Big News~Rona is relocating!

HG Books Logo 2013

Starting just the other day, the Rona Shively Stories is being re-released through Books from Higher Ground!  Rona’s publisher, will be closing its doors in September of this year and so, in order to ensure that Rona’s stories stay available, I have decided to re-release the books under my new publishing company, Books from Higher Ground!  This independent publishing company is not yet accepting book submissions from other authors, but plans to in the near future.  Until then, Books from Higher Ground is accepting submissions for its very first anthology until June 10th!  The anthology will feature stories about women who have either helped or hindered our progress.  We’re asking for your best 500 word story about a woman who has had a significant impact on your life; whether that be a good impact or a bad one.  Those selected will receive a free copy of the anthology.  All proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit Higher Ground Ministries.

It has long been my intention that the Rona Shively Stories would support the efforts of this women’s empowerment ministry.  Rona is a strong woman who has been through many challenges.  She’s the perfect woman to support Higher Ground and her stories are a great testimony about women overcoming obstacles.  If you haven’t already bought your copies, you can buy them at!  Both In the Wash and Under Lock and Key are now available for just $8.95 plus shipping.

In the Wash 2013Under Lock and Key 2013

If you have a story you would like to submit for the anthology, please send it to with the word, “Anthology” in the subject line.  We look forward to hearing your stories!

Attention All Winners: It is time!

Well, the time has come.  You must now pre-order your copy of the latest Rona Shively story, Thy Will Be Done.  No ifs, ands or buts, the time is now.  LOL.

Thy Will Be Done copy

Seriously, in celebration of the sixth book in the series, the first twenty-five who order their copy from me will receive an entry into my drawing to win a brand new Kindle e-reader!  That’s right, and for those who order one or more Rona Shively books between now and the official release date for Thy Will Be Done, your name will be entered into a drawing for all Kindle versions of the Rona Shively stories!  So there are a couple of ways to win.  Pre-order Thy Will Be Done and you could win a chance at the Kindle e-reader.  Order any other Rona Shively story and you get a chance to win all Rona Shively stories available for the Kindle.  If you’re really lucky, you might win both!

The official release date for Thy Will Be Done is February 4th, 2013.  To order and get your entries into the drawings, e-mail me here!  Winners will be announced on February 5th!

Good luck!

Free Books & Author Spotlights in 2009

As part of my Author Spotlight feature, I’ll be giving away a free copy of the spotlight author’s book to one lucky subscriber each month. This month’s spotlight author will be J. Walt Layne. His information will be posted by next week and all subscribers to this blog will have a chance to win a copy of one of his books. There will be new author spotlights each month and lots of chances to win great books! Stay tuned to the blog for your chance to win!

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One for the Authors: How do you reach your readers?

I was sitting here this morning trying to figure out when I had done my last newsletter when it dawned on me that I’m not sure I need both the newsletter and the blog with all of the other stuff I’ve got out there. I’ve been working on my websites alot over the past couple of years and seem to be stuck in a pattern that I’m not sure is working as well as it can be to promote the books I write. Between the blog, the social networking, the websites and the newsletters, I still don’t know what is really working for me.

I subscribe to a number of marketing newsletters and I visit alot of different types of blogs. There’s John Kremer’s Book Marketing Blog and Newsletter. I don’t regularly visit the website, but have been known to hang around there after reading something intriguing on his newsletter. The newsletter is always very helpful, but doesn’t always compel me to visit the site. This is probably because when I find a good website, I tend to read it very carefully the first time I find it and only go back to it when I’m tipped off that there is something I need posted there.

Basically, Kremer’s newsletter works in tandem with his website to promote content that is especially useful to new and established authors. He keeps the main content on the site for longer periods of time and then updates little bits here and there; promoting the changes in his newsletter(which I believe is how most people do it). As for blogs, I wasn’t even sure where the blog for John Kremer was until I did some digging today so that I could do this post. He’s just got so much good stuff over there that I may never get to all of it. This is why I believe his newsletter is probably his most effective tool for reaching me. It may be different for other readers.

The same can be said for one of my other favorite blog/newsletter combos, Penny Sansevieri’s A Marketing Expert. I visit Penny’s site frequently, however; her blog is located right on her website and is much easier to follow. She does more with social networking sites than anyone I’ve seen. I always enjoy watching her posts on Twitter and Facebook because I know that I can use just about everything she posts. Nothing is wasted. If you aren’t following her on Twitter, you’re missing out.

One other marketing expert that I love following is Nikki Leigh with Promo 101. She does a number of things to help promote authors and she has blogs, websites and all manner of outreach. Again, she has so much information on her sites that it can be difficult to get to all of it. But, it is always there waiting for when I have the time to look at it. She has all kinds of different things authors can participate in to help promote themselves and their books. For example, my books are part of the Bad Guys and Villains blog, the Judge a Book by its Cover blog and I believe, the Share your Heroine blog. These can all be found on her website under Free Promotional Blogs and are well worth the time it takes to send her your info. Her newsletter is also very good, but they focus more on promoting current book tours and things like that. I tend to get more from just browsing her websites and blogs to see if I’ve missed anything.

I do follow some of my favorite fiction authors’ blogs. Sometimes I visit to see what new projects they are working on but mainly I visit to get ideas about how I could better design and promote my own work. One that I visit regularly is author J.A. Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. Konrath has, without a doubt, the best blog about how to survive the publishing game that I’ve read. I’ve gotten lots of good information here and always go back to see what else is new. I don’t believe there is a newsletter attached to this blog; at least if there is, I haven’t seen it. I’m not sure it needs one, though. It’s one of those you simply must put on your feed list.

For me, I’ve gone back and forth with my websites. For a while, I had the Rona Shively site featured as the main block of information about my writing. I changed it a little over the last couple of years and then decided that I needed to promote my other writing as well by setting up Rebecca Benston Writes. After that, I created my blog. All the while, I had the Life and Times of Rona Shively newsletter going but I’ve never been quite sure about its reach. The newsletter only focuses on Rona Shively stuff. My blog seems to reach a lot more people, but I tend to promote the hell out of it by using Facebook, Myspace and Twitter to let people know when I have posted something new. The Rona Shively newsletter is in need of a facelift, but I’m not quite sure what direction to take with it. My books are evolving and so the way I promote them needs to evolve as well. I don’t know if a Benston Writes newsletter is the way to go. It doesn’t really seem to make sense yet.

Marketing and promotion are always on my mind and thankfully, there are talented people like John Kremer, Penny Sansevieri, and Nikki Leigh out there giving great advice on a regular basis. I’m still looking for more great author blogs to read and link to and am hoping that in 2009, I’ll find just the right formula for getting the word out about The Rona Shively Stories and my speaking series’, Tea & Mystery and Write Yourself Right. If you know of any good blogs or websites that I haven’t mentioned here or that I haven’t already linked to, please let me know. I’m always on the lookout for good information.

Until next time…

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