I know. I Know. “Don’t quit my day job.” Story of my life.
So, instead, let’s try our hand at another installment of Tips From the Pros.
Please welcome to the cyber, direct, first floor, pool view, ocean view, multi-purpose, ping pong playing great room/used puzzle collection storage room/mail room/library/adjacent laundry room/pinochle contest held on the 4th Thursday of each month room, Author Linda J. White!
Welcome, Linda! I understand you were featured here on the CAN blog in 2012, before your first book with Abingdon Press, Seeds of Evidence, came out. How many books do you have published now?
I have four novels out now, and I’m working on more.
What are a few of your latest titles?
Words of Conviction came out last year from Abingdon Press, and I just released my first Indie book, Battered Justice.
What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since your last interview here?
Just writing a great book isn’t enough. It’s essential, but not enough.
What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
There are a zillion pieces of marketing advice for writers out there, and honestly, it can drive you crazy trying to do it all perfectly. I say pick what comes naturally to you, and vow to work on the rest.
What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
My email newsletter probably earns the most sales—and long-term fans.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
Twitter. Honestly, I still don’t get it. It seems like clutter to me.
I like doing the email newsletter, but my favorite way to connect is in person, at library events or book club meetings.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
My books all seem to have a water connection so they make great beach books. For a couple of years, now, we’ve run a summer-long contest called “Books at the Beach.” I ask readers to send in pictures of my books on the beach (and on cruises, at the poolside, etc.). Then I pick a winner on Labor Day. It’s fun seeing all the different places my books go!
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
I had a chance meeting at a book signing with two ladies who are copyright examiners for the Library of Congress. That next week, the last book in the last bin one of them had to examine was my Seeds of Evidence. The chances of that are incredibly small! They stayed in touch and later took me on a tour of the Library—by the way, it’s a can’t miss attraction for writers visiting Washington.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
My first book, Bloody Point, (that’s the name of a lighthouse!) takes place in the sailing community of the Chesapeake Bay. I was able to sell books at Fawcett’s Marine Supply during the huge Annapolis Sailboat Show, and at various seafood festivals in the region. Likewise, it was a kick finding it in the museum shop of the Calvert Marine Museum.
What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
I hate self-promotion. So I’ve had to come to think of marketing as a ministry. My vision is “to spread a passion for Christ through my White-knuckle fiction.” Every book that sells assists in that goal. So I’d say to new writers, develop a vision, and then find creative ways to further it. Be helpful to people, somehow. Minister to them. And let God work out the numbers. As in Isaiah 49:4, we must let the judgment of our work be “with the LORD, and [the reward for our work be] with my God.”
Linda, it’s been a pleasure! May God do just that as you pursue His work with yours.
C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1.
You can find Kevin online @ the following locations:
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Page
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson