In March of 2018, writing partner and spiritual sister, Daria Ludas, and I, saw the first novel in our Christian women’s fiction mystery series, MERCIFUL BLESSINGS off to a great start. Two Stone Lions Press orchestrated the release for the big book festival that was part of the annual Liberty States Fiction Writers conference in New Jersey – and we sold out.
That was followed up by all the book sales that happened through Amazon after the book festival as friends, neighbors, and fellow authors continued the “buzz” for us via Facebook, breakfasts at the diner in hometown Jamesburg, and for me, here at St. Ambrose, my church home in Elkton, Florida.
The book took us over three years to write, edit, and polish to our satisfaction. It won the 2014 Unpublished Women’s Fiction category at the Royal Palm Literary Awards (RPLA) within a month of Daria’s open heart surgery. We shopped it around to several mystery houses who didn’t like so much of that “Christian” stuff, and several “Christian” markets that didn’t like so much of that “real world” stuff. Jeesh, what is an author – or in our case – an author team to do?
Keep the faith, I guess. We believed in the series, the messages, the writing, and that we’d be led to do the right things for the book. After all, the book – and the series – is all about Faith. And Hope. And Grace. Blessings, all. And so, I got word that a publisher that I respect a lot was looking to launch a new imprint – an Inspirational imprint. We talked about it and I submitted the manuscript to Two Stone Lions Press, and in a few weeks, we were discussing the contract.
So – what are we doing? How is it selling? Daria and I continue to speak with readers, and sell books. We’ve hand sold more than 200 copies to writers and readers at events. We continue to ask readers for reviews, and the Facebook fans continue to keep the word alive for us. Local news coverage for the book cover which features a photo of St. Ambrose taken in 1909 by a local family, helped us to sell a good number of books, but more importantly, it keeps people talking about it. That’s called “buzz.” And that’s a good thing!
We’ve cooperatively scheduled ads for readers and reviewers, sharing the costs with our publisher for any bills over $200. MERCIFUL is nominated for the Ben Franklin Award 2018 and the FAPA Award 2018. We’ll of course, have to wait to see if she finals or wins, but nonetheless, we’re doing some of the grass-roots things we can do to promote this first book in the Amazing Grace series.
Net net, I’ve seen my book sales for the Point and Shoot Mystery Series go up; we’ve not broken the 1000 copies (print and eBook) point for MERCIFUL BLESSINGS, but we will by end of the fall quarter, I suspect.
Most importantly, to Daria and me, as well as our publisher, we’re into writing the second book for the series, OLD FAITHFUL, which, Lord willing, will be published in the spring of 2019.
So, as I’ve been coaching all for several years now, this is NOT a sprint – it is a marathon. A long-distance journey full of lessons, laughter, and love. And because it is not a sprint, it’s important not to try and do the trip alone. Build a good team around you – one you trust, admire, can rely on, and that will be loving, honest, and dedicated to your success. I recommend you put the good Lord at the head of that team and let Him lead the way.
Until next week, keep reading and writing, my friends.