I’ve always wanted to write. Wrote my first poem for Memorial Day at age nine. Our pastor put it in the church bulletin; also wrote a poem for my mother for Mother’s Day that year. Sold my first poem for $1.40 at age fourteen, and my first short story at age eighteen for $12.
I’ve had 24 books published, with two coming out this year and one in 2016. My latest titles are: A Step in the Write Direction—the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers; The Freedom of Letting Go; and The Little Book of Big Laughs.
How did you get your first book contract?
I sent thirty Bible quizzes to a Sunday school take-home paper at Standard Publishing. They wrote back that they wanted to put it in a book. This was in 1971. The book sold for 29 cents, and I got $125—flat fee. Before it went out of print, they sold 140,000 copies.
Oh my! What has helped you promote your books the most?
I taught at 12-13 conferences across the U.S. for several years—some for other leaders, and one-day workshops of my own.
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?
Like many new authors at the time, I thought the publisher did most of the marketing. I found it hard to push my own writing.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
I don’t know if it’s crazy or not, but I send a list of my available books in with my Christmas cards to good friends.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
At a book signing, I only “sold” one book, and that was a door prize.
Is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
Teaching at conferences, and speaking at churches (mostly on “The Freedom of Letting Go”).
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Just carrying books with me and mentioning them to people who ended up buying them (the joke book to doctors, etc.).
Now that you have been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work and why?
Facebook and my weekly blog.
What are your top tips for writers with their first book contract?
I always advise them to have someone look over the contract. I use Sally Stuart.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Donna!
Writing for Him,