Narelle, tell us how you got into writing and a few of your latest titles.
I started writing my first book, Her Tycoon Hero, in 1998. I’ve always been an avid romance reader and I decided I wanted to try to write my own romance. My debut book, Falling for the Farmer, was a February 2014 release from Heartsong Presents. I signed a six-book contract for two 3-book series. I have four books releasing in 2014, including The Nurse’s Perfect Match and The Doctor’s Return in my Snowgum Creek series. Her Tycoon Hero, the first book in my Sydney series, is a November 2014 release.
How did you get your first book contract?
In August 2012, Harlequin announced they had purchased the Heartsong Presents line from Barbour. In a Harlequin forum discussion my editor mentioned they were interested in international settings. I submitted a query for Her Tycoon Hero, which they contracted, and my editor asked if I’d written anything else. I submitted Falling for the Farmer and proposals for four more Aussie contemporary romance stories which they also contracted.
What has most helped you promote your books?
The frequency of my book releases, every three months, has helped to keep my name fresh in the minds of readers.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book?
In hindsight, I think I did too much online promotion for Falling for the Farmer that was time consuming and temporarily stalled the progress of my contracted books. I’m now more selective in how I promote my new book releases from a time perspective. I make sure I prioritize creative time in my schedule during book release month. I also set limits on the amount of time I spend on social media.
Time limits on social media – that sounds like a critical key. Any other unique challenges?
I haven’t done a lot of in-person promo, mainly because I live in Australia and my books are published in North America. One day I will hopefully have something amusing to share.
Is there something you did that really helped with marketing?
I organized a blog chase with four of my writing friends, starting at the Australasian Christian Writers group blog, with stops in Australia and New Zealand on the Falling for the Farmer release day. It’s a runaway bride story, and I asked the question: If Kate ran away to … what would she do? The blog readers at each stop loved the concept and followed the chase back to my blog.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
My mother, who has never been a reader of fiction, has enjoyed my books and encouraged her friends to read my books. Our mothers can be our biggest supporters.
Now that you have been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work and why?
I still feel like I’m new to the world of book promotion and finding my way through trial and error. I like to promote the work of others, and I appreciate my writing friends who have helped to promote my books.
A great approach. What are your top tips for writers with their first book contract?
- Start planning your promotional activities early.
- Set a budget on the amount of time and money you want to spend on promotion, and stick to it.
- Be strategic in terms of the opportunities you have to get to know potential readers on a more personal level.
- Always reply to blog comments, and engage with readers on blogs and social media who show an interest in you and your writing.
Thank you, Narelle, for sharing these personal tips with us today.