Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Rocky Road to Book Promotion

My hair is turning grey. Why? Because I not only write books, but have to concentrate on publicity. Publicity? Yeah, I know, it’s a bad word—but a necessary one. Maybe there are those in book-land who love book promotion. Let it be known up front that I’m not one of them. But, BUT, it is necessary! So Riptide_h11210_300as my latest novel, Riptide came out, I bit the bullet and formulated a plan.

Anyway, here is what I’ve done which I present with the thought that it might help other reluctant authors-promoters.

First I appealed for some reviewers and encouraged them to put reviews up on my publisher’s site (Pelican Book Group), on Amazon, Indigo, and Barnes and Noble. The results were not only encouraging, but astounding. People actually liked, even loved my book!

Of course, I’d already updated my web site and talked about the book on Facebook and twitter.

I wrote a persuasive one page description of the book which included facts, cost, availability, reviews, etc. Along with a picture of the cover, I sent this to my email list encouraging previous readers of my fiction to order the book. Orders began to trickle in.

Captives cover 150dpi (388 x 600) - CopySince my home church has been supportive, I approached the pastor about making the book available on a Sunday. Some churches are sensitive about selling on Sunday. But since our church allows the sale of missionary books and music videos from visiting presenters, the pastor was positive. With a notice in the bulletin for a couple of weeks, the sales on the Sunday in question were good.

Next I wrote a one page News Release and presented this in person to the offices of local papers. Ours is a rural county with several small towns and a very active arts and writers’ community. The papers readily accept news releases and often use them almost verbatim. In my case, one of the widest disseminated free papers printed a very positive article. I was astonished when three different people contacted me directly as a result of the Country Win, front onlyarticle. This doesn’t often happen. I’m still waiting for two other papers to follow suit—especially when I approach them with specific dates for book readings, launches, and events.

Once one news article had circulated, it was time to approach local bookstores with whom I have maintained a relationship over the years. Fortunately, this personal approach paid dividends. All of the local bookstores have ordered copies from the distributor. Now I can direct inquiries to these stores. Even Indigo, Canada’s answer to Barnes & Noble, agreed to list it on their sites due to my relationship with some of their store managers. It is also available on Kindle, Kobo, and other e-readers.
The article also generated interest from libraries. So I took the time to personally approach the CEO of each of our local libraries with the suggestion they purchase copies. Most of them eagerly did so, purchasing copies directly from me. In each case, I offered to either run or participate in a literary evening of Lightning File Cover1readings and discussion. So far, our nearest library has reciprocated and scheduled an evening centred on reading from my three novels and discussion of the role of setting in fiction.

The summer is a great time to participate in fairs, arts and craft shows, and farmers’ markets. Most years I set up a table every Saturday at whatever event is taking place. Each of these cost money necessitating the pondering of whether or not sales will cover the cost of a booth. This year, due to some health problems, I’ve not been able to do this as often as I would like.

These same challenges have made it difficult to schedule a book launch evening at a local coffee shop, but this is being planned. A book launch where coffee and pastries are available is a great place to invite friends and writing colleagues. Usually, a couple of local authors get together to launch their books, give readings, and answer questions.
The period leading up to Christmas is an especially fruitful time to set up a book table at local fairs and Christmas craft shows. People come to these looking for gifts and what better gift could they buy than a book?

I’ve also found large bookstores welcome me as a local author offering to sign Down-a-country-road (1)books during periods that lead up to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas. These stores, however, need to know far in advance as their schedules are often full and they need to order books from a distributer.

Finally, service clubs and churches provide one of the most fulfilling venues to speak at as a writer. This is especially true if you have a book of local interest or can gear your talk to something that intrigues or educates an audience. Writers of non-fiction, particularly, have a ready-made topic on which they can speak. My book, Through A Country Window, describes the joys of country life in a general way but also focuses on fascinating facts about our area of the country. Concerning my book, Church–No Spectator Sport, I often speak about the discovery and development of spiritual gifts. From my book, Revolutionary Forgiveness, I can address many questions about how to deal with bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. I find that people are also fascinated by the whole idea of writing a book of fiction. How did you become a writer? Where do you get your ideas from? How do you get published? What advice do you have for new writers?

While we who are authors may not be ideal promoters, any effort we can expend will be yield sales and make our books known. With thousands upon thousands of titles entering the book business every year, we must do whatever we can to promote our book, unless we want it to sink into oblivion. (http://www.countrywindow.ca)

Lesson From A Misshapen Tomato

The tomato was misshapen so I passed it by. It was fat and red, but had a wart-like protrusion from one side. But later, when I picked it, carved off the protrusion, and cut two slices for a sandwich I wasn’t prepared for the taste. Wow! What an explosion of flavor.

Our supermarkets have trained us to expect uniform shapes in our tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and so on. As a result, we’re unprepared to discover flavor in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAveggies or fruit that isn’t a standard shape to fit packaging. The distance most of this produce is shipped dictates that things be picked when they are still unripe and hard enough to bear some rough handling. And so the taste is bland, unlike the French fruits and vegetables we hear about that are grown on smaller farms nearer their market. But that’s another story.

Many of us carry this propensity to evaluate produce by its appearance into all our value-judgments. Although we admit that judging a book by its cover is not fair to the writer, we do it anyway. We classify people by the colour and cut of their hair, the shape of their face, and the tint of their skin. Their ethnicity or origin. Their height and weight. Their accent or facility with our language. The car they drive. The house they live in. The clothes they wear. Their religion. Their marital status.

And yet none of these markers reveal the person behind the externals—the heart and soul and experience and passion of the person. Appearances deceive. I’ve been amazed again and again by how my perceptions of people change when I get to know them. When I listen to them. When I hear their story. That includes ???????????????????????????????Pakistanis among whom we spent sixteen years.

God warns us about this tendency. In choosing a king to succeed Saul, God instructed Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”(1 Sam. 16:7).

Jesus repeatedly broke cultural taboos by associating with tax collectors like Matthew, short people like Zachaeus, women in a male dominated society, Samaritans and other foreigners. He entrusted his revolutionary gospel not to those we would normally pick as leaders but to fishermen and misfits.

The apostle Paul warns about taking “pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart”(2 Cor. 5:12). He exhorts his readers not to look on “the surface of things”(2 Cor. 10:7).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have to keep telling myself not to make superficial judgments about people. Don’t you? Like: all Jamaicans are…; all Americans are… ; all Chinese are… ; all Blacks are…; all Muslims are… all Canadians are… No they are not all the same. They are people like us; men and women, boys and girls, young and old, with hopes and dreams and problems. Their cultures may be different but God says; “Judge not that you be not judged.” “Don’t show favoritism.”

This is especially crucial in these days of racial and religious profiling.

Happy Coincidence or Providential Care?

An angel came by the other day to keep us from having a dangerous highway accident. An angel you ask, well not exactly—a very observant and thoughtful person.

We were enjoying a day trip to a wonderful farmers’ market in the Amish country of Southern Ontario. As we left, I noted a factory outlet mall where we stopped to shop. Mary Helen took some of our purchases to the car and spent a few minutes relaxing. At that very moment a couple walking by our car stopped, he tapped on the window, and asked Mary Helen if she would mind them pointing out something.

The man showed her a tiny bulge on our left rear tire and warned her about the Tiredanger of a blowout while driving on the highway. Wow! She thanked them profusely and when I returned she showed me the bulge.

Among all the scuffs and marks on the wall of the tire, I would have never noticed it. We drove home very carefully avoiding the main highway by using smaller roads through wonderful farmland. The next day I took the car to a service station where the mechanic examined the tire and pronounced it unrepairable. Although he didn’t have a replacement in stock, he was providentially able to secure one quickly from the warehouse even though it was a holiday weekend.

We are so thankful for the thoughtful man who pointed out the problem. Was it just a coincidence that he and his wife were walking by our car—at that moment? Was it a coincidence that we parked where we did? Was it a coincidence that Mary Helen took purchase back to the car at that specific time? Was it a coincidence that a man who could recognize a dangerous tire condition would see what to me looked like an insignificant mark on the tire? Was it a coincidence that the special tire needed was found on a holiday weekend?

RainbowNo, this whole episode is one more example of God’s providential care. “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.…He who watches over you will not slumber;…The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore”(Psalm 121:2,3,7,8).

Throughout our lives there have been hundreds, even thousands upon thousands of so-called coincidences that were really evidences of God’s providential care. Many of them we have not recognized.

Of course, events don’t always turn out in ways that seem good to us. Bad things happen too. And recently we have been somewhat overwhelmed by health challenges. This incident reminds us that God cares for us and watches over us and will overrule all apparently difficult things for our good and His glory. He does this to all who become his children through putting their faith in Jesus, his son.

Romans 8:28, as we were reminded recently by a wonderful sermon, doesn’t mean that nothing difficult or bad will ever happen to us. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose”(Rom. 8:28). In some inscrutable way all the things that happen to us, good or bad, God will work into his plan for us so we become conformed into the likeness of his son [vs 29]. That process will ultimately both glorify God and bless us.

We’ve got a long way to go to become like Christ. How God overrules everythingOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA for our good and his glory is beyond our understanding and responsibility. But as he reminded us in this incident, he loves us and he will take care of us.

What should we do then? “Cast all your anxiety [cares] on him because he cares for you”(1 Peter5:7).

[For descriptions of books by Eric E Wright, including Down a Country Road, a book of inspirational readings through the year, visit: http://www.countrywindow.ca )