If Lifeway is gonna let you have a copy of Looking For Lovely for only FIVE AMERICAN DOLLARS, I’m gonna help you build out a little gift for a few different women in your life.
Today- let’s talk about those dears that are between seventeen(ish) and twenty-three(ish)! In addition to a copy of Looking For Lovely, here are a few gift ideas I loooooove that I think college-aged gals will love too. So pick a few or pick ’em all, but they will be great co-gifts with the book!
East Pole Coffee :: delicious coffee, cool guys who make it, all the fancy terms that coffee people care about like POUR OVER and all that business I don’t know, trendy and tasty.
Lovely jar :: so sweet and beautifully handmade.
Darling Magazine Subscription :: it’s just my favorite, so many amazing features and photographs.
OPI Nail Polish in You Don’t Know Jacques :: the perfect shade for December to March.
Cuff Ring :: I am DYING over this cuff ring from fashionABLE. I feel like every girl I see studying at a coffee shop has one like it. (So obviously I want one too.)
Graphique Dipped Foil Hard Cover Journal :: when it comes to journals, spiral is a must to me. This one is adorable.
Looking For Lovely Bible Study :: the yellow cover is for younger women, so I’d suggest that one here.
So there you go! I’m gonna help you out with the single ladies and the mamas in your family this week too, so stick around! Also, if you have any gift recommendations to go along with Looking For Lovely, leave it down in the comments for us. That’ll be fun to see what y’all share too.
It’s Looking For Lovely‘s first Christmas! Baby’s first Christmas! I should definitely get an ornament. BRB… ordering a glittery one from Etsy. 🙂
But seriously- it gets me so so excited to think that a lot of friends will find Looking For Lovely inside the wrapping paper of their Christmas gifts this year! (Which. By the way. You know Lifeway has Looking For Lovely for ONLY FIVE AMERICAN DOLLARS? Yeah, online and in stores. That’s ridiculously cheap and I am thrilled about it.)
Books as Christmas gifts are great. BUT….
Autographed books as Christmas gifts are AWESOME. Unfortunately, unless you live on my street in Nashville, I can’t personalize each book. BUT. I can mail you a signed bookplate that sticks inside the book! So if you are gifting Looking For Lovely, I’d love to autograph it! And it won’t cost you anything except a few stamps!
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Here’s what you have to do to get one:
2. Mail a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
c/o Annie F. Downs
PO Box 121826
Nashville, TN 37212
Pretty much, address an envelope to yourself, put a stamp on it, and then fold it into another envelope, address and stamp that outer envelope, and mail it to me.
3. Wait patiently a few days… hang a few ornaments… and then the sticker will come in the mail, personalized by me! Stick it in the copy of Looking For Lovely you are gifting, wrap it, and you shall be able to give your friend/child/cousin/person an autographed copy!!! (I also have a handful of those cool stickers in the picture above- we’ll toss one of those in until we run out. SO HURRY if you want one!)
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A few things:
I need to receive your envelope BEFORE DECEMBER 20th to guarantee it gets to you by Christmas.
I will let you know by email when I put the bookplate back in the mail to you! [I’ll have your email address after you fill out this form and I will be able to get in touch with you.]
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For starters, I have one billion pictures I want to post from the KLOVE Awards on Sunday night. I did a few on instagram – my red carpet look, with former UGA football coach and a true hero of mine, Coach Mark Richt, and with my sweet parents who came to Nashville for about 12 hours just to attend the show with me. But more pictures to come, don’t you worry about that.
It was a great experience. Seriously, SO GREAT. I got to meet some amazing artists like Jon Foreman that I LOVE. (That I KLOVE? Ouch. Puns forever.) I got to see tons of bands play that I would pay to see, and I ran into tons of friends from my Girls of Grace days and Nashville friends that I never see because we all travel so much. It was super super fun.
Here is a video from my snapchat of the day- getting ready that morning all the way until I got home from the awards that night.
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Before I tell you how it felt to not win, let me tell you how it felt to be nominated: unbelievable.
Looking For Lovely is such a tiny new baby, just months old. The idea that this book is making an impact in enough lives that it would be noticed by KLOVE absolutely made me smile from ear to ear. I really hoped we would win- it doesn’t change my bank account or my twitter following to have a trophy from KLOVE, but it does get the book in front of a lot of eyes that don’t know me, and that’s important to me. And I love that book. So I love sharing it.
But it didn’t win.
Here’s the thing: Looking For Lovely losing the KLOVE Fan Award wasn’t anywhere near the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced, I didn’t cry or anything. But it’s just a strange feeling. A sad, strange feeling.
I have so so so much newfound respect for the movie stars who have to sit there, with a camera staring them down and an excited smile on their face for the winner, when maybe their heart, like my heart, fell to the floor when another name was called.
I felt sad because losing is terrible, no matter how you slice it.
I felt embarrassed because so many of you, my friends, voted for me and I didn’t want to have to tell you we lost.
I felt disappointed because I got my hopes up that we might win.
It doesn’t change the honor of nomination, it doesn’t change how much I loved the night. It just sucks to lose.
On my flight yesterday, I was reading Proverbs and a verse jumped out at me:
“Even in laughter the heart may ache.” — Proverbs 14:13 (NIV)
Right? Do you ever feel that? So while my heart may ache because Looking For Lovely lost, there was a lot of laughter, too. They can both exist in the same moment. I’m not scared of the mystery of that. I’m really okay with it.
And also? I was in a room absolutely full of losers.
Of the ten-ish awards, there were something like fifty to sixty nominees, and less than ten winners.
SO. MANY. LOSERS.
Hillsong United. Kari Jobe. Rebekah Lyons. Natalie Grant. Coach Richt. MercyMe. Jen Hatmaker. Chris Tomlin.
If that’s who you hang with in the “loser” category, I WILL TAKE IT.
So what happens when you lose a KLOVE Fan Award?
You feel your feelings, but you join a very cool club of people. And you have great memories from a night you’ll never forget.
Thank you, KLOVE. And thank you to all my friends who voted. We’ll get ’em next time.
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Happy Looking For Lovely Bible Study Launch Week! (that’s a mouthful)
I’m so so happy with how the studies turned out AND how they connect beautifully with Looking For Lovely (the book). BUT. It was a surprisingly challenging experience, to be honest, writing a Bible study. I had no idea how different Bible study writing and book writing were! But BOY DID I LEARN.
So for this episode of the podcast, I sat down with one of my very favorite humans/Bible study writers, Angie Smith. Pretty much, it’s a free therapy session for me about the writing process…. and we invited y’all to join us.
What you are about to experience is pretty much exactly what every single conversation between us is like- ping-ponging from funny to serious to updating to heartbreaking to laughing. We are truly this insane. (But we may really be on to something with this twix bar idea.)
Here are the links to things we discuss on the podcast:
— Angie Smith
— WELD (where we recorded)
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One of my favorite questions people have been asking me the last few weeks is what I am praying as the new book launches and what they can be praying for me and for the book.
My answer is simple, but it hasn’t come simply.
I have big hopes and dreams. Looking for Lovely is my fifth book (here are the others) and so I want every launch to reach more people that the one before. I see how other authors’ books do on launch weeks, I see the best-seller lists and I see the “million copies sold” stickers and I see the Today Show appearances and I see all of it. And if I’m being honest with you, I want all of that. I want to be really good at my job. I want to run a great business with great resources and happy employees. I want all of our books and products and Bible studies to make an impact and fly off shelves.
And so I wrestle with my insides about deciding what matters and what doesn’t matter, fighting off the lies that this book will never matter and the pride that says this book matters more than anything else. I’ve been narrowing down which of that list is about me and what is about God and the reader, the ones who actually matter here.
(Overuse of the word “matter”? Yes. Definitely.)
It has been a process. God has refined me deeply in the last few months, it has been ugly and painful at times, and brought my heart to a more right place. A place where what matters most is HIM and YOU.
So here’s how I’m praying and here’s how I’m asking you to pray alongside me tomorrow and for this whole launch week.
–> I’m asking that God would put Looking for Lovely in ALL the right hands.
–> I’m praying that He would protect the mail and guard bookstores and that every person who wants Looking for Lovely this week will be able to find it easily.
–> I’m praying that any plan the enemy has to steal, kill, or destroy launch week would be thwarted in the power of Jesus’s name. Satan has no authority in this situation. None.
–> I’m praying that every reader who receives this book would be brought under the shade of God’s tree, a tree of peace, so they can sit and read and rest.
–> I’m praying people who don’t know God will meet Him in the pages of Looking for Lovely and give Him access to their hearts.
–> And I’m praying that whatever happens this week, people would look at God and know He did this, He made a way, and He is worthy of all our praise.
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When you write a book, you usually get people to endorse it. You know, other authors or celebrities or someone that the reader knows and trusts. You ask those people to read your book and then write 1-3 sentences about the book. And, you ask the people to be VERY NICE because it matters what endorsers say because that’s what the person shopping in a bookstore will read. The title, the back of the book, and the endorsements.
In the last three years, my life has changed pretty drastically. God has taken me to some deep places of my own pain and I lost a good bit of control. I went to a lot of counseling and shed a lot of tears and my heart and mind and body started changing. Then joy came, and hope.
And my friends were there for all of it.
So instead of traditional endorsement requesting, I asked some of my real life best friends to write endorsements. (Get it? Friends writing endorsements? FRIENDORSEMENTS.)
Annie (a different one).
A few months ago, I sent them each an email with the PDF of the Looking for Lovely manuscript attached with a request. I didn’t want them to tell you about the book in their endorsement; I didn’t want them to tell you why you should read it or why the book matters.
I wanted them to tell you it was all true. Every word you read, every confession I made, every story of heartbreak and every story of victory. And I want you to believe them. I want you to believe that God can do the miraculous, and I wanted you to hear it from my friends who saw it happen in my life.
They were all kinder than I deserve, but at the heart of their words, they all said what I want every reader to believe.
The book is true.
My life is different.
I’m not the Annie I used to be and I will never be the same because of what has gone on in my life in the last three years. And that’s the best way for me to describe what Looking for Lovely is about- the greatest transformation my life has ever known.
And I cry every time I read the friendorsements. I am beyond grateful for these words and these people. I am Annie because of Jesus and these friends, and others, standing by me on the good days and the bad.
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Looking For Lovely will release on April 5, but it is available now for pre-sales… and it is only $9.70 on Amazon! CRAZY! If you pre-order, there’s lots of fun prizes and stuff. 🙂
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It’s been almost a year to the day that I signed the Looking For Lovely book deal with B&H/Lifeway. I don’t have the time or space to tell you how that all worked out, but it was a total God thing for me for sure. I’ve been dyyyyyyyying to tell you so many details about it and finally, now that it’s available for pre-sales, I can tell you all the things. Hallelujah.
I don’t know if I’ve ever told y’all this, but anytime I sign a book deal, I have to sign three copies of the contract. I don’t totally know why, it’s a lawyer thing, but everyone signs three. (I should know why. Sorry I don’t. I just obey.)
It’s actually really fun for me, because what I do is sign in three very important places with very important people. Then, I take a picture at each place with said people. In one of the halls in my house, every book deal I’ve ever signed is framed, with three pictures.
Now that we have a cover (which I LOVE and can’t WAIT to tell you who designed it and how!), I can print out the pictures and frame them all together and hang them up. I also want to show you.
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Amanda has been an amazing friend to me since we were in MIDDLE SCHOOL. And high school. And college. God bless her. And last year, when her job moved her to Nashville, we got to be roommates, just like our days at the University of Georgia when we lived together. (Crazy, huh?)
I asked her to come with me to Red Bicycle where, a few weeks before, sitting at this very table, I had a very significant conversation. I was deciding what publisher was right and where I felt I wanted to be, and sitting here, talking to someone else over chai and a gluten-free crepe, I knew the right home for this book. So I came back to this table to sign one of the copies of the contract.
(Two points to notice: those are not our drinks. They are other people’s drinks. We asked the strangers to get up so we could sit there and take a picture. I HAVE NO SHAME. Also, I’m so glad we did this when we did, because since then, they have repainted all the tables! No more cool green. Whomp.)
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Sarah was my assistant for a few years and truly was my second brain. Sometimes, truthfully, my first brain. My better brain. DEFINITELY. And she walked side by side with me while we went through some major changes at Downs Books Inc, including this publishing change. I couldn’t imagine that season without her. She lived every page of Looking for Lovely with me, long before I ever wrote it.
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The day of that conversation at the green table at Red Bicycle, I was about 90% sure of the decision I was going to make of which publishing house was the right fit. It was cold that day- super cold- but I knew I wanted to go to Radnor Lake. So I wrapped up in my animal pelt coat and went to the bridge. You’ll understand more when you read Looking For Lovely, but this place has become sacred to me. So I wanted to stand on this bridge, pray, ask God and thank God, and say a few things that mattered to me before making this huge professional change in my life.
And then I got back in my car, warmed up my hands, and called my agent. And the rest is history… 🙂
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Looking For Lovely doesn’t come out until April 5, but it is available for pre-order with some super fun prizes! So go ahead and order it today and let it surprise you in the mailbox in a few weeks! 🙂
I can tell you all the things. I’ve been waiting (not patiently) and hoping and begging and waiting… dying to tell you all about it. Now I can. Praise hands emoji.
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My next book, Looking for Lovely, releases on April 5, 2016… but pre-sales start TODAY!
Looking for Lovely is a book about perseverance and pain and healing and Nashville and Jesus and how to face the hard things. It’s for women of all ages, but probably focuses towards college and up. (More like the Let’s All Be Brave crowd, not the teen book crowd, though teens can TOTES read this.) The best way I can tell you about it, without using too many words, is in this video below… and you get to see Radnor Lake, my favorite place in Nashville!
(And that thumbnail shot … it’s a real treat, isn’t it? hahahahaha)
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You know how when you’re throwing a big party, it’s really good to get RSVPs so you have enough food for everybody? Here’s a bad thing that happens with books: if book retailers don’t know that people want to buy the book (come to the party), they don’t have enough in stock (enough food for the party-goers). And then there’s backup and your book gets delayed for weeks and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth… mostly by me.
So. It helps SO SO much if you think you may want the book, or a couple of them, if you pre-order it from your favorite retailer now.
(And it would mean a lot to me. That too.)
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We’ve put it all together for you on one page. Because. You know. I love you and stuff.
There’s four different levels of pre-order, with different prizes (which, you cannot even know how much fun we had picking out these things and making the prize packs!):
One book – “I just want to read it. Yay and thanks!”
Three books – “Me and my two besties love reading books together and would LOVE for them to be autographed!”
Ten books – “Our small group has been looking for what to read next and DANG I get lots of swag if I’m the one who orders the books!”
300 books – “Our church is looking for a speaker in 2016 and if we buy these books she’ll come for free? Boom.”
Also. ALSO. All the pre-orders get a discount code from fashionABLE! NO KIDDING.
You can order from anywhere you want (lots of link options on this page), and then you just email us the receipt. Easy cheesy.
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That would actually mean the world, thanks for offering.
You can use this graphic if you want. Please link to lookingforlovelybook.com and use the hashtag #lookingforlovely.
Or if you just want to use the book cover, here it is! (DO YOU LOVE IT OR WHAT? I know. I cried big fat tears when I saw the cover. Matt Lehman, y’all. He’s more talented than I know how to discuss.)
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With my whole heart. I hope you will too.
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