Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing Sherry Kyle, a close friend of mine. Over a decade ago, Sherry and I met at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, when we were both newbie writers longing for publication. It’s been a joy to see dreams come true for this talented writer who has such a heart for women and tween girls.
Sherry, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I have seven books published—three novels and four books for tween girls—as well as a couple of stories in compilations. My new titles for tween girls are The Girl’s Guide to Life (Feb. 2016, RoseKidz) and Love, Lexi: Letters to God (March 2016, Tyndale).
Both books are delightful, by the way! You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2012. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
Each book I write is a gift and a learning experience, whether it gets published or not. Of course I’d like every manuscript to be in print, but that doesn’t always happen and it’s okay. God is in control and has my best interests at heart.
What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?
There is no magic marketing tool, but there are many things that I can do to help with promotion. I’ve also learned that promoting a book is about promoting God. It’s not about me!
That sure makes it easier, doesn’t it? What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
I’ve taken part in a group book scavenger hunt that was successful and a lot of fun. Also, writing articles for online magazines with a large readership has been very helpful to get my name and books out there.
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
I really enjoy creating book trailers and one-sheets for my books, but I don’t know how successful they are. Like many authors, I’ve also taken part in book signings that had a disappointing result.
What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?
I really like to connect with my readers through social media, especially Facebook. Funny story, one female reader came to my hometown on a family vacation and wanted to meet me in person. She had stayed at the same beach resort many times in the past, and ironically, it’s within walking distance from my house. So my daughter and I walked over and met her, her daughter, and her parents. What a wonderful family! And they had all read my books—and brought them for me to sign. So fun!
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
When the house next door was for sale, I asked the realtor if I could display my book on the coffee table when she had an open house, seeing that the setting (and image on the cover) is a local landmark where I live. She gladly obliged. I never got the book back after the house sold, but I don’t mind. I hope whoever took my book enjoyed it!
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
One time I made a gift basket to be part of a silent auction at a large writer’s conference. I was too late to add my book into the author bookstore but still wanted the 500+ conferees to be aware of my new release. At one of the meals, a woman sat beside me and introduced herself as the head of the fiction department of a large book distributing company. When she found out who I was, she started giggling and told me she just bought my gift basket! What were the odds?
I love it! Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Yes! I was asked to take part in an ‘Author Day’ at a local public school and had the opportunity to read from one of my books for middle grade girls. I was thrilled that the teacher allowed me to read a Christian book in a public school setting, and even more surprised when the boys asked me to write a book for them too! It was a great experience.
What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
- Remember, you’re not alone. Network with other writers to help you along in this journey, and keep in communication with the marketing team from your publishing house.
- Start gathering your influencers early and sign up for as many marketing opportunities that fit your budget and personality.
- Give the book to God daily. He knows the outcome and the lives it will touch.
- Celebrate! Your first book will only be released once.
Thank you, Sherry! Great advice.
Writing for Him,