By Carrie Fancett Pagels
I’ve had the privilege of participating in a number of book promotion groups for other Christian writers over the years. I always enjoyed it. Well, there might have been one that was iffy, but… A group of like-minded readers all got together to support and promote the author of an upcoming release. Having just finished writing my novella, The Fruitcake Challenge, I knew I wanted to have a group that would do the same for my novella and those of the eight other authors in the Christmas Traditions series as the novellas were published.
Thankfully, over the years of blogging and being a member of ACFW, I’ve met a lot of wonderful readers and writers. So to start, I asked my critique partner author, Kathy Maher, and my beta reader, blogger and poet Teresa S. Mathews, to join a group for the Christmas Traditions crew. From there, I prayed about who to invite – readers I knew loved Christian historical romance as much as I do, and who may have read my previous novella and asked for more of my stories. Pretty soon, I was adding enough people to have over twenty people on the team and it really began to feel exciting as we anticipated each new release. Cynthia Hickey’s novella Handcarved Christmas was first and within several weeks, Niki Turner’s Sadie’s Gift was out. Mine released ten days after Niki’s.
The fun thing about having a promo group is sharing the enthusiasm and encouraging one another. Let’s face it – writing is often a solitary activity. But to get the word out about your stories you need help. The Christmas Traditions series isn’t published traditionally so there isn’t a paid media publicist from a publishing house. But I have to say, I’ve participated in a number of influencer groups for authors where they did have a marketing force for the company but the personal touch of real readers was needed not only to sell books but to also support the author.
Authors may feel uncomfortable asking folks to join such a group but it is well worth the effort. People like to help other people. And your readers who’ve enjoyed your first book(s) may enjoy the excitement of being in on the launch of a new book. Suzanne Woods Fisher recently posted on the ACFW blog about the benefits of being in tune with your readers. A small group like this is a good way to learn more about readers of your genre and is a great chance to express your gratitude for their time spent reading, reviewing, and promoting Christian fiction. An “attitude of gratitude” is an important aspect of even considering asking others to join you in promoting your books. Being available and engaged are essential, too, so if you don’t want to leave your writing cave, I don’t recommend forming an online book promotion group.
Thank you, to the Christmas Traditions Promo group, who inspired this post.
Carrie Fancett Pagels is the award-winning author. “Snowed In,” appears in Guidepost Books’ A Christmas Cup of Cheer (2013). Author of The Fruitcake Challenge (September, 2014) and Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (2013). “The Quilting Contest,” will be published in Family Fiction’s The Story 2014 anthology.