Ane Mulligan
Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the privilege of interviewing novelist Ane Mulligan, one of our newest CAN members, but a longstanding member of American Christian Fiction Writers—and the recipient of ACFW’s first Volunteer Service Award. Ane brings a lot of energy and humor wherever she goes, and we’re thrilled to have her in CAN. You’ll enjoy what she has to share today.

Ane, how did you get into writing?

Ane Mulligan

Ane Mulligan

I’d quit my job as an office manager and my husband said, “Don’t look for another job. Write a book.” I was a published playwright but novelist? Well, God often speaks to me through my husband, so I tried. It took a loooong time. As a playwright, all I knew was how to write dialogue. POV? What does that mean? Obviously, I had a lot to learn. Read More →

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Bob Hostetler
Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! For some reason, I feel I should use Elizabethan English, but I’d fail so I won’t try. Today I’m pleased to interview Bob Hostetler, multi-published author of many classic titles you’ll recognize. His most recent book delves into Shakespeare and the King James Version—and today he’s sharing some of the delightful ways he’s used his topic to connect with readers.

Bob, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler

The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional is my 45th book. It’s a one-year devotional that draws from the two greatest works of English literature—the King James Version of the Bible and the works of Shakespeare (which, by the way, were created in the same period, same country, same city, and just a few miles from each other). Each day’s devotion pairs a quote from Shakespeare with a verse from the Bible, offers a short reading based on the pairing, and finally a question to help the reader apply that day’s truth. Each reading concludes with one or two “factoids” about the Bible, Shakespeare, the Bible, the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages, and more.

My recent releases also include The Red Letter Life (17 Words from Jesus to Inspire Simple, Practical, Purposeful Living), The Red Letter Prayer Life (17 Words from Jesus to Inspire Practical, Purposeful, Powerful Prayer), and the historical novel, Northkill (which is based on an incident in my family’s history and was coauthored with a distant cousin, novelist J. M. Hochstetler).  Read More →

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Hi Everyone!

Pamela S. Meyers here with another post on promoting your book. I’m currently in the midst of marketing my latest release, so that’s what I’m writing about this month.
Pam Signing at Museum 4-27 

My historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin’s original release date was in April, and months ago I scheduled a launch event at the Geneva Lake Museum in Lake Geneva for Saturday, April 27th. That’s me in the picture signing books at the event.

Early on I made out my to-do list.

  •  Prepare a slideshow (PowerPoint) presentation on my personal history with the town and the book’s research.
  •  Contact editor of the local weekly paper and arrange for interview.
  •  Invite special guests.
  •  Send out eblast to my mailing list announcing the dates of both events.
  •  Plan refreshments.
  •  Gather items for gift bag to be raffled off.
  •  Appoint someone to take care of the raffle tickets (no money exchanged, of course!)
  •  Prepare an ad for the museum director to use for promotion. Here it is!

Museum Ad

  •  Plan my attire for the day
  •  Arrange for backup projector in case the one on site fails.
  •  Gather my assortment of vintage items to decorate the space along with a framed collection of vintage postcards of the area that I’ve been collecting

So  I began working on some of these items several months in advance, such as contacting the newspaper editor and inviting him to say a few words at the event because my heroine and hero work for the current paper’s predecessor. We also set up an appointment for him to interview me for a feature article.

Presentation Slideshow

I also began shopping early for items for the gift bag I planned to raffle off. Since the story is set in Lake Geneva, I wanted some items that were clearly from the area. Therefore, whenever I was in town I shopped for the bag. For the bag itself, I custom ordered a canvas bag with a picture of a vintage Lake Geneva postcard imprinted on one side. IA mug from Lake Geneva, a can cooler with a Lake Geneva imprint on it, a reading book light, copies of my three published books, and chocolate, among other things, went into the bag.

For refreshments I decided on cookies and apple juice which I purchased from Costco.

With everything in place, all that was left was to practice my slideshow presentation, over and over and over again!

The day of the event, I packed my car to the brim with the refreshments, a huge tub of books, and everything else I would need. A friend met me at the museum and helped me set everything up. Before I knew it, it was time to change into my new dress and greet my guests.

Everything went without a hitch…well except for when I asked my cousin to draw the winning ticket for the gift bag and she drew her own ticket!!!!

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Pam-Fave 7 closeupHi everyone. Pamela S. Meyers here with my monthly posting
on marketing your book. This past month I’ve been focusing on promoting my
newest book and preparing for a launch event this coming Saturday, which
involves a Power Point presentation and book signing at a local museum.

It came to my attention recently that there is another type of launch celebration in the form of an online party. Fellow CAN member,
Sharon Srock, recently held such an event on Facebook to launch her second book
in her current series, and I asked her
if I could interview her about how she prepared for the event and carried it
out. She happily agreed and I’m so happy she did.

 

Pamela:  Sharon,
I was excited when you agreed to share your experience with a virtual online
party you recently held on Facebook for your latest release in your Women of Valley View series. Why did you
decide to hold this type of party as opposed to one people can physically
attend? Or are you planning to have both?

Sharon:  When
Callie (Sharon’s first book in the
series) released, the women in my church threw a beautiful party. I sent
invitations and bookmarks to the other community churches, posted flyers all
over town, and had a lovely press release in the local paper. The attendance
was exactly ZERO for women I don’t worship with. They offered to have another
party for Terri, but I just didn’t
see the point.
Sharon

I’d been invited to a few virtual
launches and parties, and I was curious. I dropped in on a couple then checked
in with the authors afterwards. Everything I saw and learned pointed towards a
well-attended party, increased traffic and likes on your page, and a few sales
as icing on the cake.

The first two results have already proven
to be true. It will be a while before the sales results are in.

Pamela:  How
far in advance did you start planning, and can you list in order the things you
did prior to the day of the launch?

Sharon: Sure. I started planning about thirty
days ahead of the party date.

I secured some prizes, nothing expensive,
but nice. I chose AVON jewelry and bath products since I have easy access, and
copies of both my books. Enough to allow me to award a prize every thirty
minutes.

I contacted my influencers and asked if
any of them would be interested in being special guests during the event. The
two guest authors who were able to attend also gave away copies of their books
so they got a little promotion out of the deal as well.

I scheduled an ad to run the day of the
event and invited my entire friends list.

The day of the party I made announcements
on my FB page, asked my friends to share it with their friends. I also
announced it on Twitter, and invited everyone from all the eloops I’m on.

Pamela:  You
mention buying an ad on Facebook and that you were able to target certain age
groups of women. Can you elaborate on that?

Sharon:  When
you schedule a FB ad, you are given the option of narrowing your target
audience by gender, age groups, and interest. I targeted women between the ages
of 20-60. There are other tweaks I used to narrow the field. You can see the options
when you set up the ad.
 

Pamela: You also said on a loop
we’re on together that you earned credits on the cost of the ad. How did you do that?

Sharon:  When
I reached 350 likes on my page they gave me a coupon for $50.00 in advertising,
and I used that. I only spent half the budget, which goes along with what other
authors told me. They buy a $25.00 ad for their party, and I will follow their
example next time. When you create the ad, you set a budget for the campaign, and
every time someone clicks on the ad, it costs a few cents.

Pamela:  I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying that you had to pay more
money in addition to what you paid for the ad each time a person clicked on the
ad? Is there a budget set so that when you reach the amount you set, no one
else can click on it?

Sharon:  No, the $50.00 was my budget for
the ad. Each time someone clicked on the ad, it deducted money from the 50.00.
Since I did not use the entire 50.00, I don't know what happens. It works
similar to Ebay. You set the amount you want to pay and they don't go over it.

Pamela:  Thanks
for clearing that up. You say you scheduled three hours. Was the pace
heightened throughout all three hours or was most of it in the middle three?

Sharon: The party started at 6:00 p.m. central,
and it was like an explosion. By 6:15, I was typing too fast to worry about
spelling. J The pace did not begin to slack off
until about the two-hour mark. Even then, it was still furious enough to keep
me in the seat without a break. At 9:15, I finally pushed everyone out the
“door” and logged off. I needed a drink of water and the little writer’s room.

Pamela: 
Wow, that must have been wild. What do you feel worked and what would
you change?

Sharon:  Prizes
are always well received. The partygoers seemed to enjoy the guest authors as
well. The guest authors also turned out to be the very best thing I did for
myself. One of them had done this sort of party, and if it hadn’t been for her
help during that first hour, I would have been seriously overwhelmed.

Which brings us to the first thing I
would change. If (when) I do this again, I will enlist a buddy for the whole
time. The author who helped me the other night helped field the questions and
comments, while I uploaded prize pictures. She was a God-send. Definitely team
up. Throw your party with another author or two and then return the favor when
they throw theirs.

Change two. Three hours was too long,
especially if you are on your own. Two hours would have been a great length.

Change three. I wouldn’t send the
invitations a month out. People get busy, people forget. Next time I’ll invite
my friends about 10 days out.

Change four. I'd use Hootsuite to schedule excerpts, pictures of my prizes, and maybe even a conversation starter question or two. That way, I wouldn't have to leave the party to go find them and get them up when it was time.

Pamela:  I've heard a lot of good things about Hootshuite and I'm going to have to check into that site. Thanks
so much Sharon. You’ve got me thinking about doing a Facebook book release
party myself. I’ll be interested to hear the long-term results in the way of
book sales.

 

Have any of you done a similar thing with your book
releases? If so, please share your tips and what worked and didn’t work in the
comments.

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural
Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has
one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is
traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently
serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s debut novel, The Women
of Valley View: Callie released in October 2012. The second in the series, The
Women of Valley View: Terri has just released.

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DC_SpencerDavalynn Spencer here from Colorado, pleased to introduce new author Pamela S. Meyers.

Welcome, Pamela. Tell us a little about your journey to becoming an author.

Although I’d always felt a need to write things down—I asked for and received a diary when I was eight—I never took the idea of writing for income seriously until my writing professor where I returned to college to get my degree encouraged me to do so. I started with articles but quickly gravitated to fiction. Then I joined ACFW, got connected to crit groups, and attended writers’ conferences, honing my craft and submitting along the way. And I got enough rejections to paper my bedroom. Finally, after what seemed a bazillion years, I got “the” call from my agent that my contemporary mystery romance, Thyme for Love, had sold. That was in spring 2011.

Read More →

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