Monday Spotlight on J. Steve Miller
I am happy to spotlight one of my fellow John316marketingnetworkers today. J. Steve Miller has written an outstanding book called Sell More Books that all writers should read. He wrote it especially to help other authors. Here is what Dr. Robert E. McGinnis, author of 15 young adult novels, has to say about it. “Sell More Books! is “filled with useful tips I don’t find elsewhere. A masterpiece of research, wisdom, and encouragement.”
Here are some questions and answers I asked Steve to share with us.
1. Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an
adult. Can you see a connection between those books?
Interesting question! The earliest books I recall capturing my
imagination were super hero books. In the late 60’s many of us felt
restless, like there had to be more to life than going to school,
getting a job, making money, raising a family, and dying. To me, James
Bond or a super hero had significance. They made a difference. That’s
part of what attracted me to Christianity as a high school student;
Jesus offered deep significance, like God had commissioned me with a
So today I write books, not for fame and fortune, but to help and
impact others. Books have changed my life. With “Sell More Books,” I’m
able to help fellow authors who are impacting others as well.
2. That’s a great testimony, Steve, which leads right into my next questions. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
Probably the principle expressed by Jesus when He said that He came
not to be served, but to serve. The church I attend is big on finding
practical needs in the community and meeting those needs. They don’t
meet a need and preach the gospel; they do acts of kindness with no
strings attached. It’s amazing how many people are impacted
spiritually as a result.
So in my books, I try to meet needs – like The Contemporary Christian
Music Debate to help churches choose their worship style, or Enjoy
Your Money! to help young people get a handle on their finances, or
Sell More Books to help authors write and publish successfully.
3. If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what
setting would you choose?
Slovakia. We lived there until my wife was diagnosed with cancer.
Sipping coffee at a cafe on a cobbled street in historic Bratislava,
near a wall that still holds a canonball shot by Napolean’s army –
that kind of setting inspires reflection. I’d need my entire family
there as well. They keep me out of the clouds and tell me candidly
whether my writing works or stinks.
4. I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way
without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about
technology that you don’t like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances
I love writing with computers. I can write from any location, can type
crappy first drafts at lightning speed, followed by relentless
editing. Then I can send digital copies to scores of people to get
their input. I’d be very frustrated going back to pen and paper.
5. Me, too! As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort
By getting constant input, I find that what makes sense to me doesn’t
make sense to others. That stretches me, forcing me to constantly
rethink what I’m writing. I’m very idea-driven – getting ideas from
everyone. I sent early manuscripts of Sell More Books to many authors
and publishers. Their candid input – often ruthlessly honest – let me
know where I needed to do further research, or how some of my counsel
applied well to fiction writers, but not to writers of textbooks. Their challenging input resulted in a much more accurate book.
6. What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone
had given you?
As I was writing my first book, I studied writing and studied the
writing industry. Concerning writing, an editor for InterVarsity wrote
in Writers Market, “If you’re writing nonfiction, read Zinsser’s On
Writing Well, and do what he says.” I read the book and wrote a page
of his suggestions to help me self edit, like “Use active verbs – get
my subject doing something.”
I also read up on the industry. Today, it’s in such flux that authors
need the latest information to succeed and keep from being scammed.
That’s why we wrote Sell More Books. I wish I’d had that information
when I started out.
7. Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it? What
are your website addresses?
You can find it on Amazon (Kindle or paper) here:
For other places to order, more reviews, etc., see the press page:
Thanks for the interview!
Thank you, Steve. I hope my readers will click on that last site to read much more about the book, even the chapter titles. Then check it out on amazon.com and order your copy. I’m sure glad I did! Rose
Monday Spotlight on J. Steve Miller