Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the honor of interviewing Grace Fox, a multi-published devotional and Bible study author and a much-in-demand speaker who urges women to become “daring, deep, and devoted” in their walks with the Lord.
I started writing in 1999, convinced I could launch a successful greeting card line. Eager to show my product to a Dayspring editor, I attended the Florida Christian Writers Conference. My cards were rejected there, but I attended as many workshops as I could and learned how to write for magazines. I laid a good foundation for my writing career by focusing on the magazine market first. Doing so taught me how to conduct a good interview and write profiles, devotionals, personal experience articles, and even pieces for kids and teens. My first book–10-Minute Time Outs for Moms–was released six years after I attended that conference.
How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I’ve published four books and a 7-week DVD-based Bible study. The latter was in partnership with Stonecroft Ministries. A couple of my latest titles are Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation and Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women (Harvest House, February 2012).
How did you get your first book contract?
I wrote twenty sample devotionals, developed a unique format for my book, secured several good endorsements, applied all the knowledge I’d learned to that date in regards to writing a book proposal, and secured an agent. He landed the contract with Harvest House Publishers. The process took two years.
What has helped you promote your books most?
To promote my books to a widespread audience, I’ve hired a publicist, Don Otis. That hasn’t necessarily translated into sales, but it’s helped get my message out there. For me, promotion that results in sales ultimately comes from speaking–meeting my audience and establishing a face-to-face relationship with them. They buy my books and then spread the word to their friends.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book?
I wrongly assumed my publisher would do more to market. When I realized my mistake, I became more intentional in my efforts.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
No gimmicks, per se. But one of the best promotional activities was to hire a ventriloquist for my first book signing. He entertained the kids so the moms could spend time with me.
What a clever idea! What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
A 72-hour media tour during which everything went “wrong”–plane delays and cancellations, broken seats aboard planes, blizzards, car rental cancellations, and a forgotten coat. I arrived in South Bend, Indiana in the middle of a blizzard without my coat. An off-duty taxi driver felt sorry for me. He drove me from the airport to my hotel and then picked me up the next morning to deliver me to my interview on “The Harvest Show.” When he arrived at my hotel, he handed me a well-worn men’s jacket and said, “Wear this, lady. You’ll freeze otherwise.” Bless his heart, he sat in the studio parking lot during my interview, watched me on a TV that plugged into his cigarette lighter, and then drove me back to my hotel. Maybe he was an angel in disguise?
Or sent by one! Grace, is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
I invested in a good website. That has resulted in numerous groups asking me to speak at their events, which inevitably results in book sales and more speaking invitations.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Being a guest on “Family Life Today” with Dennis Rainey and Bob LePine was a door I never expected to open for me.
Now that you’ve been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work, and why?
For me, it’s all about building relationships with my readers. Speaking to them personally is what I enjoy the most, but I can also do it online. One thing I’ve done for groups using my Bible study is to have a phone call with them on the day they start the course. They put me on speaker phone, and I pray for them. The women love it!
I can imagine! What a great idea. What are your top tips for writers with their first book contract?
1) Don’t panic over the plethora of marketing options. Choose what works best for you and let the rest go. You can only do so much, right?
2) Bathe your efforts in prayer. Ask God to guide you continually. Recognize that you make a plan but the Lord directs your steps.
Great advice, Grace! Thanks for visiting with us today!
Writing for Him,