A new Certa Books site boasts 3 acclaimed authors

a new certa books site

Certa Publishing is excited to announce that our new retail site, Certa Books is live. Here you will find all of the books in our collection, available for purchase. The site aso offers sample pages, author bios, reviews and much more.

And among our many notable authors, we’d like to point out three of our bestsellers, whose writing and ministries are having far-reaching impacts in the nation and beyond.

Mark Gregston

Parenting (and grandparenting) today’s youth is not for the faint of heart. Many of us in mark_gregston_300x260_01these roles have found ourselves searching desperately for resources to guide us through the tumultuous season of raising up our young ones.

This is where Certa author and speaker Mark Gregston comes in. Mark’s daily and weekend radio features, “Parenting Today’s Teens with Mark Gregston,” can be heard on over 1,650 outlets throughout North America.  Mark also leads weekend “Tough Guys & Drama Queens” parenting seminars throughout North America, and is a frequent conference and retreat keynote speaker. In addition, his video series are viewed by thousands involved in small groups, church classes, and parent communities seeking to gain a greater understanding of the today’s teen’s social world, and gather new effective and practical ways to counter the effects this contrary culture is having on their teen.

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Many of Mark Gregston’s titles are available from Certa Books.


Bruce Lengeman

Bruce and Ruthie Lengeman have been in Christian ministry since they got married in 1976. They have been active in teaching a variety of life-building seminars and classes, including marriage conferences, inner healing conferences, leadership courses, and more.

profile-imageBruce’s recent emphasis is challenging men to be all they can be and to walk in sexual wholeness. He was a professional counselor for several years and pastored in a variety of ways in several churches. Most recently, he was the Pastor of ACTS Covenant Fellowship in Lancaster, PA, where he and Ruthie now serve as the Senior Leader Couple. He has since been released from full-time pastoring to develop his teaching and training focus.

Ruthie assists Bruce in his teaching and mentoring ministry and loves challenging and mentoring women. Bruce and Ruthie have nine children and eleven grandchildren.you-ve_been_tweeked_265x400_01kingdom_culture_265x400_01 (1)to_kill_a_lion_265x400_01 (1)god_do_you_play_265x400_01





Many of Bruce Lengeman’s titles are available from Certa Books.


Paul Wilbur

wilbur_ministries_paul_wilbur_bio_banner1_fm1lc1Paul Wilbur, internationally-acclaimed worship artist, song writer, pastor and teacher, unpacks the “Calendar of the Kingdom” in a way that reunites Christians with their Jewish foundations in a crystal-clear understanding of who we are in Christ and how the Father intends for us to successfully and joyfully walk in His Kingdom.

Paul’s most recent project is a worship album that was recorded live from Jerusalem. Roar from Zion is available for pre-order now.

When Mr. Wilbur isn’t recording or writing, he can be found hosting his First Fridays event at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, which includes dynamic worship alongside strong Biblical teaching centered on the Jewish roots of our faith.
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Several of Paul Wilbur’s titles are available from Certa Books.




Certa author Dana Goodrum rings in the New Year with media appearances

dana goodrum

Certa author Dana Goodrum is ringing in the New Year with several radio interviews about her new book Open With Your Broken. This book walks readers through a journey of transparency like never before. Unveiling the schemes of the enemy, while explaining how shame and guilt can keep you from fully achieving God’s purpose in your life, Dana Goodrum teaches readers awareness and effective strategies for victorious living.

open_with_your_broken_265x400_01After nearly a decade hiatus away from God, Dana Goodrum is well versed in the trials, attacks, and tribulations associated with making peace with your past. In Open With Your Broken, she unveils a decade of difficulties, hardships, and struggle—and her eventual triumph over her past.

Dana was recently featured on the Club 36 show on the Watchmen Network and will also appear on the following broadcasts:

January 13th :: iHeart Radio Spiritually Speaking

January 17th :: Make it Count Christian Radio Program

The Fireside Talk Radio show also recently hosted Ms. Goodrum for two shows, focusing on the church’s struggle to attract millennials. The host, Cathy Krafve, summarized the programs this way:

[Dana Goodrum] points out that many millennials view the church as a “picture perfect museum,” instead of a place where they can get help turning their life around. If your church has been wondering why an entire generation of young people are purposefully choosing not to pursue a life of faith, you will not want to miss what Dana has to say!

Both interviews can be listened to here.

Ms. Goodrum’s book, Open with Your Broken is available through the Certa Books site.

Why you should (and should not) write a memoir

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You should write a book!

Have you ever thought of publishing your story?

Wow, other people should really hear what you’ve been through.

Have you heard these words? Perhaps you’ve survived cancer, divorce, or the death of a child. Or maybe you’ve stepped out of poverty into prosperity. Out of depression into a life of happiness. If so, then someone has likely insisted that you write a book.

But should you? Should you really?


And no.

Allow us to offer some advice from established authors who know a thing or two about the world of publishing:

1. Don’t write because you think it is the only way to tell your story

Christian author Nancy Guthrie offers this counsel in her post People say I should write a book. Should I?

I think the biggest question is this: Is writing a book the only, the best, or the most natural way for you to be a good steward of this experience so that God might use it in the lives of others?   It is for a few people. For others, there are other ways that are a far better fit with their personality, their strengths, and the opportunities presented to them.

2. Don’t write your story if the rejection will deepen your pain

Again we look to Ms. Guthrie:

When the book is about loved ones who have died, we want to extend their lives and give meaning to their deaths by seeing their story in print, so when a publisher isn’t interested, it can feel like another death, and certainly another deep disappointment, a sense that we have failed in extending their impact.

3. Do write your story once you are a proficient memoir writer

Simply having a story to tell does not mean that you are equipped to tell it through the written word. Writing is a gift and talent that is separate from your life-changing experience. Only those who have become proficient as memoir writers should attempt to get their story published.

Literary agent Rachel Gardner offers this advice in her post Telling Your Personal Story:

Create a reading plan for yourself. Set a goal for the next year or so of reading at least 20 good memoirs and 5 books about writing memoir.

Begin to craft your book. After you’ve spent months (or years) writing down the stories of your life and learning about the craft of memoir, you’ll be ready to start putting those stories together and creating a cohesive manuscript — your memoir. That may take many more months. You’ll want to get feedback on it from some readers, perhaps join a critique group, and do as many revisions as necessary to make your memoir shine.

4. Do write your story once you are in a healthy place

While it may be cathartic to write a memoir as a form of therapy, doing so will not produce the caliber of writing needed to get published.

Ange de Lumiere, who works as a book coach, advises:

When I wrote the book about my father dying, I did expect to be taken back to the emotions that I felt when he was given one month to live. But I was grateful that I had done a lot of work on myself so that it was not too painful.

I wasn’t writing for the sake of sharing my pain; I had a message to share, which is that death is not the end. My book’s purpose is to show that there is another way to see death and to start a revolution in the way we approach it. So it is very important to be clear about the purpose of your memoir and to allow yourself to be vulnerable and authentic.

The truth is that there is much more to writing a memoir than many would imagine. At Certa Publishing, we endeavor to prepare our authors to navigate the unique struggles of each genre. If you are considering putting your story on paper, we would be happy to come alongside you in the process. Contact us today.

9 Resolutions to claim as your own (We won’t tell!)

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So, have you made any New Year’s Resolutions?

For some of you, this is a dreaded question. While those around you seem to have carved out time and brain space to ponder and reflect on the new year, you may still be digging out from wrapping paper, house guests and mysterious leftovers.

New Year’s Resolutions? I guess mine is just to have time to make some!

If this is you, never fear. Alex Weiss at Bustle has curated the resolutions of writers from years past that you will find inspiring. As you read through these, pick a few that jump out at you. There’s no shame in piggy-backing on someone else’s inspiration until you find your own.

Gain some new ideas from these 13 author resolutions to make your New Year the best year yet:

“I’m going to begin writing my third novel in 2016 so my new year’s resolutions center around self discipline. I need to carve out the time and the space to write and to stick to a strict writing schedule. In order to help myself do so, I intend to re-read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I have found her writing tools (such as Morning Pages and Artist’s Dates) to be invaluable.”

— Louise O’Neill

“Stress less, and daydream more. This year, I realized I’d switched all my daydreaming time to stressing-about-things-I-can’t-control time. I plan on reversing that, pronto! Write books! I need to write the second half of one book, and I want to write another one, too. One and a half books is totally doable. Read books! This year I read 79 books. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to read more next year.”

— Jodi Meadows

“My resolution is simple, and I’ve already started it. More time reading, less time online. I’ve been trying to read for four hours a day and it makes my brain feel good.”

— Meg Rosoff

“As always I hope to make more time to read. I try to start every day by reading for half an hour and end it the same way, ‘bookending’ each day. What I need to really take on board is how this is ‘professional development’. And I want to spend less time on screen in the world of social media. More time painting. Yes. More books in translation. More poetry.”

— Jackie Morris

“My writing resolution for 2014 is to take my laptop to new and exciting places. I always get the best ideas and most inspiration when I force myself out of the house and into a new park or coffee shop!”

— Madeleine Roux

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language snd next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

— T.S. Eliot

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.”

— John Burroughs

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”

— G.K. Chesterton

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”

– Benjamin Franklin

At Certa Publishing, we love the freshness and newness of a new year. Few people appreciate the beauty of a blank page like writers do. We look forward to reading what will fill the pages of your manuscripts and your life in 2019.

From Physician to Prolific Writer: Luke’s unlikely path

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How many of these sentences from Luke 2 can you finish from memory?

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from…

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him…

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping…

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you…

Chances are that you easily finished them all. Why? Because Luke 2 contains one of the most beloved stories of all time. The words of this story have filled our Christmas carols, children’s lessons and December sermons for centuries. Luke’s pen documented the story that heralded not only the beginning but also the end of our Messiah’s time among us.

So who was Luke?

A famed author?


A renowned speaker?


An educated rabbi?


He was a physician. We know this from the only Biblical reference to him by another:

Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. (Colossians 4:14)

Perhaps he was the man who would have made house calls to your feverish child or sent bandages and salves to the leper’s colony. His days were likely full of infections, broken bones, and newborn babies.

We also know one more thing about Luke. He was a Gentile, not a Jew.  (John Macarthur lays out the case for this supposition here).

So how did a Gentile physician become the author of one-third of the New Testament? Why was he the one to write down perhaps the most well-known story of all time―the birth of Jesus―and so much more?

We don’t know how or why it happened. But we know that it did. And 2000 years later, many of us will open our Bibles on Christmas morning to the words of this Gentile physician.

You have to wonder if Luke would laugh at his legacy. Surely his life plan didn’t go quite as he imagined. His days were meant to be filled with examinations and incisions, not afternoons on the hillside as Jesus taught. His lifework was supposed to be wellness and cures, not screeching demons and calmed storms. Perhaps he recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah:

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

And when those three unplanned years were over, Luke could have easily said his goodbyes and returned to the lifestyle of a doctor. But he didn’t do that. He labored along with Paul and the early church until the end of Paul’s life.

And somewhere in the midst of it all, he decided to write. And write. And write. As the author of the books of Luke and Acts, he wrote 52 chapters of the New Testament.

Do you resonate with the story of Luke? Perhaps writing was never in your life plan. When your high school guidance counselor asked that dreaded question, “What do you want to do with your life?” you likely mentioned something different, perhaps with a more predictable path and definitely a more guaranteed pay structure!

Yet here you find yourself in a similar position as Luke. You’ve seen something. Experience something. Walked through something that simply must be told. No, this wasn’t your planned path, but you sense that it is the one the Lord has firmly planted you on. That you must see it to the end. You feel compelled and driven, even if unsure and wary of the end result.

Luke died never knowing of his presence in our homes on Christmas morning. He never witnessed the cute nativity plays full of children reciting his famed lines. And so it may be with your writing. It may not become a bestseller or be quoted all over Twitter. And yet that is not why God has asked you to write.

Write as Luke did. Because the story compels you to do so. And leave the results in the hands of the One who put the pen in your hand.

 So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught. (The Message, Luke 1:1-4)

At Certa Publishing, we firmly believe that our authors each have a unique story to tell and our aim is to smooth the publishing path in order to bring your story to the most readers possible. Whether you need a partner from rough draft to book tour, or simply a la carte editing and marketing services, we stand ready to join you. Contact us today.


Just the Basics: 3 simple rules about writing

Blog Just the Basics

You’ll find plenty of “secrets to success” on the internet geared toward writers. But the truth is that there are a few fundamental principles that most successful authors stick to. Writer Jeff Goins recently shared his 3 Important Lessons on Writing, which are simple on the surface, but really do form the foundation of an enduring writing career. Enjoy this excerpt:

Great writing requires great ideas

All great ideas start out as terrible ideas. The job of a writer is to constantly capture ideas, refine them, and deciding which ones will see the light of day.

Someone recently asked me how much of my writing sees the light of day. At one point, it was probably close to 100%. These days, it’s more like 20%. The older you get, the more critical you get—of yourself, of others, of everything.

Writing is a process of searching for the right idea and not stopping until you find it. Ira Glass once said of his show This American Life that the hardest part of telling a good story is finding one. Why is This American Life one of the most popular podcasts in the world? Because they are relentlessly seeking the best ideas and throwing out the average ones.

Malcolm Gladwell has said something similar about his own writing and how he tirelessly searches for the right story or the perfect piece of research to illustrate the point he’s trying to make.

Don’t settle for average ideas. Great books and articles and blog posts come from great ideas.

Writing is manual labor

Recently, while coaching a client who’s working on a book, she shared that she was behind her word count goal, clocking in at 17,000 words when she should really be closer to 25,000. I told her no problem. This is how it goes.

Inspiration tends to happen in fits and starts. It’s a bit of a crap shoot sometimes. One day, you turn on the faucet and all that comes out is a steady drip. The next day, it’s like a fire hydrant exploded. Your job is to go to the sink every day and turn the handle.

That’s writing. It’s an effort. It’s a job. We don’t control the inspiration.

At the end of the day, writing is just good old-fashioned blue-collar work. You sit down and you write until you’re done. You show up at the factory in your coveralls, punch your clock, and stand at the assembly line doing your work until the day is done.

Some days, you may write only a few hundred words. Other days, you may write thousands. It doesn’t matter. Don’t try to figure out the mystery of the process. Don’t try to squeeze all the productivity you can get out of a single writing moment. It won’t work.

Those efforts tend to do more harm than good on creative work. Just trust the process. Show up, do the work, and trust that something good is emerging.

So when you do show up, what does that look like?

I don’t know a serious professional writer who doesn’t have some kind of routine, at least when they’re on deadline—which, for a serious professional writer is almost always.

What is a routine?

It’s simple:

  • Pick a place to write in every day
  • Pick a time to write every day
  • Pick an amount of time to write every day

That’s it. It could be your kitchen table at 9:00 a.m. for thirty minutes. Do that every day—or at least more often than not—and you’ve got yourself a writing routine.

Everything is marketing

As a writer, everything you do is marketing.

Marketing is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the professional writing life. Marketing is not the mere promotion of your work. As Ryan Holiday says, you should constantly be sharing your message wherever you can, and ever so often come out with a new book. That’s marketing. It’s constantly talking about the work you’re doing and occasionally selling something.

People should never wonder what you’re about. They should never not know what you’re up to, creatively. That doesn’t mean there can’t be mystery. It just means your job is to live your message, to embody it.

Your message is your best marketing asset. Talk about it with anyone and everyone as often as possible without being annoying.

Get feedback wherever you can, because the best way to validate your message is by sharing it. People will naturally tell you what they think. And if they don’t, their silence is a message in itself.

As you are working on a book, you should constantly be talking about that topic, getting feedback, testing ideas, and so forth.

At Certa Publishing, we couldn’t agree more with these simple rules for writing. Do you have any to add? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

5 Quick Holiday Marketing Ideas

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It’s not too late to do some quick holiday marketing! Here are five easy tips to get you selling more books this Christmas season:

1. Tailor your message to the timeframe

During the weeks leading up to Christmas

The time for persistent browsing and highly-personal shopping is over. It’s crunch time and everyone is just desperate to get a gift to their family or friends before the 25th. Through your newsletters and social media posts, direct consumers to your Amazon link. As it gets closer to Christmas, remind them that an ebook is available to gift immediately.

After Christmas

Many of your consumers likely unwrapped an Amazon gift card for Christmas. Although they might be thinking of buying tools or music, it’s your job to remind them that your book would be a great purchase. Schedule an email blast for the morning of December 26th with “redeem gift cards” and “Amazon” in the subject line.

At the New Year

Now is the time to develop a marketing pitch related to the New Year. Finance writers should focus on financial New Year resolutions. Health and fitness writers… well, you have it easy! Religious and self-help writers can easily craft a message as well. This would be a great time to write up a short 500-word blog post pulling out parts from your book that will inspire your readers to want more as they plan their 2019.

2. Send more emails than usual

Many consumers will go most of the year overlooking marketing emails and avoiding the “promotions” tab in Gmail. But during the holidays, those same buyers will intentionally search through their inbox looking for deals. So, go ahead and send more emails than usual. Be sure to run a promotion that can be easily summarized in your subject line. We suggest doubling the number of marketing emails from now until the first week of January.

3. Set the mood on social media

People want to feel “Christmasy” at this time of year. So set a festive mood on your social media accounts. Take photos of your book surrounded by Christmas lights or next to a cup of cocoa… even if it’s not a holiday-themed book.

Does your book contain anecdotes about the holidays? Financial tips for gift-giving? Holiday-themed nutrition ideas? Now is the time to highlight those portions on your feed.

4. Do a 12 Days of Christmas promotion

You may think it’s too late to run a promotion, but this one is simple to do. Choose a 12-day period in December. Ahead of time, tell your followers that you will be offering a different promotion each day. Then (this is key!) schedule your posts ahead of time. You’ll need one for each day. Here are some examples of promotions:

  • Buy one book, get one free
  • Percentage discount on different books for different days
  • Free shipping
  • Free upgrade to Priority or Overnight shipping as it gets closer to Christmas
  • Free gift wrapping
  • Bonus gift included, such as any personalized merchandise you have (pens, mugs, tote bags, etc)
  • 99 cent ebooks

Be sure to use a custom hashtag, such as #12daysof[booktitle], so your followers can follow the hashtag and receive reminders.

No matter the sales, this type of promotion really ramps up your name recognition in consumers minds. If they don’t purchase your book right away, they will be more likely to remember it when the need arises in the future.

5. Involve the reader

This is a great opportunity to ask your readers to post photos of themselves with your book.  A recent post on Author Marketing Experts offered this idea:

Involve people on a more personal level as their favorite author! Encourage these opportunities!

Do a call on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and ask fans to share images of your book in their cozy holiday reading nooks, or your book with a backdrop of their fantastic tree.

Prepare to comment back because this is how these book marketing efforts make their biggest impact.

Simple, right? Even if you just pick one idea, you’ll see more clicks, traffic, and purchases. Although quick ideas like these can be very effective, at Certa Publishing we recommend a comprehensive marketing strategy that plans ahead for times like the holidays, and we have the resources and services to help you pull it off. Contact us when you’re ready to discuss a long-term marketing plan. We would love to partner with you.

An Author’s Guide to Dealing with Crisis

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This week we are excerpting an article with a topic you may rather not focus on: crisis. But like it or not, all authors will face a professional crisis at one point or another. Having a response in place ahead of time is invaluable, as described in the following post on The Creative Penn:

The disappearance of reviews, a change in the algorithm, a drop in book sales, a trademark filed on a common word. These are all forms of crisis that indie authors have been concerned about in the last year. 

But change is the only constant, and there will always be more to navigate. In today’s article, Chris Syme explains how we can manage crisis in a more effective way. 

When we hear the term crisis management, we think of newsworthy events and scandals. Something everyone hears about. Something that makes a splash in the news.

But in reality, a crisis is any event that has the potential for negative impact. And when we use this definition, it’s much easier to separate out events that need to be ignored. Yes, ignoring is a viable response to a negative event.

But how do we know what to ignore and what to respond to?

Indie authors encounter potential crises regularly.

When you run your own business, you are responsible for dealing with whatever comes along to threaten your hard work. Authors can implement four simple steps to deal with this unpleasant side of being a solo entrepreneur: listen, engage, evaluate and respond.

Listen and engage are the pieces that help prevent a crisis. Evaluate and respond help you handle any potential problems.

The most challenging piece of crisis management for most authors is the evaluation process. How do I know if I should respond or ignore what’s going on?

The first and most important step in the process of evaluation is learning to evaluate the threat level. What is the potential of the event to disrupt my business?

To keep it simple, I use three threat levels: one, two and three with one being the least threatening.

Level One Threat

Most level one threats can be handled in the context of normal daily operations and resources such as email, social media channels, and blogs.

Examples of a level one threat might include: reviews vanishing from Amazon, another author giving you a bad review on Goodreads, a reviewer leaving a bad review on your Facebook page, a reader calling you out for grammar or editing errors in your book.

Level Two Threat

Requires you to contact a company or entity about information that is threatening to your business platform and requires an action such as filing a complaint, filling out a form, or contacting someone directly via Messenger or email.

Examples of a level two threat include: Someone has set up a Twitter profile pretending to be you, receiving an email from Amazon asking you to validate the ownership of one of your books someone else is claiming ownership to, books disappearing from an online bookstore, or losing access to your Facebook page. All these require action on your part.

Level Three Threat

Has the potential to impact your whole platform or business and may require outside help from a lawyer or PR specialist.

This also includes any crisis that involves a “swarm.” A swarm is an angry mob on social media that has been activated by an individual or organization designed to ruin someone’s reputation or business, or is designed to pressure the target to perform an action the mob deems important.

Examples of a level three threat include: “swarm attacks” on social media either instigated by another author, disgruntled readers, a political group, or an unknown source.

Level three may also include illegal actions you are accused of, either rightfully or wrongfully. It may also include something on the level of losing all your books on Amazon due to an algorithm irregularity that identifies you as a scammer.

Identifying the threat level is the first step toward gaining peace of mind in any crisis. If you are at level one, that’s something you can easily handle or just ignore.

Level two may require some research and time, so you’ll need to set aside time to do the work.

Level three means you may have to get some help.

But before you take any action, there is one more critical step to take:

Separate Fact From Fiction

A crisis can become like a game of operator. You remember that game we played as kids where we sit in a circle and somebody whispers something to the first person that has a couple specific things they need to remember? Everybody keeps whispering down the line and by the time the message gets to the last one in the circle, it never resembles the original. That is what can happen in a crisis.

Your first task after recognizing the level is to gird your loins and find out what’s really going on. In order to do this well, you need to adopt a bulldog attitude. Although bulldogs are friendly dogs, they are willful and tenacious when you try and take something away from them. They never let go.

You need to put aside your golden retriever personality and become a bulldog. Focused, tenacious, wise. Treat each incident as a business task. Never let your personal emotions play into the evaluation.

Just the Facts Ma’am

Let’s take a bad review as an elementary example. What is the truth in this scenario? Is it a bad review or is it a complaint about Amazon, the genre, a mistaken category? What is the reader calling out?

You need to run through a quick checklist and put the complaint in the proper setting.

  • Is the reviewer being mean-spirited? Then leave it and forget about it. Mean people are not worth your time.
  • Do they just not like the way you write or the book’s plot? No big deal—every book isn’t for everybody.

You get the idea. Put the complaint in the context of truth.

I do not coach authors to pay attention to bad reviews unless there is a pattern. The truth is, book reviews are not your property—they belong to the writer and the online bookstore.

I do coach writers to mine snippets from positive reviews for marketing purposes, but I encourage you to adopt a business attitude toward all your book reviews.

These two truths have helped me put book reviews in the proper perspective:

  • Every book isn’t for everybody; I didn’t write a book for everybody.
  • Everybody gets bad reviews—it goes with the territory. My books are no different from anyone else’s in that regard.

No matter what level of crisis you see coming, this is step one — find the facts, ditch the rest. Whether your crisis needs a response or needs to be ignored, you need to know how to evaluate the threat level before you can make that decision.

Fortunately for you, crisis management doesn’t have to fall completely on your shoulders. Here at Certa Publishing, our years of experience positions us to help our authors navigate the issues mentioned above. Should you encounter a similar situation, please reach out so we can partner with you to resolve the problem.


5 Things Your Editor Wishes You Knew

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We can hardly over-emphasize the benefit you will receive from a productive, understanding relationship with a quality editor. And yet many writers struggle to achieve this partnership. Imagine you sat down with an editor for an honest conversation. Here are a few things you might hear:

1. I’m on your side

It’s human nature. When someone criticizes your work, you recoil. Get defensive. Push them away. And yet you asked me for this criticism. You even paid me to do it! So please keep in mind that I am on your side. As I mark the text, strikeout sentences and even question entire chapters of your manuscript, I only do so for your best interest. The sooner you can adopt this perspective, the sooner we can move forward as a team toward the best version of your work.

In a recent article, Alexandra Samuel of the Harvard Business Review Press wrote,

Think of your editor as a therapist for your writing — someone who is actually going to help you think, argue and write better. You wouldn’t go to a therapist hoping to hold onto all your crazy issues…so bring the same attitude to your editor, and get excited about the idea that someone is going to pay real attention to your writing, and help make it better.

2. Be on time

If you’ve agreed to send me something by next Thursday, chances are that I’ve scheduled time that day or the next to review the submission. So when you’re late, it’s as if you’ve missed an appointment. Please extend the same courtesy to your editor that you would any colleague with whom you’ve made an appointment. Be on time as often as possible and give ample notice when you will be late.

3. I know my stuff

If I say you need a comma there… you need a comma there. If I critique your constant use of passive voice, it’s because… you’ve over-used the passive voice. Let’s decide early on that you are the expert at your topic, content, and narrative, and that I am the expert at grammar, structure, and voice. Can there be give and take? Of course. But if you are going to question every em dash and semicolon, this is going to be a long road.

Again, refer to my first point. I am on your side, even if my edits seem strict and numerous. Blake Atwood of the Write Life speaks of editors this way:

Their edits may be short, direct and bereft of personality, but that concision and clarity prove their expertise. In most cases, they can make a definitive edit because they know it’s correct, or, at least, they’ve verified that it’s correct.

4. I can only work with facts

Editors are used to finding grammar, structure, and flow errors. What we don’t like to find are factual mistakes. Please fact-check your work before you send it to me. Once I find these types of errors, I can’t go on and the process comes to a halt.

In a recent article for Media Bistro, Amanda Layman Low spoke to several editors and recounted the following:

Chandra Turner, executive editor of Parents magazine, says that nothing drives an editor crazier than reading a wonderful piece and having it fall apart in fact checking. Writers, she says, “should source all their content. Have your backup for everything that you’ve written.”

Trust me. It’s better to find these mistakes in the writing process than for a reader to find them and tell everyone in their Amazon review. Be vigilant about accuracy and we will both benefit.

5. I’m your first reader

“You know what you mean.” I don’t. I come at your work with fresh eyes, just like your readers will. If you sound self-important, I’ll notice. If you get awkwardly personal, I’ll squirm. If you assume I know more than I do about your field of expertise, I will sense that.

Let me offer that perspective and ways to fix what’s off. Remember, I’m here for you. It’s my job to protect you from what you may not see, and to help you remedy the problem.

Did you know that Certa Publishing has professional, expert editors on staff? We would love to take a look at your manuscript and discuss how we can partner with you to bring your work to fruition. Contact us today.


Stop beating yourself up

Blog Stop beating yourself up

Self-criticism will sabotage your writing career at every turn. You simply must get it under control. This is especially true for those of us who have put our faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Knowing we are sons and daughters of God requires us to silence the negative self-speak with the truth of His Word:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  (1 John 3:1)

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Author and communications consultant RiShawn Biddle wrote on this very subject in a recent post for Michael Hyatt’s blog, titled Stop Being Your Own Worst Critic, which we have excerpted here:

Does this one ring a bell? You, reader, are your own worst critic. Your penchant for nitpicking every detail and harshly critiquing your accomplishments makes it difficult for you to make progress or sometimes even get simple work done.

If it doesn’t apply to you or someone close to you, then you have a great day. If it does, then read on, Macduff.

What your inner self-critics needs to do is learn is that focusing on your strengths is a better pathway to success than fixating on weaknesses. Take these three steps and you will become your best critic and champion.

1. Realize you are more than enough

Self-criticism is normal and even healthy in small doses. But as the saying goes, the dose makes the poison. When you always approach your work with negativity, it’s paralyzing. It also makes you more susceptible to criticism from others who may not have your best interests at heart.

You need to know that much of the criticism in your head has no resemblance to what you are actually doing in real time. More often than not, you are more than enough to tackle the task at hand.

Realizing you are enough starts by applying Apple Founder Steve Jobs’s famed adage that “you can only connect [the dots] looking backward.” Often, it means looking at your past successes, as well as previous pitfalls, and how they can help you tackle the challenges ahead.

2. Stop with the negative talk

Self-criticism starts with negative words. It’s not just the I-can’ts and the not-good-enoughs. Every time you critique a meaningless detail, or nitpick a perfectly good presentation, you put yourself on the path to lifelong self-sabotage.

Simply ignoring the words of criticism isn’t enough. You must combat them with affirmations of your capacity to succeed. This starts at the end of the day by looking at the big picture of success as well as listing and reciting I cans, I ams, and even I wills — affirming your ability to achieve. By affirming these things before going to bed, you get ready for success the next day.

Another strategy is to embrace the concept of good enough. Along the lines of what Wired revealed about what consumers wanted, your colleagues expect your projects be successful, simple, economical, not perfect. Once you change your expectations of what you should do, you become less self-critical.

Finally, write down your past successes so you can reference them every now and then. Even the simplest signposted achievement can cause you to feel positive about your ability to succeed in the future. Those positive words can crowd out the negative words stuck on repeat in your head.

3. Keep building your strengths

One reason why we are so self-critical is that we become fixated on our shortcomings. It becomes easier to focus on what we lack rather on our considerable skills and successes.

This is a mistake. Fixating on weaknesses takes precious time needed from building upon the strengths you already have.

More often than not, your shortcomings are the flip sides of those very strengths you already possess. Lacking a master’s degree, for example, may be the reason why you put so much time mastering your work. Your blunt speaking is the result of your leadership skills. Your stumbles in public speaking are matched by your considerable rhetorical skills as a writer.

Put your energy into building up your strengths. That includes learning more about your strengths as well as the key tools you will need to get better. And learn to tout these strengths instead of talking about your shortcomings.

What you say will affect how you think about yourself. At some point it will probably dawn on you that you were more than enough, after all.

If you find yourself in the text of this article, we hope that you will take its advice to heart, as well as the truths of what God says about you.

At Certa Publishing, we hate the thought of any of our authors beating themselves up through self-criticism. We believe in you and what God has put within you! If you need encouragement today, please reach out.