Martha inspires the membership of American Christian Fiction Writers with her Verse of the Week posts to the e-mail loop, and her story should inspire anyone who wonders if it’s too late to achieve their dreams. You see, Martha sold her first book at the age of 73. Now she’s had nine novels and two novellas published – and in a very short period of time! Her newest novel is Spring Hope, book 4 in the Seasons of the Heart series, which releases this month from Realms.
Martha, how did you get into writing?
I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil and scribble “words” on paper. I’ve always liked to make up and tell stories. In college I looked into publication, but it sounded so complicated I put it aside until years later.
How did you get your first book contract?
My agent sent a manuscript to Strang Publishers at a time they were considering a fiction line. My story was in the right place at the right time, and they chose it to debut their historical fiction line.
It’s always about God’s timing, isn’t it? Martha, what has helped you promote your books most?
My publisher, now Charisma Media, did so much with my book promotion. They’ve been the most help to me.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book? Did those mistakes cause you to change? If so, how?
I guess I thought the books would sell themselves. I learned I’d have to work at it, so now I look for every opportunity to promote my books at speaking engagements, library meetings, our local writing group meeting, and word of mouth.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
I haven’t really tried anything crazy…yet.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
This was both funny and embarrassing. I was talking to a young man from a bookstore for a long time, then suddenly realized he was a former student of mine. He recognized me and said he was just waiting to see how long it’s take me to remember him. Talk about red-faced. He was one of my Student Council officers and his sister was a good friend of my son’s. Small world.
Is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
Having friends spotlight me on their blogs really has helped bring in new fans. When friends are influencers, they work hard to promote.
Now that you have been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work and why?
Getting out there and letting people know about the books by visiting bookstores, libraries, and church groups.
What are your top tips to writers with their first book contract?
Listen to your agent as far as the legalities of the contract. If you don’t have an agent, have someone who is familiar with the lingo look it over and tell you what it means. Keep writing. If you had a first book in you, a second, third, and fourth is there ready to come out.
Writing for Him,