As always, lots of activity happening at FaithWriters this week, particularly in the Challenge, with a big jump in the number of entries for The Kingdom of God topic. More on that later, but the main thing I need to share this week is about staying in touch with you.
There was a time when email newsletters were a fantastic way to communicate to a group of people. Thanks to spammers (three cheers for the spoilsports!) those days are pretty much over.
FaithWriters has a monthly newsletter online and another for 500 members; however, it hasn’t been sent out by email for almost a year. This is something I discovered the other day when talking to our fearless leader, Scott Lindsay. I mentioned that a lot of our regular members were in the dark about things that were happening at FaithWriters and hadn’t been receiving their newsletters. That’s when Scott said the newsletter hasn’t been sent out by email for quite a long time. Apparently we were all sent an email last year saying it would only be available online for the time being.
Whoops! Shame on me for obviously not reading that email. (Insert red face here.) Even funnier, Lynda Schab didn’t know either – and she helps prepare both newsletters. (Insert red face for Lynda too.)
Ladies and gentlemen, it appears we have had a communication breakdown, but all that’s about to change. We need you to help us stay in touch, and we’ve come up with a variety of ways that should help keep you all informed.
First of all, have you noticed that little pop up box when you login to your FaithWriters account? Well, Scott’s had that there for about six months now, making sure he has your correct email address. He’s going to leave it a little longer, then we’ll start circulating the newsletters again to all those on that list. So if you haven’t filled in that little box yet, now’s the time to do it. You only need to do it once, so even though the box keeps dropping down for the time being, just ignore it once you’ve completed your details.
So that’s Step 1, now for Step 2. Click on the “Track this Author” link at the top of this article, or just hit this one:
Subscribe to the FaithWriters’ Heartbeat.
Don’t worry. This isn’t a sneaky way to get you to track my work. It’s just an easy way to ensure you’ll never miss knowing when a new Heartbeat is online. You may be asked to login to your account first.
Finally, Step 3. We have set up profile pages for FaithWriters on the three major, relevant social sites – Facebook, Twitter and Shoutlife. From what I’ve seen, Facebook is the preferred option of the three sites as it makes it very easy to instantly communicate effectively to a group of people. So if you are a member of any of these sites, we would appreciate it if you could do one or all of the following:
For all the Facebook users, could you please become a FaithWriters’ "fan" here:
Facebook Page for FaithWriters.com.
For all the Twitter users, we'll keep you up to date if you follow us here:
Twitter Page for FaithWriters.com.
Not quite as effective, but for all the Shoutlife users, you'll get the latest news via Bulletin if you make us a friend here:
Shoutlife Page for FaithWriters.com.
There is so much happening all the time at FaithWriters, and we want all our members to be kept in the loop. One of our regular members didn’t even know about the Page Turner contest. That’s why keeping our communication flowing is so very important.
Anyway, thanks for helping us with that. We appreciate it so much.
Now, back to the Writing Challenge. The judges are busy finishing their reading and rating, and then we’ll have our final winners for the first quarter. (Where did those ten weeks go?)
Being the final topic in our Around the World Challenge, we’re now taking a very short break to get things ready for the next quarter which starts on the 2nd April. I promise there will be absolutely no geography-related topics in the next batch. In fact, I’ve got a long list of potential topics for this next theme. Now I just have to cut the list down to ten. It’s going to be a fun theme, so don’t forget to keep an eye out for the new topic on the 2nd.
In the meantime, I know a lot of our challengeers are getting a bit shaky without that weekly topic to work on. So as always, we have an off-season mini-Challenge happening:
This Week’s Mini-Challenge.
No prizes or awards, but it’s a lot of fun and definitely helps keep your creative pump primed between quarters. You’ll start to see mini-Challenge submissions in the General Articles this week as everyone starts writing about their ideal dinner party. Dub Wright has one posted already:
A Tale of Dinner.
Who will you invite to dinner?
For beginning writers (and old timers) who want to get their writing seen and used, there is no question the Free Reprint section at FaithWriters is the place to submit your writing. This section is extremely popular with people looking for material to use in a variety of publications (such as church newsletters, e-zines, anthologies, sermon illustrations, etc). There are some things that authors should be aware of, though, when posting their work. These are some of the most common questions asked:
1. When I check my articles in the Free Reprints section, it shows they’ve been printed a certain number of times, and re-printed a certain number of times. What’s the difference?
There are two options for people wanting to use the free reprints.
The first is to simply print the article off for their own personal use (or to use somewhere later). They do this by selecting the “print” option on the article page. This gives them a print friendly version of the article.
The second is to take a copy of the article ready for use as a reprint. For example, if someone wants to use a version ready to copy into a newsletter or print publication, they hit the “reprint” option and select the plain text version. If they would like to take a copy to use on a website, they would select the basic HTML version.
Depending on which option (print or reprint) the user selects, that will add to the print or reprint statistics for that article. Bear in mind, someone may click on that option and not actually use it at all. There's no way of knowing that for certain; however, if they go that far, there’s a good chance they have taken some form of copy.
2. I’m happy for people to use my work for free, but I’d love to know where it’s being used. How can I find that out?
Unfortunately, you can't. That's one of the things about free reprints. You are allowing anyone to use your work provided they agree to include your bio note and the link to FaithWriters. Very occasionally (and I mean hardly ever) someone will contact the author and let them know how they are planning to use their work, but don't count on that happening. I always did when I was collecting work for FaithWriters' Magazine, and I really wish more people would do that. However, one of the things that makes free reprints so attractive is that the users have the freedom to just take what they want to use, almost entirely without strings attached.
If the articles were used in an online publication (not an e-zine newsletter, unless that's repeated on a web page as well), you may be able to find them through a Google search (your article title and your name). That's about the only way. Some members have done this and been delighted to discover their articles, stories and poems being used at different sites.
3. I am changing all of my articles to free to reprint because someone said that publishers see things there better and you can still sell them... is this true?
Yes and no. The Free Reprints section definitely gets a lot of traffic and a lot of use, so YES, they definitely have more chance of being seen by people looking for material for e-zines, devotion/teaching type websites, anthology publishers, newsletters, church bulletin editors, etc.
But NO, you probably can’t sell an article once it has been offered for free. The rights to that article always belong to you, but it would be almost impossible to sell an article that has been available freely online, and may have been published in a variety of forms. Only put things in the Free Reprints section that you are willing to see used in this way. You may have some articles that you really don't want passed around without your knowledge. It’s a good idea to have a mix of both. Think of the Free Reprints as a showcase for your work and a way of getting your work to a wider group of readers. Give some away, but hold onto some for sale as well.
Another bonus, all Free Reprint material is automatically used on the FaithReaders site. So that's twice the opportunities to get your work out.
Don’t forget, if you have any questions about FaithWriters, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you’ve been wondering about something, others probably have been as well.
This week is the last chance to volunteer to be a judge for the next quarter of the Challenge. I’m about to start finalizing the roster, but we still have some gaps. So if you've ever been an Editor's Choice winner we could definitely use your help. If you would be interested in finding out more, please send me a private message or leave a note in the comments box and I'll be in touch. Volunteers are only used once per quarter, and we do have a system in place to make it a little easier than it may appear. Our volunteer judges are the backbone of the Challenge. We couldn't do it without them.
Save the date … 7th to 8th August. That’s when the next FaithWriters’ Conference is going to happen, and the message boards are already buzzing with excitement.
The registration form and other information will be going online by the end of next week. So get ready! I have my ticket booked already and can’t wait to catch up with you all again.
Until the forms go online, I’ll let you know that we’re coming home to FaithWriters at the Radisson Hotel in Livonia, Michigan. To all those who were at the first conference, the renovations have all been finished and the hotel is apparently looking really good (bring your swimsuit!).
This is one conference you don’t want to miss. It really is a family reunion, with loads of encouragement, inspiration and great instruction to spur you on as a writer. Stay tuned for more!
By the way, are you entering the Page Turner contest this year? If you’re a fiction writer, this is one contest you shouldn’t miss. It’s open to all members of the FaithWriters 500, and is well worth entering. I’ll talk more about it next week, but for now, you can find out more about it here:
2009 Page Turner Contest.
Last of all, a big March Happy Birthday to some of our members – Carole Wiley, Chrissy Siggee, Elisabeth-Lu, Kathy Bruin, Sue Dent and Michele Roach.
AND a very Happy Birthday if your birthday is in March too! May it be a blessed day and the start of a wonderful year.
If you’d like to celebrate your birthday with us, please let me know. We have a list of birthdays on the FaithWriters’ Message Boards and we’d love to add you to it. FaithWriters’ members just LOVE throwing cyber birthday parties.
That’s it for this week’s Heartbeat. Don’t forget to track me (makes me feel like a deer) and also follow FaithWriters on Facebook, Twitter and Shoutlife (one or all). There’s so much happening at FaithWriters, and you don’t want to risk missing out on any of it.
Until next time, keep writing, rising to the Challenge, and being a shining light for His glory!
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