Greetings from Colorado where spring has finally sprung! Today I’m happy to introduce author Anne Greene for her encore visit to CAN.
Welcome, Anne. How many books do you now have published? So far I have six books published. I also have nine novellas, all in boxed sets as well as single books.
What are a few of your latest titles? I have two novels recently released. One is a World War II novel of women test pilots, the WASPs, titled Angel with Steel Wings, the first book in my Women of Courage series. The second is a Holly Garden Mystery, the first in the Handcuffed in Texas series, tilted Red Is for Rookie. I have three historical novellas recently released titled “Keara’s Escape,” “Daredevils,” and “Spur of the Moment Bride.”
You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then? I’ve learned and relearned that I really want my spiritual message to come from the Lord. I pray almost daily that He gives me the message He wants me to write. He’s given me the talent to write, and I can write a spell-binding book. A page-turner. A keeper. But without the message He wants in that book, I’m not fulfilling my calling. When I say message, I don’t mean I preach. Far from it. My books carry a soft, almost subliminal, message. But I so want that message to be powerful. And to be from Him.
What have you learned about promotion since then? I’ve learned that promotion takes an enormous amount of time. At the present, I’m spending most of my time fulfilling contracts. I promise myself at the completion of each book that I’ll spend time promoting that book. But often that doesn’t happen. Especially with back-to-back contracts. And I find promotion takes more discipline than writing a book. But I find once I start promoting, more and more opportunities are out there. I just need to reach out and use them for myself.
What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried? I’ve found so many wonderful opportunities as a Christian Author Networker, and most of those really don’t take as much time as some other venues do. I do use my Facebook Author Page, Twitter, and my blog, as well as guest blogging on other’s websites. I have started a Street Team, though I haven’t used them yet. I have started a database for a newsletter, though I haven’t written a newsletter yet. Both of those outreaches I will begin after I complete my next contract.
I think an excellent cover is extremely important because a book is judged by its cover. So, I consider a book cover a promotional tool. I use Book Fun Magazine to promote my books and gain reviews. I find that quite effective. I’m planning to make more use of Goodreads which I think is an excellent means of publicity since it is geared to readers. I also use Facebook reader groups. I find book give-aways to be effective.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried? I find it difficult to judge which is an effective tool.
What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers? I love to connect with readers with book clubs. I love speaking to book clubs. Those readers give feedback about what they love about my books. And seeing them purchase my books and get excited when I autograph books for them and for gifts from them I find quite satisfying. I also enjoy reader comments on blogs.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried? I haven’t tried it yet because it’s quite expensive. My fellow authors in a boxed set and I are excited about leasing a large sign in front of Barnes and Noble bookstore at the entrance to our large, successful mall. We are told over a million customers pass that sign each month. And wouldn’t it be a thrill to see our names and our books printed there for so many to view. But we may just rent a gorilla suit and carry a sign showing our boxed collection.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity? Wouldn’t it be fun if funny things did happen during a promotional activity! Mostly, the events are embarrassing to my introverted self. I love to speak to writers groups as well as book clubs, mostly because they usually all buy my books. But my first book signing was rather sad. I had one book to sign and was given a table to share with an author who had twenty or more books to sign. Some people might have thought it funny to see me with no one standing in line to buy my book while a long line snaked back from my table partner’s books.
Did you see God open doors you never expected in the promotion of your books? Yes. God is so good about opening doors. I think every writer becomes discouraged sometime in her ministry. Each time I grew so discouraged that I considered stopping the writing and seeing what else God might have for me to do, he opened a new door of opportunity. Isn’t God good? Recently I discovered writing novellas would be a fantastic way to get my name out to readers who I then trusted would buy my books. Then, I discovered I really enjoyed writing novellas. This from a writer who began her career with 150,000-word books. Maybe God is telling me I’m too long-winded.
What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book? Don’t be afraid to try something new! The tried-and-true methods work. But you might start a new trend, and become a star because you did. Also, get busy and write more books. Readers who love the book you wrote will look for more. Capitalize on the publicity of your first book with a second just as good or better. Everything you did to promote the first book will feed into the second…and third…etc. It’s a challenge to talk about yourself and your books. It goes against a Christian’s grain. But it is necessary. So tell people every way you can about your brilliant work of genius.