by Frank DiBianca
Today, I am interviewing an author who is very well-known (at least to me): my wife, Kay DiBianca. Kay’s debut novel, The Watch on the Fencepost, is a cozy mystery/romance published by Crosslink Christian Publishers and released in 2019.
Kay, thank you for participating. I’d like to ask you to summarize your learning experience for us in the following areas:
I’ve always loved writing but found little time for it until I retired, and I decided to try my hand at writing a mystery. I had no idea how much work I was in for!
My background is in math and computer science, not fields you associate with novel writing. However, software engineering gave me a love of puzzles, and I’ve found my analytical training to be a great help in constructing a mystery story.
I love studying the craft of writing. I have a small but expanding library of writing-craft books. Starting with a general idea for The Watch on the Fencepost, I watched the story take on a life of its own as I wrote. Characters often did and said things as if they were writing the story themselves. I actually enjoyed the several revisions even more than the first draft as my understanding improved.
I realized early on I needed a professional editor to help me refine my manuscript. I also needed a mentor to guide me through the publishing labyrinth. Fortunately, I discovered The Christian Writers Market Guide. I found both my mentor/editor and an independent plot reviewer there. They molded and polished the final book.
The CWMG also helped me find a traditional publisher, Since I preferred to deal directly with the publisher, my husband, Frank, and I focused on small publishers. I received several publication offers and decided to go with CrossLink.
Following advice to get endorsements from professional authors and editors, I made sure they knew I only wanted honest feedback. Much to my surprise, I received many endorsements from professionals. They’re listed on my website at kaydibianca.com/reviews.
Since the book was released, it’s received very complimentary reviews on Amazon. Goodreads, and other sites. I generally don’t ask friends to review the book online, so most of these are from people I don’t know.
I did a number of enjoyable book signings and talks at libraries and book stores. First, I showed my book trailer for the book, then I gave a short synopsis of the plot and characters. Next, since the book is a mystery, I presented the audience with a puzzle to solve. I kept adding clues until someone figured out the solution. Winners got a free copy of the book. I tried Facebook ads, but did not have much success.
But in the last few months, I’ve marketed through book promo sites with great results. I’m thrilled that The Watch on the Fencepost was accepted by Bookbub for a Featured Deal on February 26.
RESULTS (CONTESTS, SALES)
I was fortunate that The Watch on the Fencepost was named a 2019 Illumination Award winner (General Fiction) and a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award winner (Mystery). It was also a semi-finalist in the ACFW’s 2018 Genesis contest.
The book promotions mentioned greatly increased sales in the past few months. Total sales in 2019 topped two thousand books, more than I dreamed possible
One thing I’ve learned throughout my life is that persistence is often the key to success. Never give up!
Kay, that was very informative. Thank you so much!Persistence is the key to success in writing. Never give up!- Kay DiBianca @fdibianca #ACFWBlogs #write #writetips #christianfiction Click To Tweet
Frank A. DiBianca is a fiction writer and retired university professor. He received a Ph.D. in high-energy physics from Carnegie-Mellon University and later worked in biomedical engineering. Frank lives in Memphis with his author-wife, Kay (The Watch on the Fencepost, CrossLink). He is completing his first novel, a romance.