A few years ago, I heard online about a lady called Jenny. I can’t even remember now just when and where I started to hear of her. At first she was often just mentioned as “ausjenny” and it was some considerable time before I discovered more about her.
Many authors overseas as well as in Australia now know her through her blog, Come Meet Aus Jenny where she has featured many on interviews, told about their books. This kind of exposure is invaluable to published authors. I noticed that Lisa Harris mentioned in her post on ICFW last Tuesday that it is essential for a writer to "get the word out" about her book, and "ausjenny" may not even realise how much help she has been to us.
In the last few years, things have changed a great deal with many more blogs now available to try and follow. However, at that time I personally had a very heavy schedule and found it difficult to keep up with the internet writing scene, especially blogs, but this “ausjenny” was one of the first I heard about as being an Australian in this Christian fiction blog arena. Okay, so I know now I was rather slow to catch on as she has had her blog for the last five years.
For some time I did not even know her real name, did not know until this wonderful woman who was supporting authors overseas began to help and focus more on the increasing number of Australian authors published in Christian fiction. Then I discovered this prolific “Writers’ Helper” was not a writer herself, has no ambition to be a published author. Eventually the news filtered through that “ausjenny” was a Jenny Blake who loves books, especially Christian fiction and was a volunteer at an Australian Christian bookshop. That was only the beginning of my discovering her many and varied talents.
I know that the last few years have been a very tough time for dear Jenny with health and family, including the passing of her mother. But has that stopped her doing what she can where and when she can to help authors? No way!
This is just one personal example. My husband’s publisher told him he really needed to do more promotion for his 31 Day Devotional series. While I’ve had a website for a while now and finally ventured into having a blog, Ray and I are both technically challenged in this whole modern era of the internet. A writer friend told me how good Jenny was at setting up blogs, so who did we turn to for help? Jenny Blake of course and she was wonderful.
Since then Jenny has been very involved in helping start online ventures for Australian writers. Currently, with Narelle Atkins, she is one of the administrators of our Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance , and the last few weeks the new Australasian Christian Writers Yahoo group and the new Australasian Christian Writers blog. What would we do now without you, Jenny?
I believe there are other Writers Helpers that so often we never really know about. These days, published authors simply have to be involved on the World Wide Web and promotion in all kinds of areas so readers know our books are available. There are others like Ray and I who need heaps of technical help. I know I still have to spend far more time on social media and promotion than I want to. It takes up valuable time I’d much rather spend writing my books. How much harder it would be without our Jenny Blake.
So, here’s a very big “Thank you” to all those folk who love books, who have no ambitions to be writers themselves but seek to support us in practical ways - as well as praying for us. May we never be tempted to take your help for granted or forget to thank God for you.
And, dear Jenny, this is my personal thank you for all your support and prayers for Ray and I as well as the heart you so obviously have for Christian writers.
Would love to hear comments from other writers around the world about their own invaluable “Jenny Blakes”. Perhaps there are other readers who would love to help writers "get the word out" about Christian novels. There may be some authors reading this who personally have been also helped by our Aus Jenny Blake over the years.
Mary Hawkins lives in Tasmania, Australia, with her retired minister husband. They have three adult children and six grandchildren. She is the author of 19 titles and is delighted her Heartsong Presents contemporary Search series and historical Great Southland series are now available for readers again as e-books through Truly Yours Digital Editions