Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing multi-published novelist Marsha Hubler, whose love for horses, children, and the Amish and Mennonites is expressed in her stories.
I started about twenty years ago with poetry, short stories, and articles published in magazines. I always had the desire to write, but life got in the way until I was in my forties.
How many books do you have published?
Sixteen, and a series of twelve short stories coming out in August. My latest titles include Bachelor’s
Choice, Teacher’s Pet, and Love Song for Louellen in the Loves of Snyder County series. My short stories are being compiled in a collection entitled The Snyder County Quilting Bee.
I emailed the editor at Regular Baptist Press with a proposal about a ladies’ Bible study guide about prayer. The book was published about two years later entitled Draw Me Closer, Lord.
What has helped you promote your books the most?
Personal appearances, although I can’t deny the contacts made online with social networking sites are helping.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book?
As most new authors, I assumed the publisher would do the promoting, which some companies do, but as a no-name author, not much promo went for my books. I learned quickly that I had to put time and money to promoting my own books. The first year my Keystone Stables books were released, I had personal appearances on an average of two a month for that first year. That was ten years ago. I have long since given up that pace, but I do about six to eight personal appearances a year.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
Some authors think I’m crazy because I give away a lot of books. The craziest thing I tried is sending one hundred books (provided by my publisher) across the country to Christian schools and Christian camps, one book per school or camp with an order form and information needed to order. I received one thank you from a school in California but no orders. That was it. I’ll never know if the schools and camps went online to order the books from the publishing companies, but they didn’t order any from me.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
I doubt whether any author would think this is funny, but I had a book signing at a Christian book store one time that did no advertising ahead of time, and hardly anyone came. So I had “a book signing.” I sold one set of my books to one family that day. By the way, the book store closed shortly after due to lack of business.
Is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
Giving the first book away in a series always “hooks” readers into wanting more, so they usually buy the rest.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Being a foster parent, a horse owner, a homeschool evaluator, and living in central Pennsylvania (Amish/Mennonite territory) are all tremendous assets I’ve used to write and promote my books.
Now that you have been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work?
I still think word of mouth and personal appearances are the best way to get your name out there. I’ve found that authors are held in high esteem in our society. People love to meet and greet an author and have that book personalized with their name in it.
What are your top tips for writers with their first book contract?
Don’t be afraid to ask for free copies or, at least, free business cards or other inexpensive promo materials. The company will provide if your requests are reasonable.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Marsha!
Writing for Him,