Thursday, March 7, 2013

Supporting one another in the writing community

The life of an author is never dull, is it? Our writing might take some interesting turn or other we perhaps did not quite foresee, for example, or some new challenge pops up that stretches our current knowledge and abilities and keeps us on our toes. At least, that’s what I’ve found lately—particularly on the promotional side of things.

My latest challenge was to be a part of my very first ‘blog tour’ ever. It was organised by the Australian Christian Readers’ Blog Alliance, under the auspices of our own Narelle Atkins and also Jenny Blake (see I was a little tentative about this at first, to be honest. I had read about such tours in the USA, but couldn’t seem to wrap my brain about what they were all about. Now here was our very own ‘home-grown’ one, inviting me to be part of it, as an author or as a reader and reviewer.

In the end, I took the plunge and chose to have my non-fiction book Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey included in a tour last month. What an interesting experience that was! Some reviewers in this alliance chose not to review my book, since they prefer to stick to fiction, which is fine. But those who did choose to read and feature it, either with a review or some thoughtful response to the book, did a wonderful job, for which I am truly grateful. One alliance member who reviewed the book even went to the length of buying another copy via Amazon and posting her review there, which I found amazing—especially since it was such a positive review! As well, some interviewed me with interesting questions or suggested a topic about which I might write a guest blog for them.

I enjoyed all the liaising involved in being part of the tour. Yes, it took some time on my part to write those interview responses and guest blogs, as well as the various emails necessary to expedite matters. But these readers and other authors were doing me a favour, when all is said and done. They were providing me with an opportunity to promote my book amongst their own friends and blog contacts that might never come my way otherwise. It cost me nothing, except my time—my publisher, Even Before Publishing, very generously provided the necessary copies of my book for the reviewers involved. On top of that, I feel I have got to know some of these authors and readers just that little bit more as I have read their feedback and emailed them back and forth.

All this has opened my eyes more to the vital role supporting each other in our writing journeys can play and caused me to be very thankful for such help. Blog tour or no blog tour, we can encourage one another so easily these days through a brief email, blog comment, Facebook post or the like. And this International Christian Fiction Writers group itself is an obvious way we have to share our journeys as well as let the world know what we write.

So today as you read this, may you be encouraged to keep on persevering, not only in your writing but in exploring new promotional opportunities that may come your way. And may God bless and encourage you even more in the process.

Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of five published novels – Heléna, All the Days of My Life, Laura, Jenna and Heléna’s Legacy—and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Her sixth novel, The Inheritance, will be released in 2013. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. For more information, please visit or


  1. You raise an important point Jo-Anne about the need for us to encourage each other in the writing journey and not be daunted by new opportunities. Only this week I sent my prayer partner and soul friend a copy of Soul Friend for her birthday.

  2. Thanks, Dale. Sometimes when I'm tired, I feel I have had enough of those new opportunities (!) but it's a matter, I believe, of listening to God and taking courage when God wants us to step out yet again. And I hope your own soul friend is truly blessed as she reads my book.

  3. Hi Jo-Anne, thanks for sharing your experiences with your ACRBA book tour. I'm glad it was a positive and fruitful experience :)

    Our 2013 book tour schedule is full and we are filling tour dates in 2014.

    If you blog regularly and are interested in reviewing Christian books, please consider joining ACRBA. International members are welcome and in 2013 we are touring books from ICFW members including Shirley Corder, Paula Vince, Christine Lindsay, Ray Hawkins, Donna Fletcher Crow, Dale Harcombe, and Mary Hawkins.

    1. Wow, that's wonderful that the ACRBA book tour schedule is full for this year! Well done to you and Jenny for all your organisation of this. And yes, I did enjoy doing my book tour and will be back there myself with my next novel later this year!

  4. Oh, so glad the blog tour did well, JO!

    Like you once were, I still can't quite get the hang of what is involved in a blog tour. I guess the best way to find out is to jump in and learn on the way.

    I think the idea of having to read then review every book involved concerned me as I don't know how I'd fit it in. I also have to co-write scripts for weekly radio programs plus a weekly blog and am stretched just doing that.

  5. Hi Rita, You'll be happy to know ACRBA members are not required to read and review every book and the minimum requirement is one book every 3 months. The membership rules are listed on the Requirements page on the ACRBA blog. We tour a combination of fiction, non-fiction and children's books. Members can pick and choose the books they'd like to request for review. Some members only review fiction, others prefer non-fiction, children's or a combination of genres.

  6. Jo, Thanks for your comments. I'm so glad your tour went well. I felt bad as I hadn't been able to fit in one more review, so didn't ask for the book. As I read more about your book I could have kicked myself! So I asked you for an interview and what fun that was.( The fabulous thing about the ACRBA is that they supply the code for copy/paste to your website or blog. All it needs is you to add a short review. If you aren't able to do it as in my case, you still post the code and it produces a lovely page about the book.

    We really need some more readers of non-fiction though--so come on folks. Surely you don't ONLY read fiction? :-)

  7. Please don't kick yourself, Shirley! I'm not surprised you didn't have time to do another review in your busy life. Anyway, it was fun doing the interview for your blog. God bless.

  8. thanks for the plug. we need readers who blog as they have a different view of books and encourage authors too. you dont need to rad all books I myself dont read a lot of non fiction.