Saturday, January 31, 2009

More on Marketing

(What's outside my window: A cloudless crystal blue sky and snow on the ground. The top layer melted a bit yesterday, leaving an icy glaze. It's windy and very cold.)

There is a generation of people who are not accustomed to the Internet, and the majority still do not own computers. I'm speaking of the WWII generation.

Sales of books online is a huge blessing for writers. But there are people out there who would love to read your book, but will not buy online. They don't trust the security. There are two things a writer can do to reach this group of people.

1. Put up an online printable order form if you are selling your books from your website. Suggest this to your publisher if they sell your book from their site.

2. Gather names and addresses of your mother's, aunt's, grandmother's, friends that have expressed interest in your book. My mother has been chatting up the release of Surrender the Wind with her church Leisure Club, her ladies' group 'The Fun Bunch', and at her hairdresser's. She let me know that her friends want to read the novel but don't have computers. So, she is gathering their names and addresses. I will send them each a letter in the mail when Surrender the Wind is released, along with addresses of bookstores near them.

I'll include inside the envelop a bookplate with my signature and the date, so their book will be considered a signed copy.

More on Marketing later....

But in the meantime, if you have an 'out-of-the-box' marketing tip, please share it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Marketing A Novel

(What is outside my window: Snow has glazed the limbs of the trees and is softly falling.)

Friday I received an email from Peggy, Abingdon's long-time publicist. She gave me a glimpse into the marketing of my novel Surrender the Wind. I am sharing this with my blog readers, b
ecause there are misconceptions among many writers that publishers do nothing to promote their authors' books. Granted, this may not be the model that every publisher uses. But Abingdon is launching a new line of fiction. I like the word 'launch'. It implies the news about these novels will be set in motion, and thrust into the book industry with zeal.

So here is what I know so far. First, Peggy sent me a spread sheet with a list of bookstores in my area, from Frederick, Maryland, to Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Since I know the area better than the staff at Abingdon in Nashville, I was asked to go through the list and see what stores would be appropriate for a signing. I begin that today.

In January, Christian Retailing Magazine announced that Abingdon Press is launching its first list of novels in the fall of 2009. In February, Publishers Weekly will also publish an announcement about the launch.

In April, Abingdon will print and mail their Fall 2009 Fiction catalog to more than 8000 reseller accounts. So, if you own a bookstore, or work at a library, you could acquire a catalog. Abingdon will print several thousand copies of 'fiction samplers' for distribution at events and for reading groups. If you have a reading group, contact Abingdon in April for a 'fiction sampler' of their fiction line, particularly for Surrender the Wind.

Organizations, reviewers, and key influencers will recieve the samplers, ARCs (advanced reader copies, and electronic samplers. Abingdon is rebuilding their website to include a fiction mini-portal with an e-newsletter, author event calendar, author interviews, and support for reading groups. Once the site is up and running, I'll post the link here.

There is a lot to do on my end, even though Surrender the Wind will not be available until August. I'll be sending announcements and making contacts with my library system, local bookstores, and reading groups.

I want to encourage aspiring writers to learn all you can about the business side of writing. Embrace it with joy, that it is a part of your career.

As an aspiring author, what things are you doing now to promote your name? What kinds of things are you doing to build a platform?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Premio Dardas Award

Susan Reinhardt of Christian Writer/Reader Connection
has awarded InSpire the Premio Dardas Award. I am honored!

"This award 'acknowledges the values that every Blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values with each message they write.' Awards like this have been created with the intention of promoting community among Bloggers. It's a way to show appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web."

Here are the rules:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted it to you, along with his/her blog link.

2. Pass the award to (15) other blogs that you feel are worthy of this recognition. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen as recipients. I didn't quite make it to 15.

Here is my list of Blogs that I am passing this award on to.

Bonnie Toews / Heart Tugs

Lynn Mosher / Heading Home

Marylu Tyndall / Cross and Cutless

Michelle Moran / History Buff

Amy Deardon / A Lever Long Enough

Lori Benton / Kindred

Hoydens & Firebrands

Christine Lindsay

Writer to Reader

Reading, Raving, and Ranting

Inspirational Editor

The Seekers

Book Therapy

Saturday, January 17, 2009

An Author Completes Substantive Edits

(What's outside my window: A pure blue sky. Misty clouds above the rim of the mountains in the distance. Snow is predicted for tonight. There are always crystal blue skies in Maryland before a snowstorm.)

The second phase of editing is over. As with the macro edits, when I received the file for the substantive edits, I was nervous. I had no idea how much red or the amount of track changes I would find. I was surprised. It was not dripping in red, and the process was relatively easy.

This phase was given over to another editor, Jenny. She asked me to accept or reject changes. I've come a long way learning the ropes on how to use Word, but this was one feature I did not know how to use. So I emailed her and asked if we could speak. What a sweetheart. She called me within ten minutes, and walked me through the process. And what fun working on track changes it was!

Editors are our advocates. At least that is what I've experienced so far. So do not fear them. They are there to help. Some writers bulk at changes to their manuscripts, not wanting to change one jot or tittle. Do not allow yourself to be one of those writers. A good editor will help you polish your novel to a high sheen.

Barbara, my acquisitions editor, is a gentle leader. She is incredibly patient and encouraging, and not remiss to point out the good things about my writing along with weakness which she has shown me how to correct. She is worth her weight in gold. Jenny prefaced the edits with support. She told me it had been a pleasure to read Surrender the Wind, that I am 'a great writer with a knack for beautiful scene description'. She went on to tell me the revisions were light because I had implemented the macro edits so well. When I opened the file, I was delighted to see that the changes were mostly comma placement, hyphens, some typos etc. I was given a week to finish, but it only took me a day.

Now Surrender the Wind is with a copy editor.

Meanwhile, Abingdon is working on the marketing of their fiction line. My novel and one other will be the first out of the starting gate in August. The purpose of InSpire has been to journal about the process of production. I'll share about the copy edit phase next. But I will not be lax in sharing with my readers the marketing and promotional aspect that my publisher and I will be working on.

I have a saying: Marketing is getting your book into the hands of readers. Promotion is building a name, an image.

So get ready for it. Marketing and Promotion are often daunting to writers. Believe me, it can be a blast, and I'll show you how in upcoming blogs. Don't get me wrong though. It is also hard work.

Pop on over to Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers. I'll be posting marketing tools there as well.



Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers

Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers has a new home. Please stop in and post a comment. And if you have time, post an announcement on your blog about the magazine. It's sole purpose is to promote writers of inspirational fiction.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Substantive Edit Arrival

The next round of edits have arrived in my email box this morning. This phase is called the substantive edit. What is this you ask?

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, the substantive edit deals with the organization and presentation of existing content. It involves rephrasing for smoothness or eliminating ambiguity, reorganizing or tightening the writing. The manuscript is given a light editorial hand at this point, and the author's v
oice is respected.

Another phase of editing will follow this one, where the novel will be
placed in the hands of the copy editor for style and punctuation.

A word of caution to writers offered a contract. Most vanity presses and pod publishers do not edit authors' books. The do not do a macro, substantive, or copy edit. Most only do a
spell check. Avoid these publishers at all costs. If you must go this route, hire a reputable editor to edit your novel.

I must close, roll up my sleeves and get to work. But before I do, for those of you published, please comment on what your experience has been with editing your writing. ______________________________

Surrender the Wind
Coming to a bookstore near you ~
August 2009


Friday, January 9, 2009

Making Headway

(What's outside my window: Clear blue sky today, but snow later in the forecast.)

Yesterday on the Seekersville blog. my editor, Barbara Scott, was interviewed. Seekersville included the book covers and a synopsis for each book that are in the launch, for Autumn 09. I learned a bit more about how the wheels are turning. My novel, Surrender the Wind, and one other, will be the first out of the starting gate. The release date is August. Can you imagine how excited I am! Oh, yea, my heart pounds when I think about it.

Barbara answered questions in the comment section and shared Abingdon's plans for prom
otion. In turn, I'm sharing this with my readers, so that you know that reputable publishers do promote their authors' books. You will find from time-to-time, vanity and print on demand publishers will tell writers that publishers do not promote books, that it is solely left up to the authors. This is just a tactic to reel aspiring writers in. Don't believe it. After reading the following, I hope that you are convinced to be patient about your chances of becoming published. That you will work hard at your craft to excel in writing. And that you will be persistant.

'Abingdon's publicity and marketing plans look like a schedule for the invasion of Normandy', and I quote Barbara. This month publicity begins for the Fall 2009 list, and by February, Abingdon will take out ads in Publishers Weekly. They will release a fiction catalog and a bound fiction sampler. These will be used by Abingdon's sales representatives to promote the new line at conventions, and to reading groups, book reviewers, and more. Advanced reader copies, ARCs, will be ready to go out by April. These will be given to book buyers, handed out at conventions, go out in mailings ( which I am thinking this means endorsers), used for blog tours.

Okay, now if that isn't exciting enough, there is more. In July, ads will be at the International Christian Retailing Show. They will have ARCs and some books, hopefully mine, ready for the show and handed out to buyers. Abingdon is contacting reading groups, so if you have a book discussion group, you should take a look at Surrender the Wind and consider it for your list. Contact me, and I'll pass your group on to Abingdon.

There will be a lot of promotion on my end. Interviews, blog tours, book signings. If you are interested in reading Surrender the Wind, and spreading the news, please let me know. I am open for interviews. If you would like to put up something on your blog about Surrender the Wind, contact me and I'll gladly supply the cover and a brief synopsis.

I cannot express how much your help will be appreciated.


Surrender the Wind
Coming to a bookstore near you ~
August 2009


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Book Promotion

(Outside my window: All the trees are encrusted with ice. In the grove of evergreens, branches are breaking off due to the weight. The sky is white and freezing rain is falling. The farm field and the mountains in the distant are misty.)

Book promotion. Those two little words often strike dread into the hearts of authors. We just wish there were a better way. . . especially in this economy.

In my local paper this morning, is an article about how people are flocking to the library instead of the bookstore. I cannot say I blame readers. Right now, for so many people, books are a luxury. So they buy them used fr
om Amazon or get them for free at the library.

This can be disconcerting for an author. What can we do to sell our books? In my opinion some of the old ways are non-eff
ective such as business cards and bookmarks.

My goal is not simply to sell lots of copies and make lots of money. No. My goal is to give a reader the chance to flee the trials and troubles of this world for a little while, by going into the world of my characters. An escape. A few hours to be inspired, to go back to a time when people thought of others and not only themselves. Where the driving force in life was love, self-sacrifice, and faith. A time when marriage was honored and vows were sacred.

Beside my desk, I have a binder marke
d 'Marketing' for Surrender the Wind. In it are lists of influencers, reviewers, book clubs, bookstores, etc. I've been thinking what can I do to get the word out about this new inspirational historical romance? What can I do to spark a real appetite for this novel? Word of mouth? Book discussion groups? What do best-selling authors do to cause readers to buy their books? It's something I want to examine, and I hope you will look at this with me.

What marketing techniques do you feel are the most effective? What makes you want to purchase a book?


Surrender the Wind
Coming to a bookstore near you ~
August 2009


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Releases

(What's outside my window: A misty, icy rain is falling.)

I belong to a fabulous group of historical fiction writers. I thought today, I would post what is out now from my circle of sister writers.

Faith Westcott is a lady by day and a pirate by night. Can she garner the riches she so desperately needs before her secret is revealed? Captain Dajon Waite is determined to catch the fiery redhead who has been pillaging the Carolina coast. When Faith invites his courtship, she hopes his infatuation will shield her true identity and keep other suitors at bay. Can the love of a godly captain win her heart, or will she be forced to marry Sir Wilhelm Carteret, a man obsessed with taking her to wife?

As Lilly toils in her father's apothecary, preparing herbs and remedies by rote, she is haunted by memories of her mother's disappearance. Villagers whisper the tale, but her father refuses to discuss it. All the while, she dreams of the world beyond—of travel and adventure and romance. When a relative offers to host her in London, Lilly discovers the pleasures and pitfalls of fashionable society and suitors, as well as clues about her mother. But will Lilly find what she is searching for—the truth of the past and a love for the future?

Jessica Neale turns her back on everyone the day her husband dies. After conceding to a vacation in England, a bizarre storm and near-fatal accident alters her reality, and she finds herself in the past. When confronted by a knight bearing the mirror-image of her apathetic heart, it's a rude awakening to what she's allowed herself to become.

Trouble at home sends Ariana to her aunt's townhouse in the fashionable Mayfair district of London. There, she soon finds herself neck-deep in high society and at odds with Mr. Phillip Mornay, London's current darling rogue. Then, a scandal changes Ariana forever. Her heart, her faith, and her future are all at stake in an unexpected adventure that gains even the Prince Regent's attention.