Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Time to Give

by Jill Williamson

In case you haven't noticed, it's almost Christmas! I love Christmas. I wanted a Christmas wedding. I wanted to carry a bouquet of poinsettias, I wanted a Christmas tree where people could put the wedding gifts, I wanted hooded cloaks for me and my bridesmaids to wear, and I wanted to leave the reception in a one horse open sleigh.

Alas, I got married in June. :-( But if I could travel back in time, I'd tell myself to do it anyway. Nothing better than Christmas in June, right?

Today, I wanted to talk about giving. Writers have a unique opportunity. Whenever a person opens one of our books, it's like we've been invited into their home to speak to them. How cool is that? It's better than cool. It's precious. And humbling. Like Spiderman learns: "With great power comes great responsibility." We are charged with doing our jobs well, and respecting the power we are given. And it's a gift that publishers and readers give to us too. I'm thankful for that.

It'd been almost four years since my first book came out, and I'm still in awe of the opportunity I have to speak to readers through my books. But there are many other ways that authors can give to readers. Here are some that I do on a regular basis:

-Answer readers' emails
-Blog about writing
-Teach about writing in schools or at conferences
-Donate books for all kinds of reasons
-Donate critiques for all kinds of reasons
-Thank people in my books

I recently learned that some dear friends of mine were trying to adopt a girl from Eastern Europe. Adoption is expensive, and until they raise over $40,000, little Sydney can't come home. Just learning about their desire to adopt and the fact that they've been unable to have children of their own put tears in my eyes. I wanted to help. But I don't have much money right now. Plus it's Christmastime, and we wrecked our van hitting a cow. (We live in Free Range territory.)

Sydneysoon to beHaydon

But I am a writer. I am creative. And I came up with a way to try and raise money to bring Sydney to her new family. I self-published an enovella. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo will keep their cut, but 100% of my proceeds from this book will go toward Sydney's adoption.

Many things had to fall into place for this to happen, and many have given to Sydney's cause already. Jeff Gerke gave me permission to do this project when Marcher Lord Press holds the rights to my storyworld. In doing so, he also gave up his right to make money off the story. Kirk DouPonce donated a cover, and teens from his church volunteered to model. Rebecca LuElla Miller, the freelance editor I hired, gave me a big discount on editing. As did Kerry Nietz on ebook design. My agent, Amanda Luedeke, waived her right to her 15%. And Chris Kolmorgen had an hour-long, (midnight for me, 2:00 a.m. for him) brainstorming session with me, helping with some last-minute content editing, though that might not have been a sacrifice of sleep on Chris's part, as he is an insomniac, anyway. ;-)

The result is my first self-published project. It released this week. To celebrate that, Jeff allowed me to put book one on sale. So, for the month of December, The New Recruit is $2.99 on ebook. And Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 is also $2.99.

I'm so excited to be able to experiment as a writer and try new things. And nothing is more exciting to me that discovering a new way of giving back. So, please help spread the word about this project. Tell your friends and family, who like to read. And if they don't like to read, they can still donate to Sydney's fund. My friends have a very long way to go.

And now, I'm proud to introduce Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5.


Ever since I returned from Moscow, life is a full court press. Mission League field agents are everywhere. All the time. Watching. Waiting for me to fulfill a sixty-year-old prophecy. When some baddies try to guy-nap me, the field agents threaten to move me and Grandma Alice to some random hick town, to give us new fake identities until the prophecy is fulfilled.

Not going to happen.

I've got one chance to stay in Pilot Point. I have to prove to the agents that I can stay safe. Have to make this work. For basketball. For Kip. For Beth.

So, bring it, baddies. It’s game on.



100% OF THE PROCEEDS FROM THIS ENOVELLA GO TOWARD THE ADOPTION OF LITTLE SYNDEY FROM EASTERN EUROPE. PLEASE, HELP BRING SYDNEY HOME.


To recap, The New Recruit, book 1, is $2.99 for the month of December, and Chokepoint, always $2.99, is now on sale and all the proceeds go to Sydney's adoption.

Click here to view The New Recruit: Mission 1, Moscow on Amazon Kindle
Click here to view The New Recruit: Mission 1, Moscow on B&N Nook
Click here to view The New Recruit: Mission 1, Moscow on Kobo

Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on Amazon Kindle
Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on B&N Nook
Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on Kobo

And click here to visit Kevin and Wendy's blog Haydon Family Growing's On to learn more about their adoption adventure.

This is my last post before the Christmas Go Teen Writers break, so Merry Christmas to you all. Have a lovely time. Read lots. Write lots. And eat lots of fudge.

Love,


PS. What gift do you most look forward to giving as a writer? Or, if you give as a writer already, how do you do it? Please share.

38 comments:

  1. Wow. That is...wow. Such a wonderful, wonderful idea! I have 2 sisters adopted from China, so I know how that process goes. I'll certainly tell people about that!

    "With great power comes great responsibility." That is something to think about. Thanks for sharing that (I've never seen Spiderman)!

    Well, I'm not entirely sure what I look forward to giving, but at the moment, I just like being able to use my writing to make people smile. I try to do that as often as I can.

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    1. That's great, Amanda. I love reading my stories to my son. I love it when he laughs at something I wrote. It's the best. Do you read to your sisters?

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    2. Sometimes. Not usually. But I do send what I write to other people, and sometimes I write things specifically for people (a story that I think will be extra special to them, for instance).

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    3. Ooh, that's a neat idea, Amanda. Cool.

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  2. That is so awesome! Adoption is close to my heart and I love what you are doing! I bought the book last night : )

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    1. Aww! Thank you, Alyson!
      You do have the spy kit, after all. :-)

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  3. Ohhh, a Christmas wedding. Jill, you've inspired me. That sounds just heavenly. As to your question...I'm going to echo Amanda here:

    "Well, I'm not entirely sure what I look forward to giving, but at the moment, I just like being able to use my writing to make people smile. I try to do that as often as I can."

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    1. When you have your Christmas wedding, I want to see pictures, Olivia!

      Who do you read your stories to?

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    2. Absolutely. ;)

      I send my stories to my sister, my friends, and the online community at OYAN*. I love letting people read my stuff. :)

      *One Year Adventure Novel

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    3. Cool, Olivia! Are you going to the OYAN conference this year? I am!

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    4. Gah! I'm an OYANer too and I want to go to the conference so bad. But I don't think it's going to happen this year. Have fun at it, Jill.

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    5. I will! And I'll miss meeting you. Some other year, perhaps. :-)

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  4. I too wanted a Christmas wedding! Sounds like our ideas were very similar too. And I wanted to light the tree instead of the unity candle. But alas, I too got married in June! But it was at the beach, so it was a fair trade. ;-)

    Now off I go to buy your ebook. What a wonderful, generous idea, Jill!

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    1. Like candles on a tree, the old, old school way? So fun.
      A beach wedding does sound nice...

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    2. Did either of you get married on June 25th? My cousin wanted a winter wedding but she got married in April. If I can find a good man and one I really like, I'll be open to any month ;)

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  5. I am adopted and I love what you are doing. The main gift that I want to give as a writer is to help people. I want to help my readers as much as possible, touch them in some small way and make a difference in someone's life. That is the gift I want to give. Wow, what a great post, it really inspired me to continue writing. Thank you so much for what you are doing.

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    1. Thank you too, Sara. All of you! Books are so powerful. They can change a person's life. Don't give up! Keep at it. :-)

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  6. This is really inspiring!
    It's great that you're using your writing to help people. I'd love to be able to do the same someday.

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    1. Thanks, Kate! I bet you'll be able to. :-)

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  7. My parents got married a few days after Christmas. My mom said it was perfect, since they didn't have to spend any time or money decorating. The church was already set!

    What a beautiful idea to sell the enovella! And I'm sure it will be a huge blessing to that family.
    For me, if one person is take away the gift of being able to see God's love in a new way, growing closer to Him through something I've written, or even just enjoying the story, it'll be worth it. Some of my very favorite authors are the ones who focus on giving to readers, whether through the books themselves, blogs, replying to emails, etc.
    Have a Merry Christmas!

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    1. Awww! I'm jealous... Joking. My wedding was very nice.

      Thanks for sharing your goals, Anna. And for sharing how readers have blessed you too!

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  8. That is such a kind and beautiful idea to sell the enovella for the family! I will definitively be buying it!
    Merry Christmas all!

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    1. Thanks, Leorah! Merry Christmas to you too! :-)

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  9. I'm sure this family is so grateful. It's so inspiring that all of the people involved in helping you get published were willing to work for cheap or free, and that all of the profits from your hard work will go to this adoption. It's even out in time for the holidays!

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    1. Yeah, it was pretty cool how it all came together. I had a lot of good people to help me. :-)

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  10. I love this idea! You are such a good friend,

    I'm not really sure how I can use my writing right now, I would hope that I'm able to encourage others here when they need it

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  11. Jill, this is such a generous thing to do! I'm so inspired by your story, and all who helped the family's cause. I'm going to do my best to spread the word about the novella.

    Merry Christmas! :)

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  12. Aww! How nice! I'll definitely spread the word :) As a writer, this year I'm writing a short story with all my friends in family in it as characters (names changed of course). They really love my writing and always ask to be characters so here we are!

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    1. That sounds like so much fun, Cassia. Great idea!

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  13. That's awesome Jill! I really like how teens from that church volunteered to model!
    I will try to spread the word!
    I think what gift that I'm trying to give for Christmas to my friends would be to hopefully finish writing a few more chapters for them. They are continuously bugging me and asking what comes next! =P
    My friends and I are all writers and we're also thinking of putting our money together to buy something from "World Vision" for people in need!
    Thanks for the post!!!

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    1. That's so neat, Fire. What a great thing to have your friends so involved in your story, and the World Vision thing too. :-)

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  14. That's great! I love how you're using your talents to help others. Non-writing-related, I'm going Christmas caroling with a group from my school at a local Christian nursing home. As for me, I won't be doing anything writing-related, although I did write a Christmas-themed short story and put it online, and I think I'll write some more. Thanks for the post! You (and the rest of the GTW contributors) are so inspiring.

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    1. I love Christmas caroling, Katia! So fun. Our church does a hayride caroling event each year. We ride through town from the church, to the retirement home up on the hill, we go in and sing there, then we ride to the other retirement home, sing there, then ride back to the church. It's hard to hear singing on the hayride, but it's a lot of fun. :-)

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  15. What a great idea, Jill! Friends of mine just bought two kids home from Eastern Europe.

    That sounds brave to want a Christmas wedding. I already a December baby, so I'd rather not add yet another thing to a busy month. A bouquet of Poinsettias sounds really pretty, though.

    I want to use my stories to inspire people to help the fatherless and live their faith.

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    1. Well, I can imagine that a December baby would have enough of parties and celebrations in that month. I'm a July baby, so things were evenly spaced out for me there.

      That's a lovely mission statement, Leah!

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Disagreement is welcome. Rudeness is not. Please be considerate of each other!