Greetings from Marti Pieper in heading-toward-summer Mount Dora, Florida. My husband and I are enjoying this brief season when we can still leave our windows open at night for some cool air. I believe the subject of today’s interview, author/speaker/missionary Grace Fox, is experiencing slightly different temperatures in her home in British Columbia, Canada. But I’m sure the warmth of her personality more than makes up for any chill in the temperature. Grace and I have enjoyed our connection as Christian authors and speakers, and we have grown to appreciate and pray for each other although we have yet to meet in person. I know you’ll enjoy hearing her thoughts and wise advice in this CAN encore interview.
Welcome back, Grace! Let’s start with the basics: How many books do you have published?
Eight books plus one DVD-based Bible study with workbook.
That sounds great. Could you please share a few of your latest titles?
Morning Moments With God: Devotions for the Busy Woman, Tuck-Me-In Talks With Your Little Ones: Creating Happy Bedtime Memories, One-Minute Romance for Couples
They all sound intriguing! Grace, you were last featured on the CAN blog in 2012. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
(1) Don’t wait for large chunks of uninterrupted time to write. Use time tidbits and write on the go. (I’m writing this on a Boeing 747 en route to Vancouver, BC from Frankfurt, Germany). (2) Writers can use their accumulated skills to earn income. For instance, develop and teach a writing course or become a writing coach. I’ve coached 10 clients in the past two years and enjoyed every minute while earning income. (3) Looking to see where our greatest writing successes have been thus far helps us to better understand our brand.
Those are all great points, and not the standard ideas, either. Thank you! So, what are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since your earlier appearance on our blog?
Authors are expected to promote their books, naturally, and we’re bombarded with ideas. This can lead to our feeling a great deal of pressure. We can either succumb to that pressure and end up striving in our own strength for whatever success looks like to us, or choose to do with excellence what we can do and leave the results to God.
That’s such a biblical perspective. Thank you! Now, what are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
Speaking at women’s events where I have time to connect personally with my audience is by far the most effective means of book promotion I’ve tried.
I have found the same thing to be true. And what are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
Twitter and LinkedIn.
What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
I write a monthly ezine called “Growing With Grace.” It includes a short inspirational article, a book giveaway (I promote other authors’ books in this way), news about upcoming speaking engagements and releases, and links to articles/songs I think my readers might enjoy. I receive more feedback from this endeavor than from any other method I use to connect with my readers.
The personal touch makes a difference, doesn’t it? What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
Three book signings in one day at three different stores. Only a handful of people showed up for this endeavor that cost me two days away from home and about $150 in travel expenses. Craziness!
Sometimes we just have to learn the hard way. What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
Doing a last-minute radio interview while in Warsaw, Poland. The hostess showed up at a Bible study that I was teaching and asked if I’d be available to drive with her to the studio afterwards. Always up for adventure, I said yes, and off we went to do an interview complete with translation. She spoke in Polish to her radio audience, asked me questions in English, and then translated my answer into Polish. Talk about a back-and-forth interview! It tested my skill but was a ton of fun.
Wow! I’m so glad God combines your love of missions with your writing work. Have you seen Him open any other doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
My latest book—One-Minute Romance for Couples—became the key to speaking in a dozen churches during the first two weeks after its release. Here’s how it happened: My husband and I developed a fun Date Night for couples, contacted churches with which we already had a relationship and asked if they’d like us to come to present it, and presto! Out of 15 churches contacted, 11 said yes. We hope to do more of these Date Nights and have a list of about 30 churches to contact shortly.
That sounds fantastic! What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
(1) When it comes to social media, I suggest focusing on one aspect and doing it well rather than trying to do everything. Or, if you have the funds, hire someone skilled to manage an aspect of social media that you find difficult. (2) Discuss the possibility of media interviews with the publicist at your publishing house. If pursuing media is in the budget for your book, great! If not, consider hiring a recommended publicist who will develop meaningful suggested media questions. (3) Develop several speaking topics relevant to your book. (4) Publish a bookmark or postcard relevant to your new book. It should contain a picture of the cover, your contact information, and purchasing information. I suggest including a pithy quote relevant to your book’s topic (as take-away value for your readers). Give these bookmarks or postcards to everyone with whom you speak about your book. Offer them to local bookstores to use as bag stuffers.
Thank you so much for your wise counsel, Grace. I’d say you used your time tidbit (writing during your flight) to our benefit. Blessings!
For His glory,