During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.
Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky’s passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it.
My Stubborn Heart has been all over bookstores and the web since its release. What marketing did you do in addition to the support your publisher gave?
Only the things I enjoyed! My publisher and I both feel that it’s more worthwhile to do a few things well than to attempt to do everything.
Here’s what I didn’t do:
- Speaking engagements.
- A blog of my own.
Here’s what I did:
- I visited 20+ blogs where I wrote guest blog posts or answered interview questions or simply shared the book’s prologue. I always interacted with commenters. I offered giveaway copies of the novel whenever the blog hostess asked.
- I built my own website.
- I started a Facebook fan page and kept up with it daily.
- I put together a newsletter that I write and send out quarterly.
- I set up an author profile on reader sites like: Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, Librarything. Goodreads I still check every day.
- I visited my local bookstores and libraries. I introduced myself to the managers, signed copies, and gave out free bookmarks.
- I did three book signings.
- I answered all my reader emails.
What was your biggest (marketing-related) surprise as a first time CBA author?
How tremendously busy I was during my release month! Those early weeks after My Stubborn Heart hit shelves were physically, mentally, and emotionally intense. Very.
My Stubborn Heart isn’t your first novel, though it is your first for the inspirational market. Have you noticed differences between marketing your general market and your CBA fiction?
The marketing differences I’ve noticed have little to do with genre and much to do with technology. I published my general market romances in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Back then we had rudimentary websites, sent out ARCs we made ourselves, printed bookmarks, and organized a book signing or two. With the advent of reader-oriented websites, social media, and blogs, the marketing workload available to authors has increased tenfold.
The similarity I’ve noticed? The best marketing is still word of mouth.
I can understand that. I’m a cheerleader for my favorite books, to the point of shoving copies into my friends’ hands. What suggestions do you have to get word of mouth going?
I don’t believe it’s all about flashy advertising. An author who invests thousands of dollars and hours in publicizing her novel will convince some people to spend their hard-earned money and time on it. But if her readers aren’t crazy about her book, they won’t buy her next one. Worse, they might tell their friends not to bother. So what’s the author accomplished, ultimately?
In my opinion, the best way for any author to get word of mouth going is to write a book that readers love. Easier said than done, amen? Nonetheless, this should be our goal. The quality of our books is the one thing we can control.
Personally, I give myself roomy deadlines so that I can devote a great deal of time to writing the best book I possibly can with the Lord’s help. I don’t take on marketing commitments that will steal hours and energy away from my main thing — the writing.
Marketing can and does provide wonderful support! But in the end, the book is the thing.
Thanks for sharing your insights with us today, Becky. We’re looking forward to your next book, Undeniably Yours, due out from Bethany House in May 2013.