Friday, August 19, 2011

BOOK BLAST BONANZA!!! Hourly Giveaways as Seekerville Welcomes The Bethany House Marketing Team!



Today we have very special guests who are, IMHO, the very BEST at marketing in the Christian fiction world. The marketing team from my publisher Bethany House. Noelle Buss, Fiction Publicist, gives us some advice on how best to market our books.

Noelle and/or other members of the Bethany Marketing Team are hoping to stop in today and respond to your comments. So behave!!!

To celebrate their visit we are holding a HUGE BOOK GIVEAWAY. One Bethany book every hour on the hour starting at 8 am through 5 pm.

We are giving away:

8 am Out of Control--Mary Connealy
9 am Siri Mitchell--Heart Most Worthy
10 am Karen Witemeyer--To Win Her Heart
11 am Beverly Lewis--The Thorn (The Rose Trilogy Book 1)
12 pm Tracie Peterson--Hope Rekindled
1 pm Stephanie Grace Whitson--A Most Unsuitable Match
2 pm Laura Frantz--The Colonel's Lady
3 pm Janette Oke & Davis Bunn--Tomorrow's Dream
4 pm Falls Like Lightning--Shawn Grady
5 pm Out of Control--Mary Connealy

(PS because The Thorn is book one in a trilogy we chose it to give. HOWEVER Beverly Lewis's latest release is book three and if you'd prefer a later book in the series, claim it and it is YOURS...if you win that is!) Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing.
We will draw the winners all through the day, but announce them on Sunday on the Seekerville Weekend Edition

Here is Noelle Buss:
Marketing fiction books is largely about marketing an experience. Novels, at times, get a bad rap because people claim they aren’t directly useful items (exceptions found here) in the way, say, a bread-making machine or a car is, or even non-fiction.

Yet this aspect of “experience” is what, personally, I think makes fiction so powerful. Inspirational novelists often provide very beautiful experiences—ones that touch, inspire and uplift. Positive experiences create strong emotional connections, which in the world of books means loyal readers. So here are three suggestions to help you truly value and maximize this advantage.

1. Create a Brand: Brand does not equal a clever tagline that describes your writing style. When it comes down to it, your brand is what your author name represents. The names Beverly Lewis, Lynn Austin, Tracie Peterson, Francine Rivers all have come to be associated with particular kinds of emotional experiences. It’s often hard to break down into words what separates each author’s style from the next, yet readers can instinctively understand these differences once they become familiar with your work. So the best thing you can do as an author is to develop a distinctive writing style that is true to you and your interests. The more you solidify in your mind who you are and what you write as an author, the more consistent quality your books will be and the more individualized your brand will become.

2. Re-think Booksignings: Frankly, in most instances booksignings are not worthwhile. Sitting at a table in a bookstore for two hours and encountering only seven people—three of whom asked you where the bathroom was and two of whom were unwitting browsers lured by free stuff— just doesn’t seem like a worthy use of your time. Time is valuable to people, and they aren’t going to share it with you unless they are reasonably certain you’ll provide a worthwhile experience in exchange. So think of ways you can morph the traditional booksigning into an experience—incorporate an informative talk beforehand, include a fundraising component that will benefit a local charity, become a part of church or library speaking programs, or create a party atmosphere that includes treats, games, and other activities associated with your book. The options are endless, but the goal is the same: provide people with a unique experience that will make them feel like they’d be missing out if they didn’t attend.

3. Focus on Social Media: By focus, I mean specialize. Pick one or two things you enjoy doing or are interested in and learn to do them really well. Otherwise, unless you are Superwoman, you’ll be scrambling to update and keep fresh all your social media outlets, eating up your precious writing time and forcing your efforts to be scattered and rather superficial. Focusing will also let you cultivate a particular and dependable experience and ultimately a relationship with your readers online. Are people gathering to follow you on Twitter because you keep passing on great historical tidbits each day, or do they value the insights you offer on your blog about daily life and writing? Whatever it is, be consistent and share something meaningful.




Mary again...let's talk about branding, booksignings and social media today. Do you know your brand? Do you have booksignings, if you're an author, or go to them, and how involved and skilled are you at using social media? What are the tricks?



Let's talk MARKETING. And check in to put your name in for the drawings, the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

268 comments :

  1. Welcome Bethany House :) You guys are home to some of my very favourite authors! :)

    Livvy
    rainytuesdays at hotmail dot com :)

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  2. WOO! Giveaway Day :D.

    I'm not published. I do go to book signings sometimes though. In the last 6 mos, I've been to a nonfic [Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast - written by a local gal I know], Julie Klassen and Beverly Lewis together and Lori Copeland [who is also local].

    My tag is "Romantic Comedy in the Ozarks" but that's not really a brand. Dunno that I've got one those yet :(.

    Social networking... I do Facebook. I have a personal page which is for people I know [mostly ;) lots of authors on there I've never met :D and a books page. You know. For when I have books. 85 followers - mostly friends and family but I also haven't truly 'come out of the writing closet'. Dunno what works and what doesn't there...

    I also Tweet and interact with friends there. No "fans" there yet ;).

    Then I have my blog and the Pentalk blog... Of course, those aren't social networking...

    So I do them. But dunno how effective they are. But one day I'll find out ;).

    Would love to win a book :D.

    carolmoncado at gmail dot com

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  3. Welcome to Seekerville. I find that following Mary around the internet is a great way to supplement my own publicity efforts.

    And I agree, next to my own publisher I am a rah rah Bethany House fan!@!!!

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  4. Wow! Great stuff here...as always. ;-)

    As a reader of inspirational fiction I've never been to a booksigning. I live in a small town where the nearest bookstore is 45 minutes away now that the Borders has closed. Pittsburgh is an hour ride for me and booksignings w/ inspirational authors just don't seem to happen very often in the area.

    Although nothing would be better than getting to meet my author friends face to face I really enjoy online communication be it though their blog, discussion forums etc.

    I do like sites like Seekerville and author's personal blogs rather than their websites just because it seems to be easier to interact that way and makes authors more "real". It's fun to participate in conversations with others including authors through the comments section like this one.

    I definitely think that the online stuff is the way to go especially since it's relatively easy and reaches WAY more people! Am I making any sense? LOL it's after 1am so I'm a bit loopy.

    XOXO~ Renee C.
    steelergirl83atgmaildotcom

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  5. I'd also like to comment on this..

    The options are endless, but the goal is the same: provide people with a unique experience that will make them feel like they’d be missing out if they didn’t attend.


    I totally agree and Mary doesn't know it yet but when she and I do our booksigning in Tulsa I fully plan to stage a giant event that will make every Tulsa resident sorry if they didn't attend.

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  6. Oh BTW novels ARE useful in more ways than one thanks for that link...check this one out!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/SmartGirlsArt


    XOXO~ Renee

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  7. hello everyone! night owl taking another quilting break! :-)

    not a writer - just a reader - but I tend to brand authors I've read and some I haven't tried because I've formed brands from others' reviews - now I'm wondering if maybe I've branded them wrong?! I've heard of the authors mentioned but have only read one by Francine RIvers (Redeeming Love)- couldn't put the book down but don't know if I could ever pick up another of hers - never read anything so emotional in my life - like doing a bootcamp when I'm 200 lbs and outta shape!

    Susanna

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  8. Hi Noelle,

    Once you have a book ready.
    What is the first step in "branding" yourself?

    Jan

    janet(underslash)kerr(at)msn(dot)com

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  9. Thanks to you, Mary. As always, the Lord seems to use you in my life. I'm just in the midst of marketing my debut and trying to find my way.

    Typically, if I can get the book into someone's hand, they buy it. Like 7 of 10 I'd say. So I carry one with me wherever I go and if appropriate, I engage in conversation about it. Sold 2 on the plane that way. People are interested in a dog who becomes a K9 spy!

    I'm also giving some away as I'm led to do. (Mom has been soooo ill. Thx for the prayers y'all. Got her back home with Dad today. They are married 55 years today! Ooops - guess that was yesterday)

    I say that because I've been tending her and was honored to, but that didn't leave time or brainpower for marketing.

    One thing I'm doing is partnering with Joshua's Pet Treats and we are helping each other promote.

    I've been making (and will really start next week) cold calls on gift shops, pet stores and other places where there might be a tie in.

    Thanks to Bethany House folks for your great ideas. Will be implementing as I go.

    May at maythek9spy dot com

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  10. Another thing! I carry a Mini-May plush Schnauzer complete with cool shades, like the cover of the book, peeking out of my purse.

    As far as branding, I wear a bracelet with www.maythek9spy.com on it and am trying to wear May's signature color more often.

    Got great biz cards thru 123print.com and postcards too.

    :)

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  11. exciting stuff!

    helenblogspot[at]gmail[dot]com

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  12. This is so awesome! Thanks, BH for visiting Seekerville.

    Cheryl

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  13. Man, I was just about to comment away, but my baby's awaken for a feeding. I hope to get back later today! Thanks for the chance to win, want to put at least one drop in the hat! :)

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  14. I would be thrilled to win any of the books that are listed. Thanks for the opportunity.

    Glynda
    ggshaw61@gmail.com

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  15. Hi Bethany House!!! I love reading your books, keep up the great work! :) I just finished reading To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer, and I absolutely loved it-highly recommend for anyone who wants to fall in love with a great hero :)
    I haven't been to a book signing in a while, but I don't hear about them very often in my neck of the woods. I live in Colorado, and authors here don't seem to do much of that. I would go and show support if they did though :) Thanks for the chance to win one of your books! :)

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  16. yay yay yay... Bethany House is the best!!!

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  17. Love the 10 DIY projects for your old books--especially making the book into a picture frame :) Excellent!

    I can relate to what you're saying about brands. There are certain authors whose books I buy as soon as they come out, because I know I'll get that emotional experience you're referring to. And, as the first commenter said, some great ones come from Bethany House.

    And when it comes to specializing with social media, the authors here at Seekerville have one of the hottest blogs on the internet!

    reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  18. I got back into reading thanks to BH books and mainly Janette Oke but have read many of there novels and loved them. I will miss most of the fun cos aussies sleep while you play but would love to go into the draw for Mary's book as its the one I would most like to read, I already have a few of the other books.

    as a reader from a small town I find its blogs and also goodreads where I see books I want to read. Also blog tours. I often see a book mentioned and then I often really want it.

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  19. Welcome Bethany House Marketing Team to Seekerville! I've read many of your authors and most are my favorites.

    I would be excited to win any of the books that are listed. My husband would have to see my happy dance if I won a book! I hope that happens! :)

    Blessings,
    Judy

    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  20. I know this is probably unusual for a man to enter. My wife is an avid reader. She has been cancer free for 12 years now and I would love to win a book for her.

    Welcome Bethany House!

    John

    Using my wife's e-mail address.
    sweetpea.judy[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  21. Great stuff!

    My brand is, at this point, paranormal. I wrote a local book on ghost stories, and by the time the book came out I'd talked to hundreds of people in dozens of towns across SE Kansas. I was "the ghost lady." Nice.

    For the book signings, I did most at libraries (not a lot of bookstores in small towns). I told some of the stories, and even had two Halloween-themed ghost story sessions for children. One, as luck would have it, was at a library right across from one of the haunted houses. With the owner's permission, I told the story and then asked the kids where they thought the house was. None of them knew. I pointed to the house right behind them.

    They freaked out. Awesome stuff, that.

    A good reading can sell books better than anything. It's hard to do that in a bookstore, but I've done readings in art galleries, small theatres, etc.

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  22. I am not published my self either I just got my hands on the Montana Weddings set from Mary and have read 2 of the books in a few days time , Loved it and am looking forward to reading more of her work,
    I love Christian fiction and have meet Karen Kingsbury at a E Women conference I am always looking for new Authors to read and fall in love with there work and would love to get my hands on any of these books !!! have a wonderful and blessed day !

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  23. Love to read and BH is a fave! Please count me in the drawing!
    Thanks!!

    jackie.smith[at[dishmail[dot]net

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  24. I'm also new to writing and definitely haven't figured out my brand yet. I have several 'voices' -- any advice from anyone on how to capture the one one you want to 'brand'? LOL.

    And once an author has a brand, is it possible to successfully switch brands later on?

    Oh -- and regarding the draws...I have them all except 11:00 a.m. The Thorn and 3:00 p.m. Tomorrow's Dream.

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  25. Welcome Bethany House. Great interview with the marketing team.

    Blessings,
    Jodie Wolfe

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  26. Noelle,

    Thank you for being here and giving us marketing tips.

    My only booksigning was effective BUT it included Mary and Erica Vetsch along with another local non-fiction author. AND The Crossroads Bookstore is a very author/booksigning friendly store, directing people to the authors table, promoting the signing weeks before the event. So, I guess my opinion on signings is: They go better with more authors involved.

    I do go to book signings too but with the popularity of ebooks, signings may go by the wayside. What are your thoughts on that?

    Rose

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

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  27. Good morning, Bethany House. I love reading your books and always look for your new ones through netgalley. Keep up the good work you do!

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  28. John, I love you. You're in... And every now and again cute guys drop by! Walt and Vince are regulars and they're gonna love you, Dude.

    Bethany House Marketing, thank you for being here. Mary raves about you, and we're delighted to have this chance to chat it up with you. And I love what you said about book signings. It's not that I don't like people, I love 'em, but I'd rather interact.
    Volunteer. Shake hands. Get dirty. Read to kids. Those things put me dead-center in the community and they fit me. I think sitting and waiting when you're a Martha-type is a bad head game.

    So I prefer to jump in and have a blast.

    Hey, crepes this morning. Coffee's hot, we've got a great selection including my new summer fave Jamaiican Me Crazy, Butter Toffee and Starbucks pick of the day for straight-up Joe. And because it's gorgeous out (the fog should be gone within minutes) I've set everything out on the terrace overlooking the University of Minnesota River campus. Relax, grab a mug, schmooze, chat, and do try the cheese crepes with fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate.

    Oh my stars. Amazing!

    So excited to have the Bethany House team here! YAY!!!!

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  29. Good morning, Seekerville! I woke up waaaaaay to early this morning and today's blog flooded my brain and I couldn't go back to sleep.

    Maybe this is the beginning of a whole new Mary, huh?

    Early to bed, early to rise? Huh? It could happen!!!!

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  30. I love reading all the accomplishments of our Seeker followers. The blogs and tag lines and facebook presence.

    It's all part of being a professional and that starts before you get THE CALL. (well, for most of us!(

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  31. Mary, absolutely. Establishing a presence. So important these days.

    And hey, brand: I'm a laughter through tears kind of gal. That which does not kill will only serve to make you stronger.

    Think Boot camp on M&M diet.

    Perfect.

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  32. Here's the way the drawing is going to work. At 8 am I will draw from all the comments that are here. At 9 am I will draw from all the comments that are here...and so on.

    I'm not just drawing from comments left during that hour.

    So getting here early raises your chances to win.

    I will announce that I've picked a winner BUT NOT WHO...to find out if you won, stop back Sunday for the weekend edition of Seekerville and we'll have a list.

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  33. Hello Bethany House. Great to see you.

    I was interested in point two about presenting to churches. My stories are set in medieval Japan. One of the ways I've thought about promoting them is by developing a presentation for churches on the development of the early Christian church in Japan. What do you think about the viability of such an approach or how might you modify it?

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  34. Amber, I'm so glad you're enjoying the books.

    I once had a book signing, at a Christian fiction trade show called ICRS, right between Karen Kingsbury and Kirk Cameron.

    It was a lesson in humility!

    And I wasn't exactly BETWEEN them, rather I was far in the back, a nice location really, and their lines stretched back on both sides of me. No doubt blocking all those people who would have liked my book....but were unable to get through.

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  35. Morning Mary. Thanks for bringing the Bethany House Marketing Team. What great tips for marketing.

    So glad someone said forget the booksignings. They do have their moments, like a first sale or if you're famous. Booksigning parties are much more fun.

    The crepes are yummy Ruthy. I brought some chocolate velvet coffee to go with them.

    Thanks all of you from Bethany House for visiting us at Seekerville. I know you're going to have fun working with Mary.

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  36. Thank you for sharing! I'm not published but hope to be one day. I'm working on building an identity online. Marketing is so important but foreign to my personality. I appreciate the insight.

    Like many others here I live in a small community where we don't have a book store but I'd be willing to drive a ways to have a book signed by one of my favorite inspirational authors.

    I do love the way the internet has made it possible to interact with authors. I still get a little star struck when Ruthy replies to one of my emails :)

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  37. John, welcome to Seekerville. Trust me, you'll enjoy the book, too.

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  38. Welcome to Seekerville, Bethany House Marketing team! Noelle, thanks for the excellent tips for making personal connections with our readers.

    We are thrilled you've offered this great list of books as giveaways today! Wonderful authors! Of course we're partial to Mary Connealy. And impressed with her savvy marketing.

    Janet

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  39. Hi John, praise God for your wife's cancer-free anniversary!

    Janet

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  40. Yeah! Giveaway day! Will be out of the house some but will try to watch my time. Don't want to miss it!

    plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  41. The first booksigning I went to, I went to "stalk" the person. I had NO clue what a booksigning was so I wandered around the store, catching glances of the signing just to "see" how it went. I think maybe this is part of the reason they don't go well, it's hard to go up to a stranger and say, "HI! I WANT TO BUY YOUR BOOK AND HAVE YOU SIGN IT!" At least, it was for me. Love the ideas to "spruce" it up a bit!

    And COOL BOOK giveaways!

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  42. I’m afraid I’m going to miss most of this bonanza today. Sigh. Work.

    I am a strange little person because I love writing, but I also find the publishing end (marketing and editorial) extremely interesting. From book jackets to reading and editing manuscripts, I love the tidbits of info the Seekers provide here!

    Branding. Hmm. I was under the impression branding had more to do with genre than a name. If you wrote contemporary fiction and you suddenly branched into historical it was taboo. Branding as a name? On a vast scale, I guess everyone wants to be branded as someone who writes superior work. Period. So isn’t that the overall goal of “branded”?

    I know authors who keep up with Twitter, Facebook, multiple blogs, and a web site. Or at least they TRY to keep up with all of them. Talk about marketing.

    I hope the book bonanza is a real Seekerville hoot!

    Whitney

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  43. So excited for the book giveaway:)

    Thanks for sharing about marketing, Noelle:) I know I have so much to learn about that end of the writing business!
    Can't say I have a brand yet...although I totally love historical romance and nostaglia storries(from 1960's 1970's). Any ideas on that?
    Thanks for the tips for book-signings(for when I need that:)
    I know I need to immerse myself more in social media. I do have a blogspot, and I'm on facebook and twitter but that's just friends and family really so far. Guess I'll need to focus on that part more:)
    thanks so much for your help and for being on Seekerville today:)

    I would love to win a book:)

    Lorna

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  44. Woot! Party day! ;-)
    Welcome Noelle and Bethany House! It's great to see you here at Seekers. I love Bethany House books! =]

    Social networking... I struggle with FB and just don't get Twitter. LoL. But blogs? yumz. Blogs are the equivalent of a candy shop for me. I love 'em, and everything to do with them. Layout, design, posting, scheduling, personal blogs, group blogs... It really gets embarrassing.

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  45. Oh wow! What a wonderful day. Welcome Bethany House!

    My brand?
    First answer - contemporary romance with humor (is that a brand?)
    Second answer- historical romance with humor
    Third answer - speculative with humor

    Er...can my brand just be 'fiction with humor?" :-)
    Or maybe I'm just confused.

    Networking?
    Seekerville, duh!
    Twitter
    FB
    The Writers Alley
    Personal blog

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  46. Btw, I think John should be voted "Hero for the Day"

    I'll send him a book! :-)

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  47. I forgot to leave me email addy and can't remember if we need to... just in case: patty (at) pattywysong (dot)com

    So brand has more to do with voice than your tag line?

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  48. Yay Bethany House. This is an awesome giveaway. Thank you so much for the chance to win one of these books. I am so excited. Thanks again.

    agent_beckster(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  49. I love Bethany House books! I've read many of those being given away. Siri Mitchell's She Walks in Beauty was so well written. I really enjoyed reading the story.

    My brand would have to be Historical Fiction. It's what I love to read and write. I feel right at home in the late 1800's.

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  50. Wowzers busy morning!

    Congrats John!

    Craziness ensues here [I sense a plot coming on]. DH's BFF is supposed to fly in this morning for a funeral. Called at 530 to say he'd booked the tickets for NEXT MONTH. /sigh/ Was just going to come see us then, but now is trying to see if Hotwire will help him flip his flight to one about 3 hours from here tonight which means DH will leave at like 3 and be gone till midnight [b/c it's in his dad's town so will go early and spend a couple hours with dad] then drive back to said other town tomorrow night for the early Sunday flight.

    Did you follow that? I'm not sure I did. My head hurts.

    BUT!!!! One thing I noticed...

    TINA AND MARY IN TULSA?!?!?! When is this?!

    It's not THAT far from here ;). May have to grab Andrea Strong and go :D.

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  51. Welcome to Seekerville, Bethany Marketing!

    I love the permission to choose on one or two social media outlets to concentrate on and let the rest go.

    Superwoman I am not!

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  52. WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!

    I'm slow posting it, sorry, someone dangled a shiny object in front of me and distracted me. But I picked from those names who left comments up to 8 am. I'm using the times listed on the comments as the cutoffs, even through that is Eastern time and it offends everything within my midwestern soul to use that incorrect time.

    Let's face it, Central Time is the REAL time.

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  53. And I had another drawing immediately (because I'm behind as usual) for the winner of the 9 am drawing.
    We have a winner for Siri Mitchell's Heart Most Worthy.

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  54. The advice on social media really resonated with me. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed by google groups, facebook friends, and twitter traumas. I like the idea of pickin' and stickin' to what works.

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  55. Hey there Bethany House, I like your ideas. :)

    It's funny you should mention branding because on Monday when Missy Tippins was talking branding here, I was at the Inkwell showing off my new branding iron. Yup, you read that right. I made a new logo for myself and asked a graphic artist friend to 'polish' it for me. Well, she came back with it looking like a branding iron. Yeehaw! I'm Branded!

    Interesting view on the Book signings. I like it. After working a Farmer's Market and trying to sell baked goods made with goat milk and goat butter to people who thought I was trying to poison them, I know what it's like to sit like a bumpkin when you could be doing so many other things.

    This is such a good post, I'm going to copy it before I forget.

    anitamae (at) anitamaedraper (dot) com

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  56. Erica in my book you are superwoman!

    Mary, I agree central time is real time.

    I have a facebook page but have started using twitter and find I like it better.

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  57. Fantastic Friday, something to celebrate. Thanks for the giveaway.

    wfnren at aol dot com

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  58. Books! Did someone say books?

    :)

    I love the books Bethany House publishes and not just because of the gorgeous covers.

    Thank you so much for stopping by today and offering us this insight.

    The only book signings I've been to are the huge RWA literacy events - not your ordinary book signing. ;)

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  59. Love books. Please enter me in the contest.

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  60. Oh Ruth, you had to go tempting me with crepes. I'd been so virtuous sitting here eating my apple.

    John, you're so sweet. Your wife is a lucky lady. I hope you do win a book for her!

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  61. I am a fan of the Bethany House books and am finding more and more authors thru them. I enjoy the inspirational books and want to thank you for the opportunity to be entered into your giveaways today.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

    Thank you,
    Angela/griperang

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  62. I'm not published, but I am a writer. I've just never taken the plunge to actually try to make something of what I've written. And as a very small town girl, I've only been to one book signing before. Can I add something, though? Fiction can be uplifting and inspiring, but for me, it's so much more than that. I'm a stay-at-home mom with two itty bitty boys, and my husband is working full time and in college full time. (Two more years. We can do this.) We only have one car, and because we live away from town and gas is so expensive, my husband also does the grocery shopping to keep from making another trip to town. Summary: I never ever get out of the house (except to go to church) and I never ever spend time around people who aren't in diapers. Fiction doesn't in any way replace the face to face contact that I am missing, but it is something that's MINE. And I greatly value the time that I spend within the pages of my books. It's therapy for me. :)

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  63. lol, Mary. I'm rather partial to Eastern time, even though I currently abide by Central. My Ohio roots, you know. Did you notice most businesses run on Eastern time, or is it just me?

    I grew up on Bethany House fiction, as well as Multnomah and Barbour. It seems like these publishers are old friends even though they have no idea who I am. lol.

    Congrats to the first winners, whoever they are!

    road_to_avonlea_17(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Whitney

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  64. whitney branding is a bit more than just your genre...I think.
    It's what's unique about your writing.

    So you need to describe exactly what you do.
    Ruthy saying laughter through tears tells you what to expect in her books.
    Romantic Comedy with Cowboys, I like that tag line because it is my brand, thought I play around with it sometimes because I wish I could work historical into it in some smooth way.

    Historical romantic comedy with cowboys.

    Romantic comedy in the old west.
    Romantic comedy in the wild west.
    Wild Western Romantic Comedy.


    Those might work. But none of it rolls off the tongue exactly.

    what do you think?

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  65. My brand at this point is:

    Life-Changing Romance

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  66. There is so much going on in Christian fiction today, the growth is in all directions.

    But nobody is doing it better than Bethany House.

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  67. Morning, Mary. Hello Noelle. Thanks for coming by.

    I've never been to a book signing. I don't see many of those happening around here, but we have a local art festival and I've met a couple authors that way.

    I'm still working on a brand. I think it may be: Nostalgic, romance. Or Southern, humorous, historical romance. As I said, still working on it lol!

    As Carol Moncado said, I haven't truly "come out of the writing closet' yet, so I don't have a writing blog or an author facebook page, but I'm thinking about it seriously.

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  68. Alexis, you are so ME thirty years ago.

    When I was... 10. ;)

    Yes, I loved reading about grown-up things then, and I did sales at night to help the income (I was the Tupperware Lady. Loved it. I'm a born used car salesman in author's clothing) so I got to interact with other women... And any psychologist will tell you that's huge.

    But also through reading. Delving. Losing myself in fiction when the kids were asleep. And sometimes, with some books, when they weren't, LOL! So glad you came by today. And chatted!

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  69. Bethany House, thanks for this wonderful day of interviews, ideas and books. My shelves are filled with books by your wonderful authors!

    Salena
    srstormo at yahoo dot com

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  70. AND, it's time for another drawing.
    This hour we're giving away a copy of To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer.
    And we have a WINNER!!!!!!!!!

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  71. Alexis, that's how I was too--with 5 kids. Used to answer the house phone "Patty's Playground" but it threw too many people for a loop...not that the phone rang much. LoL. Fiction played a big part in my sanity.

    I have to admit to breathing easier that it's okay if I choose to skip Twitter since I'm using other avenues to build my platform. THANK YOU for that tidbit!

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  72. WALT, I think giving speeches is a great way to have a ministry and if you have books to sell at those speeches it's fantastic. HOWEVER, do you have the energy for that? Maybe? The time? It probably costs a surprising amount to give a speech. Maybe you can earn money doing it, some people do. But if not, think of the gas, maybe a meal out, it adds up. I'm a long, long way out in the country and almost every speech is a zillion mile drive for me. So I don't do it often, but if you're somewhere with actual PEOPLE, it might be different, in a ten or twenty mile radius you could find a whole bunch of people looking for speakers.

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  73. Book Blast Bonanza. How exiting!! Of course I'd love to be entered!

    I have to agree that Bethany House publishes some GREAT fiction! I am always excited when I see a new release from them. It's sure to promise some good reading!

    Book signings seem way cool, but I have yet to find any that come to my part of Florida. :-) But it'd be SO sweet/awesome to go to one and meet the author. Too cool!

    ~ Katie
    agirlslegacy(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  74. I've never been to a book signing. Haven't done one either, seeing as how I'm not published. lol

    Mary's book sounds awesome, as does Laura Frantz's. Most of the authors listed are new names to me, which means new reading! *grin*

    Faith4u7 at gmail dot com

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  75. Ha! I'm rereading some of the comments up there. I completely agree about the time zone, Mary.

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  76. Thanks Bethany House Marketing for the great information!

    I'm not published, yet, but I've definitely found my brand. Now I'm in the process of working with my IT Department (i.e. my brother) to build a website/blog that will focus on sharing about me (and hopefully my books, soon) and my favorite subject, history.

    I'm hoping when I'm published to set up book signings at historic places and oddly have a place already interested in hosting me once I'm published.

    Love your books and authors they're some of my favorites.

    --Kirsten

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  77. I have read all of Karen Witemeyer's books. She creates characters that stay with long after you've finished the book. She's one of my favorite authors.

    So your brand is more than a genre? I'll have to work on it. Something about cowboys for sure.

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  78. This is so cool! Welcome Bethany House Marketing team!

    I'd love to win any of the books!


    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  79. I'm with Mary about central time. It's the real time. Here it's 9:35, not 10:35. lol it gives you more time...I think. Okay, now I'm confused. LOL

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  80. Mary, I live outside of Atlanta. Getting to any number of churches close to my house isn't that hard. Also, I have a long commute. There are a number of churches along the route.

    I'm looking at this as a way to promote myself and my writing. I haven't yet thought through the pay, etc.

    Also, given that I have a number of your books, I would have definitely gone to your table for a signing. :-)

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  81. Hi. Welcome BH. I am a reader and not an author. I have tons of favorite authors, some of them are listed on the giveaways today. I love clean novels that I don't have to worry about the content being inappropriate. Thanks BH for being one of the publishers of inspirational fiction. You are the best!
    Thanks for the chance to win.

    Debbie Clark
    debbiemcla(at)msn(dot)com

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  82. I write faith-filled western romance with a generous dose of humor sprinkled throughout. I'm not sure if that would be a kind of brand or not.

    I'm trying to come up with a tagline for the series I'm working on right now. So far this is what I have.

    Cowboy Brothers
    Jumping in trouble; falling in love

    Or something like that. Still working on it. Got any ideas?

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  83. Great books you're offering....thanks for entering me!

    jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

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  84. NOELLE!!! WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!!! Soooo fun to have you here, "sis" (and SO glad my publisher Revell is sister companies with Bethany House, which makes us kinda related, right???).

    GREAT INFO, and as far as your comment on book signings??? "Sitting at a table in a bookstore for two hours and encountering only seven people—three of whom asked you where the bathroom was and two of whom were unwitting browsers lured by free stuff— just doesn’t seem like a worthy use of your time."

    Oh, AMEN to that!! I've had some great book signings and some really not great book signings, one in which I underwent the great inquisition as to why I incorporate so much passion in my books. And this from one of the THREE people who came to see me that day. Uh, needless to say, she didn't buy a book ... :/

    But I really like your idea to incorporate a book signing in with a larger event -- pure genius, which, I guess, is why you market books and I only write them! :)

    Thanks for the great tips, Noelle, and HAPPY WEEKEND, ALL!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  85. Coffee service has just been refreshed.

    And sweet tea and/or Diet Snapple.

    And the ever-present cooler of Cokes, all varieties. Which means ANY KIND OF SODA down South and I will never understand that. But I'm a Yank.

    Central time? Is there such a thing?

    :)

    Hey, the branding... Yes, Yes, Yes, more than genre. I'm writing wonderful books for Love Inspired so my genre is category length inspirational romance, right?

    BUT....

    How would I distinguish from Winnie Griggs?

    Okay, we throw in the word "Contemporary"

    Then how do we separate me from Brenda Minton? Jillian Clark? Irene Hannon? Linda Goodnight? Missy Tippens....

    Their list of great authors waxes on so to create my own niche, I go for the gut. The heart. That Steel Magnolias feel of laughter through tears because it's more just "Me" then.

    And like most Christian authors, I hate anything being about just me. And I never compete against others per se, only against myself to do better. Get better. Write stronger.

    And having readers recognize that 'brand' of laughter through tears is a strong cornerstone for building a long-lasting readership.

    I need food.

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  86. Mary, for what it's worth, I really like this one -

    Romantic comedy in the wild west.

    I have to admit, reading all these comments from people who live out in the middle of nowhere is giving me a twinge of envy. I live in the middle of NYC (Brooklyn) and there are people everywhere! Most days I kind of like that, but every once in a while, I long for a solitary place. Books actually give me that.

    Alexis, I think many of us were you once upon a time. I started writing when my children were small. It helped keep me sane.

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  87. MARY SAID: "Do you know your brand?"

    Yup. Mine's a little like a cattle brand ... lot's of steam and smoke, which clears those vegetarians in the crowd out REAL fast!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  88. So, Ruthy?

    Something like:
    Contemporary romance seasoned with humor from the Blue Ridge and beyond

    Gee, that just felt like something Buzz Lightyear would say. LOL

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  89. Welcome Bethany House! One of my most favourite publishers. Your authors and your covers capture me every time!

    I can't wait to attend the Spotlight on.. Bethany House at the upcoming ACFW conference.

    This may be a silly question, but mostly everything I buy is Historical. Does Bethany House publish contemporary romance as well?

    My brand is "romance sprinkled with faith" because I don't knock you over the head with religion and bible quotes. My sprituality is quieter but hopefully just as effective!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  90. Thanks for the great interview. I haven' t thought about my brand. This gives me something to pray and think about.

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  91. AND THE DRAWING FOR THIS HOUR IS DONE!!!

    I really oughta be able to say who won. Doesn't it seem like I should? Who makes these rules???

    Check in Sunday for the Weekend Edition to see who gets to dive into the Seekerville Prize Vault.

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  92. This hour's winner gets Beverly Lewis' latest release The Thorn. This is book one in the Rose Trilogy.

    I picked this because it was book one in a series IF YOU WIN THIS AND HAVE ALREADY READ THE EARLIER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES, YOU MAY PICK ANOTHER BOOK, CUZ I HAVE THEM ALL.
    Book #1 The Thorn
    Book #2 The Judgment
    Book #3 The Mercy
    Let us know which you want when you read your name and claim your prize.

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  93. My husband doesn't read fiction because for him it's a waste of time. Even though there may be lessons one can learn and apply to life from the stories, because it didn't really happen he doesn't see it as valid. Having said that, he in no way discourages me from writing fiction. He knows my stance and he knows that there are a lot of people you would never reach with a non-fiction book that you can with fiction. It's just not for him. :D

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  94. Bethany House, thanks for being with us today!!! Thanks, Mary, for hosting and for all the giveaways. What fun!!!

    Loved the advice on booksignings. You mentioned donating to charities. When I have a booksigning in my local area, I choose a charity and donate the proceeds. Folk like to feel they're helping others when they buy my books. So far it's been a win-win!

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  95. You know, I kind of expected to be branded when I got published. I didn't expect them to slap an actual red hot iron on my backside, though.

    Oh, the things we'll do to be published.

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  96. Renee Ann, thanks for praising Seekerville. We wouldn't be a successful blog without everyone of you--the greater Seekerville family--who stop in to chat, have a cup of coffee and share what's happening in your own writing lives.

    We are blessed because of you!

    Hugs!

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  97. Linnette my teenage son is that way. He is so logically minded he sees no use for fiction.

    He made his whole kindergarten class upset because he told them all there was no Santa. He came to that conclusion on his own. It just did not compute.

    Thank goodness my daughters share my love for fiction.

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  98. Hi Tina:

    You wrote:

    …when she and I do our booksigning in Tulsa I fully plan to stage a giant event that will make every Tulsa resident sorry if they didn't attend.

    I hope you are not planning on having tornados everywhere except the book signing location. The idea is to get favorable attention. Now a miracle service would be much better. Tulsans like that.

    Vince

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  99. I'm agented but unpubbed, and I know marketing/publicity is many authors' least-favorite aspects of writing. I see why it's so valuable, but I can also see why it's hard for people who are often introverts to have to "put themselves out there" to sell their work.

    I'm trying to do that, even before I sign a contract, because so many authors say by that point it's too late. So I have a blog, FB, and have a web site. Balancing the social network and the writing is going to be interesting.

    Thanks for sharing today, and thanks for the book giveaways! Please sign me up!

    -Emily
    emily_reynolds(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  100. Mary, I'm reading Wildflower Bride right now. In the past couple of days, I read Montana Rose and The Husband Tree. They were awesome! Out of Control is going to be another great one.

    Gotta run and clean the room, then I've got a bit of school to do. oh the joys of being homeschooled.

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  101. Ted Dekker taught us that our stories are beautiful. We just need to learn how to dress them up so others can see their beauty. I wrote a post about this. The tips I give are things most of you probably already know, but it's coming from the perspective that your stories are beautiful: linnettesnewsletter(dotblogspot(dot)com

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  102. Seekerville is a great learning place--enough so that I've made reading the Seeker posts part of Esther's school this semester, along with reading the writing craft books I have. Stopping by here is probably one of her more fun assignments. ;-)

    Thanks for great content!! =]

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  103. Bethany House: Welcome! and thank you for coming. I just sent my MS off to my agent of choice and am praying he'll sign me on. You are actually one of the houses I wanted to target for my series, so I was really excited to see you here today. Thank you!

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  104. Well my last post didn't come through soo..

    I was merely saying that I agree that social media can be a drag if one thinks they have to keep up with it all.

    I backed off and got more followers. Go figure. Maybe I drove them crazy, or maybe they like the idea of following someone who doesn't bombard them.


    Tina Pinson

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  105. I also think while the new smart phones are great for social networking, they detract from writing, ( worse than a television's background noise) You can't really write on your phone, but you spend alot of time going on line to check mail and postings.

    I've backed off as i said, do others of you have this problem?


    Tina Pinson

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  106. Oh, I love parties and I missed the last one.

    I don't have an official brand, but "The West Will Never Be the Same," is what's on the back of my business cards. I'm stilll working on it.

    I'm on my way to Palo Duro Canyone w/the family so I may not get signal the further west I go.

    Please enter me into the drawing.
    Connie Queen
    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

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  107. What do you really think about social media? Is the day coming we can not have a website? I'll admit here that my website isn't very exciting. It's lovely and you can get to my blog from there, but what do you think? Maybe a website is passe.

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  108. I have never been to a book signing but have always wanted to go to one. These are some great authors here today. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    lead[at]hotsheet[dot]com

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  109. Oops... I forgot my email


    tpins313 at gmail.com

    Also wanted to say that I appreciate Seekerville, even though I don't get here as much as before.

    but I think a cooperative blog is a good thing, because with so many people carrying the load it allows the blog to have something new on a daily basis. One person isn't overwhelmed and their name still gets out.


    Oh and I'd love to be added to the list for the critique.

    Thanks

    Tina

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  110. Mary, thanks so much for bringing Noelle and the BH marketing team to Seekerville today!

    "Marketing an experience." Love that concept! I just know I am going to wish I was back in Tulsa when Tina and Mary do their thing!

    And...oh dear...I am about to agree with Ruthy on something.

    But first...Central Time? Hey, I lived 99% of my life in Central Time. It's the best time ever. Nothing's too late. Nothing's too early. And since last spring I'm trying VERY hard to adapt to Eastern Time! Mostly I just still live on Central Time, staying up later and sleeping later.

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  111. Great post! Can't wait to come back and read all the comments!

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

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  112. Hi Noelle:

    I really like your marketing ideas. As a marketing guy with lots of publicity experience, I love booksignings!

    To me booksignings are not about signing books but rather about the publicity you can generate in the various media announcing the event. The Tulsa World alone has about ten areas or sections which can mention a booksigning. If you can reach all of them in the week before the event, you can generate a possible 1 million reader impressions. Each press release should mention three things: name of author, title of book, and ‘brand’, that is, the type of book it is so the best prospects for that book will know it is a book for them.

    The press release must be newsy, that is, it must be newsworthy and written specifically for each area of the newspaper it is sent to. Don’t expect a busy editor to rewrite it for you. They won’t. Do the editor’s work and a lot more of your press releases will run.

    Of course, I would hope to get at least one TV appearance and one radio interview. It does not matter if the interview runs at 2:00 am –as some of mine have – you can always use the interview itself in your marketing (as seen on TV).

    To make this work today you should be from a traditional publisher (there are too many self-published books to be newsworthy). It also really helps if the book has a newsy tie-in, like: ‘former Tulsan returns to city with Tulsa area based novel’. There is a story here.

    I agree most authors are not equipped to play the publicity angle to this degree; however, some are. They should at least think about the mega power booksignings can provide.

    Vince

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  113. Patty, that is SO cool that you're using Seekerville as part of your homeschool curriculum. I LOVE IT!

    That means a ton!

    Woo hoo for the winners of these wonderful Bethany House books!

    John, don't be a stranger! We need more testosterone around here. Someone's gotta help Walt and Vince keep Captain Jack in line. :=) Excellent news on your wife. Be sure to have her drop by as well. Tell her we say hey.

    Cheryl

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  114. I can't believe this! This time zone thing has made me late to the party! Because you all do know there are other time zones besides Central and Eastern, right?

    And then think about Ausjenny - that poor girl is in a different DAY zone!

    Now that that's out of the way - welcome to the Bethany House team!

    I loved your comments about book signings. I always hate to walk into a book store and see some poor soul sitting all alone behind a table surrounded by stacks of books. Never want to be that person - so happy to see some other ideas!

    Welcome to John and congrats on your wife's anniversary!

    And Alexis, you can tell a lot of us have been in your situation - nobody to talk to that isn't wearing diapers! But it's a season that will be over all too quickly. I'd love to be there again, if only for a day!

    Love the party, but have to switch laundry loads - back later!

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  115. Mary,

    Do you get alot of hits at your website?

    I'd have to agree about websites. I rarely go to mine. It's like an after thought half the time.
    I spend more time, and even that's rare, at my blog sight. Or Twitter and facebook.



    As for brands. Mine is Fiction With Grace.

    Tina P

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  116. Connie, The West Will Never be the Same

    I like it.

    I'm having a serious change of heart on book signings, too.

    I may not have very many after the ones I have scheduled. We'll see how they go, but they are a LOT of effort and I can see how to measure the results.

    Any ideas on that?

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  117. Oh, yes. Almost forgot (conveniently). I was about to agree with Ruthy.

    "And like most Christian authors, I hate anything being about just me."

    That's why I love the idea of making book signings about something or someone else--a cause or even a group signing. Debby, didn't you recently do a signing where every book sold benefited a good cause?

    Oh, and my "brand." I think--HOPE--the tagline I've settled on describes the kind of books I write:

    "Inspirational romantic fiction...where life and love collide."

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  118. Tina, I don't even know about hits on my website. It seems like, at one time, I had some kind of counter on it. I no longer know where that is.

    I suppose there's a way to count how many people click through on a link to buy a book, too, though I don't know if that would show an actual BUY, only that the clicked to look at it.

    I think I had a password once to a counter.

    This is all lost in the mists of time a dim, vague memory that only grows more elusive as the sand drip through the hourglass of my life.

    ??? I think that might be poetry, people, appreciate it.

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  119. Mary,

    Haven't had many booksignings, so can't say much about where to go from there. I know several people are going to trading cards too.

    Any thoughts on that?

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  120. Hi Esther and Patty. Love that you're using Seekerville to learn. In a way, isn't that what we're all doing?

    School doesn't end just because you graduate from highschool or college. School is life. Life is school.

    (yeesh, another poem!!!)

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  121. Patty, what a great idea to have Esther go to Seekerville as part of her homeschooling! My youngest son is an aspiring writer and a senior in our homeschool. I wonder if he'd consider it? After all, this is "mom's territory"!

    And I forgot my email on my last visit:
    jandrex(at)juno(dot)com

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  122. Mary C., Tina and I had supper with my son in Park Slope... A great Italian restaurant just off Union. So fun! And living in Brooklyn is a whole different bird's-eye-view. Oh what fun that could be!

    Pep: Tighter. "Seasoned with salt and a dash of Pepper."

    Or: "Add a dash of Pepper to your life."

    Or: "Ruthy is a pain, but we love her anyway."

    I like that one. ;)

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  123. Didn't Love Inspired do a trading card game at RWA? I know I was holding Rachelle McCalla's cards at one point during the book signing. I wasn't sure what it all meant.

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  124. Brooklyn, I can't imagine. I was so overhwelmed by the RWA Conference. But I survived it. Loved it, too, in a terrified kind of way.

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  125. Uh, oh.

    Mary.

    What if TEEEEEENA sees what you just said??? EVERYONE knows who makes the rules in Seekerville.

    And we're all savvy enough to LET HER DO HER JOB.

    Now, shh... Just draw the names. Waiting 48 hours just ADDS to the anticipation. You're an author. You know that.

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  126. Wow, look at all these comments!

    I'll most likely be gone all day, so this comment will have to suffice.

    I recently heard somewhere (can't remember where) that your NAME is your tagline and that instantly gave me so much freedom as a writer. Because I can be myself. I can write my stories, be consistent with who God is teaching me to be and just plain be Casey.

    It's a relief and a burden all at once.

    I love these tips, especialy the social media one. I'm new to many of those facets, so it's good to take it slow and build a platform while learning.

    Thanks so much BH for being here! I've grown up on BH books and I can say WITHOUT bias, that they put out some of the BEST books EVER! Can ALWAYS trust the BH logo for good fiction. :D

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  127. Alexis,

    I felt the same way several years when my kids were little and we didn't have money to go anywhere even if I had a car.
    People always say to write about what you know, and that would be kids. But boy, I sure didn't want to read about kids. I wanted to escape w/a book of adults.
    (Love the kids,though...)

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  128. Marketing is not my specialty. I do my best, but ... let's face it. I'm a writer, not a professional marketer. But I try to get the word out about my books on Facebook, without being totally obnoxious about it. I do a few booksignings. I do interviews on blogs and do a little blogging myself. I am starting to do some writer workshops. My publisher makes great trailers for my books (yay Zondervan!) and they send me lots of bookmarks and postcards to give away, which I hand out wherever I can.

    I think it's important as a newby author to do what I can, to try to do my part, but I realize that it's only a tiny dent. LOL! My publisher does the effective things to get the word out.

    That's my take anyway!!! And yes, I believe Bethany House authors are very blessed, Mary! BH does an awesome job of marketing their authors and their books. I see those lovely covers everywhere I look, it seems! (Oh, there's another BH historical romance. Isn't it beautiful? Looks good! Oh, that's Mary Connealy's next book! Can't wait to read it!)

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  129. You're so right, Mary. Learning never ends (and if does... nope, don't wanna go there!). You Seekers have mastered the concept of making learning fun. =] LoL.

    Jan, if he can just read the posts he might go for it, but the comments might freak him out, even if he stood with Vance and Walt. ;-)

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  130. Noelle, in your post you said: "Brand does not equal a clever tagline that describes your writing style. When it comes down to it, your brand is what your author name represents."

    I know that authors I read have a certain brand - if I read a Mary Connealy book or a Ruth Logan Herne book I know what to expect. Like slipping on a favorite jacket, I recognize the way they write: the themes, the phrasing, the dialogue. It's one thing that keeps me reading the same authors and looking forward to their next books.

    But that kind of branding isn't created out of thin air. It's an extension of the author's personality, and it seems THAT is that elusive quality we want to get across to the readers - and the best way to do it is for the author to be themselves.

    So how can an unpublished newbie start to establish that kind of brand? I can see using a social networking site or a blog - any other suggestions?

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  131. Cheryl, reading the Seekerville posts is one of the best parts of my school, besides reading books about writing. lol, I'd probably have my nose glued to the computer or stuck in a writing book all the time if I didn't have other things I had to do.

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  132. Is anyone having success with print ads?

    My main market seems to be grandparents, buying for the g'kids.

    So I've been thinking about advertising with publications that cater to grandparents.

    What about radio/tv? Any ideas on wrangling interviews?

    Thanks again. This is exactly what I need right now!

    (Wow on comments!)

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  133. Woohoo...I love book bonanzas and I love Bethany House! So many wonderful authors who produce some great work. I signed up a while back to be a Bethany House book reviewer and it has allowed me to read so many books that I might not have read otherwise. It's great! I've never been to a book signing, but I love the idea of having some kind of "talk" or a meet the author type thing. Honesly, living way down here in a small GA town, I don't hear about book signings. I would be willing to drive to a bigger city and bring friends, though. What's the best way to know when an author is doing a book signing?
    Thanks! Stacey
    travelingstacey(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  134. Welcome to Seekerville Bethany House! I love a lot of your authors.

    I'm excited about this giveaway day!

    Blessings!
    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  135. Hi Seekerville friends, Noelle and Bethany House,

    Just turned in book 2 to my editor! Coming up for air. Whew!

    Loved that list, Noelle. My fist book just came out in May and I've realized how boring some booksignings can be. I want to hear more about jazzing those things up. :)

    I'm beginning to think my brand is historical romance discovers One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. NO KIDDING!

    And Julie Lessman you make my day! :)

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  136. Mary, I have to agree with you there. School certainly doesn't end just because you graduate from high school or college. You're always learning new things.

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  137. Patty,

    LOL! You have that boy figured out!

    (Don't you love homeschooling? But I'm graduating this year - it's the youngest that's a senior :( )

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  138. Happy Friday! And wow! Seekerville is always on my to-visit list and I love a great giveaway! It's an honor to have my book up there with Bethany authors. Thank you for that:)

    As far as brand, my readers could probably come up with something snappier and stronger than I could! I really appreciate the insider look at marketing as I'm ever learning.

    Book signings? Nope, not a very good venue for me as I live in the woods and there are no bookstores near.

    Social networking? I killed my Twitter account to focus on Blogger and Facebook.

    Brand? Still considering that one...

    Thanks so much, Mary, and Bethany House, and Seekerville for such a stellar post and your generosity for the giveaways! I posted on my blog also and will now fly away to spread the JOY here on Facebook...

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  139. Forgot to say, please don't enter me in the drawings as I think I have every book on your list;)

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  140. Thanks for inviting Noelle to Seekerville, Mary. I paid close attention to what she had to say. I really like her ideas regarding booksignings and have been brainstorming ways to make mine fun for those who will attend. Who'd want to come just to watch me sign my name? It's short, so I'd be done in no time anyhow. Can you say boring?

    One of my critique partners, Jody Hedlund, is a Bethany House author. I've been so impressed as I've watched all they ways they've helped her promote her latest release, The Doctor's Lady. They even prepared a book trailer.

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  141. Jan, my mom comes up with the most wonderful ideas for school, doesn't she? lol, I think this semester is going to be one of the best ones. I get to read for school! Whoohoo!

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  142. WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!!!

    CAN YOU BELIEVE ALL THESE COMMENTS AND IT'S BARELY NOON!!!!

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  143. Ooo, Ruthy
    I got it!!!
    Fiction to spice up your life ;-)

    LOL

    And the Ruthy one is good too.
    To the point.
    Says so much

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  144. It's not noon where I'm at, Mary! Lunchtime is taking forever to get here. Or at least it seems that way when I'm cleaning my room. When I'm on here time flies out the window!

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  145. Do guys who get books dedicated to them get to do book signings? Just wondered. (Hi Mary)

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  146. All I can say is I participate in social media :) I just got FB, and then of sourse there's blogger;)

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  147. Good Afternoon! Welcome Bethany House to Seekerville.

    I'm just a reader and I love finding new authors. I do post reviews after I read a book. However, I will never post a bad review. If I don't have a good thing to say about a book, I keep my mouth shut. The reason is, maybe I didn't care for the book, but someone else might like it. What if they didn't read a book because of my review? That sure isn't fair to the author.

    Thanks for this wonderful giveaway!

    God Bless,
    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  148. Are we supposed to be leaving our email address? I thought we just had to comment.

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  149. It's getting close enough to noon that the kids are asking 'what's for lunch?'

    If I'm keeping track right this is the hour for Laura Frantz's book. I love her books (I know I say that about everyone... but it's true)

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  150. LOL
    ANONYMOUS IS MR. BOOK LOOK!!!!

    I DEDICATED OUT OF CONTROL TO HIM.

    WELCOME!!!! YOU'RE OUR MARKETING HERO...OR MAYBE OUR SALES HERO....OR MAYBE OUR ALL AROUND HERO. THANKS FOR STOPPING IN.

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  151. I think if I were to do book signings, they would be very strategic. I'd go to places where I had family and friends because they would do a lot of the advertising by word of mouth. I'd also go to places like the bookstore in Atlanta where they work really hard to advertise their book signings. I've had friends in Kansas City who have done really well with local book signings. Just my two cents. :D

    lr(dot)mullin(at)live(dot)com... just in case we were supposed to leave our addresses.

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  152. You do NOT have to leave your email address. We will announce the winners in the Weekend Edition with instructions for you to email us at the seekerville email address. So an email address or the lack there of, will not stop me from drawing your name.

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  153. Patty, Linnette, Kirsten, et al who're tossin' out praise like it's confetti at midnight on New Year's Day...

    Good job. All that praisin' might just get you an extra ticket in the bucket. Shh... Don't tell Tina.

    And Myra agreed with ME. :) Oh my stars, girl. What's come over you????

    Hey, I'm likin' me some Rocky Mountain Time and those West Coast folks as well! Because unless you're of Chinese descent, you pretty much all started over here in Eastern Time... I rest my case.

    Mary, these are such great books, and awesome chat about branding. And while I think you can cross-genre and not hurt yourself, after listening to words of wisdom from Jayne Ann Krentz last year in Orlando, oy... Ya gotta be careful. And flexible.

    And that just comes back to God. Using the talent he gave with the best of your ability.

    Hey, I brought CHOCOLATE. Serious dearth of that here right now, and no way can I be serious or silly without some chocolate. I raided Grandma Mary's Candies in (you guessed it!) Jamison, NY, down in good ol' Allegany County.

    Love it. Try the pralines. And the almond bark. Oh, yum!

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  154. HI LAURA, thanks for stopping in. I don't think it's a real written rule, but if you're one of the authors of the books we're giving away, I'll admit your chances of winning become very slim.

    That's no fair is it?

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  155. Ruthy, I think, even with cyber food, you might not be able to afford to feed all these people.

    Good luck.

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  156. Love to win ... good luck to all!

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  157. So interesting to read this post and comments. I have no time to really make a wonderful comment, lol!, as my family and I are off to camp tonight, but I wanted a chance to be in the drawings! :-). Happy weekend, everyone!

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  158. Noelle, thank you for sharing your great advice. I recently did a book signing where I donated the profits and it was a big success with over forty books sold.

    As for my brand, I think it's light-hearted historical romances with generous dash of humor, but with a relevant message.

    Mary, I have all the books and I've only recently finished your OUT OF CONTROL. Loved it!!!!

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  159. I love all the authors and I also like Bethany House Publishers. I would love to win one of these books.


    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

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  160. Welcome to BH great books! Good reading and a giveaway too yahooo!

    Lourdes11743[at]gmail[com]

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  161. As some of you may already know,here's a formula that really works: take a nobody, add a Mary Connealy, and a nobody becomes a somebody! St. elsie

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  162. I really enjoy Bethany House books! They are fantastic! I would enjoy winning any of these books. I have already ready "Out of Control" and would look forward to reading something new!

    Wendi

    wowendi{at}gmail{dot}com

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  163. I've read one of Laura Frantz's books, The Frontiersman's Daughter, and I absolutely LOVED it. It was great.

    Janette Oke's books are awesome too, especially her Love Comes Softly series. I don't remember if I've seen all the movies or not, but the books are really good.

    Congrats to whoever won Karen Witemeyer's To Win Her Heart. It's amazing. I fell in love with the characters from the time I read the first couple of pages.

    And now I've got tuna sandwiches with dill pickles and pretzels calling my name. Ummm.

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  164. It seems like writing is targeted more and more toward our individuality. It's great that being unique can be such a plus (they should really let kids in school know this). Marketing is a key thing to writing I didn't expect, but I'm seeing God has worked to equip me in this field as well. Our God is SO amazing.

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  165. Wow! Already there are 165 comments and it's only 1:00. What's the comment record?

    Also, I am curious (and I will admit self-interest in this question) as to how Bethany House might approach an atypical setting with regards to marketing it.

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  166. Hi, all! Greetings on behalf of the Bethany House fiction marketing team! It's been fun reading many of your comments. Noelle is out today, so I promised to drop in and say hello.

    Mary, I think you have an amazing bunch of friends following this blog!

    I just wanted to follow up on a couple of questions I saw. Janet, you asked about what the first step is in branding yourself once you have a book ready. Back to Noelle's comments, I think that as a new or unpublished author, you can do more to lay the groundwork for your brand by considering what sort of experience you want your readers to have before and during the writing process, rather than thinking about brand in terms of a set of marketing steps after the writing process. Several people mentioned that they equated brand with genre in their minds, which is partially true, but even more so it's about your writing style and the experience you create. Do you want readers to laugh out loud, fall in love with your characters, learn something about history, want to turn the pages of your books quickly and stay up late into the night to complete them? Do you want to make your readers cry? If you focus on one or a couple of these things and do them really well, your readers will know what to expect and you will have developed a level of trust that enables them to lay down money to purchase your book with full confidence in what they can expect. More comments in a moment...

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  167. NOT FEED THE PEOPLE????

    PSHAW... I've got a friend who's downright GREAT with loaves and fishes...

    I'm just sayin'...

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  168. As a reader I'm sorry to read that you don't believe book signings are worthwhile. I have met several of my favorite authors and enjoy the signings immensely. The ones I've been to have had huge lines to wait in! I think a popular author can draw the people in. Some signings you have to buy your book right there and then to have it signed. I don't have a problem with that. I'm more than happy to. Other authors allow you to bring a book of theirs that you have and want them to sign. I don't have a problem with that either. Please don't do away with signings!!!

    Blessings,
    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  169. I love Bethany House books! :) I hate that I missed some of the earlier giveaways, but include me in the next please!

    clp1777(at)aol(dot)com

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  170. I forgot to properly introduce myself. I'm the fiction marketing manager at Bethany House.

    Kav: You asked if, once an author has a brand, is it possible to successfully switch later. Again, I think most people would assume this means a switch in genres or a drastic switch in writing style, whereas I'm thinking more in terms of the experience you create for the reader, and again there is definitely some overlap between the two. I can think of many authors who shift genres from time to time, but those who have the most success in doing so have generally been writing for many years and have established a very large and very loyal readership base. Also, if you think of brand in terms of the emotional experience you create and the quality and style of your writing, it is certainly possible to carry those things over from one genre to another. Personally, I wouldn't recommend doing so, however, until you're more established and have developed a loyal fan base.

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  171. Debra, thank you for coming by! We love that your post has created such a stir in Seekerville...

    And WE HAVE A WINNER!!!! We've drawn a name for the one o'clock drawing for Stephanie Grace Whitson's book "A Most Unsuitable Match"! And no, I cannot give clues, that would irk Mary and drive The Teenster crazy... but I guarantee you'll love the book. And sending me chocolate to thank me is never a bad idea. :)


    Oh, Mr. Book Look, you're somebody here!!! Always! You rock, dude, and we're so glad you stopped in!

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  172. Thank you, Debra! So it's partly voice and partly the experience you create for the reader. That helps me understand brand much better.

    Thanks! =]

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  173. No one in the industry, imo, does covers like BH. (Don't tell my publisher I said that. ) Those gorgeous covers and the incredible marketing have really put Bethany House books in the spotlight these last few years.

    It's great reading these ideas from some of the best marketers in the business. Thanks, BH.

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  174. This is really making sense to me, Debra! It's much easier to think of your brand as encompassing the overall experience you want your books to bring to readers.

    Which is why it also makes sense that the BEST form of marketing is to write consistently good books that fulfill the readers' expectations.

    Now, if we could just do that without stressing over social media, book signings, blog tours, etc. . . .

    What are the odds???

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  175. Judy, thanks for stopping in!

    Book signings... It's not that they're not worthwhile in some ways. I think we all love to meet new people, chat, eat cookies and did I mention chat, LOL?

    It's more like balance out how many to do vs. building a facebook following, a Twitter presence (I love facebook, Twitter is not my forte) a blog presence, and write and edit and market books in the meantime. So it's never an either/or, it's a liberty-scale type thing of reaching out to as many people as possible.

    Unless you're Richard Castle, of course. Oh my stars, I love that show. ;)

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  176. Debra thanks for sharing that bit of insight, it helps clear up the whole brand issue, for me at least.

    Ruthy the kids and I use the fish and loaves of bread and made Tuna sandwiches.

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  177. Courtney, you're in! And Linda Goodnight, hey, girl! Thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to see you in St. Louis!

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  178. So Mary's gone for a little while. Can we talk about her?

    Think she'll know?

    That would require being able to access the Internet on her phone and she can't even GET MESSAGES retrieved on her phone, so I think we're safe.

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  179. Debra, that's the perfect way of explaining brand vs. genre.

    Lovely.

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  180. Debra,
    Thanks SO much for that clear definition!

    Now my tagline seems to mean more (and it's versatile regardless of the genre)

    I'm feeling one of those epiphany moments....
    I'd better try to remember this feeling. They're so rare these days :-)

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  181. Ruthy, if only we could all be as successful as Richard Castle!

    I mean, the guy even has his own TV show!

    And I'm sending tons of chocolate your way. I'm sure I'll need to bribe you someday.

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  182. Oooh - great reminder! Enter me ;)

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  183. I want to express appreciation for the Bethany publicists for working so well with agents and authors as a team. Working on the marketing plans together and considering how we can contribute or help with the implementation is invaluable. There is a commitment to excellence at Bethany and it shows. The comment about branding NOT being a tag line was very helpful indeed! The tag line can certainly encapuslate an aspect of what distinguishes one writer's voice, style, and subject from another, but the essence is the quality of the emotional experience.
    Natasha

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  184. Hi Debra! Thanks for the comments about what brand is. That clears up some questions I had.

    Speaking of fish and bread, that's what I had for lunch! Tuna sandwiches. And pickles. And pretzels. I even got to have a piece of cheese on it! lol

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  185. Esther I stole your lunch idea when you mentioned it earlier. Only no pretzels here.

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  186. Castle? Did someone mention Castle? Can't wait for the fall season to kick off!

    Oh, and I am a Castle Twitter follower--fun!

    Waving to my super-fabulous agent, Natasha Kern! Looking forward to seeing you at ACFW!

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  187. Welcome Noelle & Bethany House Marketing! What a great post! I've been struggling with branding, too.

    Some of my short fiction has appeared in anthologies, but none of my books is published, yet. Sometimes I wonder whether it's because I like to write so many different kinds of fiction. That could be due to my reading habits! I grew up reading almost every kind of (clean) fiction, and always wanted to write across genres.

    It sounds as though Voice is the best branding, and I think my voice comes through in everything I write. Considering the emotional experience, though, I wonder how that can translate from romance to suspense to mysteries to speculative fiction and fantasy. I know genre readers usually expect a particular kind of experience from each of those genres. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! And everyone else's, too!

    Thanks! Sorry I was late to the party. And thanks to whoever it was who tweeted this! (I think it was you, Cheryl.)

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  188. Jamie, I'm glad you like the idea of tuna for lunch. It was pretty good here.

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  189. And welcome, Debra! That's pretty much the answer to my question! *g*

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  190. What great advice...that I seem to NOT be heeding right now.

    With a fast-track release date for Stealing Jake, I'm like a whirling Dervish blogging, promoting, and just plain out getting the word out.

    With a little help from my friends! Okay, a LOT of help!

    But it's been TONS of fun to promote and read the feedback.

    Busy at the day job today, but I'll be back to read this again, AND read all the comments.

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  191. Noelle, thank you so much for this great post! Very helpful and gives me lots to think about.

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  192. Just when I think you can't outdo yourself, you do! Many thanks. Have a great weekend.

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  193. And I'm back, but only for a minute, got a synopsis due today--not exactly my favorite writing bit.

    I have branded myself, but it's a natural brand and I think that's important--write several stories clean through and then think about all the story ideas in the works--what is the common thread what is your subconscious saying? Once I figured out what the common thread to all of them was, I got two writers who've read what I wrote, told them "what I wrote" and then we worked together for several days to make a tag. And when I stumbled upon the right set of words, we all said, "That's absolutely it!" I don't think you can force branding otherwise you'll feel limited, find your true brand and you'll find your focus. (BTW, Reviving Romantic Hope is my brand)

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  194. As to social media, I'm playing around with all of them now to get a feel of what I want to do. I dislike the mess of twitter, but I'm playing with it to make sure, I'm not sure I like how Google+ is being used right now though it's new. I follow authors on facebook and decide what I like and hate about how each one is doing it, then if I get published I'll know exactly which ones and how I want to use social media.

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  195. I like the party book signing thing, I've seen Deeanne Gist's exclusive party things like a get-away in the famous building she used as a setting. She's a bethany author. I wonder how those events turned out for her. Were they worth it?

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  196. I actually kind of feel sorry for authors in this day and age because they usually have to be promoted or promote themselves through social sites. In the olden days often the best authors wished to remain anonymous and illusive.

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  197. Jan, you phrased it so nicely. I really like what you wrote:

    "...that kind of branding isn't created out of thin air. It's an extension of the author's personality, and it seems THAT is that elusive quality we want to get across to the readers - and the best way to do it is for the author to be themselves."

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  198. Love this give away! Please enter me.

    Welcom Bethany House to Seekerville!

    Blessings,
    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  199. Thank you, "adge"! Most days, "anonymous and illusive" would suit me just fine!

    And I could probably name a few other Seekers who would agree.

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