Good morning all my writer and reader friends! I hope you're all having a wonderful morning, and praying that you enjoy a wonderful, up-coming weekend.
One thing I've learned since I've begun writing my books, is that anything, and I mean anything, can be used for a ministry of telling others about Christ. Personally, I make it a point to always put a complete plan of salvation in each of my books. My writing has become my ministry.
This next lady who has interviewed with me, Barb Geiger, used something that she built, as a ministry for God. Read her interview below to find out what she used, and how she used it to also write her book.
AJ: Good morning, Barb! Thanks for joining me this morning and for agreeing to interview with me!
BG: Hi, Alisha,
Thank you for offering me the chance to participate in your guest author interview blog. It's a wonderful opportunity!
AJ: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background that led you to become a writer.
BG: My earliest memories of writing are filled with crumpled papers littering the floor, evidence of my hope in fresh starts and my perfectionistic self-judgment. My epiphany came when I learned, as a primary level teacher, about the Writer’s Workshop model – writers sharing their work with each other to make it better. I used Writer’s Workshops with my students, and late in life, joined All-Writers’ Workplace & Workshop in my hometown of Waukesha, WI to work on my own writing. The support of other writers made all the difference for me.
AJ: How many books have you written?
BG: I’ve only written one book so far, Paddle for a Purpose, but am working on a second and have ideas for several more.
AJ: In what genre would you classify your works?
BG: Paddle for a Purpose is a memoir of a five-month trip down the Mississippi River in a tandem wooden kayak that we built ourselves. I’m working on a few ideas for short stories, a folk tale collection, and children’s books.
AJ: What inspired you to write your first book? Can you tell us about it?
BG: After I retired from teaching, my husband and I finally finished building the tandem kayak that I started before I even met him. A faith-inspired idea to use the boat for a service trip resulted in a five-month paddle from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. We stopped in small towns along the way to volunteer with dozens of non-profit organizations and blogged about what they do to help others. And along the way, we collected stories – camping and boating stories, nature sightings, tales of mishaps, and inspiring stories about people helping others, and others going out of their way to help us. At the end of our trip, we met a couple about to set out on an around-the-world mission trip. A conversation with them sealed the deal, and I started the book when I got home.
AJ: Tell us a little about your writing process. Do you work from an outline, or do you prefer to see where the story leads you?
BG: Well, this one was pretty chronological. I just needed to figure out the best place to begin the narrative in order to give the reader the backstory information they needed, while interesting them in the story. Then, I wrote alternating sections of travel on the river followed by descriptions of our service stops. Since all the travel parts are in the kayak, I had to decide what was important and new in each section, and show how the trip transformed us.
AJ: Have you had much success in marketing and selling your books? If so, what tips could you give fellow writers who haven't been as blessed?
BG: My memoir has only been out a couple of months. I had a great launch, with friends from all areas of my life coming out to show encouragement and pick up the book they’d been waiting for. Our small community has also been very supportive. The challenge comes when marketing to people who don’t know me and haven’t heard anything about my book. I don’t have suggestions for that – I’m just dealing with it now. I’m trying to spread the word to markets along the river where we stopped. I’ve also applied to appear at book festivals, and am asking people personally for reviews.
AJ: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events?
BG: I love to meet people! I’ve done a few book signings, been on a panel of published writers for a Publication seminar, and talked with civic groups. This summer, I’d like to also go to farmer’s markets, art festivals, and paddle boating events.
AJ: Who designs the covers for your books? If you design them yourself, which program do you use?
BG: My publisher, eLectio Publishing, designed the cover for me. They asked me for my ideas, submitted some possible cover designs for my consideration, and made changes I suggested until we both approved of the design. It was a stressful procedure, just because it’s such an important part of a reader’s first impression. But, I love my cover!
AJ: What do you do to get book reviews?
BG: So far, I’ve only asked people personally. When they tell me what it is they like about the book, I suggest, “That would be great feedback for someone deciding whether or not to read it. I’d love it if you could find the time to write a review.” This has been moderately successful, but I need to learn more about getting professional reviews as well.
AJ: How can readers discover more about you?
BG: Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Alisha. Your readers can follow these links to learn more about me, and order my book if they’d like.
Website eLectio Publishing Facebook Amazon
If you'd like to find or follow Barb on social media, or if you'd like to buy her book, click any of the links above, or one of the pictures.