Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What Are Values Statements and Why Do I Need Them?


The writing process varies and is unique to each writer.  I do a lot of prewriting – thinking, journaling, jotting down thoughts all over the place in various notebooks or computer.  Then I take these thoughts and start giving them some kind of working title/subtitle, structure and direction.  Finally, I start writing a rough draft.

Your writing process may be different – and that’s great!  We need to find a process that works!  However, I highly recommend that whatever your process is that you take this one prewriting step of creating value statements.

What are value statements?  Value statements let your readers know the value to them of reading your book. 

There are two reasons value statements are important. 

First, for you the writer value statements provide direction when you’re writing.   They’re a bit like a very informal outline, or if you don’t like that outline word, they’re like a map of the main points of your book.


Secondly, for the readers value statements communicate what’s in it for them if they read your book. They want to pick up your book, read the back copy (where value statements are often found), and have an idea if your book will help them.

Another way to identify value statements is to imagine your readers’ felt needs.  In other words what do they feel and what do they need?  Readers today are looking for results and for their needs to be met.

Let’s look at examples of value statements from one of Lysa TerKeurst’s books.

Note there are a couple of sentences of lead in, and then the bullet points below are the value statements. 


The Best Yes:  Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

By Lysa TerKeurst

(From the back copy of this book)

Lysa TerKeurst is learning that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God.  In The Best Yes she will help you

  • Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
  • Escape the shame and guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
  • Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom-based decision-making process.
  • Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your Best Yes today.

Now let me give you an example of the thinking process to develop a value statement.

I start with my title and subtitle, What a Husband Needs from his Wife: Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually, both giving me the main direction for my book.

Then I begin to think about some of the points I want to communicate to my readers about what a wife needs to know about her husband’s needs. I know many couples get hung up on the communication issue.

So I start with the word communication.  Then I ask myself: What does a husband need when it comes to communication and what does a wife need?

I answer: A wife and a husband both want good communication, but their communication styles are often very different from one another.  This difference often leads to conflict. 

Then I ask: Why does a couple need good communication in marriage?  Another way to think of this, So that what will happen?

I answer: A couple needs good communication so that they feel close to one another and connected. And it prevents fighting and conflicts. 

So now I write some lead in, and then I write a value statement based on answering these questions.

“Melanie will provide practical and biblically sound ideas to help married couples understand how to grow closer as a couple.  She will show you how to

  • Use communication tools to connect in a way that brings closeness instead of conflict.
  • Etc…

So, now it’s your turn! Use these notes and examples as guidelines.  Most books have 3 – 5 value statements.

I promise it is worth the time and effort to create value statements.  As you write your book, you’ll find value statements to be an invaluable map, pointing your writing in the right direction and providing a way for you to stay on course.  Ultimately, value statements help your book deliver the content your readers want and need.

Blessings –


Leave a comment here | 1 Comment
Share and Enjoy:
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Question I Get Asked Most

There is one question that I’m asked most both here on the website and when I interact with speakers at She Speaks. They want to know, “How do I increase my speaking opportunities?”

It’s such a great question, but it has such a long answer. I want to help answer it today by reposting a series that my sweet friend Tracie Miles wrote for Next Step years ago. Today, I’m reposting the first of the series, and there will be a link at the end to access the series in its entirety.

If you’ve had the most-asked question, you’re going to LOVE this, and even if you’re down the road a bit, the series will be a great refresher! Take it away, Tracie!


Doesn’t the term “marketing your ministry” sound crass, or too business like?

Isn’t ministry supposed to be about spirituality and walking through the doors that God opens? 

Isn’t marketing typically done to try to make ourselves known, raise our platforms, increase business, or just make more money?

Is trying to market my ministry a prideful or ungodly thing to do? 

The above questions are ones that most new speakers struggle with as they face the challenge of balancing their desire to speak, versus the fear of being prideful and self promoting.  I know this first hand, because I struggled with that balance when I first felt called into speaking about five years ago.

Even though I felt sure of God’s call on my life to be a speaker. I vividly remember wondering how in the world anyone was going to know that I existed. I also remember wondering why in the world anyone would ever consider hiring me as their event speaker!

However, my ambition and desire to do God’s will was stronger than my insecurities, so I took the plunge and embraced the mindset that if God had planted this dream in my heart,  that He would bless my marketing efforts to move forward with it!

So I began to take some baby steps – such as creating my own website through Yahoo, developing a brochure, a business card, and a promotional postcard, and formulating a mailing lists/database which I compiled from addresses on the internet.

We often fear that through intensive marketing, we will be overstepping God’s will, pushing our name, and trying to make our own paths.

Although these are valid and normal concerns for someone whose heart is sold out for Christ, I believe that God encourages us to invest in ourselves, just as He invests in us.  When our investment pays off, He gets all the glory. As long as we keep pride at bay, we can feel confident in pursuing God’s will.

Think about it this way.  It does not glorify God for us to acknowledge the spiritual gifts that He has given us, and even be thankful for them – but then never use them.

God desires that we use our investments wisely – just like the parable of the five talents in Matthew 25 . Although the word “talents” in the parable is referring to money, you can obviously extend the meaning to other areas as well. If you still have concerns, or even if you don’t, I want to encourage you to take some time to read over that parable in your spare time, and pray about how GOD is calling you to begin investing in YOU.

Now that I have dispelled the myth that you can’t invest in marketing your talents, I want to spend the rest of this marketing series giving you some tips on building your speaking ministry from the ground up.  —Tracie Miles


To read the rest of the Marketing Your Message series, click here.

Leave a comment here | 2 Comments
Share and Enjoy:
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

If You Like to Speak WAY Better Than You Like to Write


I don’t want to be a whiner, because I know that I have amazing opportunities to write. To be honest, though, I like speaking so much more than I like writing. Writing is hard, hard work for me, and sometimes I just don’t want to do it.

Imagine the delight I’ve been experiencing in two new mediums: podcasting and Facebook Live!

If you’re in the boat with me on writing, you’ve GOT to try these mediums! They are ideally suited for speakers and both are up-and-coming ways to communicate.

I started the day by listening to a recording of Chrystal Evans Hurst from She Speaks 2015. Her session was on podcasting, and she gave fabulous advice. Chrystal predicts that podcasts will grow in popularity because of the mobility factor on smart phones and because people can choose exactly what they want to listen to.

About six weeks ago, my friend Cheri Gregory approached me about being her co-host on a new podcast. Can I just tell you that we’re having a blast, and it’s my favorite thing I’ve done in a long, long time. I’m energized to the point of super-charged! If you want to listen to one of our first episodes with the fabulous Kathi Lipp, I’ve included the hyperlink below.

Today, completely on a whim (re: I’ve chickened out hundreds of times, and I decided if I posted that I was about to try it, I would have to close my eyes and leap!), I did my first video on Facebook Live. I had already decided that I didn’t want to write a blog post on my personal blog today, so I was going to video a vlog on my iPhone, upload it to Youtube, and embed it.

Instead, I did the video on FB Live, and it was fantastic fun even though it’s wildly imperfect! I hope I get better as I go along, but there are some definite instantaneous rewards for a speaker girl:

  • It’s fast and easy.
  • I can’t agonize over and and try to edit all my flaws out. Water under the bridge, baby!
  • I LOVE interacting with the people watching. I’ll have to learn to do that better, but I’m such a relational girl that I can already tell FB Live is going to become one of my favorites.
  • Seriously, FB Live unlocks Facebook! I have been incredibly frustrated at how little coverage my posts on my ministry page get. When I heard that video is loved by the FB algorithms, I figured their version of video would fly the farthest. I was right! That post has already gotten more views than anything else I haven’t paid for, and it’s been less than 2 hours since I did it. Awesome sauce!
  • You can embed your video in your blog and let it do double duty.

So there you go. I’m not the one to help you with all the steps to implementation, but there are lots of free tutorials out there to help you. I especially love the tutorial videos on Youtube.

If you’re curious, for the podcast and to watch the video (or watch below).

Leave a comment here | 5 Comments
Share and Enjoy:
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reader Question 9

I am a member of a very large church in suburban Los Angeles. I have found that most churches–including ones where I was a member in the past and on the Women’s Ministries team–no longer have Women’s Ministries and do not hire speakers with the exception of a once per year Christmas tea. Without exception, the speakers they hire are the big names – nationally known women – who have published books, and are known on the national speaking circuit, as opposed to anyone local.  There are many talented women locally. Are there any speaking opportunities for us? ~ Brenda


Brenda has tapped into a frustration that lots of speakers feel. More and more, as our Christian community buys into a celebrity culture (which I’ve written about here and here), there are fewer opportunities for local speakers. Here are a few ways you can address the issue:

  • MOPS groups are great places to speak. Although they generally don’t have much of a budget, they need many speakers a year, so they are always looking. MOPS International has a great website where you can find locations in your area as well as seeing their theme for the year. (This year it’s “A Fierce Flourishing”.) You could create a message around the theme and weave your ideas into communications with the leaders. Although these groups can’t pay much, it’s a great place to get your feet wet and also to establish your credibility as a speaker in your community. You never know who is on a women’s ministry team that’s listening in your audience!
  • Consider speaking in secular settings. Local clubs and organizations are often looking for speakers for their meetings. What truth can you share that would translate into their world? You could develop a message about leadership or creating relationship connections with God’s truths embedded in it. Since God’s ways are always best, it’s not a stretch to do this, and I’ll write more about how to do this in coming weeks!
  • Change the culture at your church. A few weekends ago I was at a retreat where the weekend was peppered with testimonies of the women in the church along with my sessions. It was wonderful! If you’re in women’s ministry leadership, why not suggest that to the group? Or why not volunteer to share your testimony for the next women’s retreat at your church? I know it’s a little awkward, so follow the Lord’s leading, but sharing in a small way may lead to larger speaking responsibilities later.

This has been the hardest question yet to answer. The truth is that being on the P31 speaker team gives me lots of opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’d love for our community to weigh in! Where do you find opportunities to speak?


Leave a comment here | 3 Comments
Share and Enjoy: