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Be Sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. I Peter 5:8

Be Sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. I Peter 5:8

I have noticed lately that a much of the Christian community is viewing world events, not with the power of love and faith that God has given them, but with fear of what the world can do to them. They share videos from ISIS that show Christians being beheaded or worse. They are afraid that if this continues, they might have to face the same fate. It doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way.

Hebrew 2:14-15 says That then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself (Jesus Christ) likewise took part of the same that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

As believers of Christ Jesus, we don’t have to fear death. As Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” If we live, we have Christ to guide us (if we let him) if we die, we join Him in Heaven.” Paul realized that whether he continued to live or whether he died, he was a winner. The same is true with believers. Follow Christ in this journey through life, and we further Christ’s Kingdom. Die because of our beliefs, and we win then too.

This brings me back to the verses in Proverbs 3:5-6 where it says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not unto your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all of your ways and he will direct your path.”

Do we trust Christ? Do we believe that he wants the best for us even if it means that we have to face loss? Do we trust him with taking care of our children when they start leaving the nest? Can we trust him even when a loved one renounces Christ’s existence? Could we trust him even we have to face the loss of a loved one or even if we have to face our own death or torture or murder of our closest loved ones because of our faith?
The good thing is, we don’t have to answer all those questions now because we are not facing those things personally right now. These are just things that the enemy is using to try to keep us from doing what God wants us to do right now.

In Matthew 6:31-34 Jesus said, “Therefore take no thought saying What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek). For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. take no thought for tomorrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

I remember a story that Cory Ten Boon told. At seven years old, she asked her father, “How do I know if I have enough faith?” Cory’s father thought about it for a minute and then said, “When we go on a journey, when do I give you your ticket to board the train? Cory answered, “When I get on the train.”
“Faith is like that train ticket. Our heavenly Father gives us the faith we need when we need it on our journey through this life.”
If you have read the book The Hiding Place, you will know that she and her family helped save Jews during the Holocaust. Because they disobeyed the Nazi law by harboring Jews, they were thrown in prison. Cory’s Father and her sister both died in prison. Cory’s own faith was tested and sharpened to the point where she spent the rest of her life sharing God’s love and healing with the world.
I have heard many times (especially from mothers) that they think that they feared most of their children being tortured while they were made to watch. Although it would be the most painful experience I could imagine, my biggest concern about the scenario isn’t their pain or even my own. It would be that my children could denounce God if they lived.
Therefore, it is not my fear of their pain that would concern me as much as my concern for their trust in God. I cannot do anything about that type of future event, but what I can do today is teach my children and others that our most important role as believers of Christ is to learn to trust him, no matter what we face on this earth.

We need come to the place ourselves where we are so trusting of Christ that we too live out those words of Paul, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Do you trust God enough today to trust him to this extent? If not, ask God to begin teaching you to trust in him more than ever before.

My Own Faith Tested

 

Sometimes when we make bold statements like the ones I have made above, the thief comes in to kill, steal, and destroy.. (John 10:10. When I think about what has been stolen and destroyed in my life during the past two years, I would ask myself where I was doing wrong. The truth is, I am not at fault for the adversity I have had to face. Two years ago my Dad died. Six weeks after that my brother died five months later my sister died. After my sister’s death, A few weeks after my sister’s death, my husband threatened to kill me and tried to choke me so I left and I left my daughter behind because I knew that it was what she wanted and that her father wouldn’t harm her. It took me three months to find a job and then just short of a year after getting that job my boss informed me that I no longer had that opportunity either. Just Monday I discovered that I am not eligible for unemployment. If I would have worked just one more day the following week. JUST ONE DAY, I would have been eligible.

But God is faithful, as it says in the rest of John 10:10, Jesus said that he came that his sheep could have life and have it more abundantly. Last night when I went to bed, I realized how much my Lord, My Savior loved me. He’s got my back. He is faithful and since he is in me, I am full of faith.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


crowd

As I stated in my last post, I think that even more important than me and those who work with me are the people who actually are likely to read my book.
These people include fans. I have fans of many different ages. I know of one fan who is only ten years old. However, I have another fan who is in her eighties. I could put out a new book in the Locket Saga tomorrow and both will buy it and ask me when the next book is coming out. Neither however, are actually in my target audience. Most ten year olds are not likely to enjoy my books, but this one does. Most of my readers aren’t in their eighties either. So who is my target audience?
This is where research comes in handy.

Basic Demographics of Romance Readers

64.6 million Americans read at least one romance novel in the past year. In 1998 there were 41 million readers in the US, 51.1 million in the US in 2002 and has continued to grow even faster because of e-books.
29 percent of romance readers are from the south, 27 percent are from the west, 26 percent are from the Midwest, and 12.6 percent are from the Northeast. Demographically romance readers are all over the place. Looking for a demographic, I say that romance readers are not generally from the northeast.
78 percent of romance readers are female and 22 percent of romance readers are male. Overwhelmingly, romance readers are female.
Fifty percent of romance readers are married and 37 percent of romance readers are single, Eight percent of romance readers are widowed, four percent are divorced and one percent are separated. Therefore most of romance readers are either married or have never been married.
Twenty two percent of romance readers are between the ages of 35-44, 19 percent are between the ages of 25-34, 18% are between the ages of 45-54 11 percent are between the ages of 55-64, 9 percent are between the ages of 18-24, eight percent are over75, six percent are between the ages of 14-17, six percent are between the ages of 65-74 and one percent are thirteen or younger. This means that 70 percent of romance readers are between the ages of 25 and 64 which would make this my target range.
Forty-two percent of romance readers have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 27 percent have college degrees, 15% have post-graduate work or degrees, 7% have associate degrees, 17% have attended a trade school or have some college, and 23% have high school diplomas. Romance readers tend to be educated.
Therefore, a basic demographic for a romance reader is likely be a well-educated woman between the ages of 25 and 64 living somewhere other than northeast. She is either married or has never been married. She is not likely to be divorced or widowed. This is also the demographic for my target reader.

Reading Habits of Romance Readers

During the past year, the number of romance novels that romance readers read varied. 54% have read between 1 and 5 books. 17% have read between 6 and 10 books. 14% have read between 11 and 20 books. 8% have read between 21 and 50 books. 2% have read between 51 and 100 books.
Romance Readers Obtained the Last Romance Novel They Read by buying them new (36%), checking them out of the library (25%), borrowing from a friend (16%), receiving as a gift (13%), bought them used (5%), got their books in other ways (4%) or traded another book for a new book (1%).
54% percentage of Romance readers bought 20% of their novels new, 32% don’t buy any new books, and 15% always buy new books
The most popular place readers buy their books is at mass merchandisers such as Target or Wal-Mart . 31% bought their books from a mass merchandiser, 22% bought their books from a mall bookstore, 16% bought their books from a free-standing bookstore, 8% bought their books from a mail order, 6% bought their books from another outlet, 5% bought their books from a book club, 5% bought their books from a grocery store, 4% bought their books from the internet, 2% bought their books from an airport bookstore, and 1% bought their books from a drug store.

What Elements do Romance Readers like Best?

When writing a book, it always helps to know what readers do and do not like about story lines. Here are some statistics regarding story elements.
Romance readers ranked the following setting or plot elements for romance novels in order of most enjoyable 48 percent of readers preferred mystery, thriller, or action plots. 36 percent of romance readers preferred exotic settings. 33 percent of readers prefer contemporary themes while 31 percent preferred inspirational romances with spiritual sub-plots. 27 percent of romance readers preferred Colonial American settings while 25% percent preferred settings in the American West. 24 percent preferred historical romance set in England while 21 percent preferred Scottish historical settings. 21 percent preferred Medieval settings, 18 percent preferred paranormal romances, and 14 percent preferred Futuristic romances.
What do Romance Readers Want in a Cover Design?
Cover designs that readers of romances prefer are as follows: 53% of readers prefer covers that are either abstract or romantic, 35% of readers prefer sedate and abstract covers, and 12% of readers prefer romantic covers.

What the Reader expects in Historical Fiction

No matter what a reader’s demographics, a reader expects certain things in a specific genre.For instance, my fiction genre is Historical Christian Romance. Above we saw the demographics of a romance novel, so now lets look at what a reader expects from historical fiction. A reader of historical fiction expects a setting located in a temporal past. Persons portrayed in this genre portray the manners and social conditions of the persons or times presented in the story and pays attention to other period details. Authors frequently choose to explore notable historical figures in these settings, allowing readers to better understand how these individuals would have responded to their environments. The tension between historical authenticity, or historicity, and fiction frequently becomes a point of commentary for readers and popular critics, while scholarly criticism frequently goes beyond this commentary, investigating the genre for its other thematic and critical interests. Historical describes historical events in story form for contemporary audiences.

What is expected in Christian Fiction

A reader expects Christian fiction to not have crass words and to be without voyeurism. Cursing and detailed bedroom scenes are not elements for Christian fiction. Plots should include Christian messages but without being preachy. Righteousness always wins out in the end.

The Importance of Target Readers

When we know who our target reader is, it helps us target our primary methods of book marketing. Our strategies can easily come from this knowledge and we are more likely to find success as self-publishers because we are focused on a specific target audience.
Another group of people who should be in this target reader is our reviewers. Reviewers are simply readers who also write about what they have read. If a reviewer is in our target audience, the reviewer probably has a following that is also within our target audience. As you can see, the more we understand our target reader, the better our chances of hitting the best sellers list.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


bookshelf

This is a continuation of the business plan and is a very important aspect.
In addition to knowing what I am doing in my writing business, it is important that I know how my business relates to other people within my business.

Target Audience

I think that even more important than me and those who work with me are the people who actually are likely to buy my book. These people are called my target audience. These people not only include fans, they also include reviewers.
I had recently started taking paperback copies of my books that cater to my specific books. For instance, though my novels are currently being sold in bookstores, I went out on a limb and decided to try to sell my nonfiction paperbacks at feed and lawn and garden stores as well as health food stores. I take in small numbers of books to these locations so that it is not a big risk for the store and sell the books at whole sale prices. They in turn get nearly a forty percent commission. Because I know my target audience for that specific title, I can make book sales easily and almost painlessly.

Industry Review

Understanding where the publishing industry is in general is important so that I as a writer and self-publisher know where the publishing business is heading.
A few years ago the only way to sell books was through a major publishing company, but since the advent of e-books, the internet, and e-readers, things have changed. For a few years, e-book sales exploded, but the market has settled somewhat since then and even though it is harder to sell e-books than it was five years ago, it still is a working model, but it is no longer the slam dunk that it was in the beginning of the e-book movement.

Peer Review

A group of people that I need to study are other writers and publishers who write and publish books like I write. I need to understand not only those who are doing well, but also those who are doing poorly. The difference would indicate what I need to focus on doing to improve my own writing business.
Another word for this is spying on the competition. Its where you read stuff that other people put out, you look at their websites, you find out about their book sales. When you’re looking at best selling authors, you’re looking at what they are doing differently than you are and emulating their success tactics. We will look more indepth into these three topics as they relate to my specific genres over the next month.

IMG_8330 final copy

 

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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