Dreams Coming True: From Unpublished Island to the Shores of Success

Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).

seekers

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s Dreams Coming True giveaway, BECKIE. Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.

Welcome the ladies of Seekerville to Dreams Coming True! 

SEEKERVILLE COLLAGE 2014

Tell us a little about Seekerville:

Seekerville is a blog of thirteen published Christian writers who met as unpublished writers while on the contest circuit. Our names continually appeared as winners or finalists in various RWA and ACFW contests. Appreciating the power of prayer we decided to unite and pray each other into publication.

We are the Seekers and our home is Seekerville. We all began on what we call Unpublished Island and have sailed to the publishing shores of success. Among us are RITA finalists, Carol Award finalists and winners, and Christy Award finalists. Since 2005 we’ve published more than one hundred and fifty books.

Our name comes from our mission statement. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

When did this creative dream begin?

We began our collaborative prayer time in 2005 and the Seekerville blog itself launched in 2007. As several of us sold to traditional publishers we decided that we wanted to share what we offered each other–support, encouragement, and information for the writing journey.

What makes your blog, Seekerville, stand out from the crowd?

Seekerville has a mission and we don’t deter from that mission. We truly believe it’s our calling as a group. We encourage, teach and inspire. That’s it. That’s our job and we take it very seriously.

We also understand the elements of a successful community. Our success is based on word-of-mouth. While we have begun to advertise, 90% of our new traffic is from word-of-mouth. We believe consistency, and useful content, along with staying true to our core philosophy is responsible for our success.

How does your project create community?

Our mental image is a visitor walking into our house. You become our family. What’s the natural response to family? We greet you by name, we chat with you one-on-one. We commiserate when you have problems. We cheer our villager’s successes and we create opportunities for them to succeed. Finally, we provide a safe place for villagers to share.

Every good hostess has the responsibility to not only feed her guests, with good blog content and a welcome smile, but to send them home with something. This is why we do our very successful giveaways, though they aren’t required of us or our guests. We also provide giveaways as a way to say thank you.

Another unique feature of Seekerville is that we often have several conversations going on in the comments. Most are directed for our host blogger in the form of questions and answers. But, a day in Seekerville means we share news and greet new faces.

Describe the behind-the-scenes effort of your project. Where do the ideas come from? How many are involved in the process? Does each contributor have a specific role?

We can only describe Seekerville as divinely inspired. How else can we explain a group of this size that is going on its seventh year as a blog? We’re a creative group and ideas come from everyone.

Behind closed doors Seekerville is like an orchestra. There is no Seekerville without each and every instrument. Over the years we have divided up the responsibilities among us, and this makes the blog run smoothly.

To this we add that barring deadlines, natural disasters, internet failure and out of office days, we expect everyone to show up (the thirteen Seekers) six days a week, and we expect all posts to go up at midnight. Consistency counts and our villagers count on us.

What’s been the hardest part about getting it off the ground?

There is no hard part. When there becomes a hard part, we’ll know that it’s time to retire our community.

What have you learned? Have there been any unexpected surprises?

Our entire journey has been a surprise and a constant miracle. Thirteen unpublished strangers are now all published, and remain close friends.

We’ve met hundreds of virtual strangers, our villagers, who are now our dearest friends.

We’ve had the pleasure and honor of helping dozens of writers sail off unpublished island, over and over again.

Seekerville has also seen numerous group blogs launch based on our philosophy, using our platform as a model for building their success.

In 2013 and 2014 we were presented with the Writer’s Digest Best 101 Websites for Writers Award. We’re beyond grateful.

What are some ways you promote and market Seekerville?

Over seven years we’ve dabbled in many promotion projects. What we’ve learned is that we don’t need to. Our target audience will come to us if we keep true to our mission statement.

We really do minimal advertising in the form of bookmarks, pens and other conference tschotskes. Occasionally we do print advertising. We maintain a webpage, Twitter feed, and Facebook page to reach out to writers.

We’ve learned over the years to avoid any marketing that cuts into our writing time. At this time, we don’t believe that monetizing the blog is an area of consideration for us.

What social network has worked best for you?

Our primary social network is the blog. Time and again we’ve been told that blogs are dead, but we don’t find that to be true for us. In November 2013 we reached one million unique hits. Our monthly unique hits vary from 32K to 38K.

What advice would you give someone else who has a creative dream like yours?

Pray. Hard.

Where do you see this project in five years?

That’s a very good question. We don’t have a clue, but it’s pretty exciting to see how the Lord keeps opening doors.

You can find Seekerville and the thirteen Seekers at:
Our web page: www.seekerville.net
Blog: www.seekerville.blogspot.com

We’re open 24/7 so do drop by for virtual food, conversation, teaching and encouragement. You can also email us for a welcome packet at seekers@seekerville.net.

Thanks for having us. The Seekers: Mary Connealy, Janet Dean, Debby Giusti, Audra Harders, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, Cara Lynn James, Myra Johnson, Glynna Kaye, Sandra Leesmith, Julie Lessman, Tina Radcliffe, and Missy Tippens.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. Marianne says:

    Hi Susanne…and Welcome Seekervillagers! So goo to,see you on Suzanne’s blog!

  2. Thanks for having us, Suzanne! What a treat. (Now if only we had some vanilla ice cream. lol)

  3. Jan Drexler says:

    Yay, Seekers!

    You said, “We encourage, teach and inspire. That’s it. That’s our job and we take it very seriously.”

    You not only take your job seriously, but you do it well. My journey to publication started the day I found Seekerville. I may have been published without you, but it wouldn’t be so much fun. :)

    I’m so happy to be one of the Seeker-villagers.

    • the best part of Seekerville isn’t what we GIVE it’s what we GET. The Seekervillagers are so fun and creative and hard working. It’s inspiring to talk with them everyday.
      It keeps our own energy high and our focus on WRITING. so many distractions in the world it’s important to protect our work.

  4. Hi, Seekers!
    So fun to see you here!

    • Hi Crystal. It’s so fun to see you and Jan Drexler and who knows who else, over here. I haven’t read through the comments yet.
      SUZANNE these ladies are part of our community. And without them the blog wouldn’t exist.

  5. Ruthy says:

    Suzanne!!!! I’ve got fresh fruit, have cute hubby bring the ice cream and we’ll do a random taste testing for him!

    Huge thank yous for having us over for “tea” today! I love what you’ve done with the place, it looks awesome!!! :)

    And I saw a note about Amish clotheslines earlier today… I love that Mayberry-type feel that’s disappearing from so much of our landscape. Pies coolin’ in the window, clothes flappin’ in the breeze. That reminded me of Auld Lang Syne America. Thank you!

  6. Ruthy, seriously, you need to write an Amish book. The world would never be the same. :)

  7. Hey, Suzanne, thanks SO much for hosting Seekerville today — MUCH appreciated!!

    Tina, fabulous job on the interview — makes me want to join the group ALL over again!! :)

    And, Mary … QUACK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  8. Pam Hillman says:

    Oh….this is where we can get the vanilla ice cream, isn’t it?

    Bring it ON! :) lol

    Seekerville is such a fun, welcoming community. Where would we be without our Seeker Sisters (and brothers)?

  9. Debby Giusti says:

    I brought Georgia strawberries to enjoy along with the ice cream!

    Thanks, Suzanne, for featuring Seekerville on your blog today! It’s always a good day in Seekerville and spreading the joy to your site just doubles the fun.

    Waving to the Seekers and Villagers! We’re family. Plus our arms are open wide to embrace all those on the journey to publication. Readers too! In fact anyone who stops by Seekerville is automatically part of our community. Thanks for spreading the word.

    Hugs!

  10. Wilani Wahl says:

    I first heard of Seekerville through Julie Lessman. I have had a longtime dream of writing. I love making up and telling stories. However writing is a different matter. I was scared and had no idea how to start. Seekerville has been such an encouragement. I am learning something new every day and am on my way. So grateful for the new friends I have met since March.

    • Audra Harders says:

      Wilani, we love seeing you in Seekerville. You found Seekerville through Julie? My she does get around, doesn’t she? LOL!

  11. Thanks for this interview, Suzanne. It’s great to get the scoop on Seekerville’s history. Finding Seekerville was like inhaling a breath of ocean air! I’ve been visiting there for a few years now. It’s such a great community. Everyone is hospitable and encouraging, and the expertise that’s shared is invaluable.

  12. LyndeeH says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    Thanks for this interview! The support, friendship and encouragement I’ve received from the Seekerville bloggers has been immeasurable. And I’ve made some great friends along the way. It’s always fun to meet Seekerville posters in-person. We have an immediate bond. That’s really nice for those of us who fall into the isolating writing hole while working!

  13. Heidi says:

    I love following Seekerville! As a reader it’s fascinating to hear about what all goes into writing and publishing, and it’s so fun getting to know the authors!

    • Heidi, you think we’re fascinating?

      I am totally printing your comment out and showing it to my husband.

      “See, honey!!!??? Right there!!!??? I told you I was fascinating!!!!!!!!

  14. Missy Tippens says:

    Suzanne, thanks for having us! We’re honored to be mentioned on your blog today.

  15. Susan Mason says:

    Hi Suzanne & Seekers,

    Just stopping by the attest to the wonderful support, prayer, encouragement and great information provided by these super ladies! I am one of the followers that is now sailing off unpubbed island – and it is due 100% to the things I learned at Seekerville!

    Thank you so much, ladies!

    Sue :)

    • Susan we help, support and encourage (plus have fun) but YOU WROTE THOSE BOOKS! You sailed yourself off Unpubbed Island with your hard work, persistence and determination! YAY SUSAN!!!!!

  16. Audra Harders says:

    Suzanne, what a fun, informative blog! I love it. Thanks for having us today. Is there any ice cream left? Rumor has it Debby brought juicy Georgia strawberries? Forget dinner, I’m going for dessert, LOL!

  17. Let’s make this clear. No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog and I did not send checks nor twist arms either. What nice people you all are to stop by and say hi and say nice things. XXX OOO

  18. Why do some of you have faces and I am faceless?

  19. Nancy C says:

    Oh my gosh! Look who’s here! Seekers! Can’t say enough good things about the blog and all it’s helped me accomplish. Thanks to all of you … and thanks for having them, Suzanne.

  20. Glynna Kaye says:

    I’m late to the party! But thank you so much for opening your “home” to the Seekers today, Suzanne! Being a part of Seekerville has been so amazing–so much fun. And as I believe others have mentioned, even when we meet Seeker Villagers in person for the FIRST time, we already feel like we know them. It makes writing conference attendance much more enjoyable and less “scary” for everyone. You already have built-in buddies to pal around with!

  21. Natalie Monk says:

    Hi, Suzanne, hi, Seekers!!!
    Loved reading this post! You all have encouraged so many! I’m grateful to have followed the story and have learned so much from the blog! Can’t wait to see what God has in store for ya’ll in the future!

  22. Hi Suzanne and Seeker Ladies, Wonderful to see you here. I feel blessed through the teaching and encouragement received from Seekerville. May the blog continue for many more years.

  23. Patti Jo says:

    Love the Seekers!! :) They are all so very helpful, encouraging, and kind. I’ve truly learned a LOT from their blog postings, and treasure their friendship. ~ Thank you for featuring them here, Suzanne!

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