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It Takes a Village to Promote a Book

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.
Fruitcake Challenge
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 brick
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.

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23 Responses to It Takes a Village to Promote a Book

  1. Regina F. says:

    This is lovely, Carrie! It seems like I’m always learning something new from you!

    I have found that I really love reviewing and promoting author’s books. If I can help them with their books then I feel rewarded by doing something that encourages them and that will put a smile on their face.

  2. Niki Turner says:

    Awesome! I wrote a post last week for our ACFW Colorado blog on very much the same lines titled “Writing: It Takes a Village.” Being part of this Christmas Traditions collection with all the other authors and then interacting with beta readers and reviewers and bloggers has been amazing, and eye-opening, and challenging, too. For years I thought writing was a solitary sport, but it’s much more fun with a team!

  3. That is SO funny, Niki!!! Great mind think alike! I’d love to read the article and I am so glad you’ve gotten on board and participated in the CT Promo group as one of the authors. I remember being in some promo groups where the authors failed to even come by much. So I’ve tried to be there for our wonderful readers in the group. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Regina, You are such a blessing to all of us! Thanks so much for belong part of the CT Promo team! Have a blessed day!

  5. Thanks for the interesting, informative post, Carrie. I’m learning everything I can from you all, so that when my novels release, I’ll have more tools in my author’s tool belt.

  6. Kathleen maher says:

    Carrie, you are so right–having an interactive team is such a powerful
    Launching pad. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with your fun and
    Fascinating characters.

  7. Britney Adams says:

    What a thoughtful post! It is such a pleasure and a privilege to read and share wonderful stories! Thank you, Carrie, for your joyful ?attitude of gratitude?.

  8. Derinda, I’m not sure I’d call this a tool, but rather a method of engaging with your readers in a supportive community that will help promote your work. Having blogged for years and having also been an influencer for other authors, I’ve had the privilege of forming friendships with other like-minded people who are readers. It’s like we’re all part of one big village and we need each other to fulfill God’s mission! Blessings!

  9. Kathy, It kind of reminds me of political activities I used to be involved in, too. There’d be a bunch of us who were on a particular candidates election team and we’d gather together, we’d plan, we’d do promo for our candidate, sometimes I even went out and hobnobbed with influential politicians as a representative of our candidate. It was a lot of fun and we were all part of something. And we were invited to celebrate in the successes, too!

  10. jackie tessnair says:

    Carrie I always enjoy reading your post.You always post with such sweet uplifting words.I am always happy to help you in anyway I can.You are always so appreciative.Thanks for all you do.

  11. Angi Griffis says:

    Carrie, thank you for inviting me to be a part of your promo group. It’s been so much fun and as you pointed out, we the readers can help authors in a way that we never could before. And we get to learn a few things in the process, as well as getting to know all of you. Blessings to all of you!

  12. TY Jackie! I’m so glad you can feel my appreciation. This is something I’ve drilled into my kids, too, and I’ve always heard how polite they are. My mom, the inspiration for Jo in this story, was always a lady–whether she was in a lumber camp, like in my story, or whether she cooking at the school for all the kids. Blessings!

  13. Angi, Yes it is so different now. We used to do email groups for the authors, years ago, and maybe some still do. And when I was involved in politics, that was all in person meetings. So glad to have you on the team!

  14. Tina Rice says:

    I enjoyed reading your post Carrie. I never knew I would enjoy reading and reviewing about those books as much as I do. I really enjoy helping author’s promoting their books and thank you Carrie for inviting me to be in your promo group. I have made many good friends who are authors’ by doing so.

    blessings,Tina

  15. chris granville says:

    Carrie
    Its great being part of the group, Mostly because your light really shines for our Lord, and you are such a special person
    God bless you
    Chris

  16. Tina and Chris, you are both such blessings! I’ve found the same thing in participating in promo groups for other authors. You get a better feel for them and their readers. I hope this group does bless all the participants! Hugs!

  17. Deanna S says:

    Very interesting today, I’m in a few promo groups & love getting to know the authors through their books & blogs 🙂 working in lumberjack camps must have been quite an experience…

  18. LeAnn Mooneyham says:

    Carrie’s book sound wonderful. My favorite time of the year. Love how God can turn a situation around to His will. Can’t wait to read it.

  19. Deanna, It was an indelible experience for my mother, who’d grown up in the hills of Kentucky in a pretty remote area, high up in this area over the Ohio River (which she was never allowed to go in and after observing it from that vantage point I could see why!) They were surrounded by family but living there had to have been rough, too, as it was the Great Depression.

  20. I know I’ve had times where I felt hopeless LeAnn, and God has intervened and I’ve just been shocked at what He did for me. He is so good!

  21. Bonnie Roof says:

    Hi, Carrie!!

    Enjoyed this post – I was out-of-town when it posted and am just now finding it.

    I’m really enjoying being part of the Christmas Traditions Promo Group and appreciate your inviting me!! It’s a wonderful experience sharing with the various authors and readers, and learning more about authors with whom I may not be acquainted.

    I love reading Christian Fiction and encouraging it’s authors, and especially enjoy being a part of anything in which you are involved. I appreciate your kindness, love and generosity for others, and your zeal for God. Hugs!!

  22. Bonnie Roof says:

    P.S. Shared post!!

  23. Thanks so much, Bonnie! You have been such a blessing to me and to so many other authors. We’re so enjoying having you on our Christmas Traditions series group. It’s fun to be part of something God is in on–that’s why I’ve enjoyed promoting other authors! Hugs!