Merry Christmas! I'm Mildred Colvin and I've come to talk with Jocelyn Green who has written a devotional to encourage military wives. A most worthy project! Grab a peanut butter ball (one of my family's favorite Christmas candies) and enjoy a visit with this busy author. I know she's busy because she has small children. LOL
How did you get into writing?
I majored in writing at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., graduating in 1999. From there I worked at Taylor’s university relations department for a year, then moved to Washington, D.C., where I was editor and project manager for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities from 2001-2003. In July 2003, I married an officer in the Coast Guard and we were whisked away to his next duty station in Homer, Alaska. Since I had to quit my job and thought I’d be moving every few years with the Coast Guard, I decided to give freelancing a shot. It was slow the first year but really picked up after that. While I was a Coast Guard wife I conceived of the idea for my first book, a devotional book for military wives. I recruited other military wives to submit to it, and three years later (ugh!) got a contract with Moody.
How many books do you have published?
One was published in November 2008, my second is slated to be published this fall.
What are a few of your latest titles?
Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives was published already. The forthcoming title is Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How did you get your first book contract?
My agent tried for three years and finally we got a great contract with Moody.
I’m sure anyone who has been published can sympathize with you on the length of time it takes. However, God knows what He is doing even in our impatience.
What has helped you promote your books the most?
So far, the radio interviews that Moody has arranged has been really helpful, but I also think word of mouth among military wives is huge. I started a Facebook fan page for the book and a blog, and I’ve contacted many military wives who blog to see if they would review the book on their blogs.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book? Did those mistakes cause you to change? If so, how?
I’m not sure yet since it hasn’t yet been a year since it was released. Something I could be doing better would be marketing my speaking availability to churches. But with a three-year-old and a nine-month-old, my time is limited right now.
Is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
I bought the book PlugYour Book! by Steve Weber, and I’m following as much advice in there that I can. It’s the best book I’ve found on promoting books with few dollars. I’ve also submitted reprints of my devotions (from the book) to some denominational magazines and a few devotional Web sites, which I believe has increased sales.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Almost every national military ministry has endorsed my book, and most of those carry it in their online bookstores or resource centers. This happened because I interviewed people from those ministries in the course of my freelance magazine article writing, so I had already established relationships and trust with them. So I can see that all that time I thought I was just “waiting” for a contract, God used to help me connect with people who would ultimately help get the book into the right hands.
Now that you have been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work and why?
Facebook has been really big. Blogging, continuing to write freelance magazine articles, doing radio interviews… it all helps.
What are your top tips for aspiring writers with their first book contract?
Use google alerts to get information and current news about your topic (Go to google.com/alerts to sign up for them. Free and easy)
Continue to network and connect with people throughout your writing process. Don’t take a break from it if you can help it. You never know who God will bring into your life as a strategic partner at the 11th hour.
Don’t procrastinate on your writing. Give yourself weekly and monthly deadlines. Plan to complete the manuscript two weeks earlier than your deadline so you have some margin if something goes wrong or you have a family emergency.
If you are working with co-authors, communicate often. Be encouraging and relate to them as real people, not just writers contributing to the book.
Thank you, Jocelyn! I wish you the very best with Faith Deployed.
To learn more about Jocelyn, please visit her at: Jocelyn's books
and: her website
Merry Christmas and God bless you,