Just In Time

They have done it again. Those wonderful people at Writer’s Digest magazine have come to my rescue. It is uncanny how they seem to know exactly where I am in my writing and what it is I need to be able to forge ahead.

I can see it now. Editor Jessica Strawser (after putting away her crystal ball) calls an impromptu meeting, gathering the workforce, and says, “Listen up wonderful people! Janice Gilbertson needs to know everything we know about book marketing so let’s get her some help going in the next issue.”

The staff rises, clapping their hands with enthusiasm (they know I am a big fan) and then hurry from the room to compile helpful articles. Well, maybe it doesn’t go exactly that way, but sometimes it sure feels like it. I have spent a lot of time thinking about book marketing since my first novel was picked up by Duke and Kimberly Pennell at Pen-L Publishing. This is a happy, exciting and nerve wracking time for me. I want to do this marketing business right. I want to make Pen-L and myself as proud as any publisher and author can be.  Lo and behold, when I opened my February Issue of Writer’s Digest I knew that help had arrived.

“Success Stories in Self-Promotion” is the best article I have read about marketing. In its beginning the article points out the importance of self-promotion no matter whether you have a print book or an e-book and no matter if it is traditionally published or self-published; marketing is the success of your book. The juicy parts of this article are the responses from seven authors who shared their strategies for success. They listed what they did to promote book sales and wrote about what worked for them and what didn’t.

The list is long. They covered social media, word-of-mouth, book clubs, independent book stores and connecting with their readers (audience); blogging, tweeting and so on. They told it straight and simple. What worked for one author didn’t necessarily work for another. Social media is the thing and though I knew that, I discovered new ways to reach potential readers. I felt calmer about my job after realizing that I can do as many of the idea listed as I choose, but that I don’t have to do all of them. Some won’t be for me. For instance, I don’t live in an area near small independent book stores and even though some travel isn’t out of the question, my rural lifestyle might hamper long trips. Other promoting that can be done electronically and also community book clubs appeal to me.

Most of the seven authors in the article were very–if not extremely– successful with their book sales. Their enthusiasm was contagious. I have spoken of my book on Facebook and of course here, where I have excerpts from it, but it is time to get the show on the road!

The Summer of ’58 is the story of a bright girl growing up in a small, middle-of-nowhere town in the innocent era of the 1950s. But Angela’s parents are divorced and her father has more than ignored his relationship with her. When she gets the chance to travel the rodeo circuit with him, watch him ride saddle broncs and experience a summer-long trip, she has no idea of the life-changing events she will encounter along the way. The summer becomes a journey of good and evil and honesty.

So my spring must become a journey of hard work to get my novel to my readers.

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