I just got back from a writers conference. They’re such fun. Why? Because you get to meet such great, interesting people. But you get to do that here, too!
We’re so glad you stopped by to visit the CAN front porch! Pull up a chair, take a load off your feet, and let’s get to know fellow author, Carol McClain!
Carol, how did you get into writing?
As an oddball from birth, I’ve never done anything the way the group has, even though, from birth, I’ve always wanted to be exactly like everyone else. So I started really writing late in life. I first took what I believed to be the easy route. I dabbled in writing bad poetry, as 99% of amateur poetry is (and a lot of the published junk). However, my passion is language, so poetry and I got along famously—as in I enjoyed it—not published, never famous. Then, as an English teacher tutoring students in writing, I decided to write a novel. My first attempts would horrify Dracula. My friend and fellow CAN member Linda Rondeau, introduced me to ACFW. Here I joined critique groups, attended workshops and conferences, and honed my craft. It paid off with the publication of my first book, DWF: Divorced White Female.
How did you get your first book contract?
A friend recommended Desert Breeze Publishing. I submitted a query and proposal and Gail Delaney took a chance on me. This wasn’t as easy as my statement implies. I’d gone to conferences, networked, met with agents and editors. Desert Breeze was the one who took a chance on me.
What has helped you promote your books the most?
Word of mouth and, I believe, one advertising run on Facebook seems to have helped the sales of my book. In addition, guest blog appearances. Sales spike when I’m featured on highly-visited blogs like Lena Nelson Dooley’s.
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?
Of course, my book would be hailed as the next best seller. All I had to do was publish the book and one person proclaim my genius. The rest would be scheduling my book signings and TV interviews. Of course, naiveté unveils herself in even the most ingenious authors. My goal is to reach this point someday. Apparently it won’t be this week. From this naïve point of view, I’ve begun spending on advertising, joined CAN and asked strangers who owned bookstores to carry my work and let me have a signing.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
Moving. Seriously, though not intended, in moving to the South and finding a new circle of friends, I’ve sold a boatload of books.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
Nothing. It’s all sad. Very, very sad. That’s why I’ve joined CAN.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
We recently moved to Tennessee. As an educator, I’m a natural public speaker. I love it, but have never done it beyond a few sermons and Bible studies. Out of the blue, the director of Galilee Bible Camp asked me to speak at a woman’s conference. I assumed I’d teach one workshop while Patsy Clairmont or Beth Moore carried the show. Nope. It’s me and me alone. My overriding passion is the Word of God. I’ve always wanted to teach it, but until lately, that aspect of my life had been stalled. God has opened the doors. As a new author (only two years into this published-author journey), it tickled me to see the main promotional tool used for the conference was my authorship. As the key speaker, I can promote my work.
What are your top tips for writers with their first book contract?
- Don’t assume your facebook buddies are going to buy it.
- Don’t assume reviews will pop up just because you ask a friend to write one.
- Get your blog working. I believe your blog is the most important tool you have for reaching a new audience. A stranger may search a topic. Your blog may materialize from the ether, and she/he will become acquainted with you.
- Develop networking. If you want people to tweet your messages, re-tweet theirs.
- Don’t saturate social media with me-me-me. Remember, the most important person in the world is each individual. Me only goes so far. Be genuine and interested in others. And, have fun. Post pictures of your world, inspire with quotes and be real.
Thank you, Carol, for stopping by and sharing with us! And if you want to get to know Carol better, here are some links:
Thanks, everybody for stopping by!