Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I’m delighted to interview dear friend and fellow WWII fiction writer Cara C. Putman. In fact, Cara, Tricia Goyer, and I have written a Christmas novella collection that will be coming out in October 2014 (Where Treetops Glisten). While researching my story, I had the joy of staying with Cara’s family and watching this lawyer/multi-published author/homeschooling mom in action—and with a continual smile on her face.
Cara, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
My 17th novel just released. Shadowed by Grace is set in Italy during WWII and is a story of a Monuments Man on a search for more than lost art. Before that A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island released and was repackaged in Waterfront Weddings.
It is one of continual change and adaptation. Publishing looks very different now than it did in 2009 with the rise of ebooks and independent publishing. Social media continues to have a large impact, but the biggest thing authors can do is write stories with characters that resonate with readers.
What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
Focus on the types of promotion you enjoy, but always be willing to try something new. For example, I love Pinterest, but if you check out my boards they are about a lot more than my books. I think readers like getting to know the person behind the books through social media outlets.
What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
I love Facebook because I can have a conversation with readers, but I also find Twitter can be effective because I’m in a couple networks of authors where we share each others material. It easily magnifies the people I could reach on my own.
What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
Honestly, it’s any way that I can. I love getting to know readers and to see how they interact with my characters. So if that’s through radio, a blog, or Facebook, I love doing it.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
I’m not naturally funny. You know how some people open their mouths and great humor just flows in what seems to be easy surges? Jenny B. Jones comes to mind! If I’m funny, it’s because I didn’t know that what I was doing or saying. I’ve learned that the best way to have that happen is to relax and be willing to flow with the situation.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Oh my yes! Shadowed by Grace is set during WWII in Italy and highlights just a part of what the Monuments Men did. What I didn’t know when I first started dreaming up this book was that as the book released George Clooney would be poised to release his Monuments Men movie. That has opened promotional doors that I couldn’t have attempted to open on my own. It’s reinforced that God’s timing truly is perfect.
What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
Write the best book you can. Pour your heart and soul into the novel. Then focus on the platform and social media outlets. Many people are convinced that social media does not sell books. I’ve seen it make a difference, so for me it’s worth the time and effort I put into it. At the same time, be smart. Use tools like Klout and Buffer to gauge the effectiveness of what you’re posting. I’ve used those to assess whether people like and interact with what I post. At times, it’s helped me to readjust. And those tools are free.
Really great advice, Cara! Thanks for sharing.
Writing for Him,