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?
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.
Greetings from rainy California! With Valentine’s Day around the bend, it’s the perfect time to feature Pamela S. Meyers, author of contemporary and historical romances! I’ve met Pam at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference, and she’s delightful. She’s full of creative promotional ideas, so read on!
How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
Five titles altogether, including Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (my hometown), What Lies Ahead, a novella in a four-author novella collection called The Bucket List Dare, and my newest one, Second Chance Love.
January greetings from warm, windy, but not-so-wintry Florida! Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview with bestselling author and speaker Pam Farrel, a writer who also happens to be a friend. My husband and I have some fun memories of kayaking around Mission Bay in San Diego with the Farrels one sunny August afternoon. But I admired the Farrels first as writers and speakers who share heart-warming, life-changing truth. I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Pam today.
Welcome, sweet friend! It’s good to “see” you again. How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I write with my husband, Bill. We have 45 books published in English; many of these have been translated into 15+ languages.
Congratulations on all of these! You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
Know your core message, then seek to get that message across through every channel and method available: books, blogs, social media, video, radio, podcasts, TV, courses, and curriculums—and even T-shirts, coffee, mugs and bumper stickers! In a world noisy with untruths, lies, and misinformation, we all should seek to give our full dedication and focused persistence in getting God’s message (the one entrusted to our voice) out to those who most need that message of hope and help from God. Be prepared to spend more time writing, speaking, and promoting the message than you ever did writing it originally. The book is only one small piece, a first step to a long journey of faithfulness to your message.
Hello from Kevin Thompson in the abnormally warm south! A temperature of 81 in January is hot, even by Floridian standards. Something about high pressure blocking cold fronts from getting here…. Yay! The mosquitoes will be spared!
Well, it’s time for another edition of Tips from the Pros! And this go ’round, let’s welcome Jackie M. Johnson to the front porch.
Hi, Jackie! Glad you could make it. So, tell us, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
As an author and blogger, I write books and blog posts (mostly for women) that offer hope and encouragement to readers worldwide. Women today seem more stressed and discouraged, overworked and overwhelmed than ever. I want to offer godly wisdom and biblical advice—in a way that’s easy to understand and apply to everyday life. My books include:
Power Prayers for Women (a topical book with practical, biblical inspiration and prayers for every area of a woman’s life)
When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty (a helpful resource for healing a relationship breakup)
Praying with Power When Life Gets Tough – releases January 17, 2017 (a topical book with hope-filled, encouraging stories and dynamic prayers when life is hard)
You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
The writing life can be rewarding, but it’s not always easy. You need to have tenacity and perseverance—and a lot of passion for your writing. You will get tired and discouraged at times, but passion will fuel you with the energy you need to complete that next chapter or get that next book proposal out to your agent.
I’ve also learned how interactive the writing life can be since social media allows authors two-way communication to convey a message to an audience, grow that audience and receive feedback from readers in unprecedented ways.
What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
Know your audience. Target your audience. Interact with your audience. Find out how to promote your books and author brand. There are a lot of resources out there. Being a member of CAN has been a helpful resource. Try different media and see what works most effectively for your readers. Bottom line: You are not only an author you are also a marketing person. So you need to learn how to promote your books or hire someone to do that for you.
What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
For my readers, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have proved to be the most popular social media outlets. I’ve discovered that Facebook ads are great and low cost way to grow your audience.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
Years, ago I sent postcards to bookstores (with a cover of the book on one side and promotional text on the other side). I didn’t have much success with that promotional effort at the time.
What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
Mostly, I connect with readers through my author Facebook page or on Twitter. I know a lot of people talk about building an email list, but I have not yet done that. One thing that keeps me from doing so is that I get so many emails from other companies and I don’t want to annoy others with emails I send. I think if it’s done right, and you don’t “bombard” people with email, it can be effective.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Yes. When my first book was released in 2007, the publisher had some wonderful distribution opportunities for Power Prayers for Women with Walmart and with Choice Books (who distribute to airports, grocery stores and other places). I had friends from around the country—many of whom I had not heard from for years—call to let me know that they had seen my new book in a Walmart in Michigan, or a store in Pennsylvania, or at an airport bookstore in Tampa or at a grocery store in Colorado. As a new author, I was so amazed that my first book had national appeal—and then I discovered that I also had an international audience.
I began to get letters, emails, Facebook messages and tweets from readers around the world—India, Brazil, England, Australia and other places.
I was very excited when I learned that my books would be translated into other languages. Some of them are available in Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese and soon Spanish. It is a blessing and a joy to know that men and women all over our planet can find hope and encouragement through the books I’ve written.
What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
Start early. Don’t wait until your book is published before starting to build your author platform. Consider your author brand. How do you want to be perceived as an author? Create a website. Build social media and interact regularly. Tell your website and social media audience that you have a new book “Coming Soon” (include the book cover image once you have it). Ask your publisher’s publicity staff about their plan is for promoting your book. Do a book blog tour. Guest post on blogs related to your book’s topic. Attend conferences for writers since they’re a great place to learn about marketing and promoting your book. Have a book release party in your home, at a friend’s home or a local coffeehouse. It’s a great way let your close friends, family and others be a part of the celebration (and become “word of mouth” ambassadors for your book).
Jackie, thank you so much for stopping by and telling your story.
If you wish to connect with Jackie, you can find her here:
Happy 2017 to you from a wintry Colorado. Davalynn Spencer here, pleased to warm up the morning with our encore-author guest, Tanya Stowe.
Welcome back, Tanya. Please tell us how many books you now have published and the names of a few of your latest titles.
I have fifteen novels and novellas published with two due out in the next months. My most recent romantic suspense is titled Santa Fe Sunrise. My novella, That Doggone Baby is due out in April and Falling Stars will be a part of White Rose Publishing’s Pure Amore line.
Merry Christmas from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing author Marlene Banks, whose novels span from the Civil War to the Wild West to the Roaring Twenties to today! You’ll love what Marlene has to share about keeping your focus where it belongs.
Marlene, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
Seven published works, including Ruth’s Redemption, Son of a Preacherman, Greenwood and Archer, Gunmen of Nicodemus, and the Bea Happy series.
Good morning. Davalynn Spencer, here, and absolutely thrilled to be introducing our encore interviewee, Janet Bly.
Years ago when writing was merely one of my unrealized dreams, I intersected with Janet and her husband, Steven, through the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys for whom I worked. The Blys graciously offered guidance and suggestions – via that nearly extinct method of communication called hand-written letters and postage stamps. I’ve never forgotten their generosity of time and their heart for Christian authors.
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?
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).
Greetings from beautiful Mount Dora, Florida, where we’re starting to chill out.
Of course, for us, “chill out” means temperatures that dip into the fifties at night and still climb into the seventies during the day. Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to novelist C. Kevin Thompson, who is also celebrating the season in comfort because he lives in a town just down the road from my own.
Welcome, Kevin! How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
That’s an interesting question. It’s something I’ve written about on my blog and is too long a story to get into here. Suffice it to say I’ve had two books published, and they will be published again as second editions. My first book, The Serpent’s Grasp, originally came out in 2012 and won the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award in 2013 for First Fiction. It will be out again in 2017.