In 2018, I was inspired to write a book. That book became a series for young adults called Forged in Flames. And now, that work is finished. Or is it? Embers came out in January and A Spark of Faith releases on May 29th. Through the Fire is scheduled to be released later in 2020. Awesome. But now what? I have a diploma in journalism. I can write. Objectively, I know my writing isn’t half bad. Some of it is even pretty good. But there is a lot more to writing a book than writing. There is working with editors and publishers, bookstores, local merchants, and media. These are things I am not experienced in unless buying books and working at a very small weekly newspaper count. Marketing? I have absolutely no idea. I search for advice but it truly seems to be written in a different language for all I understand it.
I know there are Christians in marketing and publishing. My publisher, Word Alive Press, is a Christian company. So, I know they exist. But how does one go about getting their attention? I should clarify that Word Alive Press is a hybrid publisher. There are inherent differences in marketing depending on the type of publisher an author has. In traditional publishing much of the marketing is done by the publisher. In self or indie publishing, the responsibility lies solely with the author. In a hybrid situation, the publisher does some but the majority of marketing is done by the author. This is the situation I find myself in.
With more and more Christian bookstores closing or going exclusively online, there are less face to face contacts. Now, I am writing this in the time of Covid -19, so there is actually no opportunity for face to face contact at all right now. Bonus. A tough situation has gotten even harder. My books are listed with Christian stores and I am grateful. I have sent my debut novel out to ministries and churches in the hopes that they might find it useful. I have spoken to the leaders of several youth groups in our area and given books to each of them.
I know I am not alone. There are many Christian writers struggling to get their books seen and read. And with the added chaos caused by this pandemic, 2020 debuts are really suffering. So, to those authors I ask, what is your marketing strategy? How has the pandemic caused you to pivot? What advice would you give to new authors? I’d love to know. And I’m sure I’m not alone in that either.