Discover New Worlds

Kid reading the Book. EducationBooks take you to new worlds. Your mind tramps through new places and situations, but your feet don’t get muddy. When you read my books you walk through some of the same fascinating cultures and sub-cultures I have encountered as I grew up in American, lived 16 years in Taiwan, and now live in New Zealand.

During my 35 years of writing for Christian publication I’ve seen the publishing world turned upside down. In Taiwan I reached out to Chinese people who knew little about Christianity with ESL Bible studies. In New Zealand I’ve needed to tailor church programs and puppet scripts to fit a small mission church in various stages. In recent years I entered a new world of cooking as I learned to cook gluten-free recipes for my celiac husband. I want to use this website to share these resources with others. I hope you’ll find them helpful.

You may also want to follow my weekly blog in which I talk about subjects of interest to writers and people in ministry. I hope these posts will bring hope and help to others in ministry.

Why I don’t tell people, “God told me to.”

Success highway curve stop go sign progressMaybe you’ve had this experience. Someone you know is moving into new territory by a major decision that makes no sense to you. You ask them why and get this answer: “God told me to.” What can you say to that? Not much, actually. Who are you to argue with God?

I get nervous when I hear someone give this answer. Do I want people to obey God and follow his leading? Certainly. But I think the “God told me to” answer has some dangers that we often miss.

Does God speak to us today? Yes, he speaks clearly and specifically from the Bible. If you want to know if God wants you to steal, cheat, lie, take his name in vain, or engage in immoral behavior, his answer from his Word is a resounding, “No.” He also speaks clearly about Christians marrying unbelievers, being kind to others, obeying those in authority, and telling others about Christ. He also gives many principles that help us make decisions in areas that are not specifically spelled out in Scripture. God has spoken and continues to speak from his Word. The Bible speaks with authority from God and, where it is clear, we don’t have to second guess what God wants us to do.

Today, however, many people want to speak their own words with the same level of authority as Scripture. They may say, “God told me to tell you,” or “I have a word from the Lord.” I believe those are dangerous words to say.

You might as well know that I am a cessationist. By that I mean that I believe there were certain “sign” gifts given to the church which passed from use early in church history, about the time of the completion of the New Testament and aren’t given to believers today. While God can do anything in any age, I don’t believe that he gives these gifts to people today: the ability to speak in tongues, that is speak a foreign language without learning it; to heal people miraculously and instantaneously; to foretell the future authoritatively and without error; to speak or write with authority equal to the Bible and without error. If you are a continuationist and believe the gifts of tongues, healing, and special prophecy to write the Bible are for today, then you won’t agree with me. It’s not the purpose of this blog to change your opinion. If you are really searching to answers to these questions, one good book is The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective by John F. MacArthur, Jr.

But if you are a cessationist, I caution you to avoid using phrases like, “God told me to do this,” or “God told me to say this and write it down,” or “I have a word from the Lord for you.” You may feel God wants you to do or say something, but phrasing it this way leads to misunderstanding. Some who believe the sign gifts are for today also say that their words carry equal authority with the Bible. They may even state that the Bible is outdated but we have newer, better revelation. Unless you want to identify with those groups you may want to word your thoughts in a different way.

Can we know what God wants us to do in given areas of our life? Yes, God promises to lead us. As I’ve noted already, God leads us authoritatively through his word, both specifically and by principle. Of course we need to be careful to take his Word in context. God told Abraham, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” (Gen 12:1 NKJV) That doesn’t mean God wants every Christian today to leave their family and go to another country to live.

God also leads us through circumstances, godly counsel, even feelings and desires that are in tune with him. But we need to be careful not to put feelings and circumstances on the same level as the Bible. Feelings and circumstances can be subjective. No counselor is always right. A course of action can feel right at some point and still not be what God wants for us.

So saying “God told me” is often sloppy theology which leaves us open to error. But there is another reason I believe this is dangerous. When someone says, “God told me to do this” they are, in effect, closing off all other input. “God told me” can mean, “I’m going to do it because I know it’s right. I’m not going to listen to anyone tell me otherwise.”

I prefer to say, “I believe God is leading me to do this.”

God’s leading through life is a process, a long path with many twists and turns. Sometimes it changes direction. Sometimes God seems to lead toward a certain goal or destination, only to change our course before we arrive. I believe he sometimes does this to lead us away from where we are, even when there is not yet a clear course to lead where he eventually wants us to go. He promises to lead us, but sometimes we only see a few steps ahead.

Each person is responsible to determine God’s leading for his life, but sometimes that leading is subjective. Most of the time God uses a combination of ways to lead us. He may use his Word, our circumstances, our desires, and the advice of godly people whom we trust. When I say, “I believe God is leading me to do this,” it shows I am moving ahead with confidence, but I am open to a change in direction in his leading. If I were to feel the Lord leading me to do something, but at some point several godly people whom I trust greatly express real concern about my decision, I would want to listen to them and consider their point of view. I might need to go back and ask the Lord to show me more clearly if I truly am following his leading and not just my feelings.

On my recent flight from Minneapolis to LA I noticed my seatmate was reading a New Testament.

“I see you found something interesting to read on the trip,” I said.

She told me it was her favorite book. I asked her if she was a Christian and she said she was. We chatted for a few minutes about our churches and ministries, then settled into reading.

As we approached our destination she interrupted my reading. She had just read the parable of the talents. She said she believed God was telling her to tell me that Art and I were doing a good work in New Zealand and he wanted us to be encouraged. She meant to be nice and encouraging. I didn’t launch into a long theological discussion and chew her out. I just said, “Thank you. That’s nice of you to say.” But I reminded myself that she really knew very little about our ministry and how faithful we were to it. What she was saying actually follows the pattern of many who claim to have “a word from the Lord” and speak authoritatively for God on a subject of which they have little knowledge.

One of my greatest joys is knowing God’s leading in the direction of my life. I do have to be careful, however, to acknowledge the fact I may be wrong in discerning this at times. I need advice from godly Christian people. I need to continually ask God if I am truly following his leading. And I need to remember that no other source of direction should be set on the level of God’s Word, which is authoritative and without error.

[Image courtesy of Michael Brown/Deposit Photos.]

Travel Tips for Long Distance Flights

Kanate ChainapongLooking forward to a long-distance flight in your future? Since 1980 my husband and I have travelled long distances between New Zealand or Taiwan and America. Just two weeks ago we flew from Minneapolis, USA to Invercargill, New Zealand. From the first airport to the last, this took us 34 hours. Seems like as soon as you figure out the details of air travel, they change the rules. But here are some long distance travel tips that have helped us.

1. Find out your luggage and carry-on requirements well ahead of your travel date. Don’t assume you know what you can bring. These requirements are constantly changing.

2. Don’t spend a lot of money on classy looking luggage. Just one long distance flight can put a lot of wear and tear on your luggage and the baggage requirements could make them unusable in a few years anyway. Second hand luggage often works well. We look at it this way. Our burnt orange suitcase may not look classy, but it’s easy to find on a carousel of black bags.

3. Make sure your bags fasten securely. Invest in luggage straps for any bag that could possibly come open on the way. (We once watched an open suitcase being loaded onto an airplane, and realized it was ours.)

4. Choose lightweight luggage. Today little consideration is given to the size of your baggage. Weight is supreme. Some carry-ons with wheels weigh the maximum weight allowance before they have anything in them! If you choose a suitcase that is too big, you may have a hard time filling it without exceeding weight requirements.
5. Use clear zip-lock bags inside your luggage instead of specialty ones. They weigh very little and you can see what’s inside without opening them. Put liquid items in bags so if they do leak, they won’t get all over your suitcase. Tiny bags are ideal for jewelry. Put a cotton ball with jewelry that might get damaged if squished. Then put all the little bags in a bigger one.
6. Don’t forget to alert your travel agent to any food allergies.

7. Weigh your filled baggage before you go to the airport. Digital scales that fasten onto the handle of a suitcase work well, but be prepared for them being several pounds off. If you are carrying bags which are loaded to full capacity, be prepared to shift a few things around at the counter to avoid overweight fees.

8. Make sure you have any pairs of scissors or pocket knives packed in your checked luggage so you don’t lose them going through security.

9. Limit your carry-on liquids or gels to 3-1-1. Each container can’t be larger than about 3 ounce (3.4 ounces or 100ml). Put all containers in a 1-quart bag. Each passenger is allowed 1 bag. The easiest thing is to put all of these items in your checked luggage. For a long flight you might want a small bottle of lotion and a tube of lip balm since air travel dries skin, but you’ll lose your bottle of water or container of yogurt if you try to bring them through security. Some extra allowances are made for medications and baby formula.

10. If you will be changing currencies during your travels, remember to bring a small amount of your home currency for your return trip. That will keep you from having to put a very small purchase, like a snack, on your credit card.

11. Save money on drink and food by packing your carry-on wisely. You can’t bring a bottle of water past security, but you can bring an empty water bottle or cup. Once you are past security you can fill it with water. Keeping hydrated is important while traveling, but drinks in airports are never cheap.

Food is also expensive and your choices are greatly narrowed by the locations of food outlets. The airport may have good choices, but none of these may be close to the gates you need to use. Trail mix comes in handy for layovers and takes quite a bit of abuse in luggage. Apples travel well, but if you bring them make sure you eat them or dispose of them before changing countries or areas with restrictions. Bringing a forgotten apple into New Zealand will cost you around NZ$100.

12. Don’t sweat the small stuff when packing. Many forgotten items can be purchased at your destination. However, make sure you have these items in your carry-on before you pull out of your driveway.
• ticket (unless you have an e-ticket)
• photo ID, and passport if you’re changing countries
• essential prescription medications (If you’re going to be gone for an extensive period of time and have a lot of these, bring a letter from your doctor verifying your need.)
• Anything that would be very hard to replace, such as contact lenses.
• Contact details of the person you are to meet and where you will be staying.
If you are traveling to another country you’ll need the details of where you’ll be staying for the immigration form. You would also need to be able to contact the person who’s meeting you if you encountered changes in your flight. Once we forgot these details on a trip to Singapore. When we landed we couldn’t find the friend who was meeting us at our gate and we didn’t know his address or phone number. He had a very common surname and no one was at the church outside of office hours. We almost had to take a taxi and just find a hotel somewhere when we finally found him.

13. Pack your carry-on for comfort and convenience. If your carry-on weight limit is 15 pounds (7 kilos), you’ll be surprised how little it takes to reach your weight limit.
During our last trip to and from the US we were changing seasons drastically flying both directions. I also knew from experience that I sleep much better during the long flight (more than 10 hours) if I have an extra pillow. My husband and I each rolled a sweater into a roll and inserted them into a cloth bag with a drawstring (like a shoe bag.) The bags held the sweaters together in a good pillow shape, and when we reached the cooler destination, we could wear the sweaters.
You might want to pack eye shades, ear plugs, and a sleeping tablet for an overnight flight.

14. Take an e-reader. It takes less room than a book and gives you a wider reading choice. We found that the American airlines now allow passengers to use them during take-off and landing, though Air New Zealand doesn’t allow this yet.

15. Keep valuables attached to your body. A belt pack can be strapped at your waistline to hold your passport, cash, and credit cards. If you carry a computer, keep a good eye on it. Count your carry-ons each time you go through security to make sure you come away with them all.

16. Relax in the airport. If you have the essential items mentioned in #9, you can replace anything you’ve forgotten. Patience and cooperation will get you through security. If you miss your flight because it takes too long in security, the airlines will get you on another flight. Let the airlines handle weather problems and irritations. Determine not to let small irritations spoil your flight.

17. If you arrive at your departure gate early, check the department monitor again closer to departure to make sure your gate hasn’t changed. This is especially true if the time of departure draws near and the waiting area isn’t filling in the ordinary fashion. We had our departure gate changed twice for one of our flights after we had found our original gate.

18. If you have a small bladder, try to get an aisle seat, especially on very long flights.

19. Take advantage of lay-overs to walk and move around. This will help alleviate sore muscles during the longer flights.

20. Enjoy your stay at your final destination!

[Image courtesy of Kanate Chainapong/Deposit Photos.]

This Side of Eternity

Are you prepared to die? Recently I realized that though I was prepared for eternity with Christ in heaven, I wasn’t really prepared to die. Or to have my husband die.

Not long ago, when we were traveling in Washington state, we called a pastor friend to arrange a visit. When Art called, the pastor’s wife answered. Art asked to talk to her husband, only to hear that he had died a few weeks earlier of brain cancer. The pastor had been a cross-country buddy of Art’s, had run long distances even throughout his illness, and had died at 57 years old, two years younger than we are now.

As we visited this grieving widow I felt like I was looking into a mirror image of myself. This godly couple had poured themselves into 29 years of service, starting this church and serving faithfully in it until the pastor’s last sermon just days before his death. Now the pastor was gone and his wife was no longer a pastor’s wife. Though she had been actively involved in so many ways in the church, now she was backing away, making way for a new pastor and wife to be chosen for the church. This transition was made so much harder because so much of her life, work, friends and relationships, were tied to the church.

This could be me, I thought. Though Art and I are both healthy and anticipate another ten or so years of full-time ministry, with more ministry beyond that, we have no guarantees. In recent years we’ve heard of a number of pastors who died suddenly in their fifties or even younger. In 2014 Both Art and I will mark the big six-oh. Statistically speaking, it wouldn’t be greatly surprising if one of us died in our sixties. If Art died, I would no longer be a pastor’s wife.

More than that, I realized that my husband’s death would put me in a very different position than an American pastor’s wife whose husband died.

Let’s say Pastor Z dies, in America, where all his friends and family live. He and his wife owned their own home, so now the home belongs to Mrs. Z. She makes funeral decisions and grieves with her family. She might go visit a number of her grown children in their homes. If she has a job in the community, she might continue that. She’ll want to sort through some of her husband’s things and find new homes for them. She’ll take time to work through financial changes. She may be counseled not to make any great changes for a least a year. Yes, it will be a difficult time and yes, she’ll need to pull back to allow another pastor and wife to take leadership positions in the church. Certainly none of this will be easy, but she may have some time to make changes.

Now let’s say Pastor Y dies. He has been a missionary pastor. He and Mrs. Y live overseas and own their own house. These funeral arrangements are much harder to make because the family will probably want to hold funeral services both in the country of service as well as the home country. This adds a whole new dimension to the casket-vs-cremation decision. The services need to be held soon and the wife longs to be with her relatives from the home country, but she may not be able to continue her ministry on the mission field. If she moves back to her home country, she still has to figure out what to do with her house on the field and everything inside the house. You can hardly counsel a missionary wife life this not to make any major changes in the first year. She will likely be required to make many major life changes in a very short time, all while she is grieving the loss of her husband and partner in ministry.

Prior to this furlough Art and I had talked about retirement. It always seemed a long way off and none of the answers were obvious so we put off making any decisions. During this furlough, however, God has shown us in a number of obvious ways that we really aren’t prepared to die. We may be many years from death and our situation may change dramatically before then. On the other hand, if one of us was to die while we were in New Zealand, we would have a lot of major decisions that would need to be made very quickly during a very difficult time. We’ve begun to realize that we could make that situation much easier for each other and our family by preparing ahead, just in case it happened.

Last week we went for a “pre-need interview” with a funeral director. This was very helpful . He said that when someone dies, the family needs to make about 125 decisions right away, just about the funeral and things related to the death. We feel good about making many of these decisions now, when we are in good health. Any of them can be changed, but if the Lord should take one of us home suddenly, the burden would be much easier for the one left behind, as well as the family.

What about you? Are you prepared to die? The most important issue, of course, is eternity. Have you received Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin? Are you working for him in light of eternity? I hope so. But you can be prepared for eternity without being prepared to die. Maybe God is using this blog to tap you on the shoulder.

Maybe you feel creepy thinking about funeral arrangements when you’re in good health. After all your situation may change dramatically before you die. On the other hand, God could be leading you to make arrangements now so that your death could be much easier on your family than it needs to be.

Here are some good questions to consider:
•Do I have a will that covers everything it needs to cover at this time?
•Have I made provision for funeral expenses?
•Where do I want to be buried?
•Do I want a casket or cremation funeral? Is my family comfortable with this choice? This decision alone could make a $5000 difference in expenses.
•What do I want my funeral to be like? What last words do I want to say to my friends and family? Where would I like my funeral to be held and who would I like to perform it?
•Have I left pertinent information in a place where my family could find it easily in the event of my death?

You may want to arrange a pre-need interview with a funeral home near you. Did you know you can actually purchase your funeral arrangements years, even decades ahead of time and lock in today’s prices? You can also leave your information with a funeral home so that, in the event of your death, one call from your family would set almost everything in motion.
Think of how much grief your family would be spared by making many of your funeral arrangements ahead of time. I’m actually glad I can make these decisions during a happy time without a terminal illness hanging over my head. Some may call this morbid, but as Christians, we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about death. Actually it just helps us to be, in one more way, prepared to die.

Thank God for America—Even Today!

Little girl praying - closeupWhile Mary Weaver served time in prison for a crime she didn’t commit she prayed this prayer: “Lord, help me focus on what I have, not what I don’t have.” American Christians today would do well to pray the same prayer about their country. Sure we have issues today that challenge our sacred and sure beliefs. Abortion kills real people and should not be allowed. Same sex marriage is an affront to the institution of marriage and family as God founded them from the beginning of time. Legalization of marijuana opens the door to drug abuse that most certainly will result in destruction of life for the user as well as the ones hurt by his use. These are battles Christians have lost in America in the last fifty years.

Still let’s not be so blinded by what we’ve lost that we can’t see what we still have.

While other people may have the legal right to get an abortion, marry someone of the same sex, or smoke marijuana, Christians are never required to do so. We still have the freedom to do what we know to be right in almost every situation.

Christians still have the freedom to evangelize freely with very few actual legal limitations.

Christians are still allowed to teach what they believe is right. This has only been slightly challenged when it comes to “hate speech.” As Christians we should be able to proclaim what we believe in a diplomatic way anyway. While we speak out against sin, we need to be kind and friendly to sinners. Why? To earn the right to witness to them, and we also need to treat people with kindness and respect because this is the right way to act.

The most persecution most Christians face is a raised eyebrow, a frown, or a curt word. How can that compare to being beaten, disowned, imprisoned, tortured, or killed like some Christians have been in other countries or in centuries past?

As we compare the America of fifty years ago with today, we know that we have lost ground as Christians, but I believe we need to recognize that what we have left still makes us rich. We as Christians are still free to live for Christ in almost every way, even though it runs contrary to how the world around us thinks and acts.

On the other hand, I believe American Christians have lost something which has not been stolen from them.

I was shocked about 15 years ago when I was speaking to a group of junior camp kids about the privilege of prayer. I thought I had a good analogy. “Can you imagine what an honor it would be to meet the President of the United States and talk to him?” Bill Clinton was president at the time. None of them wanted to meet him. When I was a kid the highest honor for a kid would have been to meet the President. No longer. This gave me a peek into the homes of these kids, and I thought, “We’ve lost something in America.” Whether the President is Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George Bush, or Ronald Reagan, I would hope that Christians would respect the position enough to want to meet the President.

The last time I checked my Bible, respect for government officials was still Biblical. The Apostles Paul and Peter lived under a Roman government which often persecuted Christians. What did they say about government leaders?

“Be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God. . . . For he is God’s minister to you for good. . . . Honor the king. . . .Be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, . . . showing humility to all men.”

Somehow many Christians have lost respect for government leaders. We may disagree with our leaders, strongly. We may stand against their views, especially when these views are contrary to Scripture. But I believe we still need to do that in a respectful way, and sometimes we forget that.

This article is the last in my series about America. So many Christians seem to have given up hope for our country, but I believe we still have so much to be thankful for. As Christians we lose some battles we fight for spiritual values in our society and government. But if the Apostle Paul can speak so respectfully of government when Nero was ruling, I believe we can show respect to our government leaders today. We have the ability to choose right actions and attitudes ourselves, no matter what others do. And no one can take that away from us.

[Scriptures taken from Romans 13:1-2; 1 Peter 2:13,17; and Titus 3:1-2, NKJV.]

[While this article is written about America, the same basic thoughts are true of New Zealand, where I live most of the time.]

[Image courtesy of Nagy-Bogoly Ilona/Deposit Photos]

Using Free Kindle Book Promotion as an Author

Kid reading the Book. EducationWhy should I give my book away for free when I’m trying to sell it?

This is a question authors often ask when they consider Kindle Select’s proposal for free Kindle books. With this program an author is allowed to offer her Kindle book for free on five different days during each quarter she’s enrolled in the program. But every person who gets it for free is another person who’s not going to pay for it. Right? It’s hard enough to sell your books without giving away hundreds at a time. Why do this?

Many authors say the free kindle book promotion helps them sell more books because of these three things.

  • It helps improves their sales ranking with Amazon.
  • It helps readers find out about them by downloading their free book. If readers like their writing they may buy their other books.
  • Readers who like their book may write Amazon reviews, and good Amazon reviews are worth gold to an author.

Other authors are skeptical. This is their viewpoint.

  • Readers often hoard free e-books, downloading many books they never read.
  • Authors who offer their books for free ruin the market for authors who are trying to sell their books.

Which is true? Last week I tried my own experiment. I offered our Bible study book, I Survived!, as a free Kindle book for five days. This is what I learned.

Did It Improve My Sales Ranking?

The first thing you need to understand about sales ranking is that, to a large extent, these are just wildly fluctuating numbers. Our book is new and we’ve sold most of our copies so far in “table sales,” off a table at the back of the room or directly to real people. These books don’t count for Amazon’s sales rank so we started with a very low sales rank. Also remember that these numbers reflect our Kindle sales, not our paperback sales.

We offered our Kindle book for free from Monday to Friday. The Saturday before the promotion the paid Kindle version had a sales rank of 467,767. The Saturday after the promotion it was 740,847. Now that looks like a dismal failure. The next day, however, that had changed to 176,354. Even though the numbers fluctuate wildly, I have to believe this is some improvement.

Also consider this: During that five-day free period, 2866 people downloaded our book. The sales rank did fluctuate during the week, but at one point our book ranked 113 of all free Kindle books, nearly in the top 100. It became #1 in free Kindle books in Christian Education category and #2 in the Bible category.

Amazon sales ranking is hard to understand, but I have to believe that somehow 2866 free downloads has to help its sales ranking, even as a paid Kindle book.

Did It Influence Readers to Buy My Other Books?

I would guess that many authors find this part of the equation disappointing. I read many free Kindle fiction books, but most of those books fit into the OK category. It takes an exceptional book to make me want to buy other books by the author.

I’m hoping, however, that our Bible study book will be different from the average fiction book. Why? Our I Survived! Bible study book has a companion book.

For those of you who might not know, the companion book is the true story of Mary Weaver, Edges of Truth. Mary was providing childcare to an 11-month-old baby when the baby quit breathing. Mary called 9-1-1 and administered CPR, but within a day the baby died. In spite of severe brain injuries from 7 to 10 days before death, some medical experts believed Mary had to have shaken and slammed the baby during the last 42 minutes they were together. Eventually this godly woman was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Edges of Truth is the story of Mary and her lawyer, Steve Brennecke who fought to prove her innocence. My husband and I wrote I Survived! to answer spiritual questions raised by Mary’s true story. Why does God allow disasters and how can we survive them?

Many people buy I Survived! by itself. It showcases 5 Bible characters who survived disaster, so anyone can profit from the study. But each chapter does give illustrations from Mary Weaver’s story. If that piques their curiosity enough, readers of the free Kindle book may order the Kindle or paperback of Edges of Truth. So the free Bible study book becomes free advertising for the true story.

Readers who enjoy I Survived! may also order the paperback Bible study book. Or perhaps they’ll decide to do a group Bible study and others will order the book.

So I believe the free Kindle book will help us sell other books.

On the other hand, of the 2866 readers who downloaded our book for free, many of those readers don’t know who I am at all. They wouldn’t have downloaded the book if they had to pay for it. Surely some of those readers will never read it, but some will. God can use this study in their lives. As a writer I need to make enough money to pay for the expenses of publication. Beyond that, it’s reasonable to expect to make a little money on the two books that took 2 ½ years to write. But serving God is more important than making money. If offering this for free helps people in a spiritual way, people who wouldn’t have otherwise read the book, I won’t argue with that.

Plus, it’s fun to be able to give my friends something for free. Many of them buy my books, bless them, and I don’t want to become a salesman who views everyone as a potential customer. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to buy my books. So it’s nice to be able to give freely from time to time to everyone who knows me.

Did It Encourage Anyone to Post an Amazon Review of My Book?

Well, not yet. I believe the most effective use of I Survived! is to study it a portion a day for 10 weeks. So far this book has no reviews and it would be great to have some positive, yet honest, reviews on Amazon. You might be one of my reviewers!

When I find a book I really like I always try to post an Amazon review. If I have received it for free, this is a way of giving back and thanking the author. On the other hand, if there’s something I really don’t like about the book, I don’t review it. I just don’t want to make the author’s chance of selling that much harder. I imagine other readers feel the same way, which is probably why most book reviews on Amazon have 4 or 5 stars.

So, am I glad I offered my book as a free Kindle book for 5 days? Absolutely. I learned a lot. Many readers downloaded it who would not have bought my book otherwise. (Thanks to Money Saving Mom who offered my free ebook at the top of her list on Tuesday, thereby bringing it to the notice of 500,000 followers.) And I believe it will help me to sell paperback and Kindle editions of both this book and its companion.

Will offering your book free on Kindle help you sell more books? I can’t tell you that, but it’s certainly worth trying. It’s hard to find any method that really guarantees sales. You have to try it for yourself to see what happens. But I felt this was a good method for me to try and I would do it again. I hope you will find something that works for you.

[Image courtesy of Anna Subbotina/Deposit Photos.]