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Sandra Barela, Owner, Celebrate Lit Publishing & Publicity Group

Sandra Barela was awarded her master's in English from Southern New Hampshire University. During her program, she took a publishing class and fell in love with the industry. That infatuation sparked Celebrate Lit Publicity Group where she helps authors publicize their books through low-cost blog tours and other promos. In the summer of 2016, she opened Celebrate Lit Publishing to help Christian authors bring their books to the reading world. The avid Christian fiction reader and author enjoys helping other great Christian authors succeed, one book at a time.

If you have published a book, Celebrate Lit Publishing and Publicity Group comes highly recommended. Feel free to connect with Barela and her team. According to Barela, her favorite part of Christian book publicity is, “Getting to know wonderful Christian authors and bloggers. They have truly become like a family to me.”

We had an opportunity to speak with Barela about Celebrate Lit Publishing and Publicity Group and her passion for helping authors publicize their books.

VBD: Why did you start Celebrate Lit, and what services do you offer?

SANDRA: We started the Celebrate Lit because we wanted authors to have an option to market their book without having to spend lots of money and without having to be concerned what secular books they would be next to. Our niche is our 14-day blog tours that reach 400,000 people on average. We also offer Epic Book Launches to help give your book an amazing release and monthly multi-author promos to help build your social media.

VBD: How has your mission for Celebrate Lit evolved?

SANDRA: When we started, our plan was only to do book tours. They were successful and truly helped authors. Since then, we have added several new promo opportunities because we saw they were vital to the author’s success. We also saw that many small press publishers were closing so we decided to open our own publishing house to bring good Christian literature to the world. We have evolved from reaching a few hundred people with a tour to reaching over 400,000 and from just two authors in our publishing house to over thirty.

VBD: How has the pandemic changed the way you live and operate your ministry?

SANDRA: We have always been an online ministry, so the pandemic did not affect us much. The largest impact for us was not being able to host our writing retreats and nor attend writing conferences.

VBD: What are three major keys to building a successful literary ministry?

SANDRA: God is always first, people over profit, and speaking truth in love. Striving to put the Lord first has been vital to our success. As soon as we take our eyes off Him, issues become overwhelming. The second key is to remember people over profits. We scholarship every author that uses our publicity side. Our goal is not to make money but to help authors. The Lord has blessed this, and we have grown from four tours a month to over twenty-eight.

Finally, we want to speak the truth in love. It is important to be truthful and that can be hard. It is hard to tell an author their manuscript isn’t ready for publishing, or their cover needs work to reach readers, but we have learned it is very important. By instructing the author and connecting them with people (editors and cover designers for example), we are helping their manuscript to be the best it can be, and we are helping them grow in their field.

VBD: What helps you to keep going when things are tough?

SANDRA: My author and blogger friends and family. They remind me that this is the Lord’s ministry and how needed the ministry is. They are not afraid to hold me accountable. I am so thankful for them.

VBD: What’s in the works?

SANDRA: We have several things coming in both the publicity and publishing arms of our ministry. For publicity, we have been working on helping authors with new releases as well as nurturing their back lists.

For publishing, we have a new 1940s mystery set that pairs a fairy tale with a mystery. So fun! We have a couple of new series starting next year as well as our first non-fiction title.

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By Icylin Morgan

Contributing Editor

About Icylin

Icylin Morgan is an educator at heart. She has held many positions in the education system including master teacher, guidance counselor, and principal. She gained a Bachelor of Education degree from Western Carolina University and a Master's in Education in School Counseling from Florida A&M University. She enjoys working in her community and is involved in several projects, clubs, and church activities. Icylin operates as the Curriculum Developer and Contributing Editor for Victorious By Design.



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