Greetings from spring-is-coming Mount Dora, Florida! In my yard, that means the amaryllis are blooming, with the Easter lilies not far behind. And I imagine it’s close to the same in the yard of the subject of this interview, since she’s practically my neighbor here in central Florida. Janet Perez Eckles and I have known each other for a few years now, and I assure you that she is as lovely in person as she appears in this interview. I take great delight in sharing Janet and her special brand of sweet and spicy wisdom with you.
Welcome, Janet! We’ll start with two simple but important questions: How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I have four: Contagious Courage: Your Thirty-Day Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety; Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta, currently in its second printing; Hola, Happiness: Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word; and Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life.
Fantastic! You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2012. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
Perseverance. Not so much in pressing forth in my writing, but to persevere in trusting God, seeking Him more earnestly, and increasing my expression of gratitude.
And what are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
I cannot do it all. And when I try to do what everyone else is doing, I sink into an overwhelming well. Instead, I do one thing I enjoy, a few things that come easily and others that I see to be effective.
Both of those last two answers show how mature you are as both a believer and an author/speaker, Janet. As I’ve said before, you, as a blind woman, see more than most sighted people. So, what would you say are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
Promote my speaking and sell books during events. And the inspirational videos I create on a regular basis.
And you do a great job on those videos! What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
Book signings. Unless I team up with several authors and create a massive publicity campaign in the area, book signings are not effective for me.
I believe we’ve heard that from other authors, too. So what’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
Facebook and my blog subscribers.
And what’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
I held a contest on Facebook, where I posted a picture of my traveling bag. I asked friends, “What [of the items packed inside] do I have the most of?” I thought since I’m an author, the answer would be obvious. But I got some bizarre responses. The correct one? DVDs of my talks.
That’s a fun question, so here’s one for you: What would you say is the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
Well, it wasn’t funny in a humorous way, but in an unusual way. During one of my trips to a speaking engagement, I sat beside a Microsoft executive from Paris. We chatted and as I usually do, I asked questions. I love to learn as much as I can about those with whom I interact.
After a long, detailed account of his life, he asked what I did. I shared a bit about myself, including the fact I write books. Sharing this detail is one of the most effective promotion tools because for others, meeting the author is often a fun thing to do. He was so impressed he went online while we were 32,000 feet in the air, ordered the book, downloaded it, and began to
During the flight, he read seven chapters and was beyond delighted. He said he would get the word to others about the book.
Promotional efforts don’t always have to be directed to the masses. Rather, I make sure never to miss a mighty moment one on one.
I love that story as well as the lesson you learned. Beyond that airplane event, did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Definitely yes. He opened the door for me to travel abroad. Sales of my books in Spanish soared.
I remember praying for you during a trip last summer. What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
Pray and pray some more. Seek God’s lead to what avenue to take. Those which everyone else is dashing to gain might not be the best for you.
Amen and amen, Janet. I think this interview reveals many of the secrets to your success as a speaker and author. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us, and blessings as you move forward in your ministry.
For His glory,