Merry Christmas from Sarah Sundin in rainy (at last!) California! Today I have the joy of interviewing Carol McAdams Moore, the author of two new devotional books for tween boys and girls. Recently I introduced my fourth- and fifth-grade Sunday school class to the books, and they were a huge hit with kids and teachers alike!
Carol, how did you get into writing? How many books do you have published?
I began as a teacher of the deaf. Many materials I used in the classroom needed to be rewritten, using specific word choice and sentence structure. I also had to keep the interests and age level of my readers/students in mind as I chose things to rewrite. Playing with words to engage with a specific reader became a passion. For a number of years I did work-for-hire assignments. Dare U 2 Open This Book and Just Sayin’ are my first two books with royalty contracts.
How did you get your first book contract?
Again, it started in the classroom. Several years ago during a school book fair, I noticed that my students LOVED a certain book format, one that prompted them to write something short or doodle a response. I looked in the classroom next door. Those students were also engaged in the same type of book. I knew that I wanted to write devotionals for tweens using the format they so loved. I wrote a proposal, and an editor from Zonderkidz contacted me. She had been thinking about the same kind of devotional book for tweens.
The kids really love the format! What has helped you promote your books the most?
My tween devotions challenge readers to write a short response or doodle an idea. To create buzz for the books, I had pencils printed with the name and publication date of each. Since the release of Just Sayin’ and Dare U 2 Open This Book, engaging with readers (whether on social media or in person at book signing events) has helped me the most with the promotion of the books. I especially enjoy conducting giveaways of bookmarks, sample pages, and copies of the books themselves.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book? Did those mistakes cause you to change?
The timing and content of book promotion is tricky. I am still learning those.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
Some tweens from my church joined me for a dedication of the devotionals. We planned to create a short video and then to eat nachos and review the clip. At first, I thought we could practice the video once and then actually film it. The kids were awesome from the start, but we had a series of technical hiccups. For example, during one filming, the screen suddenly went grayscale like we were filming in the snow. After about seven tries, we got it! The entire group had fun watching the outtakes of the video as we ate.
Everyone loves blooper reels! Is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
One thing that has helped with marketing my books is always being watchful and open to new ideas. I see what other authors are doing and consider if that, or something similar, would work in marketing my own books. I think that being flexible and excited about trying new things is the key to marketing.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
I am amazed each time I have a book signing. I go thinking I will sign books (and I do), but God always has divine meetings planned. At one book signing, the first person I met was the leader of the women’s ministry at her church. She was also a homeschool mom, very interested in talking to me about a writing workshop for children. At another book signing, I met a children’s ministry leader who was looking for new material for their entire tween program.
I love those divine appointments. Now that you have been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work and why?
Engaging with readers through events, social media, and blogs has worked best for me.
What are your top tips for writers with their first book contract?
Start early with your writing. Plan to finish way before the deadline on your contract. Life is complicated, so writing early will help you avoid missing a deadline or rushing to do less than your best.
I am a teacher, so I did most of the writing for the devotionals way before the deadline. It was helpful for me because I had the opportunity for the books to have a September release instead of the following May. My manuscripts were ready to go. All I had to do was reread them and hit send.
Great advice, Carol! It’s important to remember the “dead” in “deadline”!
To learn more about Carol and her books, please visit Carol’s website.
Writing for Him,