Help Me Choose A New Cover For My Book

hollywood

My publisher is reworking the exterior cover design and interior format of my book, REVEALED: God’s Will for Your Life.

REVEALED (Cover Options)

Above is a PDF link for 6 cover designs to choose from. The main differences are the font type and size of the endorsement at the top of the cover, and how the subtitle and author’s name appear at the bottom.

If you would, in the comments section below, tell me which of the 6 designs you like the most and why.

Also, if you like one design for the top endorsement but another design for the subtitle and author name, tell me that as well. [Read more...]

A List Of The World’s Top Leadership Blogs

As of today there are well over 100,000,000 websites floating around the world. Some estimate the number to be closer to 200,000,000. That is a lot of blog posts, web design, and comments.

But have you ever wondered which of those 100,000,000 or so are worth reading? I have, and that’s why I started compiling a list of top leadership blogs to follow in various niches from all around the globe.

I recently heard a definition of leadership and it went like this:

Leadership is influence.

I like this definition of leadership for a number of reasons. It is concise, truthful, authentic, yet it also has the possibility of being both positive and negative. And that is the reality about leadership; it can be both positive and negative or—if you will—good or evil.

An Example Of Bad Leadership

One of the worst people to ever walk the face of the planet was Adolph Hitler, for obvious reasons. He was a mighty, powerful, evil leader. He had influence and people followed him, to their own detriment. I think Hitler is the perfect example of negative leadership. I wouldn’t suggest anyone trying to mimic his leadership style, and I certainly wouldn’t suggest following anyone who believed in the things he did.

Examples Of Good Leadership

But there are also many, many positive leaders around the world, both past and present. These are the people who are world changers. They are making a positive dent in the world, sometimes tearing a brand new hole in the machine of their niche, and people are quite happy about that, thank you very much!

I want to follow good people. I want to see how they are affecting others around them, influencing people for the greater good, making a substantial impact in the lives of the people who are giving them the time of day.

The Top Leadership Blogs

That’s why you should start following the people on my list of top leadership blogs. These are people worth listening to. So check out the list and considering following a few of these people. You just might learn a thing or two.

Below is the link to my:

Top Leadership Blogs

QUESTION: What do you think about this list of leaders and top leadership blogs? Who do you think should be added?

[stextbox id="custom"]Disclaimer: Although I am recommending these people as leaders, I do not necessarily endorse everything they do, say, believe, or otherwise. Use wisdom and discretion in all things and you’ll do well in life.[/stextbox]

 * Image credit: tsevis (Creative Commons)

An Elevator Pitch For Your Church (Guest Post at Pastors.com)

There are about 50,000,000 things that can happen in and around the church to accelerate ministry and encourage the brethren. The challenge is to focus on that which is most needed and will prove to be most beneficial in the end.

What should you focus on at your church? Well, how about an elevator pitch?

Whoa…what?

Yes. An elevator pitch for churches. In other words, a short two or three sentence statement regarding what your church is about and why someone would want to attend your church rather than any of the others.

If  I asked a dozen people at your church to give me the main reasons why I should come next Sunday, do you think they could give me an adequate answer? Probably not, which is why an elevator pitch might be necessary.

Guest Posting At Pastors.com

I have the privilege of guest posting at Pastors.com today and my article is about churches and elevator pitches. This is my second article for them. My first article had to do with funny church bulletin bloopers.

You should go over to Pastors.com and read the article itself, which is titled, 7 Reasons Your Church Needs To Develop An Elevator Pitch.

Leave a comment after that article and let’s start a conversation! Blessings to you.

* Image credit: Kendall Conner (Creation Swap)

How To Build A Better Bio For Twitter

Do you have a Twitter account yet? If you don’t, you really should consider setting one up. Like…today would be soon enough!

If you are a blogger or plan to blog at all, having an active Twitter account is essential to ensuring success and generating traffic to your blog. You need a great bio for Twitter.

One of the first things you’ll need to do after setting up your Twitter account is to begin following other people who you find interesting or have something in common with.

When you decide to follow someone on Twitter, what’s the first thing you look at?

[Read more...]

Help Me Write A Better Book Summary And Author Bio

Hey, would you mind doing me a favor? Pretty please?

My very first book is just beginning the editing process and the cover design is about to get under way. Yeah!

My book is called God’s Will Revealed, and it is scheduled to be released in March 2013. It is going to be published by Ellechor Publishing.

I’m so excited!

My publisher just emailed me with a few thoughts about the book summary and my author bio.

What Is A Book Summary?

The book summary is what you read on the back cover of the book. It tells you about what the book is about (I know, duh!) and attempts to spark some interest to get you to buy the book.

The author bio tells you about the author (again, duh!) and is also usually found on the back of the cover or toward the end of the book itself.

I feel like my summary and author bio needs some tweaking. Would you mind reading both and then let me know your thoughts in the comments section below?

Feel free to be harsh, critical, and overly opinionated. I can take it. Actually, the more comments and opinions you provide—the better my book will become.

If you’re open to helping me out, that’s awesome! If not, it is still awesome…but you’re not as awesome as you could be. ;-)

Thanks in advance!

[stextbox id="custom" caption="Book Summary (working draft)"]

God’s Will Revealed

Charles Specht

Living a blessed and highly satisfied life is by no means beyond your reach. God desires for every Christian to know, understand, and fulfill the plan He’s charted for their personal life.

What does God want you to do with your life?

Stop stumbling, guessing, and wondering about what God would have you do with your life! God’s Will Revealed teaches Christians how to better discern the unanswered questions in life by being more passionate about what God has already disclosed to us, the Bible. Fulfill God’s plan for your life!

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-control.”  II Timothy 1:7

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[stextbox id="custom" caption="My author bio (working draft)"]

About the Author

Charles Specht is an author and pastor, centering his ministry on the glory of God, and pushing the envelope of intentional Christianity. He’s about spiritual transparency, stepping out of the ministry closet, and going public with our dreams, hopes, and God-given gifts. He has a passion for technology, for reading and writing, and for figuring out how to better serve others for the glory of God alone. Charles resides in California with his wife, Kathy, and their five children.

You can visit his personal website at www.CharlesSpecht.com and follow his blog at www.CrazyAboutChurch.com

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QUESTION: What should I change, add or edit to make these better? Please comment below.

* Image credit: *Sage* TokyoChicago (Creative Commons)

6 Steps That Will Help You Start A Blog & Maintain Your Blogging Mojo

Ready to start a blog?

So…you have done the initial work to start a blog but you just can’t seem to stay motivated. You know you need to publish blog posts frequently in order to build a loyal tribe, but you’re sporadic at best. Or perhaps you’ve been blogging regularly, but you’re starting to run out of steam.

Here are 6 ways you can maintain your blogging motivation. [Read more...]

7 Reasons Why You Should Start A Blog Today

start a blog

Start A Blog

Why do you want to start a blog, exactly?

There are no doubt hundreds of good reasons why Christians start blogging, but they can all be boiled down to only seven. (At least that is what I plan to do here, so hopefully this works!)

Because blogging platforms like WordPress, and blogging themes like Standard Theme and the Genesis Theme Framework provide anyone with a computer and internet access the ability to set up a blog, new blogs are constantly popping up on a variety of topics and for a number of reasons.

But why do Christians start blogging in the first place? What motivates us to put our thoughts and ideas out there in the blogosphere? Here are the seven reasons why. [Read more...]

3 Types Of Headlines That Convert Internet Surfers Into Loyal Followers Of Your Blog

headlines that convert_ostrich

Headlines That Convert

I recently blogged about the first three types of headlines that convert people into avid readers of your tribe. After all, that’s what you want, right?

You want people to read your posts. You want them to learn, to grow, to subscribe, and to tell others about your blog…so that those new readers will themselves learn, grow, subscribe, and become your blog’s greatest evangelists as well.

That’s what this article will empower you to do. [Read more...]

3 Tips For Creating Killer Headlines That Convert “Lookers” Into Readers

astonished-baby

Headlines That Convert

Think about this for a moment (as we consider headlines that convert)…

When you last strolled aimlessly through the aisles of Barnes & Noble (sipping your iced coffee), what stimulus caused you to pick up a random book from off the shelf? Some people choose randomly based upon the colorful exterior design. Others snatch it up because the title sparked a flame of insatiable curiosity.

What about you?

[Read more...]

3 Mind-Blowing Tips On How To Get Traffic To Your Christian Blog

Do you write a blog?

Maybe you’re a Christian mommy-blogger, or you have a blog about theology, or parenting, or leadership, or homeschooling? Wondering how to get traffic flowing at that blog?

There are millions of blogs floating around the blogosphere right now. The challenge is getting internet surfers to stop by for just a few minutes and actually read what you wrote.

That’s a tough thing to do!

Wrong! It’s not as tough as you might think, and here’s why.

[Read more...]

God’s Will For Your Life: Guest Posting At Jesus & My Orange Juice

I had the opportunity to do something this morning that I haven’t really done much of (okay, none!) in the past. It is, however, something I plan to do more and more of in the future. It’s called guest posting.

In other words, I wrote an article specifically for another blog, which is primarily authored by Shannon Milholland. The blog is called Jesus & My Orange Juice and you can read the article by clicking here. The title of the guest post is: The Beginning Of God’s Will For Your Life.

Are you interested in knowing God’s Will for your life? Good! Just click here, read the article, and be blessed.

See you in church!

[stextbox id="custom"]This article is from the knowing “God’s Will For Your Life” series. Here’s the 1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th11th, and 12th from the series.[/stextbox]

6 Ways To Build A More Successful And Effective Christian Platform

Here’s a little secret…

Personally, I possess the world’s greatest message and the world’s most life-changing product. It is a message that everyone needs to hear and a product that is absolutely free, yet is more precious than refined gold or even a bucket full of rubies.

The message I’m speaking of is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The product, Heaven itself.

The problem I have as both a Christian and a pastor, however, is how do I wade through all the noise this world is throwing at my hearers so that they will listen to the message and consider my product?  Ultimately, I find myself in the same old predicament every other Christian around the globe finds themselves in today.

So what’s a Christian to do? How can we be more effective at Great Commission Discipleship and share the love of God with a world that doesn’t have ears to hear?  How can you—as one of God’s chosen, handpicked ambassadors—become more efficient at sharing your faith?

No doubt there are many ways to do this, for there are countless ministries you can subscribe to, but my question goes a bit deeper than that. When it all boils down, here’s the real issue at hand:

[Read more...]

7 Blogs Christian Writers Ought To Visit Regularly

I love reading blogs.  Wait, let me rephrase that.  Actually, I love reading quality blogs tailored for Christian writers.  Yes, that’s much better.

I probably frequent about 20-30 blogs on any given day.  I certainly don’t (can’t!) read everything these bloggers write and many times I find myself doing little more than scanning their latest post in order to glean a few treasures here and there.

But sometimes I get absolutely mesmerized by the quality content they provide.  And that’s what keeps me coming back for more and more and more…

It Is Why I Love Eye-Catching Headlines!

No doubt like you, I’m interested in a lot of things.  Yet few things will hold my attention for any length of time and so it is vital for a blogger to write consistently in the same genre or they will lose readers.  Readers like you and me.

When it comes to blogging, being the jack-of-all-trades is not a desirable thing.  In fact, it is a sure-fire way to ensure you won’t be around the blogosphere for very long!

That’s why you need a niche.

What’s Your Blogging Niche?

When I started out blogging in June 2011, I began with the URL: www.godadopts.com.  I had planned to blog about adoption, orphans, foster care, infertility, etc., and I did for a while (e.g. see here).  I continue to have a love for all things adoption, especially since we’ve adopted twice now in our own family, but I found that after a few months of blogging in this niche, I wasn’t all that passionate about the topic as a blogger.

I’m certainly interested in adoption, but from a blogging perspective…I’m not that passionate about it in the long run so as to write about in consistently.

This is important to both realize and understand because to sustain a blog for any length of time you need to be passionate about your topic.  Passion results in resilience.  Resilience results in quality content.  Quality content results in sustained readership.   And it inevitably results in continuous motivation.

Sometimes It Is Best To Just Start Over

A few months back I purchased my new URL (www.crazyaboutchurch.com) and started blogging about things related to the church in general, such as church bulletin design and website design.  It is somewhat of a more general and broad subject, and that provides more fodder to blog about.

But I have found myself narrowing that topic even further over the last few months.  Because I’m in the process of writing two books and walking down the publishing trail myself, I have been growing a passion for the Christian writing genre.

I want to learn about it and see what makes it tick.

The Christian Writer’s Journey

Reading other blogs that deal with writing, publishing, querying, etc. has been rather appealing.  Madly interesting, actually.  And so I’m starting to focus a bit more on Christian blogging and Christian writing/publishing.  I’m trying to mesh the two together.  It is my passion.  (At least for this month. LOL)

But I also love to read other writer’s art in order to see how the gig works.  Learning is fun and is even more exciting when you’re learning about what others have written, are going through, their journey, and what pitfalls to avoid.

There’s so much available in the blogosphere that the need to “niche” blog is critical to gaining a base of readers that will come back time and time again.  After all, people tend to go back to a blog time and time again for the very same reason McDonald’s is so popular.

More Than 1,000,000,000 Served

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of burger joints out there that put McDonald’s hamburgers to shame, but their drive-thru is always stacked with cars because people have learned what to expect.  We return to the red-haired clown flipping burgers because we’re looking for something in particular and we know that getting rudely surprised is highly unlikely.

The same goes for blogging.  Readers come back because they know what to expect.  Readers only have so much time to waste on the internet so they go where they know they’ll find what they need.  If you keep surprising readers with content they’re not interested in, they’ll delete you from their bookmark and you’ll never hear from them again.  Ever.

Which Bloggers Do You Follow?

Here are 7 bloggers that I currently follow regularly because they are helpful to me in learning what works and what doesn’t work in things related to writing, publishing, blogging, and how these relate to Christianity.  They are from various genres but all of them together are proving to be just what the doctor ordered as far as my blogging needs are concerned.

You should check these out.  I’d be interested to hear what you think about them.  God bless, and happy blogging.

1)  Michael Hyatt.  Michael’s blog focuses on intentional leadership.  He is a Christian with a wealth of writing and publishing experience.  Michael blogs about things like productivity, leadership, and the ever-changing trends in the publishing industry.

2)  Tentblogger.  John Saddington authors the tentblogger blog and I’ve been following and commenting on his blog for many months now.  Tentblogger is designed to educate the newbie blogger with tips, training, and resources in order to help them make better decisions from the beginning about how to blog wisely.

3)  Jeff Goins.  Jeff has exploded onto the writing scene over the last few months.  He writes with a vulnerable touch and eloquently shares the mistakes he’s made in the past and, more importantly, what he’s learned as of late to bring him to the place he’s at today.  In fact, his story is so unique that he recently got his first publishing contract due to little more than his success as a blogger.

4)  Rachelle Gardner.  Rachelle is a Christian literary agent, and a popular one at that.  She blogs regularly about trends happening around the publishing world and writes with a helpful, engaging attitude in mind.

5)  Church Mag.  This is a blog all about exploring the intersection of church and technology, and how it is affecting the Christian culture all around us.  If nothing else, they find stuff around the world-wide web that is down-right fascinating and keeps me coming back for more.

6)  ProBlogger.  Though not a religious website by any means, ProBlogger is for the savvy blogger who wants to take their blog/website not just to the next level but to the very top-level.  There is a wealth of information there but much of it can be utilized by the newbie blogger, like myself.

7)  Write Uncaged.  This blog is maintained by Mary DeMuth, a Christian author.  I have just begun to frequent this blog because Mary is writing about the publishing process and doing what she can to help others out there (like me) navigate the publishing world in order to eventually…some day soon, Lord willing…attain the elusive prize every writer dreams of: a publishing contract.

QUESTION FOR COMMENTING BELOW:  What blogs or websites do you visit regularly?  What sort of content do they provide and what makes you go back time and time again?

Image Credit: Jeff Boriss (Creation Swap)

8 Reasons Why You Should Start Blogging Today

There are no doubt hundreds of good reasons why Christians start blogging, but I think they can all be lumped together and then be boiled down to only eight.  (At least that is what I plan to do here, so hopefully it works!)

Because blogging platforms like WordPress (which is the one I use for this blog) provide anyone with a computer and internet access the ability to set up a blog and begin writing within minutes, new blogs are constantly popping up on a variety of topics and for a number of reasons.

But why do Christians start blogging in the first place?  What motivates us to put our thoughts and ideas out there in the blogosphere?  Here are the eight reasons why.

1. To Have Fun

Many Christians start blogging simply to have fun or to use it as a creative outlet.  The most successful blogs (have the most daily readers) are those where the blogger has a passionate interest in the subject matter and can share that passion with readers.  If you enjoy the topic you’re blogging about then you will be more likely to blog frequently and connect with your readers on a regular basis.

2. To Help Others

Some Christians start a blog to help others who may be going through similar circumstances, such as whether or not to homeschool their children, issues related to separation and divorce, and even infertility. These types of blogs are great for those who have a desire to connect with others experiencing the same problems and victories, and share their thoughts, insights and advice to those in need.

3. To Change The World

Other believers start blogs to to teach theology, to share the gospel—electronically—with unbelievers from all around the globe, or to sway people’s thinking in a certain direction (a polite way of saying ranting and raving, but in a loving way. LOL).

4. To Teach Others

If you are an expert in something, you can start a blog to teach others about that topic.  For example, let’s say you are very much into adoption and have loads of friends who are thinking about adoption, have adopted already, or are currently in the home-study process right now. Using your adoption expertise as blog fodder, you can teach others how to go about the adoption process, educate people on what agencies you’ve worked with in the past, offer tips, tricks, and training, and provide testimonies from your friends about their own adoption experience.

5. To Stay Connected With Others

The internet has enabled friends and family who live in opposite parts of the country to stay connected in a variety of new ways, and many people start a blog to share family photos, personal news and other information with those they care about most.

6. To Make Money

Some Christians start blogging in order to promote and/or sell their latest book or merchandise, or simply to earn a living (or just some extra coin here and there), but this takes hard work and commitment in order to turn a profit or even make it worthwhile.  Most blogs make very little money, but the potential to do so is there for a frugal blogger willing to invest the time and effort it takes to create a decent income from blogging.

7. To Direct Traffic To Their Church Or Ministry Website

Christian bloggers often start a blog as a way of directing more traffic towards their church website so that churchgoers looking for a new church will be able to find theirs.  A blog is a great way to connect with potential Sunday visitors, as well as keeping your current membership up to speed on what’s going on in and around your church community.  Moreover, creating a blog is a great way for church leaders to market and promote various ministries in a creative and engaging way.

8. To Give God Glory

I couldn’t end this article without pointing back to the main reason we are to be doing anything in this life, which includes blogging.  Everything comes down to worshiping God, honoring the Lord Jesus Christ, and serving one another.  But we always need to be reminded to keep God first in everything.  After all, isn’t that what the apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians about?

[stextbox id="custom" caption="1 Corinthians 10:31"]“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”[/stextbox]

So remember this loose paraphrase the next time you embark on the pathway of social media: Whether you Tweet or Post or Pin or StumbleUpon or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God!

QUESTION: Use the comments section below to tell us about your blog and give us the link to it.  And be sure to tell us about why you started blogging and what you hope to get out of it.

* Photo credit: leg0fenris (Creative Commons)
* Credit to Brian Gardner for the info for this post