Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Angela Benson's The Good & Bad

15 years, 12 books, 5 publishers, 3 agents, 4 genres – What kind of career is that?

Well, it's mine. It's been 15 years since my first book, Bands of Gold, was published. 15 long years. Despite the $2000 advance I got with my first contract, I knew that my debut on the New York Times bestseller list was right around the corner. Well, it's been 15 years and I still haven't turned that corner.

It's not all bad though. Actually, I was really popping for the first four years (1994-1997). During that time I wrote seven books--two for Silhouette and five for Arabesque--along with an Arabesque novella. I was "cooking with gas" as we say in the South.

The gas turned out to be carbon monoxide as I went off the publishing radar for three years and my next book, Awakening Mercy, didn't see the light of day until 2000. Now I wasn't gassed up for those three years. Instead, my career took a turn as I moved from writing general market romance to Christian romance. The change also resulted in a new agent and signing with a new publisher, Tyndale House.

Tyndale and I lasted for two books and then I went off-radar again until I came back with my first mainstream Christian novel, this one negotiated without an agent. The move from Christian romance to mainstream Christian fiction was relatively painless, but it took some time. My mainstream Christian fiction title, The Amen Sisters, didn't arrive in bookstores until 2005, a full four years after Tyndale published my second (and last) Christian romance, Abiding Hope.

My story doesn't end there. My next book, Up Pops the Devil Avon A, August 2008, $13.95), came out three years after The Amen Sisters. The deal with HarperCollins to publish Up Pops the Devil and Sins of the Father Avon A, September 2009, $13.95) was negotiated by my third, and hopefully, last agent.

So that's my story. Now let's evaluate it for the good and the bad.

The Bad

1) Every time I changed publishers, I experienced a gap in publication that effectively slammed the brakes on any momentum and name-recognition I was building in the marketplace. This was a big loss. As a result, my new publishers have had to re-launch me to some extent so that readers know that I'm back. It's much easier to build a reader base if you publish regularly. My goal now is to publish regularly and to keep in touch with readers between books.

2) Every time I changed agents, I lost some control over the books they sold for me. Old agents aren't really receptive to taking care of business for authors who are no longer on their roster. So forget about getting help with rights reversion.

3) I don't have a long history with either my agent or my publisher so there is no depth to our relationship--yet. Right now, I'm only as good as my current book.

The Good

1) Every time I changed publishers, I got a significant bump in advance, significant but fair. My advances tend to equal the royalties earned on my last book.

2) Every time I changed agents, I had more clarity about what I wanted from my writing career so I did better with agent selection. An agent is only as good as your books and your vision for your career.

3) I have been able to follow my muse by moving from genre to genre. As a result, I feel I've found my niche, or voice, as a writer. My stories can now be characterized as inspirational family drama.

4) Readers have stuck with me despite the publication gaps and the genre changes. Many of the folks who read me today also read my first book, Bands of Gold.

5) The back-to-back publication of Up Pops the Devil and Sins of the Father marks the first time since 2000/2001 that I've had books come out in consecutive years. I'm really excited about that accomplishment. I hope to keep it up in the coming years.

15 years, 12 books, 5 publishers, 3 agents, 4 genres -- what kind of career is that?

It's mine and, right now, I don't think I'd change it. I'm not sure I'd recommend my path to anyone else though. What do you think?

About the Book – Sins of the Father

Successful media mogul Abraham Martin has great wealth, an elegant wife, Saralyn, and a rebellious son, Isaac. He also has a secret: a second family that no one knows about. Now, after thirty years—driven by the urging of his long dormant conscience—Abraham is determined to do the right thing by finally bringing his illegitimate children into the light…and into the family fold.

But beautiful, manipulative Saralyn will never accept the proof of her husband’s indiscretions. Isaac the heir, shaken by his father’s revelations, will fight mercilessly when his world is threatened, and may lose everything that matters as a result. And while Abraham’s forgotten daughter Deborah is open to the undreamed-of possibilities suddenly awaiting her, son Michael cannot forgive the man who cruelly abandoned them to near poverty. And he’s driven by only one desire: revenge!

Angela Benson’s ">Sins of the Father is a powerful story of a house bitterly divided—a rich, multilayered family saga of betrayal and redemption, rage and compassion, faith, forgiveness, and ultimately, of love.

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For more information about Angela, visit her at

Let me Coach you, Literally!

This fall, beginning September 2009, I will be offering literary coaching programs for authors.

What are literary business coaching programs?

In this economy many authors and publishing houses do not have the funds to spend on large marketing campaigns and independent literary pr firms. Literary coaching programs afford authors the chance to work with a book marketing professional to either help retool and guide their current marketing efforts or to teach them how to use certain book marketing tools correctly and efficiently with reasonable rates.

What is individual coaching?

I will work with individual authors who have the capability to promote themselves(do-it-yourselfers) but needs someone to hold them accountable, guide their direction, and help them track their efforts throughout their current book marketing campaign. I take them through each month of preparation and action items completion.

What is traditional pr support?

My literary pr packages for authors. Simply, I do the work for you and use my professional network to support the authors campaign.

Below are the prices and services for the coaching program:

Christian authors have a daunting evangelical task to entertain and edify the Body of Christ with their works. However, in the past three years these writers have had to add another responsibility to promote. In the past John the Baptist promoted the coming of Christ, then His
disciples served as His street team. But today--like most ministries-- who will promote the message God gave to you to share with the world?

Targeted promotion with a Christian World View is the hallmark for DeeGospel PR. My mission is to help your message reach God's people, who need to hear your message.

Therefore I have created a service for Christian writers who need the promotion help, but don't have the monies to pay for our traditional services.

On September 1, 2009 we will offer group and individual coaching programs for Christian authors. Team group coaching will be reserved for authors who belong to the same publishing house or who tour together. Group coaching courses are also reserved for authors who need specific assistance(Facebook for Authors, Book Launch Strategy, How to Become Your Own Publicist.) You will have to check our calendar to prepare for those dates. Individual coaching programs are reserved for authors who want concentrated assistance and individual time with
me. These coaching programs do not consist of media coaching, media outreach, or media pitching services from me or customized marketing and support. If you are interested in our full pr service packages(which includes media outreach) or our ala carte services,email me for a rate/services sheet.

Below is a break down of our coaching programs. If you are interested in auditing a session, email me and I will send you an invite to listen in on our Tuesdays Summer Mastermind Session. .

DGP Coaching Services and Programs

Marketing Mastermind Coaching Package $100/Month USD Includes(6 month minimum:)

* 4 Forty-five minute sessions a month(Designed for publishing
houses, independent book sellers)
* Unlimited e-mail access to my private e-mail address
* 5 minute follow-up phone calls for quick questions or clarification
* Includes a FREE 1-hour assessment (a $150 value)

Book Marketing & PR Coaching Package $100/Month USD Includes(6 month minimum:)

* 3 Fifty minute sessions a month(Designed for authors)
* Unlimited e-mail access to my private e-mail address
* 5 minute follow-up phone calls for quick questions or clarification
* Includes a FREE 1-hour assessment (a $150 value)

New Media Marketing & PR Coaching Package $100/Month USD Includes(6
month minimum:)

* 3 Fifty minute sessions a month(designed for journalists, new
media owners, editors)
* Unlimited e-mail access to my private e-mail address
* 5 minute follow-up phone calls for quick questions or clarification
* Includes a FREE 1-hour assessment (a $150 value)

Publicist 101 Coaching Package $100/Month USD Includes(6 month minimum:)

* 3 Fifty minute sessions a month(Designed for publicists and
literary event planners)
* Unlimited e-mail access to my private e-mail address
* 5 minute follow-up phone calls for quick questions or clarification
* Includes a FREE 1-hour assessment (a $150 value)

Laser Coaching Sessions $100 USD One Time Fee Includes:

* A One Hour Intensive Laser Coaching Session. Designed for those
who need to move forward on a single issue and do not need long term
strategies to succeed.

Group Coaching Package $225($75 per member)/Month USD Includes:

* Three sixty minute coaching sessions a month
* Limited to party of three
* Subject to availability

Customized Programs:

Please click here to contact me for information regarding a customized individual program tailored for your individual requirements or company needs.

Email me at deegospel pr at gmail dot com or visit my site to learn more about me.

Ted Kennedy, the Dream Lives On

The more our feelings diverge, the more deeply felt they are, the greater is our obligation to grant the sincerity and essential decency of our fellow citizens on the other side. . . .

In short, I hope for an America where neither "fundamentalist" nor "humanist" will be a dirty word, but a fair description of the different ways in which people of good will look at life and into their own souls.

I hope for an America where no president, no public official, no individual will ever be deemed a greater or lesser American because of religious doubt -- or religious belief.

I hope for an America where the power of faith will always burn brightly, but where no modern inquisition of any kind will ever light the fires of fear, coercion, or angry division.

I hope for an America where we can all contend freely and vigorously, but where we will treasure and guard those standards of civility which alone make this nation safe for both democracy and diversity.

-- Senator Ted Kennedy's Speech on "Truth and Tolerance in America," Oct. 3, 1983, Lynchburg, Va.

Rest in peace, Senator.

Quick question: what do you think is Senator's greatest achievement? Share your thoughts here.

Photo Credits: Getty Image

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Remembering Aaliyah

Align Center

Still one of my favorite singers Aaliyah Haughton. 1979-2001. RIP


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