Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the honor of interviewing Mona Hodgson, author of almost forty fiction and nonfiction books! Mona also gives back to the writing community. I’m one of many writers who have benefitted from Mona’s teaching and warmth at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. This past year Mona also took on the responsibility as director of the conference, and she’s doing an excellent job!
Mona, how many books do you have published?
Twenty-eight children’s picture books, early readers, and middle-grade nonfiction. Eleven novels and novellas, and a Cripple Creek novella releasing in November.
Keeper of My Heart (The Convenient Bride Collection), The Quilted Heart novellas, Prairie Song, Twice a Bride, and Real Girls of the Bible: A 31-Day Devotional.
You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2012. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
For traditional publishing houses, publishing books is first and foremost a business. Publishing plans change and sales numbers matter. Pardon the cliché, but it isn’t wise to place all of your writing eggs in one publishing house basket or to expect that publishing house to want to keep acquiring more eggs from you.
What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
The shotgun approach to social media is exhausting. Far too many targets to hit if you’re trying to aim at them all. I’ve had to narrow my focus and choose the sites that best fit my personality and communication style, and give me a more direct route for connecting with my readership
What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
Book giveaways on my blog and on my Facebook Author Page. Blog hops or blog tours with other authors like the one I’m participating in this month for the release of Keeper of My Heart in The Convenient Bride Collection. Giving out emery boards with my historical fiction genre and website on them.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
You’re not alone there. What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
My Facebook Author Page. And setting events—Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek, Colorado, for The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series and Heritage Days in St. Charles, Missouri, for The Quilted Heart omnibus and Prairie Song.
Donkey Derby Days—that sounds like a story! What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
Wearing a vest at CBA with the cover of one of my Desert Critter Friends books on the back.
Very cute. Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
I had the opportunity to do a book signing at The Flying W for The Bride Wore Blue and Twice a Bride, just days before it burned to the ground in the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs.
You can read about the signing here on Mona’s blog. What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
Don’t scatter your efforts too far and wide. Facebook. Twitter. Blogging. Instagram. Amazon Author Central. Goodreads. Google+, Novel Crossing. Pinterest. And…. Instead, focus on one or two or three (depending upon your time and other resources) specific means for reaching and connecting with your audience.
Excellent advice for preserving sanity! Thanks for sharing, Mona.
Writing for Him,