Hello from Sarah Sundin, who has a sudden longing for tea and crumpets. Why? Today’s guest, Marion Stroud, hails from my favourite country, England. Yes, I added the U for Marion’s sake. Marion is the prolific and bestselling author of 23 books, translated into many languages. This mother of five and grandmother of thirteen also serves as a British magistrate. So do not speed down her street.
Marion, how did you get into writing? How many books do you have published?
A bookworm since babyhood, I always wanted to write. When I “retired” from my profession as a physical therapist to have our first baby, I thought I could combine two ambitions – motherhood and becoming a writer! I have published 23 books, the most recent title being Dear God, It’s Me and It’s Urgent. My 24th book, It’s Just You and Me, Lord, will be released in November 2012.
How did you get your first book contract?
I entered a competition for first-time writers of children’s fiction when baby number one was two years old and his new brother three months old. Not ideal timing in many ways, but it gave me those two essentials: something specific to write and a deadline by which it must be finished.
What has helped you promote your books the most?
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book?
When I won the children’s fiction competition back in the 70s, marketing hardly got a mention.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
I was at a women’s coffee morning as their designated speaker and was left alone by my hostess among the coffee-drinking throng. A woman took pity on me and asked where I’d come from. When I told her I’d driven about 75 miles to get there, she didn’t appear to think it odd but said, “Have you heard of the woman who’s speaking here this morning?” Without waiting for a response, she added, “They SAY she’s written a number of books, but I haven’t read any of them. Have you?” Knowing that she would soon discover that I WAS the speaker, I confessed. Not one whit abashed, she looked me up and down and then said, “WELL! To think that someone like you has written all those books over there!” Dumbfounded, I didn’t have the nerve to ask what she was expecting, and to this day, wonder if I didn’t LOOK like a writer because she was expecting someone like Barbara Cartland, a world-famous romantic novelist who always dressed in pink!
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Some of my books are what is known as co-editions. This means my publisher published them in conjunction with an overseas publisher, both using the same color illustrations and translating the text. In this way, I’ve had books published in fourteen different languages, including Chinese. When I was in a conference in Austria, which was intended to train publisher and editors from the two-thirds’ world, I met Carol Holquist of Discovery House. Although I was there as a trainer not an author, we found we had lots in common. Through my conversations with her, she asked me to send her a book I’d had published in the UK, but the publisher had retired and the company closed. She liked Dear God, It’s Me and It’s Urgent, and her company took the US rights and published it in 2008. She then requested a sequel, It’s Just You and Me, Lord, which will be published in November 2012.
What do you find works best for you in promoting your work, and why?
In spite of my long writing career, this US market is a new world to me, especially social media and all that goes with that. It’s particularly difficult to market in the US in terms of radio interviews because radio journalists don’t appear to trust the time difference.
What are your top tips for writers with their first book contract?
Read it carefully and take advice if you’re not sure.
Thank you for sharing with us, Marion!
Writing for Him,