Davalynn Spencer here, writing from Colorado where evening thunderstorms send hot temperatures sailing. I am happy to welcome our Encore author, R. J. Larson/Kacy Barnett-Gramckow.
Kacy, how many books do you have published?
As Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, I have four published works: The Genesis Trilogy (Moody Publishers) and Dawnlight (Elk Lake Publishing.)
As R. J. Larson, I have six books published in the Biblical Fantasy genre, beginning with Prophet (Bethany House). I’m working on a seventh and loving every minute of the work!
My most recent published works are Queen (Biblical fantasy subtly inspired by Esther) and DownFallen, which is my first independently published novel. My husband, Jerry, is an editor, and this was a team effort—we’re pleased with the results!
You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2012. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
To continue writing! Thanks to today’s “hybrid” writing market, it is possible for writers to be more productive and creative than ever. In 2012 I would never have imagined that my fantasy series would stretch into seven or more books, and I would never have believed that it would be possible to independently write, edit, and publish my own books so quickly. I’m amazed at how much the market has changed in little more than three years. My husband and I are excited about future possibilities. I’d enjoy branching out into other genres within the next five years.
What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
Word of mouth—from reader to reader—is still the surest way to see your books promoted. Readers who truly enjoy books are amazing promoters. (Readers, we love you!)
What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
By far the most effective book promotion for any author is a free first read. Whether it’s a free novella to stir interest in your work, or featuring book number one in a series as “perma-free” for e-book versions, I’m convinced that sampling your writing to readers is the most effective and cost-effective way to promote books in today’s e-book driven market. This doesn’t mean that I’ve taken paperbacks off the shelves—far from it. I love to see those on sale as well, as publications permit. There’s still something comforting and wonderful about an “old-fashioned” paperback.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
Social media is the least effective, but the most fun. Which brings us to the next question!
What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
Social media! I love hearing from readers on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, as well as through my web sites. I try to check most of these sites daily for notes, and I post news and fun items whenever possible.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
It could be argued that the whole promotion game is crazy—there are so few sure-fire gimmicks in promotion. One fun and hectic way to reach new readers is through online scavenger hunts. I’ve participated in quite a few and always enjoyed them.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
When a reader turned to her mom, who was also a reader, and said, “She doesn’t look like the sort of person who could write all those things.” I didn’t ask for details, and I was proud of myself for not laughing as I enjoyed the moment—the young lady didn’t realize that I’d overheard her.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Every book that’s published, and every book that’s sold is a blessing and I consider each sale an open door in promotion. I’m truly grateful that the Lord has allowed me to write!
What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
- Establish an online presence.
- Be sure your work is well written and edited by a pro.
- KEEP WRITING.
Once you’ve written at least three books, try offering your first book as free for a few months, to allow readers to sample your writing. If you’ve studied and truly learned the craft of writing (and all writers continue to learn throughout their careers) then you’ll gradually build a readership.
Also, joining writing groups, attending conferences, and gaining insight from other authors is always helpful no matter how long you’ve been writing. It’s important to build connections as you hone your writing skills.
Thank you, Kacy, for these great tried-and-true tips.
Connect with Kacy online at: http://www.rjlarsonbooks.com/