Happy end-of-August from lovely little Mount Dora, Florida, where the dwindling days of summer yield temperatures in the lower rather than the higher 90’s. Today, I’m delighted to introduce to you my friend, author Christine Lindsay, who lives a few thousand miles north of me in beautiful Canada. I say “friend” because, although we have yet to meet in person, she and I have interacted quite often via the Christian Authors Network. I’ve come to appreciate Christine a great deal, and I know you will, too. Let’s get right to our time of Q & A.
Welcome, Christine! How many books do you have published, and what are a few of your latest titles?
I’m totally floored with praise—for God—that at this time I have seven titles published. One of these seven is only a short story, but the rest are full-length historical novels, of which my British Raj Trilogy has won some nice critical acclaim, and also the most recent historical romance Sofi’s Bridge. But the true-life story that inspired all of my fiction and speaking is the most recent release (this month) of my nonfiction book Finding Sarah, Finding Me.
Congratulations on that special new release. You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
That my career is in God’s hands, and no amount of fretting or pushing on my part will make it happen. The Lord has timed my career to fit my personal life. There have been times when my own life has made writing impossible, such as these past six months. They have been the craziest busy I’ve ever been with selling a house, moving, my youngest son’s wedding, a new granddaughter, and in the middle of all that I’ve tried to promote the two books that came out this year.
I’ve also learned that my family comes before my writing—always—and of course my relationship with the Lord above all. I have learned to trust Him with the work load of being a writer.
Amen to all of that (and you have certainly been crazy-busy). So what are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since 2013?
If you can afford it—good advertising. But if you can’t afford that, then choose one social platform venue (Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or whatever) and do that one really well. Let readers see you as a real person and not just a pushy writer.
I love that. And what are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
I am a speaker at women’s events, and my books sell very well at conferences and ladies’ brunches. But the most effective is the slow but steady development of readers who follow my career. Psalm 46:10-11, which tells us to “stop striving,” has come to mean a lot of me. Simply due to the constraints of my own life, I’ve not been able to get the bigger notice that some of my well-deserving peers have. I’ve had no option but take my time, and I like to think this enables me to produce quality writing. That’s all I’ve had to stand on—the slow but steady release of titles that publishers have approached me for.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
Book signings at stores. I’ve cut all of that out, but keep a relationship with one local Christian bookstore where I’m invited back twice a year for church library nights to promote my books. This is important to me because I want to support my local store owner as well.
Of course you do! Christine, what’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
My quarterly newsletter has allowed me to meet new readers, but I find the best way for me is Facebook. While I have a Twitter and a Pinterest account, it is on Facebook that I show my “normal” face. I like my readers to see me as a person when I share about my grandkids, my grown children, and my garden, and not simply as a writer trying to push my books. Establishing a relationship with my readers is as important to me as establishing a relationship with my one local store. It helps me remain “real”.
You put that so well. What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
During a speaking engagement my high heel got stuck in a crevice on the stage. There was no way to extricate myself without the audience noticing. I try to add humor into my public speaking, so it was easy for me to just be myself. With the microphone still in my hand, I drawled, “Well, it’s no surprise that if there’s a hole to fall in, this Irishwoman will find it.” And I stepped out of my shoe and reached down to pull it out of the crevice in the floor. Naturally, the audience roared. For me it’s all about being real and letting my readers see a very simple person who really doesn’t want the focus on me but on our amazing God.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
I see the Lord doing amazing things all the time. Even though I’m published by traditional royalty-paying houses, I still have to foot the bill for any advertising. That’s always been the hardest for me, as I don’t have a whole lot of money to spend on promotion. That’s when I find the Lord allows my books to receive awards, or a new reader falls in love with my work and tells others about it. One of the best things about my career is the writing friends I’ve made. Such a great bunch of people, especially in CAN, where we help to promote each other to the best of our ability. It’s that helping each other that means the world.
Amen. And finally, what are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
Trust God with your career. My own journey as a writer has been a slow rise, but I’ve found the Lord to be so faithful. Just when I think it’s time to pack the laptop away forever, He does something amazing to keep me moving forward. Like I said, to this point I have been unable to pay for good advertising. My work has had to stand on its own, but it gets noticed. My advice is: take the time to learn your craft and don’t short-change yourself by pushing out a book that is not ready. Become a good writer and your work will speak for itself.
That’s so true. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Christine, and congratulations again on the new release.
To learn more about Christine Lindsay and her books, visit Christine’s website.
For His glory,