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).
Welcome the ladies of Seekerville to Dreams Coming True!
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Seekerville is a blog of thirteen published Christian writers who met as unpublished writers while on the contest circuit.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 We all began on what we call Unpublished Island and have sailed to the publishing shores of success.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?
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.