This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net.

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blessed Writing Retreat

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This past weekend my writing journey took me to a far-away, secluded log cabin in the mountainous woods of Franklin, NC. Only one thing could describe it.


I loved it!!!

We plotted, brainstormed, and wrote. And plotted, brainstormed, and wrote. Prayer bathed us, both when we prayed and our loved ones at home prayed for us. I felt so blessed and relaxed. We formed friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. We had no cell phone access and only one of us succeeded in hooking up to the dial-up line on the Internet. Of course, this meant that I missed posting my Saturday blog on F.A.I.T.H. It wasn't for a lack of trying. Missy even let me borrow her laptop, but the connection kept failing.

I learned a few things from my new writing friends:



  • Camy Tang is a Night Owl and a Branding Queen.




  • Cheryl Wyatt is a Spiritual Warrior and a Squirrel who is excited about her first book!




  • Missy Tippens does NOT Snore, although she claims to.




  • Lynette Eason can connect to the Internet when no one else can.




  • Pamela James (Pammer) can stomp a wayward sleeping bag into shape until it fits in its duffel bag.


  • Everyone was able to plot a new book with our brainstorming sessions. I came home with four new books plotted and a new brand for my author image. Stay tuned as I discuss the new changes with my agent and begin to implement my new "author look" on my website and blog. These ladies were awesome and we definitely decided we want to do this again next year! We all came together from California, Missouri, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The bond of writing and Christ tie us together.








    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    The Carolina Renaissance Festival

    By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

    This year was my first time attending the Renaissance Festival. My husband, daughter and I went with my sister-in-law, her daughter, granddaughter and grandson. We had a wonderful time. I had no idea this event was so HUGE! Even my husband enjoyed it.

    All of the rides were authentic in that there was no electricity to run them (with the exception of the bungee jump). People actually had to use manual labor for the kids' rides and shows. Lots of folks were dressed up in period costumes and it wasn't just the people working there. Half the visitors wore period outfits. There were acrobats, fire eaters, music with harps, bagpipes, etc. The food was also from the Renaissance period with large turkey legs, bread bowl soups, steak on sticks, ear of corn, etc. For those soda drinkers, you could buy soda.

    The Rides



    The rocking horse was also pushed by someone. You may not be not be able to see them, but there are men pushing the boats around like a merry-go-round. They had it going pretty fast. My daughter got a little dizzy from it.






    Below the kids are being carried like royalty. My daughter is in the middle between her two cousins. These poor guys were carrying kids all over the place. I know they had to be worn out by the end of the day. They get a huge workout. 










    Below on the right is my daughter up in the air on the bungee jump ride. Adults were having just as much fun on this as the kids. If I hadn't been close to running out of money, I might have tried it.















    The Games



    There were so many games and activities, we couldn't possibly try them all. But I did find a few I enjoyed. They had some stick game that I couldn't figure out how to do, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Then I bruised my arm up shooting archery, but after I got the hang of it, I began to hit the bulls eye in the target. My husband was so impressed, he's decided to buy me an archery set.



















    The Music

    I love music so I enjoyed listening to the harpist play, and the bagpipes have always intrigued me. I used them in my Scottish Medieval novel. Music was one of the best forms of entertainment during this time period. While music is still very important today, we incorporate it in all our electronic forms of media in movies, video games, websites, etc.




















    The Knights in Shining Armor

    And of course there was the jousting contest between the good and bad knights for England's king and queen. The competition was fierce, but the good knight won.

    If you've never been to a Renaissance Festival, I would highly recommend it, especially if you love history like I do. Even when something isn't quite as authentic as it could be, I try not to be too critical as people who put things like this on are trying their best and put in a lot of hours of hard work. A couple of negative things were a few fortune teller booths and some dresses that showed a little too much at the top, but overall I thought this was a great event where families can enjoy themselves and learn a lot about the Renaissance Period.

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Colonial Book Publishing at Latta Plantation



    By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

    Over the weekend we went to a Folk Festival at the Latta Plantation in Huntersville, NC. I discovered a few ideas for new novels I can explore. I've written several historicals, but I haven't written anything set on a plantation. I walked out with three new books from the gift shop that I can use as resources.

    The house was a little different from other plantation homes I've seen in that the entrance and exit doors were on both sides of the house, not in the front and back. However, the kitchen was a separate building beside the house as I've seen before. This was a small/medium size plantation. The photo above shows a side view.

    We also got an overview of colonial book binding. What a long and drawn out process it was to print and bind a simple book. They would lay out the pages and fold the paper so the pages would be in order. Then they would cut the pages and put them into a trimmer to trim each page one at a time. Talk about time consuming! Below is a photo of the binding and trimming equipment that was used.


    When you think about the whole process they had to go through, and how slow it was to accomplish, I'm surprised any books were published at all. I can see why people didn't have many books, if any, in their homes. What a wonderful century we live in today. I'll try to remember not to complain about the slow process of publishing a book after it is in contract.


    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Devotion - The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

    By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

    I was a long distance runner in high school and I could run lap after lap at a steady quick pace, but toward the end I'd kick it in high gear and finish the race at a sprint. My dad taught me this strategy because a lot of times when my opponents finished running 8-12 laps, they were out of energy and didn't have a kick. If a race was close, this was my ticket to winning.

    I write like this. I go at a steady pace scene after scene and chapter after chapter, but when I see the end I'm so tempted to sprint. I want to finish the book so I can type "The End" to my work. I know that I'm going to go back through it again and edit, so that makes the temptation so much greater.

    Right now I can see the end to my manuscript, By His Plan and I have to keep reminding myself to slow down. Think about the consequences of each scene, the actions of each character, and every word that is said. What do I want the characters to accomplish? Toward the end of a book, the growth experience of the main characters is so important and it must be articulated in a way that is appropriate and impactful. It must be strong to make the reader close the book with a satisfied smile, but walk away pondering the meat of the story, hopefully inspired with the planting of more faith seeds.

    Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Back From ACFW Conference

    By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

    The ACFW Conference was wonderful!

    This was my first Christian writer's conference outside of RWA's mini-conference for FHL. As we sang songs of praise and worship to the Lord, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with thankfulness that I was able to be there, and regretful that I had not joined ACFW sooner. Everyone I met was so friendly, sincere, and welcoming. Members were helpful and uplifted each other. I met so many people I had conversed with online, and hopefully formed friendships I'll have for the rest of my writing career.

    The workshops were full of valuable information. Published authors shared experiences, testimonies, and knowledge. Editors and agents hosted tables at meals to give people a chance to chat with them and get to know them. Some gave out books, others allowed people to pitch, or send queries and/or proposals. God moved in the lives of so many people during this conference, and I was one of them. I feel like I'll never be the same again.

    Congratulations to all the winners of the 2007 Book of the Year and Genesis contests! While I didn't win in my categories, I was thrilled just to be a Genesis finalist. It was such an honor to place second in the Historical Romance category with Promised Blessings, and third in the Contemporary Romance category with By His Plan. A huge thank you to all the judges.

    My Agent, Terry Burns and myself


    Me with Author Tamera Alexander

    F.A.I.T.H. Girls: Christy, Jennifer, Angie, Mindy


    Members of my critique group: Dan, Tracy, Jenness, Cathy, Jennifer


    Sunday, August 12, 2007

    Review - "Remembered" by Tamera Alexander


    By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

    Book Description

    The threat of war and a final request send Veronique Girard from France to a distant and uninviting country. In the Colorado Territory, she searches for the man who has held her heart since childhood--her father. Pierre Girard left Paris for the Americas to seek his fortune in fur trading, vowing to send for his wife and daughter. But twenty-five years have passed and his vow remains unfulfilled. Sifting through shards of broken promises, Veronique embarks on a dangerous search for a man she scarcely remembers.

    His grief finally healed, Jack Brennan is moving on with life. After years of guiding families west, he is now working as a freighter to the mining towns surrounding Willow Springs. What he doesn't count on is an unexpected traveling companion on his trips up into the mountains, and how one woman's search will cause havoc with his plans...and his life.


    My Review

    This is the third book in the Fountain Creek Chronicles, and it is just as lively, humorous and entertaining as the first two books in the series. As Veronique becomes acquainted with the ways of the West, there are several humorous circumstances that had me laughing, and just as many heart felt moments that were filled with tenderness and compassion. The hope and faith that the characters exhibited kept me revited to see how the story would end. Would she find her father, and if she did, what kind of man would he be? Jack and Veronique banter back and forth with witty dialogue and their actions stay true to the characterizations that the author gives them from the beginning. This is a wondeful book that I'm sure you will enjoy.


    Wednesday, July 04, 2007

    Freedom = American Christian Fiction Writers

    By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

    Here in America we have the freedom to create organizations like American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). We can worship as we please. We can attend church, read our Bibles, and freely proclaim our faith. What did it take for that freedom? I'll tell you. It took many lives, much sacrifice, and a country that stands together without division.

    I love our country with its broad land, our freedom, and our brave ones who fight to protect us. But I'm also growing very concerned about our country. We have way too much division among our citizens, and God's Word doesn't lie. "But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." (Matthew 12:25).

    In spite of the fact that we have freedom to worship in any religion we choose, and many new people have brought their religions with them, America was perdominantly founded on Christianity. Any factual historical study will prove this. God is in this country. God founded this nation. And God wants to stay here in America.

    If you're a writer, I urge you to join organizations like ACFW. Christian fiction sales are still growing faster than any other genre out there and the secular world is taking notice. I want wholesome Christian books to read that are filled with faith, and different journeys leading to faith, where God is ultimately glorified. I want the same thing out of the songs I listen to and movies I watch. These things cannot happen, if we as Christians do not stand up and make it happen, and support these efforts.

    But it all begins behind the scenes with ideas, dreams, and experiences inspired by the Holy Spirit. Some of us need help learning how to make it happen, the right networks, and information about the genre and the market. That is where ACFW has been the best organization I ever joined in the 12+ years I've been writing. God gave this gift to me and I want to share it with others.

    ACFW is having a national conference in September that I know you don't want to miss. This will be my first ACFW Conference. You may be asking, how do I know its so great if I've never been? Because I've been to a number of national secular writing conferences, and this is the only one that I've seen the best line up of editors and agents who read, buy, and publish Christian fiction. They will be there, giving exclusive appointments to want-a-be-published-writers, and giving their expertise in great workshops. I have no doubt that it will be worth every penny of the investment. If you are considering this conference. 

    Saturday, April 21, 2007

    Praise Him in the Storm

    Recently, we bought a Casting Crown CD and one of our favorite songs is, "Praise You Through This Storm." Oh, how this song speaks volumes to me.

    How many times have you prayed to be delivered from a situation, or for God to help you through it? You pray and pray and pray and it seems like the situation is going on forever, and even getting worse? The harder you pray, the harder it gets. I've been there.

    It's taken me some time in my walk with God, but I've learned that there are some obstacles and situations that we are going to have to walk through. There is no going around it, under it, over it, or avoiding it. This is like Paul's thorn in the side and God said, "My grace is sufficient for you." This means... (Read More)

    Today is my day to post on F.A.I.T.H. I hope you'll stop by and visit with us.

    Following. Always. Intently. Trusting. Him.
    Six Inspirational authors with a variety of genres, personalities, and expertise. You're sure to find interesting info, chats, and uplifting tidbits. Come visit. We'd love to share a moment with you. http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com.

    Monday, April 16, 2007

    Discoveries

    This weekend I made a few discoveries about myself. As I soared over the earth at so many miles an hour with the blood rushing to my head, I discovered my body doesn't quite have the same reaction as it used to. The second thing I discovered is that I pray sincerely harder while being strapped in to the roller coaster.

    We've always enjoyed thrill rides, and so now that we live in Charlotte, we had to buy season passes to Carowinds. The third thing we discovered is our nine-year-old likes all the roller coasters she's tall enough to ride. There was one exception. She's tall enough to ride one coaster, but because it has loops, she wouldn't ride it.

    My husband tried to talk me into riding the Boarg Assimilator, but I wouldn't do it. I told him God expects me to use the mind He gave me. I almost passed out riding Top Gun. I rode it several years ago and thought there was nothing to it. What was I thinking back then? The only other thing I can think of is allergies. I have a lot of head conjestion due to allergies right now. That may be why I almost passed out on a ride that I thought was nothing. The reason I say this is because I've flown on planes several times and never had a problem. The one time I got on a plane with a sinus infection, I thought my head was going to explode. The next time I got on a plane (coming back), I didn't feel that way. I was fine. I may be willing to try Top Gun again after my allergies clear up, but I don't know about that Boarg Assimilator. I don't like the idea of flying on my back going backwards.

    I wonder what God thinks about us praying on theme park rides? I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this. Do you?

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

    Saturday, March 31, 2007

    A Puck and a Prayer

    Tonight is faith hockey night with the Charlotte Checkers and they're calling it "A Puck and a Prayer" night. We bought our tickets yesterday and we'll be taking our daughter. My husband used to play hockey as a child. Hockey should be his middle name. If he isn't watching hockey, he's playing hockey on the Xbox 360. I used to tease him that I never got to see him until hockey season was over. I'm impressed that they would include a faith night. I wonder how many other cities and/or sports include at least one faith night?

    As more secular publishers open Christian divisions, more sports recognize Christian fans, and more Christian family cruises are available, I believe this will open the doors of a greater witness for us to the rest of the world. I'm sure there are a few die-hard hockey fans who may not be Christians and who will still be there on faith night. God may use this time to plant a few seeds.

    "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
    1 Corinthians 10:31
    _______________________________________________________________

    Today is my day to blog on F.A.I.T.H. Come on over for a visit!

    --- Jennifer Hudson Taylor
    www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com
    Jennifer's Writing Blog

    F.A.I.T.H. (A blog of 6 authors who are: Following Always and Intently Trusting Him)

    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Can...Will...Please?

    My eyes are having trouble keeping up with my hectic schedule. I work a full-time job so my eyes are staring at a computer screen all day. Then I go home spend time with hubby and daughter at supper and I'm back on the computer until I go to bed. This time length varies from night to night, depending on other responsibilities. Then I'm back on the computer at 5am for another 2 hours before I head off to work.

    This morning my eyes hurt. I dropped some Visine in my eyes and said, "Lord, will you help me?"

    A gentle voice said, "that's like asking can I."

    I realized asking "if He can" or "if He will" is asking with doubt. The writer in me began searching for the right words. As if in answer, that same gentle voice said, "just say please and then ask."So I said, "Lord, please help me."

    The greatest author of all time cares about every single word. Jesus taught the desciples how to pray. The Holy Spirit is teaching me how to pray because He wants my prayers to be effective.

    I am firmly convinced the Holy Spirit will teach us how to write and what to write. When our wells run dry of words, He will refill us. He wants us to be that effective.


    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    Experiencing Winter JAM 2007!

    This past weekend we went to our first Winter JAM in Charlotte, NC. Christian artists such as New Song, Jeremy Camp, Steven Curtis Chapman and Hawk Nelson were part of the line up.

    It sold out and we couldn't find seats. Finally, a gentleman gave us his row of three seats. We thought it was such a blessing. We were behind the stage, which meant we were right at the speakers. My nine-year-old daughter was fine until Hawk Nelson came on stage. She cried saying it hurt her ears. It hurt mine too. I think their music was a little too much like hard rock for the two of us. We enjoyed the rest of the show.

    The band for Steven Curtis Chapman was The Following. The lead singer and drummer were Steven's teenage sons. They were a great band. They sang a song that Steven's oldest son wrote. I'm sure we'll be hearing more from them. They simply have too much talent to be ignored.

    The preaching held a great salvation message, targeting teens and young people. Speaking of teens, they were lined up long before the end of the concert with their posters and CD's to get those special autographs. The "mother" in me couldn't help wondering if some of them were idolizing the stars. I didn't know any of those teens, and yet, I cared about what they thought and how they viewed the celebrities. I am comforted to know that they were there, hearing the Word, and in God's hands.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    Making Progress


    Last week Dwayne and I took my nine-year-old daughter bicycle riding in the park. It was perfect weather and such a wonderful, warm afternoon. For those of you who don't know, my daughter has special needs and some delayed development from a seizure disorder she had as an infant.

    She peddled so slow that I could walk beside her. I gave up riding my bike after a while. If she got fast enough to where I could do a fast walk, she would hit the breaks and stop. "I'm going to fast!" She yelled.

    I tried not to show my impatience. The Lord reminded me that sometimes this is how we are with Him. He's trying to get us to move on and do more or overcome a fear, and we keep breaking in the the middle of it, prolonging the process. Sometimes we go through something longer than we have to, because of our fear and how we react to the situation.

    In the same way that I knew Celina could go faster and would be fine, God knows that He hasn't allowed more than we can handle upon our shoulders. He knows that we are going to get through our trials and be fine. We may even learn a few things in the process. For Celina, it would be learning to ride a bike.

    Her little hands gripped the handle bars so tight that she wore blisters on her skin. We talked about fear being of Satan and not of God. Sometime later she began singing,


    "In the name of Jesus; In the name of Jesus; Satan you have to flee;

    In the name of Jesus; In the name of Jesus; We have the victory!"

    Pride swelled in my chest, the good kind of pride. She was using her faith and trust in God to keep going and facing her fear. She rode for a solid two hours. I know she had to be tired and her little muscles ached. She would not give up. She would look up at me and say, "Aren't I doing good, Mommy?" She needed that affirmation, just like we sometimes need from our heavenly Father. I told her she was doing wonderful. "Look how far I've come, Mommy!" I would smile and nod. It was a long way.

    Celina had such a fear of falling and she finally fell twice. It gave me the chance to point out that even though she had fallen and she didn't like the fall, she was okay. Sometimes the fear of falling is worse than the actual fall.
    ____________________________________________________________
    Today is my day to blog on F.A.I.T.H., go to http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com and check out my post on TRUST - God's Perfect Work in You.

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Whispers from God

    God is nudging me toward a new writing path. While I have always written historicals, and will probably always write historicals between other projects, God is stretching me into contemporary women's fiction. I thought this new story would be awkward and hard to write and so I waited thirteen years before starting it. Now it seems to be taking shape on its own.

    I can relate to the main characters in this story more than I've ever related to other characters in my previous stories. I think its because I know what they're feeling as they pray for their daughter's life, and they walk the hospital halls, waiting patiently for news, any news. They go through sleepless nights and weary days seeking and searching for answers. They fear a parent's worst nightmare.

    I know God is leading me to delve deep into my past experiences to create stories that may speak to others, letting them know they aren't alone, and perhaps help them begin the process of healing. I fear mentally going back and facing those dark places in my life. When I expressed this to God, He whispered, "My love is stronger than your fear."

    Whoa! Isn't that powerful? Immediately, I had peace about this new journey I've already started. He will lead and carry me.

    "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18

    Saturday, March 03, 2007

    Now I Know the Purpose of Traffic

    Okay, this month I will have lived in Charlotte, NC for seven months. In case you aren't aware, one of my few complaints about my new city is the traffic. Most of the time my mind is spinning on all the things I could be doing if I were already home or at my destination instead of sitting on the road moving at 5-10 mph. I've been really good about the traffic, but this week the Lord showed me a whole new purpose for waiting through traffic.

    The pupose of traffic is: plotting new stories and twists to existing stories.

    So now you have it! My new God-given secret is out. I'm not kidding. This week I was actually able to plot four new stories and change the ending to my current WIP with a new tragic and dramatic twist. I could actually envision the scenes taking place in my mind. When this happens, the story in my head just unfolds onto the computer screen. So now I'm not dreading traffic anymore.

    _______________________________________________

    Today is my day to blog on F.A.I.T.H., go see my post on "Tear Down a Stronghold--Dare to Believe." http://www.writingbyfaith.blogspot.com.

    Visit my website at
    www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

    Sunday, February 25, 2007

    God Cares About the Small Things

    Over the weekend my Girl Scout Brownie troop had a sleepover with nine other troops--in total there were about 100 girls. I know, what was I thinking? Anyway, we had a wonderful time. In fact, the girls were great. There was only one adult that was the problem.

    At about ten o'clock we sent the girls to their rooms to get ready for bed. They were sitting up in their sleeping bags and talking. We had three adults in our room so my troop was well-monitored. In spite of this fact, the troop leader next door came to our room and shut our door as if we were being extemely loud, in which we weren't. Later when it was time to brush our teeth and go to the bathroom, my girls got a little excited and ran down the hall.

    This same woman came out and addressed my girls in an angry tone. She was quite rude. Another mom and I stood there with our mouths gaped open. I had already gotten after my girls for running in the hallway, but if she expected 7-9 year olds to tip-toe down the hall and be especially quiet on a sleepover, she had another thing coming, and probably shouldn't have volunteered. Everything in me wanted to give her "what for" but I knew that wouldn't be the Christian thing to do. Sometimes I'm not very good a bridling my tongue, so I think its a good thing that I was too shocked to respond. God brought a blessing as a reward.

    We planned to sing Karoke songs at our next meeting and I anticipated more complaining. For this reason, I decided to talk to the person that oversees all the rooms in the church. I didn't know it, but some of the girls from another troop saw and heard what had happened. She was more than willing to give me another room for my girls. As a result my girls now have a room that is double the size of their own room. It's off the side of the gym and we can make as much noise as we want. We have a piano, a ping-pong table, and a foosball table. My troop is so excited!

    I couldn't help reflecting on how God blessed us for keeping our mouths shut. All year we had been very cramped in that room, but I couldn't complain. I felt so blessed just to have a room for my girls to meet in. So many churches were not willing to let us meet in their facilities. The whole experience just reminded me of how much God really cares about the small things.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Media...Your Link to Readers

    When you send out a press release on your latest book or speaking engagement, where does it go? Does it go to world, national or local media? Who do you send it through? If you don't send out your PRs to the right people, you might as well throw them in the trash. The links below are places to begin your media research, not endorsements. Other services and links are offered on these sites that will lead you to other research options.

    ~ Gebbie Press (
    http://www.gebbieinc.com)

    ~ Media Finder (
    http://www.mediafinder.com)

    ~ News and Newspapers Online (
    http://library.uncg.edu/news)

    ~ NewsDirectory.com (
    http://newsdirectory.com)

    ~ Parrot Media (
    http://www.parrotmedia.com)

    ~ SmallBusinessDepot (
    http://www.smallbusinessdepot.com)

    Return on Investment (ROI)
    Whether you hire someone to create your website or design it yourself, you will want a return on your investment. That's why you need to give great consideration to the development, layout and over all design; as well as how you'll market your website.


    If you want to partner with others, sell ads on your site, or trade promotional favors, stats from your site are your bait. This is why tracking your website statistics will help you and potential business partners determine your ROI.

    Examples of tracking methods would be online surveys, opt-in newsletters, blog comments, guestbooks, etc. Other methods would be software programs that automatically track the basic statistics for you such as www.sitemeter.com, www.web-stat.com, www.opentracker.net or you can hire a professional website developer to design a specific software program tailored to your needs.

    Most websites depend on one of the following e-models for successful ROI.

    ~ Branding – This is more than determining the brand content in your novels. Online branding is the distinct "look and feel" readers will find when they visit your site, see your banners, tag line, logo, etc. Although these measures are hard to determine in dollars, readers will develop author recognition when shopping for their next book.

    ~ e-Direct – This is online direct marketing through email at low costs, which can be very profitable when handled professionally and ethically. Build your email database through opt-in email submissions, contests, feedback surveys at events, etc.

    ~ Market Research – Readers volunteer information through online surveys, emails, and other direct mediums.


    The next blog will be on "Testing before Investing."

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com and our F.A.I.T.H. blog at http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com.

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Six Weird Things About Me

    Okay, I got tagged by my friend Lindi and so I'm going to play. Below are the six weird things about me.

    1) I hate to eat a banana by itself, but I love banana flavoring. I love banana pudding, banana nut cake, ice cream, etc.

    2) I like to write at the wee hours of the morning when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet. It might be 2, 3, 4 o'clock a.m. If I wake up at these hours, I get on my computer and write away.

    3) I hate to sit in traffic, so I will go miles out of my way just to keep moving. I have the impatient bug.

    4) I go behind everyone in the house and cut off TVs, radios, lights and fans because I can't stand for something to be on when no one is in the room.

    5) When I have free time, I enjoy visiting cemeteries to collect historical data on my ancestors. I take photos of them too. Check out my genealogy site at
    Our Carolina Roots.

    6) I have to write on my laptop instead of my desktop to keep from checking email or surfing the Web.

    If you've just read this blog, Tag Your It. Share some of your weird things! Let me know where to find your blog.

    Jennifer

    Visit my website at
    www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com and our F.A.I.T.H. blog at http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com.

    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    Unpublished? You Still Need a Website or Blog

    You can get by without having a website before you publish, but I can think of a number of great reasons that would be more beneficial to you if you have a website or a blog before you get "the call" or "the email." Here are some of the benefits that are already helping me.

    Benefits:
  • If you wait until you get your publishing contract, then you will be scrambling to learn all the aspects of publishing and marketing your book and trying to learn things you could have already taken the time to learn. For instance, I'm not going to have a learning curve of using blogger, creating a website, updating and maintaining my website, submitting to search engines and directories, linking with others--these things will already be accomplished. All I'll have to concentrate on doing is writing and blogging about my experience and creating a realistic marketing plan. This will free me to learn the aspects of publishing I don't know about.
  • Some people leave comments and others don't. Some email me privately. They have questions or want to make comments on something I've written or one of my articles they might have read. I received a lot of comments from my "Angels on Earth" article regarding my daughter's seizure disorder on my website. That experience touched several people. By having a website and blogging, my writing is already touching people even though I don't have a fiction novel in print. That means more to me than I could ever explain. That is what I'm here for. To glorify THE CREATOR through my writing and God can use my writing through this online forum while I work hard and wait to get that publishing contract.
  • While this hasn't happened to me, some people have had editors or agents stumble upon their websites and were contacted for a proposal or hired to do freelance writing and "paid" for it. To me, this is a blessing where God "opens doors that no man can shut and closes doors that no man can open." We have to remember that we write for God and where something may be rare or impossible, "with God all things are possible."
  • Faithful blogging or posting to a website, can build readership for you. If people like your blogging style and your website, they may be willing to buy and read your books when they do come out in print. Remember, people crave information. Decide on the type of information you're going to provide. It has to be "useful" or "entertaining." Think about the types of websites and blogs you lurk around. What draws you to those sites? How can you create something similar, but different?
  • When you send out a proposal, editors and agents want to know if you already have a website. If you do, they will visit while they're considering representation. Your website is your professional image before and after you publish. With the exception of your proposal, your website is the first impression you'll make in marketing yourself. They want to know that you are serious and willing to put yourself out there and do what it takes to sell that novel if they take a chance on investing their time in you and your work.

  • I taught myself how to hand-code my website, but there are easy user-friendly software programs out there that you can purchase. Or you can hire someone to create your website for a small fee. I spend $25/year on my website, but I invest my time in updating it and maintaining it. I recommend hosting it with www.doteasy.com. I have used this hosting service for six years or more and they've been great in meeting all my needs and offering more as technology increases and advances. They have great tutorials for first-time website builders.

    Your website presentation could be your first impression as a serious writer.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com and our F.A.I.T.H. Blog at http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com.

    Saturday, January 20, 2007

    Selling Your Book Is Marketing Your Book

    I receive a lot of questions from new authors about online marketing and building a presence on the Web if they are yet to be published. These are great questions and my answer is always the same, whatever you can do--do it. Don't wait until publication. Marketing yourself as an author (or any business owner) is going to cost time or money, or both. The less you can afford to spend, the more time you're going to have to invest.

    Most unpublished authors mistakenly believe that their publisher will handle all their marketing needs when they finally sell their first book. While a publisher will help, most likely your book will appear in long lists with other new books printed in the same week or month as yours. The authors with a proven history of sales and great print-runs will receive the bold listings, call-out features, highlights, store displays, aisle displays and cover racks. A new author is blessed to be on the shelf.

    Promoting and marketing your books will be your responsibility as the author. All the years you spend polishing your writing and promoting your work to agents and editors is a test. This prepares you for the real thing--promoting and selling to the public. This is hard for writers as 80% of us have introverted personalities. We dislike being in the spotlight. We just want our writing to shine and make a difference in the lives of others. That's fine, but in order to make that difference, your writing has to produce sales so your editor can justify why they need to keep publishing your work to get it out to the readers that need and want to read your work.

    If you are unpublished, do you need a website?
    Yes.

    Over the next few weeks, I'll discuss some free, low-cost online marketing strategies you can put into effect now, before "The Call" comes and I'll discuss why you need a website and the advantages you get from marketing yourself now.

    Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.