Hello from Sarah Sundin in northern California.Today I have the privilege of interviewing award-winning author Rhonda Gibson, who writes Christian romances – contemporary mysteries and historicals. In 2009, A Connecticut Christmas, a novella collection she contributed to, received the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award, and in 2007, her novel To Trust an Outlaw won the Heartsong Presents Favorite Historical Novel award.
Rhonda, how did you get into writing?
I started writing when I was young; it was my love of reading that led to writing. I know that’s the normal answer and it’s true for me, too.
How many books do you have published?
Eight fiction books, and I have contributed to two non-fiction books.
My latest titles are: What’s In Your Closet? and Lethal Lasagna (both from White Rose Publishing) and Desert Roses (Barbour 2009).
How did you get your first book contract?
I received my first book contract at the 2003 American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference. I think I was the first person to receive a novella contract at the conference from Rebecca Germany. It is a memory that will be forever burned into my mind.
How exciting for you! One of the best parts of the ACFW Conference is watching writers’ dreams come true.
What has helped you promote your books the most?
I would have to say word of mouth. My friends, family, and now readers have been great! I also had a website long before I became published.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book?
That word of mouth would be enough and that I would have instant results.
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were enough? How have you changed your approach?
I now work hard to keep a web presence by keeping my website current and my blog site blogging. I have a reader’s newsletter that I try to get out monthly, and I do radio interviews, television interviews, and I stay active in web communities such as, FaceBook, ShoutLife, Twitter, and many others
Is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
I began speaking at writers’ conferences and making myself known on the web.
Speaking of speaking…Rhonda will be teaching this weekend (Sept. 17 & 18, 2010) at the Write For His Glory Conference at Hesperus Baptist Camp and Conference Center in Hesperus, Colorado. Her class is titled: “Starting Your Novel and Seeing It Through (Without Your Family Starving or Going Naked).” Doesn’t that sound great?! If you are interested in attending, please call 970-564-9449 or 970-749-0796 for more information.
Now that you have been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work and why?
Getting the word out to the readers through web communities, my newsletter and my blog. I also run a contest with each book release to encourage my current readers to bring in new readers. Not sure if it’s the best method, but it is working for me right now.
What are your top tips for aspiring writers with their first book contract?
1) Keep learning the craft of writing!
2) Watch other more experienced authors and follow in their footsteps.
3) Never quit writing. You will sell again if you are persistent.
Great advice, Rhonda! It’s so important to keep learning, isn’t it?
Writing for Him,