Greetings from the unseasonably warm Front Range of Colorado. I’m happy to welcome another Coloradan today for her encore visit, author Susan G. Mathis.
Susan, it’s good to have you here again. How many books do you have published and what are some of your latest titles?
I currently have five published books. My debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, just came out, and I’m excited to turn my attention to writing historical fiction full-time. My journey has been multi-faceted, and I consider my writing as ministry.
My first two books are Tyndale-published nonfiction premarital books—The ReMarriage Adventure and Countdown for Couples. Last year I had two published children’s picture books—Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient, and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure.
I’m also published in several compilations as well as working as a freelance writer and editor, a writing coach, and a speaker. And as the former Editorial Director at Focus on the Family of twelve unique publications and Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine, I’ve done a lot of writing. It’s been a really fun journey!
What a busy and fruitful life. You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
Stick with one genre. I am so humbled to have accomplished such diverse published works, but it’s tough to promote books to three different audiences—the nonfiction premarital audience, the picture book audience, and now the historical fiction reader audience. So what have I learned? I love historical fiction and am going to stick with that! Smiles.
Do you have any key points you’ve learned about promotion?
Work with others, and CAN is a great way to do that! Jump in and respond to interview opportunities (such as this), send new releases, stories, and events for the CAN newsletter, write for Munce, etc. There are TONS of ways to connect with readers and retailers and your fellow authors. Then, you simply cross-promote by posting those things on social media and other places.
What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?
Cross promoting, for sure. Get involved with CAN and other authors. Then it’s a win-win!
What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?
Going it alone. It’s frustrating. It’s lonely. It’s unproductive. Networking is the way to go!
Such an encouraging word for us all. But how about connecting with your readers? What do you enjoy most?
I love the daily touch points of my Facebook connections. But meeting readers in person, whether at conferences, book signings, etc., is so much fun. I love people and there’s nothing like seeing their faces and hearing their voices when they tell me how one of my books blessed them.
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
When I went to Ireland last year, I took a “Flat Sally” (sister to Flat Stanley) with me. I took photos with her and made a storybook for my grandgirls about my trip—and wrote it completely in limerick! Since kids don’t read historicals, I read them my Flat Sally book so they can see Ireland while their mommies read The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy.
Limerick – that’s amazing! What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
During a Countdown for Couples book signing, we had a radio interview. When the interviewer asked what the best part of marriage is, without thinking I said, “sex!” Boy did I turn red!
Love it, Susan! I’m sure listeners appreciated your candid heart. Have you seen God open promotional doors you never expected?
Yes. I’m going to do book signings at the Catholic church I grew up in. Never thought I’d do that!
What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?
- Work with others.
- Connect and network, especially with the CAN family of authors.
- You won’t regret it!
Thanks you, Susan, for sharing your experience with us.