I don't see a sign of April showers here in Florida, but Angela Breidenbach, today's featured author, may be watching out for snow showers in her Montana home. She and I became acquainted a few years ago when we both taught at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, and our paths have crossed in several professional ways since. I'm thrilled to introduce Angie and her newest book, which released April 1, to our CAN audience!
I started my writing career with articles for Group Magazine and my local newspaper.
But I started my journey into writing through a personal journal.
How many books do you
Two traditional books, one each nonfiction and fiction. But
I also have two self-published cookbooks and a long list of compilations,
devotions, and articles.
What is your latest
A Healing Heart,
Abingdon Press, Quilts of Love #6 just released April 1. A Healing Heart is about a workaholic
woman who has to trust the one man she can’t. A heart attack has stopped Mara
Keegan in her tracks, leaving her daughter’s unfinished photo memory quilt
hanging by a thread. Little does Mara know, this quilt—and the memories it
bolsters—are the key to her rehabilitation. But Mara’s heart needs to be healed
in more ways than one. And Joel Ryan is fraying her last nerve. With her
daughter’s graduation fast approaching, even Mara starts to wonder if she—and her
faith—can mend in time. Will Joel’s photo find a place on the quilt… and in
Congratulations! I can't wait to read it. Can you please tell us how you got your
first book contract?
My first contract was for a nonfiction women’s Bible study, Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life, signed on my birthday a couple of years ago. My agent, Tamela Hancock
Murray, worked with me to get it perfected until it had the right blend of
teaching and creative heart to help women overcome victimhood. Gems has reverted back to me and will be
coming out as an ebook in the near future. The title will likely change to
something like Victim to Victorious: Gems
of Wisdom for a Treasure-filled Life, which more accurately reflects the
material in the book.
What has helped you
promote your books the most?
The most helpful thing in promoting my books has been the
community of authors and my relationship with some amazing bookstore friends.
As we help each other, it’s both in the sharing of knowledge and in promoting
one another. I also love to speak to groups, retreats, conferences, and
readers. I think the combination of speaking, friends, and writing articles has
been the best opportunities to promote my books.
Those sound like fantastic ideas, but I know things don't alway go according to plan. What mistakes or
wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book?
I’d been asked to submit materials for a professional
speaking tour. I submitted through someone who said they worked directly with
that tour as a promoter, but I found out too late it was a scam. I was
devastated to find out the person not only wasn’t involved, but they’d ruined
the opportunity through the misrepresentation of their ability and activities
that never happened. The speaking tour not only never heard of the promoter but
never received the materials, either.
That sounds like a
nightmare! Did that experience cause you to change? If so, how? Absolutely. I’m careful now
to check with industry people I trust before agreeing to something I don’t know
about. I check references.
I hope we can all learn from your bad experience. On another note, what’s the craziest
promotional gimmick you’ve tried?
I’ve tried not to do crazy gimmicks, but to be professional.
I came from a business-owner background with experience in sales of radio and
print and supervision in airlines. I’ve worked for some well-known companies, so I’m
hoping I have enough business savvy to vet crazy from solid. An idea might not
work, but I’ve thought it out to the best of my ability and am flexible. That
flexible nature helps me react quickly and comfortably to change.
You're right. Flexibility helps us navigate so many areas in our personal and professional lives. What’s the funniest
thing that happened during a promotional activity?
I was working with the CAN officers to show bookstores
at ICRS how they can connect with authors over the Internet via Skype,
Anymeeting.com, Google Hangouts, or other various online platforms. I sat right
near the stage and talked via the computer with an author in another room of
the convention center as if we were across the country.Because of all the steel interference in the building, it felt as though we were hundreds of miles apart. Our mouths didn’t match
our words on the giant viewing screen. We looked like characters in one of those badly voiced-over
movies. I felt like the Wizard of Oz…Pay
no attention to that person over there. Don’t look behind the curtain, Dorothy!
But of course, everyone could see me anyway.
I think we at least showed the possibility of connecting online, even if the convention center was a challenge. I’ve done many other online chats successfully since.
Is there something
you did that really helped with marketing your books?
Speaking and writing articles about the story behind the story
help me market. But being transparent in both my speaking and writing helps
connect my readers to what I share in my books and articles. I think being relational
and available builds trust. So I speak publicly about the topics in my novel,
like being a workaholic or struggling with trust, and share how I personally
overcome those issues. It’s also really fun to connect with book clubs, Bible
studies, and retreats whether in person or via Skype/Facetime/Google Hangouts.
I've noticed speaking is a great strength of your total package. What type of speaking do you like to do?
I really enjoy talking to women in retreat settings, chatting with book clubs, and teaching other authors at conferences. It's also fun to speak at teas and events. I'll help create custom topics for special programs and events to meet the group's needs as well.
Do you have any specialty topics?
Yes, I speak on topics that come out of my books like Crafting a LegacyBuild Better Relationshipsand a new topic, Shoot ’Em: How to Talk to a Man in Bullet Points.
I also have topics for people who want to learn the craft and business of writing. These include Private to Public: Building a Public Persona You Can Live With (and Not Fear); Writing: What Does It Take to Become a Writer?; Powerful Prose; Evergreen Products to Support the Writer’s Life; Acting for Authors; and Always On Stage.
I love the relational element of promotion. Did you see God open
any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Yes! I was delighted and surprised when Book Fun Magazine called
and asked if novelist Tosca Lee and I would be interested in interviewing each
other. They’d heard about our friendship and felt we’d be able to offer
something no one else could in an interview setting, the personal side of each
author as seen through their friend’s eyes, not an article on writing the
craft. Tosca’s interview of me is in the April 2013 Book Fun Magazine and I’m the cover model. My interview of Tosca
will be in the May 2013 issue and she’ll be the cover model.
Now that you’ve been
writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work and
I still feel speaking and writing articles work best for
promoting my work. I’m a very relational soul. I like touching the hearts of
audiences and readers. I like meeting people face-to-face. I also use social
media and I’m very active on twitter, Facebook, and trying to get better at
Pinterest. : ) Being involved through volunteerism in my writing groups also helps me grow and
learn the industry.
What are your top tips
for writers with their first book contract?
Look at the issues in the fiction. The issues your
protagonist is dealing with at her lowest and highest points. How could you
develop articles on the nonfiction, real-life issues to share on blogs, social
media, and in talks for book clubs? For instance, Mara Keegan in A Healing Heart is a workaholic. I’m a
workaholic in my real world. Other women battle workaholism too. I’m sharing my
struggle and solutions that are helping me to manage workaholism, including
scheduling a day off as the fourth commandment says. I’m also sharing
relationship builders in my talks Crafting
a Legacy and Shoot 'Em: How to Talk
to Men in Bullet Points.
Ask yourself: What does your character face and how does
that relate to something you are an expert in so you can write and talk about
it as news. (And do these things well before your book releases!)
Thanks again, Angie. You've provided lots of great takeaway for all our readers. And congratulations again on your new release!
Angela Breidenbach is a speaker, coach, and author of A Healing Heart, April 2013, Abingdon Press Quilts of Love series. She is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a CTA life coach, as a Stephen Minister, and a weight loss/nutrition coach. Pacific NW speaking tour April 20-30th details on website:
Marti Pieper's Website: www.martipieper.com