Merry Christmas from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing author Marlene Banks, whose novels span from the Civil War to the Wild West to the Roaring Twenties to today! You’ll love what Marlene has to share about keeping your focus where it belongs.
Marlene, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
Seven published works, including Ruth’s Redemption, Son of a Preacherman, Greenwood and Archer, Gunmen of Nicodemus, and the Bea Happy series.
You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
Don’t take an occasional negative review to heart. It is only one person’s opinion for whatever reason. If the good ones vastly outnumber the bad, be grateful. Internationally renowned, award-winning, New York Times bestselling writers get bad reviews. It’s the nature of the beast.
The Christian writer should be mission minded with their eyes and ears tuned into God because the publishing industry is a business first and foremost. There can be a conflict which may get discouraging if you don’t keep your focus on your Kingdom purpose. Bow to God’s will, His timing and guidance more than your desire to be successful, make money, or satisfy the business aspects of professional writing.
Keep honing your craft to become a better writer. Work at it diligently, but don’t let it consume your life and especially don’t let it eat into your relationship with the Lord Jesus.
What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
It is a crucial tool to sell books. It’s a necessary evil which can compromise your creative muse, but it’s a must do. Also, that marketing is not a one-size-fits-all deal. Marketing for different age groups and cultures needs to be tweaked accordingly.
What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
Prayer and book trailers.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
I think a lot of novelists are reaching that conclusion—a far different story for nonfiction though. What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
Speaking at book clubs.
I love book clubs! What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
I was speaking at a book club function and the members (church ladies) were fighting over the books I brought to sell because I didn’t bring enough. I had assumed since it was the book they read that month that they already had their copies but some of them read it as an e-book and wanted hard copies with my signature. Others were buying for other people including church members and the pastor. These supposedly sweet little ladies almost came to blows over the last two books.
How funny! Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Every now and then, yes I did. One that sticks in my mind is the relationships with some of the people used to promote my traditionally published novels. These were unexpected lasting relationships that benefit me in several ways to this day.
What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
- Whatever you do, do it prayerfully.
- Remember publishing is a business and businesses thrive on specific marketing tactics.
- Don’t believe the hype.
Thanks for the great advice, Marlene!
Writing for Him,