On Following Up:
"I thought I would give you an update from this end. I have started calling area churches. I did stop at a few but they are closed during the week so I have come up with a new strategy. I am calling churches and then following up with a letter a week later if I haven’t heard from them. The second church I called was an amazing experience, to say the least. I was able to speak with the senior pastor who also pastors 2 additional churches. He said that my call was an answer to his prayer!! He had been praying for something new and fresh to come along as his sermons were getting stale and he was tired of talking about the rich and the war; whatever that means. I met with him the following day and we spent an hour together talking. I was able to meet his wife. He wants me to come and do a 6 to 8 week engagement.... He also took my book cover flyer and my info sheet and said he was taking it down to a District conference he was attending this past week. He thought my book was so timely that he wants me to share my testimony with all churches in the State! He said I was easy to talk with and he believed that those in his congregation would open up to me and share their experience.... Driving back home all I could say was, 'wow.' I am never at a loss for words! He really blew me away."
On Events at Schools:
"Of all the blessings and opportunities I have had since my first book was published, I truly believe visiting schools is the most rewarding. It is a long, hard process, but well worth the effort. Normally, the Library Media Specialist (or Librarian) is the best person to contact regarding a school visit, and it’s usually best to contact them by phone. They can then correspond with the principal and teachers. Any additional correspondence can be taken care of by emails. Just like writing a book, it’s essential to HOOK them in the beginning. They are frequently so busy, if you lose their attention in the beginning, you never regain it. Always donate a book to each school that schedules a visit, and if possible, send it ahead of time so the librarian and teachers will have time to review it. If the teachers would like to have copies for their room libraries, I try to send them ahead of time, and will be glad to sign them on the day of my visit. The students always enjoy my visit more if they know a little about me and the books. I never ask the school to buy my books, but if they feel they need more than the copies I donate, I gladly sell them! I would rather sell to the students than to the school. I allow a few minutes at the end of each presentation to sign books purchased by the students, and that gives me a bit of personal time with the ones that buy. It’s essential to design flyers and send enough for each student to take home that tell a little about your book, the cost of your book, and the day you will visit. That seems to be the best way to notify the parents to send money. Sometimes, the librarians are glad to print and distribute the flyers if you will email a copy to them. Be sure to retain copies of all correspondence so you won’t have to wonder later exactly what was said! And finally, be sure to follow up with a thank you note to the librarian to let them know you appreciate the opportunity to visit their school. Good luck and best wishes!"
On Social Networking, Twitter:
"Social networking has been so important for marketing my book. It gives potential readers an opportunity to interact with me on a personal level, and sometimes that alone has encouraged them to read my book. It is imperative to include a website link on social networking sites so that potential readers have access to more information about my book. Twitter has been a great way for me to network with complete strangers in my target audience or to capture the attention of book reviewers. I have even had book reviewers follow me on Twitter and then request to review my book. Authors should not overlook the value of sites like Twitter and Facebook for book promotion!"
On getting Speaking Engagements and Book Sales from Social Networking, Blogs:
"I open up new connections every so often when I get a lead in Google Alerts and take the time to really see what comes up. By commenting on blogs, etc, I have been able to create interest for them to order a book and/or begin an email correspondence."
On Book Clubs:
"Every one [book club] I have been to has told me that they love the way I conduct a meeting. I ask each person to tell what part of my book touched them. It starts a conversation that they all participate in and makes the event so much more lively. They ask questions and then I fill in the gaps in the story according to what they want to know."
On Getting the Word Out:
"First, I started off by researching the industry.I spent a lot of time just learning about how the business of selling books works.Then I found editors, publishers, writers and agents on Twitter and I follow their blogs. Any and every time I see something about 'marketing' I read it. Second, I amped up my social networking. I started a group page for the book and asked friends to join and invite their friends to join. This group was used to keep people updated on the process of the book. I also posted reviews by my "test audience" on the group page. By the release date, I had over 250 people in the group and another 250 or more on my personal fan page. I made sure to separate business and pleasure. I have over 500 friends on my personal profile but I very rarely discuss the book there. If something major happens, I encourage people to go to my fan page to get the update. I also started using Twitter- although I'm not really seeing an impact of that and may stop using it. Twitter has helped more with networking within the industry rather than finding readers. Third, I started a blog/website; although I don't keep up with it as much as I once did. This blog brought a lot of people to my site that otherwise never would have heard about me. Fourth, about a month before I could get my hands on the books, I created a book trailer and posted it on Facebook. Then, two weeks later, I released another one. These were 'shared' with friends, posted on Youtube, etc. I just used iMovie on my Mac to make them and they were another avenue to get the word out. Fifth and most important, I ask for help. The people that love this book really support it and are willing to help me get the word out. As ideas come up, I throw them out there and see if any of them stick with the 'fans.' Everyone won't do everything but they will usually do something. I continually brainstorm and see what new ideas I can come up with and go from there. When it comes right down to it, I've told people that if they love the book then I need their help in getting the word out."