Greetings from Marti Pieper in charming Mount Dora, Florida, where we haven’t quite decided if we’re ready for warm weather or not. I do, however, have a warm conversation to offer you today with delightful novelist Liz Tolsma. Welcome back, Liz, to our CAN blog. Let’s get started with the official interview.
How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I have six. My most recent are “World’s Greatest Love” in the Rails to Love novella collection, and “A Match Made in Heaven” in the Matchmaker Brides novella collection.
Congratulations! You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
Writing has its ups and downs, its busy seasons and its lean times. You don’t know when you’ll get your next contract, and sometimes, even having a contract is no guarantee your book will get published. But God is faithful, and He provides
That’s a great reminder for every writer—and every Christ-follower. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
That I know very little about promotion. The landscape is always changing. There’s always something new out there, and it’s next to impossible to keep up with all the trends. I’m working on focusing on a couple of things and doing them well, and trying not to stress about all I don’t know.
So wise! What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
My blog/website is one of the best ways to draw people in. Because I feature other authors, I’m reaching an audience that may not be familiar with me. When they stop by to read their favorite author’s post, hopefully they spend some time on the site and get to know me a little too.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
That’s hard to say. I’m not very good with the return-on-investment thing, but I haven’t had the greatest success with book signings.
And what’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
I love connecting with them in person at craft fairs. My target audience walks by me all day long. I’ve had some great conversations with people at these fairs, built my newsletter list, and made some great fans this way.
That sounds fantastic. So what’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
I’ve tried to sell my books at our church rummage sale. No one wants to buy a full-priced book when you have a wheelbarrow full of them for 25 cents!
I can bear a sad witness to that truth, Liz. What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
I met the librarian from the town in Illinois where my husband’s family is from. Turned out that she knew my late grandmother-in-law’s niece. Small world! I’ve had several connections like that.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
I never expected that my speaking career would take off the way it has, and all from just a few speeches. People will hear me speaking at one event, and they book me for theirs. It’s kind of crazy to see how God works that out.
That’s wonderful (and you must be doing a great job!). Finally, what are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
Don’t get overwhelmed by all that’s out there. Pick one or two of your favorite things to do (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, craft fairs, speaking, whatever) and do them well. With each book you write, you’ll learn a little more. And I’ve had more than one marketing expert tell me it’s all about the newsletter list, so work on building that. Give away a freebie (one chapter, the story behind the story, a novella) to those who do sign up.
Thanks so much, Liz. Our readers and I truly appreciate you sharing your time and expertise.
To learn more about Liz Tolsma and her books, connect with her at her website.
For His glory,
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