the beginning. Those are still good, maybe harder, may not be as good as it used to be. Also newspaper. You could pitch an article to newspapers. Or, you could place them on a website. Probably the best website would be your own website, where you would have your own website and your own articles.

By placing these articles on your own website, you will be building a platform. Then when you get ready to write your book, you can pitch the idea to an agent who would contact a traditional publisher for you. One of the things they will be interested in is your platform. Do you have a platform and a following? One of the best places to build that is on your own website or own blog.

One of the reasons for having your own site or blog, building a platform of course. But think about it: You are in complete control of your writing; you own all of that content. You get to write on topics of your choice. You have no boss to answer to except yourself, you set your own hours, you can take off whenever you want, and you can write from anywhere.

I hope that you will consider writing nonfiction articles.I hope this has been helpful to you. If it has, and you’re reading this on my blog, and if you’d like more tips like these, then just go to the top of the page and click on the word “writing”, and you will find many articles about writing there. You can find the blog at Please also check out my YouTube channel and subscribe for more great content.

Writers Panel – How Successful Authors Wrote Their Books

“Writers Panel – How Successful Authors Wrote Their Books” is an excerpt from the class on “How to Write a Book in 28 Days or Less.” This panel discussion was one of the most popular sections of the class. Here is the transcription of the video that was lightly edited to change spoken speech into written speech. If you would like to know the stories of these successful authors, read on.

Our Panel

Randy: We are glad to have you with us tonight. Please introduce yourselves.

Kelsey Browning: My name is Kelsey Browning. I live in West Frankfort, Illinois. I have lived there since I was two and Johnston City before that, so Southern Illinois the whole time. I am married to a farmer, Kendall Browning. We live on this little family farm with my three rotten but adorable kids.

Shelley Wilburn: I’m Shelly Wilburn. I’m also from West Frankfort. I’m married to D. A. Wilburn. He is a carpenter, and we have three grown children, and almost four grandchildren.

Idella: Almost?

Shelley:   Almost. We have one on the way.

Idella Edwards:  My name is Idella Edwards. I was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois, and my husband and I have lived in eight different states.

We retired from Oklahoma, and looked at Oklahoma and said, “Do we want to stay here for retirement, and we said, ‘No.'”

So I got on the Internet and picked Marion, Illinois, for our retirement. We have five children and 12 grandchildren.

Their Books

Randy:   Okay, so tell us about some of your books. We’ll go in reverse order,. So, Idella, you can start.

Idella: Well I have four Christian devotionals, and then I have four children’s books. I have a poetry book, and then I have another one I call my grandchildren book, Parenting 101.

I’m really jealous of these two, starting so young, because I didn’t start writing until I was retired. In fact, I started writing because I came to Marion, Illinois to join Aldersgate United Methodist church. After we got there, Susie Rice started teaching a class. I started writing encouragement emails to the group as a whole, and then after a while, I thought I needed to collect those and put them in a book, you know, so that’s kind of how I accidentally got started.

Shelley:  I currently have two published books. The titles are Walking Healed. They’re both titled the same thing. One is just the Walking Healed book. It’s a journey of forgiveness grace and hope.

The second book is the Walking Healed companion study, which is the Bible study guide.

I got into writing when I was 12 years old but not full time until about five years ago, when God healed me of over 40 years of depression and mental and emotional abuse, and that’s what my book is about — overcoming. It’s about overcoming your obstacles and things in your life. I’m currently working on my third book, which is another Bible study, and it’s titled, Warrior Princess. It is about discovering your identity in Christ.

Randy: And I would say that Shelley was in the first version of this class.

Shelley: I was.

Kelsey: My book is called, Here I Am.  It’s part of a series. It’s young adult fiction.

It starts out as the story about two teenagers, and friends. Then it spreads from there to things that are going on in their lives.

I’ve had a lot of readers that are a lot older than teenagers where I originally geared it. I actually have found that, to my knowledge, one teenager has read my book. Therefore, I hesitate to call it teen fiction.

For me, writing a book was an accidental beginning as well. My friend growing up, always, always wrote short stories. Any opportunity she had, she was writing. I was looking for hobbies, and then I just sat down, and God kind of just gave it to me. I never, never, planned on being a writer, but that, that’s how I got started, so it was just kind of an accidental thing.

Questions and Answers

Randy: OK, Now we will open it up to you class members to ask questions.

Lynn Masters: Did all of you do this in 28 days, or was this kind of like you had the basics but kind of extended past that?

Shelley: Once I got started, it went really fast.  Now, when I wrote the companion study to Walking Healed, I already had a basic outline.  It wasn’t really a blueprint, but I was supposed to teach a class on my Walking Healed book, so I had written out notes.  I took those notes and wrote the Bible study in about 5 weeks. 

Kelsey: It’s hard to give a timeline, because I have 3 little ones.  Some days, there was no working on a book.  I’m a stay-at-home mom, so some days It depended on the kids.  But as far as the fiction process goes, when I was making it up in my head, sometimes I had to stop and walk away for a while. I’d have to let what I had written marinate and build, and see where the character was going.

Sometimes I’d go a week where I would write all night long, for hours on end.  Then I might go 2 or 3 weeks and not touch it because nothing was coming.  So that’s how I had to write.  When it is there, get it out, but it may not come back for a little while. So my timeline is all kinds of messed up.

Randy: That’s a good transition to what I’m going to talk about next week. Abandoning the basic technique. That will work, it can work, and can even work for fiction.  The best thing is to find out what works for you and then correlate with other techniques, like the ones presented earlier in the course.  I am going to encourage you to come up with sort of a blueprint because it’s a good thing to fall back on if you need it.  Another thing about producing a blueprint is that the process helps clarify in your mind what you’re doing. 

Their Unique Writing Processes

Debbie Neal Crawford : I’m interested in the process of the writers. Are you a morning person,? Do you write it it out? Do you type it?  Are you disciplined in your daily schedule?

Shelley: When I sit down to write, I am. However, I could be driving down the road and get inspired.  I do a lot of talking in my car on my phone and then I transcribe.

As far as when I wrote Walking Healed the companion guide, I had notes, not really an outline, and I would sit down every morning for 3 hours and write. 

When I wrote this one, it was just whenever I was inspired, I would sit down and write.  Some days it would be 8 hours, and some days it would be 3-4.

Randy: Did you have a regular schedule for when or how often you would blog?

Shelley: I’m not very faithful right now.  But in the beginning, I would make sure I posted at least 2-3 times a week.

Kelsey: I was a night owl.  Once everyone was asleep–when everyone was in bed–it was quiet time.  I could never concentrate in the mornings.  In the afternoon and the middle of the night was my best writing time. I listen to the radio in the car and that’s when it would hit me.  Music at other times helped too. Tons of stuff in this book came from listening to music.

Randy: Did you do any voice recording and transcribe it?  Of course your transcription doesn’t have to be word for word like what you said originally. You are the author, so you can change it up however you want.

Kelsey: I would record on my phone and listen to it later.  It helps to listen to it later and see if it makes sense.  Sometimes hearing it back helps.

Randy: So, Kelsey, you are a night owl. I can identify. Shelley, what about you?

Shelley: I’m a night owl.

Randy: And Idella?

Idella: I’m a morning person.   I don’t know if my books would fit into that 28-day time frame. With devotionals, you have to write the ideas down when they come to you, you can’t wait.

Don’t tell the preacher, but some have been written on the back of the church bulletin.

Shelly: I’ve written a lot of blog posts during sermons.  I even told my pastor, “I just want you to know that your sermon prompted a blog post.” He said, “Any way I can help.” At least he’s a good sport.

Kelsey: Even with fiction, I get that too.  Sometimes, it would even be the answer to some little conversation that needed to happen, and I was having trouble finding a way to put it.  Sometimes, I would hear it in a sermon.  He would put it a certain way and make me think of it in a different way.  It sometimes would help fill out little pieces – that’s where I would always get stuck – just little pieces of conversation that didn’t sound right. There were several times, through sermons, that I pieced the conversation together.

Dan Masters: Are you on the best seller list yet?

Kelsey: I’m barely on the sellers list yet.

Idella: My purpose for writing, at my age, is more to leave a legacy than to make a million.  I know I’m not going to hit that million. 

Debbie: Are your books from Create Space or…

Idella: I used Lightening Source.

Shelly: I went through Ingram Spark, which is a division of Lightening Source

Kelsey: WestBow Press.

Hybrid Publishing

Randy: I told Kelsey that I was excited to hear from her because I am familiar with WestBow press.  If you remember we talked earlier about self-publishing, traditional publishing, and what I would call hybrid publishing. That’s how I would classify WestBow. I would say it is a hybrid publisher.

Idella: What is hybrid publishing?

Randy: Hybrid publishing is sort of a cross between self publishing and traditional publishing. When you use a hybrid publisher, you don’t completely self-publish; they do things for you.  In their case, they have several different packages.  The more they do for you, the more you pay for the service.

Kelsey: They’ll even help you with marketing, but you’re looking at lots of money there.  That’s where I had to bow out. I just had to figure it out on my own. 
They designed the cover (holds up book).  They asked me for ideas, and gave me a web site to look at some standard art.  You fill out their questions, and they would email you a first draft.  I loved my first draft, but you can send it back.  Now if you tell them, “No, let’s try something else” more than twice, then they’ll charge you for another round of it.  I understand that, because I’m sure they get people who are never going to be happy.  They did that, and they took care of all the copyrighting, and the ISBN number. They have part of a package where you can get what is called a book-seller’s return, so, in theory, (I haven’t done this yet) it’s easier to get book stores to take them because the company will buy them back if they don’t sell.  So it kind of gives them a free out instead of wasting their money if it doesn’t sell.

Hybrid is what they pretty much call it, too.  It’s kind of an in between. 

Randy: I didn’t know if I’d coined that term or not. 

My first book was through a printer called 48 Hour Books, and they will print your book very quickly for you.  Their cost per copy is a little higher, but my wife and I were doing a marriage seminar, and I wanted the books to be available for that.  I happened to be in Mexico on a mission trip. We spent the nights on the Texas side. I remember the night I took the plunge, and I pushed the button on the 48 Hour Books. When I got home, I did get the books.  I don’t recall if they got there in time for the seminar, but it was just a couple of days. I was pretty happy with them.

Then I did Create Space, which is similar to Lightening Source or Ingram Spark for the second book.

For the third book, I used a hybrid publisher, and it’s called FWB Publications. (FWB stands for “For Worthy Books”). I’ve been very happy with them.  There is a whole lot of responsibility back on me with them, as far as proofreading and that.
Now WestBow, I think, goes over the final copy more in-depth than what mine did.  I had to be sure what I presented to them was absolutely what I wanted

Kelsey: They’re extremely helpful (WestBow Press).  I’m a stay-at-home mom and my husband is a farmer, so we don’t have a lot of extra money.  They would tell me the amount, and I’d tell them, “I don’t have that right now, I’ll have to save it up.” They would call me back, but only about once a month.  They didn’t just call and hound, and hound, and hound while I got the money saved up.  The package I got, which is pretty inclusive, was about $3000. But they pretty well lined out everything.

Copies, ISBNs, and Covers

Debbie: How many copies of the book did you receive?

Kelsey: Around 50.  There were some hard-backs.  They set the pricing because of the pricing company that they go through.  The paperbacks were reasonable; they were $17.95, which I think is reasonable. But the hardbacks were $30 and nobody is going to by a $30 hardback book from an unknown author. I don’t try to push those too much. I would say, “Don’t pay for extra hard back books in the package.” It came with business cards, bookmarks for promotion, post cards for promotion.  What i received was more than just the books. 

Idella: Lightening Source is much, much cheaper, but I don’t pay any extra for marketing, other than $12 a year to be on  I buy my own ISBN numbers; if you buy 10 it’s cheaper than one. I think one is $125 and 10 is about $250.

Shelly: I just bought the 10.

Idella: I’m on 20 now.  I design my own covers, but I’m not smart enough to get my cover on the Lightening Source form, so I hire a former employee that does that for me for $100.  Other than that, I just send in my PDF.

Kelsey: The cover design was included in the package, too.  I forgot to mention that.

Shelly: I designed my cover, too.  It’s my daughter-in-law walking down my driveway, and I hired a photographer I go to church with.  All in all, I got a pretty good deal. I went through Ingram Spark.  You order your cover template, and you send it to a cover person, which is what I did, and he charged me $50 per cover, which I didn’t think was bad at all. 

I do have pictures in my Bible study, too.  We had them done.  My pictures tell stories, too. 

Idella: (Holds up book) This is the premium color, but for my devotionals I used the standard color, which is cheaper.

But the one nice thing I like about Lightening Source is that I can buy one copy or 100.  I’m not obligated to buy a certain number.

Shelly: They’re a print on demand, or POD company, which means you don’t have to order a set amount, They don’t send unneeded books to you, and they don’t have a bunch of your books sitting in a warehouse, either.  When anybody orders your book, they print it right then, and they mail it out.  I do have one box of each of my books that I carry with me to have on hand.

Lynn: How many books are in a box?

Shelly: It depends on how big your book is. But you don’t have to buy a box, you can buy however many you want. You set the price for your books at retail and then you buy at below wholesale, which is $4-$5 a book.  (Idella nods agreement.)

Kelsey: That’s pretty well the same for WestBow Press too.

Dan: So you set the price?

Getting on the Amazon Bestseller’s List

Shelly: Yes.  I will also say that when this book (holds up book) came out, I decided to do it in  e-book form, so this is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, CoBo, and Apple iTunes for $2.99 as an e-book and $13.99 retail.  I like the idea that they can get either/or and I’ve had a lot of success with that.  The day that this one came out, it hit the Amazon top 50 in the first hour.

Randy: Was that on the digital version or on the paper version?

Shelly: It was on the digital version.

Randy: The fastest way to bestseller status . . . .

Shelley: It came out before the paperback.  Yes, It’s the fastest way.

Lynn: What made it go so fast? Did you post it on Facebook?  I’ve seen posts like that.

Shelly: We did a lot of “Coming Soon”, and it was up for pre-order as well, and I posted that on Facebook.  I have a lot of Facebook friends, and my editor, who is also my friend, posted on hers, and authors help authors.  I’m all about helping other authors.  That’s one thing they taught me.  So we were branching out, so when it did come out, people were buying it up.  Amazon updates every hour, so I at least got an hour in the top 50. 


Lynn: Do you have author pages, or do you have your own?

Shelly: I have both.  I have a personal Facebook, and I have a Facebook author page.  I also have my blog, and I’m on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.  All those things help.  I don’t use all those things all the time.  Right now, my biggest thing is Instagram.  When I post on Instagram, it will go to Facebook, so I’m hitting 2 or 3 with one post.

Randy: Do you have an Amazon page, an Author Central page?

Shelly: I have an Amazon author page, too. That’s important.

Wrapping Up

Randy: Our time is going.  If you have questions, ask quickly.

Lynn:: (To Idella) On your devotional, is it daily or is it chapters?

Idella: It’s a two-page devotion, and I have discussion questions at the end if they want to use it for a group study.   I don’t know how many are in there – they’re different sizes.

Randy: So, they’re not dated, like “January 1st”?

Idella: No, I don’t have them dated.

Randy: Rhonda, do you want to make a comment about the returns at the book stores, since you’ve worked at a book store?

Rhonda: Generally, the print on demand books are not returnable. I don’t know about in your (Kelsey’s) case–if that’s different.

Idella: You can set it up however you want it.  I’ve found the returnable option is not worth it. I got a whole box back one time.

Randy: The book stores are used to being able to return books.  So, depending on what kind of marketing you’re doing, and what your reach is, you have to figure out if that would be something for you.

Lynn: Do the book stores allow you to come in and do book signings? Will the book store publicize it, too?

All: Yes

Idella: This particular book is at Handfuls on Purpose (Christian Bookstore) right now as a free giveaway.  That gives them advertising, and it gives me advertising.

Randy: OK.  You were here to help us, and you told us how you did it.  What is one (or more) main tip or tips you would like to give aspiring authors?

Idella: I would say pray and listen, because God will lead you in the direction you need to go.

Shelly: Do your research.  Check out all your options before you jump in to one certain thing; in addition to praying.

Lynn: You’re referring to getting your book published?

Shelly: Yes. Do all your research and then decide what will work best for you.

Kelsey: Write it.  Just write it out.  You can always edit, you can always change it, but if you have an idea, just get it down on paper, on the computer, get it somewhere.  Even if it’s one you wind up throwing away, it may take you down a path you didn’t even think was where it was supposed to go.  Just write it out.  If I get too far out in the future in my head, my subconscious would just shut it down; but if I just get it out there, it works a lot better.

Randy: How can people get your books?

Idella: under Idella Pearl Edwards

Shelly:, Barnes and  You’ll find me under Shelly Wilburn or Walking Healed.

Kelsey: Also, at, Barnes and, and WestBow

That was the end of that section of the class. I hope you found it helpful. If you would like more tips like these, you can can click on the writing tab at the top of the page.

If you would like a self-study course that contains what was in the live course, and a whole lot more, you can invest in 6 Figure Writing by clicking here.

How to Write Nonfiction | Turn Your Knowledge into Words

How to write nonfiction – Turn your knowledge into words that can be shared in books and articles. Your life has given you a lot of experiences. From those experiences, you have gained knowledge. That knowledge can help people, and that’s what you want your book to do. But how do you go about putting that knowledge into words?

Writing From Mountains to Molehills

Several years ago, I wrote a book called From Mountains to Molehills: Overcoming and Celebrating Your Differences in Marriage.

The process of writing this book was easier than it was for some of the others That was because I already had some chapters written from a previous book that was divided into six parts.

I later decided to revise the original book, but then I decided instead to write a series of six books. Each new book corresponded to one of the parts in the original book. So, I had several chapters that related to that content that was about “Overcoming.” I think there were probably about 40 or 50 pages that came from those chapters. To come up with the new book, I thought more about the topic. How could I expand it from about five chapters to anywhere from 12 to 20 chapters? The final product ended up being 14 chapters after I got it all put together.

Then I thought more about what I had covered in the chapters that were in the “overcoming” part of the original book. As I thought about that, I looked for the gaps. What else did I need to talk about on that topic? Then I did research.

Part of that research involved putting out a survey, and surveying other books that related to this topic. Then I went back and filled in the gaps, and outlined those other chapters. Having completed that research, I was able to finish the book.

After that, I was able to go in and put in some of my own personal touches. I added some personal stories out of our own lives. Then, as I recall, I made up some fictional stories in that particular book and put those in at the beginnings of the new chapters. They were stories of Ralph and Elizabeth. Of course, Ralph and Elizabeth were not people that I really knew, rather they were composites of people who were experiencing the things that I was talking about.

Brainstorm What You Know

First of all, brainstorm what you already know. Just get a piece of paper, and start writing down ideas on that piece of paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write as quickly as you can. After the timer goes off, set it again if the ideas are still flowing. Keep doing this until things slow down and you run out of ideas. At this point, things will not necessarily be in order. After that, one of the ways that you can handle that brainstorming and reorganizing would be to put little symbols beside the topics. For instance, sometimes I put a little box beside sentences or phrases that are similar. Next, I find another group of similar phrases or sentences, and I put a circle beside those to differentiate between them and those with the boxes. You can think of other symbols for that purpose. I remember using a triangle one time when I did that. I also remember using a 5-pointed star, and an asterisk. I was able to group those ideas together. So you use a process like that to brainstorm what you already know.

Look for the Gaps

Then, you try to find the gaps. Ask yourself, “Will this cover the topic? Will this give my audience the help that they really need?” Once you answer those questions, you can do further research.

Research for Info to Fill the Gaps

When you find the areas where the information is lacking, it’s time to research your topic. With that added information, you can come up with chapters to fill in the gaps.

Get the Rough Draft Done

The next step is the most important: Get the rough draft down, just get a draft down. In most cases, that will help.

Some people are really good at writing and editing the same day. If you do that, then you just need to have a word count for each day. Others do really well by just rough drafting each day until they’ve got the whole book done. Sometimes those people use a timer, and write those sections until the timer goes off. They have a time goal for the day instead of a word-count goal. Then they go back and do the editing and refining. Either way though, get the rough draft down.

In some of the coaching that I do, I help people with writing rough drafts of books. I have two different methods of fast writing that can be used. I also have two different methods of how they can “talk” their content out. They can utilize their phone, even do a live video like my “Walking with Randy” videos. They have an outline, and speak the book. There are two different methods for doing that, but going into more detail goes beyond the scope of this blog post.

So, you brainstorm, fill in the gaps, research, and get the rough draft down. After that, you make it even more interesting.

Add Your Personal Touches and Stories

Go in and add your own personal touches and stories. Now the stories don’t all have to be yours, they can be stories of other people (with their permission to tell their stories). But, tell your stories where you can. That adds the personal touch. You can also make up stories that are actually composites of people you know. That’s what I did in the case of Ralph and Elizabeth.

You have knowledge, and you have knowledge that will be helpful to other people. I hope that this blog post will help you to be able to turn your knowledge into written words.

So, how to write nonfiction-turn your knowledge into the words. Again, I hope this has been helpful to you.

I will remind you that you can go to Randy’s to get more writing tips like these. If you are already on the blog, you can click on the “Writing” tab on this page.

You can also get videos like this on YouTube. I would even recommend that you subscribe to my YouTube channel to get a sample of more videos like these. if you are a subscriber, on a rainy day, you can binge watch the whole set!

Incidentally, if you are interested in the above mentioned, From Mountains to Molehills: Overcoming and Celebrating Your differences in Marriage you can find more info here.

Writing Nonfiction Articles – Questions to Speed Your Way to the Cash

Today, I’m offering more tips that have to do with writing. So, writing nonfiction articles: the fastest way to the cash. These are some tips that will help you write nonfiction articles.

First of all, you want to do this because it is one of the fastest ways to get to the cash and it’s also one of the fastest ways to become prolific in what you do. There is a variety of topics that you can talk about with nonfiction. Of course with fiction, there are all kinds of stories that you can do too, but it seems to be a little bit harder. to come up with different variations of stories. However, with nonfiction, you can talk about all kinds of things, so you can come up with many, many more nonfiction articles.

The reason why I’m writing about this here is because it is possible to both be able to speed your way to being prolific and have many topics on which to write.

Think About Your Audience

Here is something that you should think about when you’re getting ready to write your nonfiction article: Think about your audience. Who is your audience? Who, most likely, would be interested in it? Is your audience male or female? Young or old?

You may not know the answer to all of those questions but sometimes you can get a pretty good handle on it if you go to the groups that are discussing the topics that you’re talking about. Also, if it’s something that you know a lot about, without having to do a lot of extra research, you are probably in your target market. You would know yourself some of the things your audience would need to know. So, first of all, think about your audience.

Think About a Problem

Second, think about a problem. What is the biggest pain that is associated with the topic that you’re discussing and the problem you’re trying to solve? What is it that would keep people awake at night? What would they have to overcome?

Think About the Solution

Next, think about a solution. What is the biggest benefit? What will they care about the most? What will bring them the most joy as a result of getting this solution? Will they be happy because of being able to do things more easily or more quickly? Will getting that solution help them make more money? Will getting that solution help them to be able to help other people? Will arriving at the solution give them a sense of fulfillment?

Think About the Steps to the Solution

Finally, think about the steps to the solution. Imagine that you’re standing on one side of a stream and the solution is on the other side. There are a bunch of stepping stones in the middle. Figure out what steps are involved in arriving at the solution. Do the steps have to be performed in a certain order? Do some of the steps build upon previous steps, or can they be placed anywhere between the problem and the final solution?

So there it is: writing nonfiction articles is the fastest way to the cash.

✅Think about your audience.
✅Think about a problem.
✅Think about a solution.
✅Think about steps to the solution

Nonfiction articles are the fastest way to become prolific. Yes, you become an expert when you write a book, but it takes so much longer to write a book than it does to write a short article. Some people get double mileage by writing articles for their blogs or for websites, and when they are ready to write their books, they can pull the articles from their blogs and then edit them to become chapters or parts of chapters for their books.

You can find places to put your articles by submitting them to article directory sites, like Ezine Articles.

Another way of using your articles is to put them on your own blog, or your own website. I have already mention how you could get double-mileage out of those articles. Search engines like to see websites that are updated frequently. You do that by continually adding articles that will bring value to your readers.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Writing Nonfiction Narrative: How to Spice Up Your Helpful Information

Would you like to know how to get more people to read your helpful information?

John and Bill were mentioned in my last blog, Bill was having a problem with his Internet business. John saw a way that he could help his friend. He had very helpful information that he knew could help many people. But he could not get many to read it. Whenever he would go to his analytics, there were not nearly as many views of the articles as he would have wished. Then he tried some different things.

First of all, he started off telling, at the beginning his article, why the reader should read it.

Then he went to his analytics. He found that the number of views jumped up a little bit.

Then, whenever he told about why someone should read the article, he presented the problem. Then he agitated that problem a little bit before he gave the solution.

After he did that, he went to the analytics, and he was very hopeful. He clicked the button to look, but he was disappointed. Still, though, that result was better than what it was previously.

Then his friend John came along and gave him just one helpful suggestion. After implementing the one change, he kept clicking on his analytics report throughout the rest of the month. By the end of that time, he found his views had risen dramatically.

There was just one simple suggestion that caused that great result to come about. What was that suggestion? Here is the answer: John simply told Bill to add some stories.

We’re talking about writing nonfiction narrative Of course the word “narrative” is where the story-telling comes in.

What is A Narrative?

Let’s look at the definition of nonfiction narrative: It would be similar to historical fiction. Maybe in its truest sense, it would be one narrative that would go throughout the whole article, story, or book. There is another definition, though. That is, facts, told as a story, or facts that are illustrated by a story. That’s the one I’m focusing on. That’s the one that helped Bill’s views to jump dramatically.

You’ve probably discerned by now that Bill and John are composites of many different people, and yet these ideas are very true.

The Three Types of Narratives

In storytelling, you’re able to connect with your audience in a much better way. There are three types of narratives.

One of the first is to tell your own personal narrative.

The second one is to tell the experiences from your clients or your friends. You have to be careful with this one, though. If you have been engaged in confidential discussions, and you don’t have permission to use their names, then you must change the names and some other elements to present the facts, but to protect the innocent (or sometimes the guilty). Sometimes you will have permission to use other people’s stories.

The third kind of narrative will have fictional characters that are composites of many clients. They have true characteristics, and the facts, the things that are involved are true, but the character is a fictional character that has those true characteristics.

What Makes a Good Narrative?

What are some elements of good narrative. The first one has to do with the setting.
“They were standing in the desert. They had been there for several hours and the sun was going down. Though they’d been terribly hot, they had been told that the temperature would drop dramatically.”

There we are. We’re at the beginning of the setting for a good story. It helps you to identify with your audience. The setting should be similar to those to whom you’re writing. If you can involve the five senses in describing that setting, that helps create the image in the mind.

Then you want to introduce a main character. Since you’re doing these very short stories within the rest of your book, it’s best to focus on one character. However, you may have to introduce at least one more to have some type of conflict, setup, or to carry the story, but you focus on a single character.

When you introduce another character, you can make the story more interesting by including their dialogue.

Then you have the conflict. The conflict is related to the pain. It is related to the problem, and the problem can be agitated. It can be set up. The conflict, tells why there is a problem. It’s okay for things to repeatedly look like they’re going to succeed, and then fall apart. That makes for good fiction. So you have the conflict, you have the pain, you have the problem, and you have the tension and surprise.

At this point you can put in additional characters. Sometimes it’s man against nature. Sometimes it’s a person against a certain situation.

Then it builds to the climax. This is when the good finally triumphs. This is when the success finally overrules defeat. This is what this solution is. After that, you don’t really want to just cut it off abruptly. Sometimes you need to tie together the loose details,

The problem is solved. The satisfaction is there. This is where you dial it down a little bit, and perhaps you give a summary of the steps that were involved.

So those are some of the elements of putting stories within your nonfiction writing. Most of us like stories, and stories will keep us involved. Well, I hope that this has been helpful to you.

To recap, the elements of a good narrative are setting, character conflict, climax, and resolution.

If you’d like more writing tips like these, go to or www.randysblogscom. 

Click on the writing tab if you are already on the blog.

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Fillet that Fish & Get Rid of the Bones: Editing for Fun & Profit

You have your rough draft. Yay! Now, what do you do with it?

We have talked about several ways to come up with your rough draft. We encouraged you to use the creative side of your brain, and to write quickly. In some cases, we even encouraged you to plow right on through without correcting little typos.

If you’re writing a book, you want your book to do well. While it will be fun to get the book done, it will also be great to get it to the point to where you can sell the book.

Now is the time to edit. This is when the analytical part of your personality gets to kick in. This is what some of you have been waiting for, depending on your personality type. Some, more than others, find it hard to slog ahead while leaving some of those obvious typos and items that we immediately knew could have been worded better.

Remember, our goal is to get the book done! Many would not be able to do so without that forced action of moving on with the wording that first comes to mind.

Why You Are the Best Editor for Your Book

Several reasons exist as to why you are one of the best persons to edit your book. In fact, you might be the best person altogether. Some of those reasons are:

  • You know where your book is going.
  • You know exactly what you want the end product to be. You may not be able to communicate that too well if you hire out the editing process to someone else.
  • You know your content better.
  • You, and no one else, knows your voice better than you do.

If you want it to really sound like you, then you are the best one to edit your book.

Hiring Professional Editors

It is also a good idea to have a third-party analysis. You need to have someone not as familiar with your content to look over your book. When it comes to the process of proofreading, this is especially true. Right now, however, I’m talking about the other content editing, sometimes it’s called line editing.

There are some options for getting someone professional to edit your book. Years ago, I used Elance. It was a good place to hire freelance workers. They gave you samples and descriptions of the writing. You were also able to look at ratings from people who had used those particular freelancers before.

There was also a site called O’Desk. Elance and O’Desk have now merged, and it is called Upwork. You may want to go to Upwork and check out some of their editors.

Another freelance site you might be familiar with is When you go to any freelancing site, look at the descriptions of what they do, their ratings, and ask for some samples. You can probably find a good editor simply by doing that.

There are some other options you can look at more in depth. You can look at some more expensive options. If you have gone with a Hybrid publisher, they may offer some editing services, and you may want to go with them. I have a book that I’m collaborating on right at the moment, and we’re doing it through an excellent Hybrid publisher, so we decided to hire their editors to go over our work.

Computer Editing Techniques

There are also some things you can do on your own. If you are pretty good with grammar, then you may be able to just use the computer software called Grammarly. Or, there is another one that is called Pro Writing Aid. Both of those are very good. If you are not good at grammar, you definitely want to use something like this before you hand it over to someone else. But if you are pretty good with grammar, then it may be that just running it through one of those two pieces of software is all that you will need to do.

There is another type of computer editing you can do. You have the “find and replace” button on your word processing software. So go through and do a search for the word “the.” If you are writing a nonfiction book and you want to do it in a very personable way, you may want to change some of those “the’s” to the word “you”.
For instance, instead of saying “the book,, it might be better for you to say “your book” if, indeed, it is the reader’s book you’re talking about.

Another example would be to search for the word “that”. Many times, the word “that” can be removed from your sentence and still make sense. It won’t always be appropriate to remove the word, but, really, doing so sounds better in a lot of instances. Just be sure you go through your document and check that out.

Now here’s a very important one.: You have the “be” verbs: “am, is, are, was and were.” You can take your computer and search for all the instances of each of those words. Those sentences, more than likely, are written in passive voice. Passive voice is where the action is being done to something. Generally, your writing is more exciting if you have someone or something, doing the action.

So, you could change those sentences to active voice. An example would be, “The ball was hit.” You can change that sentence to, “He or she hit the ball.” See how doing that changes from the action happening to the ball to someone doing the action?

Sometimes you can’t change those sentences; it wouldn’t make sense for you to change some of those things. In those cases, then, just leave them in passive voice.

At times, it may be, that, at the very beginning of certain paragraphs or certain sections of writing, you may want a more powerful word. To start with such a powerful word, you may, in some of those cases, deliberately use passive voice. Just make sure you’re doing it on purpose.

Another set of words to search for with your computer, are words that end in “ly”. Those are generally adverbs. An example of that would be, “He ran into the room quickly.” Quickly is an adverb. Usually, whenever you have something like that, you can make your verb stronger. Let me give you an example. You can change your verb to rushed, “He rushed into the room.” or, “He burst into the room.” Doesn’t that sound better?

For some paragraphs, the writing may just be wordy. You might want to go through and pull out only the important words and rewrite the paragraphs using those important words as the foundation for your new paragraphs.

So, these are some ways that you can fillet that fish and get rid of the bones. The meat represents the good words and wording you want to keep. The bones are the things you want to edit out. We have described ways to edit for fun and profit.

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For more tips like these, hit the “writing” tab on this blog.

Writing Non-Fiction Books | 7 Steps to Success

Today, we’re talking about writing non-fiction books-7 steps to success.

I want to tell you the story of John, who saw his friend Bill having some problems with his Internet business. John had been down that road before and thought, “Some of those things could be easily corrected.

So, he thought, “Well, maybe I should write a book. No. No one would listen to me.”
Then he talked to his friend Bill, and found out that Bill was open to suggestions. He started working with Bill, and things turned around.

So John persisted in writing a book that would be helpful for people. Here’s how he went about it.

See the Problem(s)

First of all, he saw the problem. He was able to see the main problem and some other problems. He knew what success in this area was like, so he was glad to be able to share his successes, and he wanted others to not give up too quickly.

Dream the Solution

He wanted them to be able to dream about their success. He knew about his own experience, but since he was writing for more than just himself and Bill, he decided to make sure that he had amassed the information that would help others in their situation.

Do Further Research if Necessary

That meant he needed for information, so he did some further research. After having done this. He started grouping his information together.

There was a problem.

There was a solution.

There were steps to get to that solution. He formulated those grouped ideas as steps and ended up with eight steps.

Show the Steps

He knew he could write an introduction to this book. And after putting in the eight steps, he knew that he could write a conclusion. He could tell them what he was going to tell them, and he could tell them what he had told them.

He began the process of writing his book. Pretty soon, he had this 10 chapter book done, and then he decided to make it better–to make the chapters better. Of course it was a rough draft. He went through and started the process of polishing, which is actually going to culminate in the last step, He went through and caught his typos and spelling errors and made those corrections.

Put in Headings

Then he decided to break up the text in the chapters by putting in some headings. He had at least three headings in each chapter: sometimes he had four, sometimes he had five, sometimes as many as seven. But generally, three or four. So he had had an introduction, and he had eight chapters of steps leading to the solution. Within each of those eight chapters, there were headings that broke up the material, making the chapters easier to read. That type of chapter would allow the person to read a section, digest it, think about it, meditate on it a little, and move on to the next section.

Then, to make it better, as he went through his next pass: catching more than typos and spelling errors, he looked for things like passive voice that just jumped out at him. Thinking of the example of, “The ball was hit.” and he changed it to, “John hit the ball.” as he went through the document again.

Add Some Stories

To make it even better and more interesting, he added some stories. He told about his own experiences. He told about Bill’s experiences, and he told about the experiences of others that described universal experiences. He told the experience of others in a way that would not involve copyright infringement. So he added those stories.

After having done that, he had this great book. It was a book that would solve people’s problems. It was a book that would move them toward their dream of the solutions to those problems. It was a book that was interesting because of some of the stories that were placed inside it.

Polish and Publish

Then he hired an editor to go over the book, and he, himself, polished it even further. He also hired someone to create a cover for his book.

Having done that, his book was ready. The exciting day came, and he published it, fulfilling a dream that grew out of a desire to help his friend.


Writing nonfiction books, seven steps to success: Here were John steps:
First, see the problem or problems.
Second, dream the solutions
Third, research further were necessary.
Fourth, show the steps.
Fifth, put in some headings.
Sixth, add some stories.
Seventh, polish and publish.
Then you have a book.

Why don’t you do that? Can you see a problem that needs to be solved? Can you show the dream for the solution? Can you do further research on your topic? Can you put in some headings and add some stories? Can you proofread and get someone else to help you polish it even more? If you can do that, before you know it, you will be ready to publish your book.

So there you have it: Writing nonfiction books, seven steps to success. See the problems, dream the solutions, research, show the steps, put in some headings, add some stories, polish and publish.

I hope this has been helpful to you. If you would like more tips like these, go to and you will find more tips like these. If you’re looking at this on my blog itself, you can just go the top of the page and click on “writing” and you will find more posts that include these videos. Subscribing to my youtube channel will include a list of most of my videos too.