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Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Perhaps I should have said, “Howdy,” since I’m interviewing Vickie McDonough, bestselling and award-winning author of thirty novels set in the Old West.

I have 30 published books. My latest titles are Call of the Prairie, South Carolina Brides, and Song of the Prairie (August release).

Vickie McDonough

Vickie McDonough

You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2009. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?

I’ve learned how fast things in the writing world can change. In 2009, ebooks were still a new thing and most writers didn’t take them too seriously. Now it’s all the rage, and people can read books on their phones—as long as their eyesight is good enough. Some traditionally published authors, who were among the most popular in 2009, are strictly e-publishing now. As writers, we always need to be open to new ideas and technology—and never say, “Never.”

Call of the Prairie by Vickie McDonough

Call of the Prairie by Vickie McDonough

What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about promotion since then?

Promotional ideas are constantly changing too. Social media is a good way to contact with readers, but I believe word of mouth is still the best way for people to learn about our books. I’ve started a newsletter to connect with people who’ve written me and enjoy my novels, but now I’m looking at creating a street team—a smaller group of cheerleaders who are dedicated to getting out the word about my books.

What are the most effective means of book promotion you’ve tried?

I actually have not done a lot of promotion. I attended the Christian Product Expo last fall and met a number of nice independent bookstore owners, but I don’t know how many of those now have my books in their store as a result. Margaret Daley and I attended Rom Com several years ago and met a small, dedicated group of inspirational book readers, but again, I can’t tell you how that impacted sales. I still promote on Facebook and Twitter, but I think my newsletter is probably the most effective promotion tool because it goes to my readers.

What are the least effective promotional activities you’ve tried?

Book signings. I’ve done a number of book signings, including ones with a group of multi-published authors, and most of them have had low turnouts, even when they were well advertised. That’s embarrassing for the authors and store owners. I don’t plan to do many of those in the future.

What’s your favorite way to connect with your readers?

Facebook, my newsletters, and I always write back to a reader who writes to me.

What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?

When I first started writing, I rented a booth at several local craft fairs as a way to get my name out to local book lovers. Most of the times things went fairly well. I also went together with a group of local writers one year, and we rented a booth at the local state fair for ten days. What I learn about that was that my books only sold when I was manning the booth and could promote them.

What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?

I have a huge banner that I put on the front of my tables when I do a signing that says “Local Author” and it amazes me at the number of people who come up to me and ask, “Oh…did you write these books?”

Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?

I don’t think we always recognize the doors that God has opened for us, but I know he’s opened quite a few for me. I met a lot of people when I was an ACFW officer and that opened a few doors to interviews. I’ve also been humbled by the endorsements I’ve gotten from other writers.

What are your top tips for new authors promoting their first book?

Keep a list of readers who contact you who have enjoyed your book and contact them when you’re ready to start a newsletter or street team.

Be bold when it comes to promoting your books. No one else is likely to do it. Your story will be a blessing to people, so you need to tell others about it.

Thanks for sharing with us, Vickie!

To learn more about Vickie and her books, please visit Vickie’s website.

Writing for Him,

Sarah Sundin

Sarah’s website

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One Thought on “Tips from the Pros: Vickie McDonough

  1. Thanks for sharing, Vickie and Sarah. I love that “Never say never” advice, especially in the changing world of publishing. Blessings!

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