Making Book Promotion Fun
A few weeks ago, the Seed Company (a Bible translation company associated with Wycliffe) invited me to come to Arlington, Texas, to speak to their writers and editors at their annual convention. Since my son, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby live near Austin, I’m always thrilled to have an excuse to visit Texas (and get a tax deduction for some of the expenses).
As it turned out, the day they wanted me to speak was June 2, the day after the launch of 21 Days of Grace, the first book in my new Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. So I reserved a flight to Texas that arrived the Friday before and left on Monday a week and a half later. Then I starting planning events to promote the book.
Since I’ve made several business/pleasure trips to Texas over the years, I know lots of writers and editors in the area, some of whom are contributing authors to the devotional series. So they were delighted to arrange events for me. And I was excited to have a chance to see them.
In one week, I did appearances at:
- a Christian writers’ conference in Schertz, Texas, where my dear friend Cec Murphey was teaching. (Since he has a chapter in 21 Days of Grace, I did a reading of his story.)
- a Hasting bookstore in Stephenville with Renae Brumbaugh Green (where all of the customers who bought this pretty little pink-and-green women’s devotional were men!).
- the home of my best friend from high school, Laura Pool, who invited the members of her book club to meet me. (I hadn’t seen her in about 25 years.)
- the Seed Company conference, where I taught a workshop on “When Bad Things Happen to Good Sentences” and led a group discussion about writers and editors working together. (The director purchased 12 copies of my devotional.)
- a fun fish restaurant in Plano, where I had lunch with Lori Freeland, D’Ann Mateer (both contributing authors), and Mary DeMuth (who said she might contribute to the Mother’s Day devotional).
- a “trendy” coffee shop in Dallas, where contributing author Roxanne Anderson held a fun book launch party (after which Roxanne, Lori, and I went to Reunion Tower’s revolving restaurant overlooking downtown Dallas and had Happy Hour appetizers in the swanky bar).
- a women’s club meeting in McMahan, set up by Susan Stewart, where I read a chapter from 21 Days of Grace.
I then spent the weekend with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby. And went to church with them, where I met the director of women’s ministries and a friend of theirs who is a multi-published author and talked to them about my devo.
The whole trip felt more like an exciting opportunity to have fun with my Texas friends and family than like a hard-core push of my newly launched book.
- I’d shipped 100 copies of 21 Days of Grace to Texas, and left about 20 at my son’s house for the next time I’m in the area. I gave a few copies away, so probably sold about 70. That’s not a huge number. But it should get some word-of-mouth started. And if the book blesses the people who got a copy, I’m ecstatic.
New writers often dread the idea of having to promote their books once they get published. But if you can combine your marketing with something fun, like visiting friends and family, it doesn’t feel like a chore at all!