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Monday, January 21, 2013
Can We Talk?
How do authors promote their works today?
Rely on the publisher for promotion?
With the exception of the first in this list, the others have one thing in common. They cost money. Let’s face it. The publishing industry is changing. The downturn in our economy is a mixed blessing. People are looking for escape from reality and are turnign to books. BUT, they are not buying Christian speculative fiction. Sales are down. Publishers taking chances on this sub-genre are getting hurt by these poor sales. The entire discussion of why the Christian Publishing industry is so bad at promoting this kind of work is way beyond the scope of a simple blog post.
My second book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” launched in October, 2012 and I have tried all of these ways of promotion. Let me share what has been successful and what hasn’t.
My publisher. Charisma Media has been very bold and took a huge chance with the Realms imprint. But, it would seem that the economic downturn and the difficulty of promoting Christian speculative fiction may have taken its toll. We shall see if sales are sufficient to keep Realms alive. The publisher helps out with social media promotion but, as with most publishers today, leaves most of the promotion up to the author.
Advertise? I bought a few internet banners on some specific websites. These banners showed up from November through December. I’m not sure how well they worked. This is the problem. How do you gauge how well such an advertisement works? Will the website give you statistics? So far, I just don’t know how well Internet ads work. I put a local ad in a “Family & Faith” magazine for my book launch. But, that launch suffered as I mentioned below by several factors.
Book Launch. When I launched my first book, “The 13th Demon” in October, 2011 I held a book launch party at my local church’s coffee shop/book store. It was a huge success. I moved over 100 books that night. I advertised in a local magazine and I gave away some donated prizes such as a Nook, a Kindle, and an iPad2. This year, I followed the same strategy and it did not work as well. Why? First, the Friday night I chose also had competing events such as a huge concert featuring a country singer and a very popular high school football game between two famous rivals. And, one of my friends jokingly posted on Facebook that the event had been cancelled so that friend would have a better chance of winning one of the prizes. People took the post seriously and did not show up! I ended up moving about 45 books. Not bad, but not as good as the first book launch. Factor in my cost of advertising, paying for free coffee and snacks, and subsidizing some of the prizes myself and I lost a lot of money. But, I did get some good publicity.
Book Signings. I was blessed to have three book signings during this campaign, one in Orlando, Florida; one in Austin, Texas; and one in my home town LifeWay Store. It is very difficult to get a LifeWay Bookstore book signing, but being a B&H Publishing author helped. The Orlando book signing was a success and I moved about 40 books. The Austin book signing less of a success and I moved about 24 books. The local book signing was a rousing success and I moved more books than I did at my book launch. It helped that the event was the first Saturday after the New Year and people were coming in for huge after Christmas sales.
Book tours. I did not hold a book tour for this second book. I held a tour for the first book and featured signings at several venues including book stores. For the cost of traveling, I did not move sufficient books.
Publicist. So, I hired a publicist. Big chance. Lots of money. Since the first of November, I have given almost 30 radio talk show interviews. Most of these stations are big names and have huge area coverage. The first part of my campaign featured the pitch, “What is so Cool about the Undead?” as my second book features vampires, werewolves, and zombies. I had a blast! I was able to always turn the conversation around to my book and I was able to use my apologetic training to talk about changes in our culture. The second phase of our campaign started a week ago. New pitch: “Do Video Killing Games Cause Violent Behavior in Teenagers?” Man, did that get the radio talk shows buzzing! I had 13 interviews just last week and I’ve got 6 more schedules in the coming two weeks. I have been invited to Dallas, Texas to be featured on a live one hour talk show in the next month. The campaign has been wildly successful. The one caveat: will it drive book sales? Will it drive listeners to my web site? That remains to be seen.
And, here is the warning to all writers. You MUST be able to speak and carry these interviews. You can’t get on the air live and “Hmmmm” and “Uhhhhh” your way through a ten minute interview. In fact, what I am learning is that in order to make a career in Christian publishing, you MUST create a platform that includes the ability to speak on subjects related to your book. To that end, I am attending Michael Hyatt’s PLATFORM conference in February. I’ll try and include details of what I learn in my next Charisma post.
In the meantime, I’m anxious to see if my sales numbers were increased by these forms of publicity. We’ll see. What do you do to promote your books?
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The back cover reads:
When the popular girl whose friends bullied him in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, Turner Caldwell must put the past behind him if they are to survive.
Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full time. On his way to class one day, he is shocked to see Cassandra Todd and her young son in town. The sight of her brings back powerful memories of being bullied in high school—she was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her friends’ mean-spirited pranks.
When Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, he finds himself entangled in a dangerous drama that will require him to forgive and draw on every skill he has if they are to survive.
I was honored to have Lena Nelson Dooley write an endorsement. She said: “I loved Darrel Nelson’s debut novel, but The Return of Cassandra Todd is even better. The multilayered characters, complex relationships, and strong suspense thread kept my attention until the very last page. This one is a keeper.”
Ace Collins was kind enough to write: “This tale of suspense builds page by page as a wife and little boy must depend upon the wits and courage of the ultimate underdog to escape the wrath of a man consumed by hate born of ego and desperation. This is a book that is impossible to put down and a story that lingers long after the final page has been read.”
And Eva Marie Everson wrote: “I became riveted by the story line, the characters’ dilemmas, and the real-life dialogue. I read every free minute I had, often so fast I could hardly keep up with myself because of the heart-stopping action and emotion. In other words: I loved it! I’m a forever fan.”
I appreciate the positive endorsements and hope readers will not only enjoy the book but think about the issues addressed in the novel and be uplifted as well as entertained.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
It's time to celebrate with me.This has become an annual fun thing for me to do. I celebrate and give you a chance to win my books and a gift card. Even more outstanding this year is that my third book in The Ravensmoore Chronicles Series, Mystery of the Heart officially releases today, January 8th. So I'm giving away three sets of my entire series, plus three copies of Mystery of the Heart, and (2) $15.00 gift certificates from Amazon as a way of celebrating.
So you have a chance to win all three books which you can find on my books page here. Feel free to browse, read the first chapters, sign up for my newsletter if you're interested. Tell your friends to drop by and participate. To be entered to win a chance at the books and the gift cards I want you to IMAGINE that you've won an opportunity for a walk on part with your favorite character on Downton Abbey.
Come on over here and sign up for a chance to win
Monday, January 7, 2013
Resolutions or Goals?
New Year’s Resolutions were always been hard for me because I never kept them past the middle of January. Something always happened to get me off track. A few years ago, I decided to toss resolutions out the window and set goals for myself. A few years I began asking the Lord for a Scripture verse and a word that He wanted me to follow for the year. The first Scripture was Galatians 6:9 and the first word was PERSEVERE. At that time I also decided to give God a year to do His work in me, and I in turn would set goals to make myself a better servant of His.
That was the year 2009, and was the year I also received my first contract for the historical series, Winds Across the Prairie. What a ride I’ve had in the past three and a half years.
God is faithful and will reward our obedience and service to Him with blessings we can’t even imagine. Through the good times and the bad, as we trust Him, He is working in our lives to draw us closer to Him.
Writers need perseverance in order to reach their goals whether it’s for that first contract or a new one. We can’t give up on our goals. God never gives up on us, and whatever His will for our lives, it will be fulfilled in His time and on His schedule. God is never late and He’s never too early. His timing is perfect even when it doesn’t match ours. God will honor our trust and faith in Him.
This year my verse is Matthew 6:33. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.” I will seek Him and trust Him to take care of me no matter what circumstances come about. My word for 2013 is SEEK. Seek His will, seek ways to serve Him, and seek His message through the Scriptures.
So what is your goal for this year?
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Please contact me at email@example.com You forgot to leave your e-mail.
Congratulations! I hope you enjoy the series.
And thanks to all of you who were interested in the Ravensmoore series. I encourage you to join me Tuesday on my blog which is the official release date for Mystery of the Heart. It's my annual birthday give away which coincided perfectly with my new release. I hope to see you on my blog Tuesday and I'll post a winner from that opportunity on Monday the 14th of January. http://jilliankent.blogspot.com/
Have a great week!
Thursday, January 3, 2013
One of my best friends is a missionary, and every year we ask God that question. Often over the years, we have received the very same word. Other years, they seem to dovetail together.
When I asked her what her word was this year, she told me, "Prepare."
--for spiritual warfare
--for the coming of the Messiah
--to lean on the Lord even more
That is an awesome word. Mine was a little different. Butterfly. Yes, I said butterfly.
Of course, I had to ask the Lord what He meant by that. He said it was the year for me to break out of my chrysalis in several ways--mentally, physically, even spiritually. It would be a year of renewal and new hope.
A different writing opportunity was presented to me late in 2012. It will take me out of my comfort zone back into things I was involved in more than two decades ago. Exciting things. Things that I thought were over in my life forever.
After all, I just turned seventy years old. That's the time to slow down, isn't it?
My answer to that is a resounding, "No!"
But when I found out what was coming my way, I had to laugh. Then I looked up and said out loud there in my office3, "You know, Lord, it's you and me now. And it's way more you than it is me."
So I, too, must prepare to lean on the Lord more and listen to His counsel as I embark on this new adventure.
I ask you once again, have you ever asked God for His word for you in the new year?
When you do, come back here and leave a comment letting me know what He told you. We all learn more about Him as we share what He's doing in our lives.
By Andrea Boeshaar
All politics and apocalyptic theories aside, what’s happening in 2013 is the release of the last book in my Fabric of Time series. Each novel in the series moves up a generation, beginning in 1848 and ending in 1902.
Daniel Sundberg intends to say a last goodbye to his dying father in
and make sure his mother and
sisters are well-taken care of, then get on with his life – a life he’s lived
apart from his biological family. Manitowoc, Wisconsin
The idea for this series came when I coordinated our Eikaas-Fluge family reunion in the late 1990s – that’s right. Almost 20 years ago! When the team at Charisma House and its fiction division, Realms, was interested in my idea, I rejoiced!!! Family is so important to me – dysfunction, quirks, and all. So I began to research and write. The novels in my series are brand new stories, published by Charisma Media within the last year.
My great-grandparents were married in 1900. Both had emigrated from Norway with hopes of living a better life. Sounds relevant for even today, doesn’t it?
We all have a history. However, I understand why some people choose to abandon their pasts because of things that have happened – bad things, embarrassing things, difficult things. But I also believe that if we ask God to heal our wounds and help us forgive and forget the ugly, we can accept and embrace our histories – even write about them. After all, God uses everything in our lives to mold and shape us into the people that He wants us to be.
And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:29 ESV)
Threads of Hope (January 2012)
The year is 1848, and Kristin Eikaas has traveled from
with dreams of a new life. But when she arrives, she finds one disappointment
after another. Worse, her superstitious uncle now believes that his neighbor’s
Oneida Indian wife has put a curse on Kristin. Everyone knows the Sundbergs put
spells on people…
Everyone except Kristin. Her run-ins with Sam Sundberg only prove that he is a good man from a Christian family. But when her uncle discovers she’s been associating with Sam, his temper flares. To escape his wrath, Kristin gratefully accepts a job as the Sundbergs’ house girl, finding solace at the family’s spinning wheel.
In the time Sam and Kristin spend together, their friendship develops into much more, and Sam prays about a match between them. But opposition threatens to derail their newfound love. Will they have the courage to stand up for what is right—even against their own families?
Threads of Faith (October 2012)
Julianna Wayland is running for her life! She hides in a crate on
London’s dock, only to be loaded onto a
ship bound for America.
During the voyage, she becomes acquainted with Captain Daniel Sundberg who
assuages her fears of sea-faring men. He’s not at all what she expected. By the
time they reach New York’s
harbor, Julianna’s certain she’s in love with him. The only problem is Daniel
has plans for himself – plans that don’t include her.
Threads of Love (Coming in May 2013)
It’s 1902 and Emily Sundberg considers herself a proper school teacher of the Twentieth Century. But a decade ago, she behaved more like a tomboy than a young lady. So when the neighbor’s grandson came to visit one summer, they became fast friends and Emily even got her first kiss. Unfortunately, Jake Edgerton told all the local boys. Rumors circulated, the taunts and teasing began. Emily caved from embarrassment and guilt. She wasn't ever able to confront Jake about the incident either. He’d returned to Fallon, Montana and she never saw or heard from him again. Over the years she’d worked hard to prove to her former classmates and the people of Manitowoc, Wisconsin that, despite past mistakes, she really was a decent, upstanding young woman, one befitting of a school teacher. But even with the passing of time, Emily’s never forgotten Jake and how he nearly ruined her life…
And now he’s a U. S. deputy marshal and he’s back in town!