Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Grace-Filled Tuesdays: Book Club "Meeting" #27: Marketing

Hey, did you know that I have this online book club called Grace-filled Tuesdays (where I discuss my two Catholic novels, Finding Grace and Erin's Ring, and the things that inspired me to write them)?   If you didn't know before, you do now.  And it's Tuesday, so welcome to the club!  Grab yourself a cup of coffee (that's what I'd do, anyway, because that's what I always do) and have a seat.  I'm so glad you're here!
You know, I have to say that I am proud and honored that both of my novels made it into print (proud and honored, and also deeply humbled), because they are filled with lovable Catholic characters, inspirational story lines, and plenty of positive messages for readers of all faiths.  I feel this way in spite of the fact that neither has enjoyed wide readership.  I admit that sometimes I feel a bit discouraged by my books' lack of worldly success (something I vowed I'd never do...but I am only human, after all).   On occasion, I'll say to my husband, "I think my little experiment with being a writer has been a dismal failure."  But then he'll remind me again of the reasons I wrote these books in the first place, and those reasons have nothing whatsoever to do with money or acclaim; instead, they have everything to do with trying to use the gifts God gave me, such as they are, to their fullest potential, and more importantly, striving to use them for His greater glory.  If achieving that goal is the point of it all, then I need to have a "mission accomplished" attitude and go a little easier on myself.

The hardest thing about writing books, apparently, isn't even the writing itself; it's the marketing.  If you're not good at marketing, it is well nigh impossible to get your books into the hands of readers.  I keep plugging away at it, by now and again hosting a giveaway over at Goodreads or here on the blog, by reaching out to Catholic bloggers who might be willing to review them, by contacting Catholic schools to see if they would be interested in having some donated copies for their libraries.  But for the most part, I stay where I am most comfortable, incurable introvert that I am: very much behind the scenes, where I am neither seen nor heard.  This is not a good marketing strategy, by the way.  In case you were wondering.

So yesterday, in an effort to make more of an effort in the marketing department, I ordered new business cards.  (The information on my old ones was a bit out-of-date.)  You can custom-design them at Vistaprint for an extremely reasonable price: $9.99 will get you 500--which is about 480 more than I would probably ever need, mind you, but you just can't beat that price!

So I'm having this one made for Finding Grace.
And this one for Erin's Ring.
I should have figured out a way to put both titles and both book cover images on one card, but I am not tech-savvy enough to manage that.  So I'm going to have 1,000 business cards in all.  That should be plenty.  I should be set for years to come, even if I finally get brave enough to put myself "out there" on a more regular basis and end up doing some book signings.

I am enjoying having a wonderful office in our new house in VA, where my husband and I each have our own desks, our own rolling desk chairs, our own printers, our own file cabinets, our own shelves, etc.  I would have loved to have a set-up like this one back when I was working on my books.  It almost makes me want to write another one...but before I do that, I think I need to figure out how to market the first two!

As I was unpacking boxes after the move and organizing my new office space, I came across a letter that I had forgotten about, and it was a good reminder that I am not in this business to make money but instead to touch the heart and soul of even a single reader who might benefit from reading my work.  These are the words of one such reader, who contacted me last year via email (most likely by clicking the "Email Me" link on the sidebar of this blog):

Mrs. Pearl,

I recently finished your book "Finding Grace" and wanted to thank you for writing it.  My mother read it and gave me a copy quite a while ago.  I am ashamed to say how long it sat on my book shelf.  My mother grew up in Rutland, VT [across the lake from Plattsburgh, NY, the setting for Finding Grace] and went to Catholic school.  I think that probably made her love the book even more. 

I know your book is aimed towards teens or youth, but I think it has a very wide appeal.  I am a 39 year old mother of 6 (two boys, then four girls) and I found lots of inspiration to be a better mother, wife, daughter, and human within its pages.

I found myself wiping tears from my face when I got to the part at the end of the book when Irene was at the church.  You tackled some very tough subject matter with kindness and grace.  I am hoping to get my oldest daughter to read it (she will be 13 this summer).  I find myself wanting to recommend it to everyone.  Again, thank you so much for writing this book and sharing it with the world.

I find myself wiping tears from MY face, dear reader of Finding Grace.  Because of your kind words of affirmation, I dare to believe that the four-and-a-half-year stretch I spent bringing Grace Kelly's story to life was not a waste of time.  And I find myself inspired to become a better marketer.  (Also, you have my permission to share it with the world.  Share away!)

In the world of Catholic fiction publishing, word of mouth is the very best tool for getting books into the hands of readers.  I've been blessed to have Internet friends like Aileen, who has voluntarily helped me to spread the word on various forms of social media.
If you feel moved to do the same, I could use all the help I can get!

God bless you with faith, family, and friends--and let's not forget fiction.  Okay then, this meeting is adjourned.  (But if you have any questions for me regarding either of my books, or if you would like to receive a copy for review, or if you are a teacher interested in purchasing some copies at a reduced rate for classroom use, please contact me!)

8 comments:

  1. I love your books and will share wherever and whenever I can!

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    1. You are the best cheerleader ever!

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  2. Laura, you are a sweetie! Anytime I can help! :)))

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    1. I appreciate your support so much! Thank you. :)

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  3. Laura would love to read them - perhaps will ask out library if they don't have them
    To acquire them!

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    1. Thanks so much for your interest, Anita. Could I interest you in a copy of one of the books in exchange for an Amazon review? If so, contact me via email and we'll set that up. :)

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  4. That looks good. Thanks dear for sharing these details here. Well, our first annual business conference will be organized in the next week but we are having hard time in finding the meeting space San Francisco. It will be great if you can suggest right venues.

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