Monday, January 24, 2011

Marketing Monday - Jody Hedlund

Chances are, if you're a writer and you blog, you know Jody Hedlund, author of the historical romance The Preacher's Bride. Jody's blog is always full of terrific advice about both writing and blogging. And Jody is just as helpful and delightful to work with in person (okay—via email) as she is on her blog.

Today, Jody is here to share what Bethany House (publisher of The Preacher's Bride) did to market Jody's book, as well as what she did as an author. She's got lots of great ideas, so be sure to read to the end!

What did Bethany House do to help promote The Preacher's Bride?

I’m fortunate to have a contract with a larger publishing house who has an excellent marketing and sales team. They did an incredible number of things to help promote my book. Here are just a few of the top things:
  • They sent out advanced reader copies ARCs (to major book buyers, book reviewers, etc.).
  • They provided me with free books, bookmarks, and other items that I could use for promotional purposes.
  • They provided free books to a list of people (influencers) who agreed to read and help promote my book.
  • They helped arrange an interview with my local newspaper which ended up being a full page in the Sunday paper.
  • They got my book in all of the major online bookstores, book catalogs, and numerous bookstores (including Sam’s Club, Barnes & Noble, Borders, most Christian bookstores).
  • On release day, my publisher did a big Twitter giveaway.
What did you do to market your novel?

Because my publisher did so many of the bigger things, I could focus my energy on things that I really enjoy. Here are just of the few of the ways I worked initially to promote my book:
  • I did a “countdown” on my blog the month before the release date. Each week I posted a trivia question and did a giveaway drawing for those that participated.
  • I had a “first-sighting” slide show. I encouraged readers to send me a picture of them with my book, and then I posted all of the pictures in a slide show on my blog.
  • I did over 40 blog interviews (often with book giveaways) in a variety of different settings, and I posted each interview and link on my website.
  • For anyone who reviewed my book on their blog, I also posted the review and link on my website.
  • I planned an enormous local launch party at a privately owned bookstore in town.

How do you see your online presence contributing to the promotion of your book?

My online presence helped in many different ways. In my post The Snowball Effect of Social Media, I list many of the ways that social media directly and indirectly helped in the promotion of my book. Here are a few of the points I mention in that post:
  • Many of my followers on the various social media sites supported me by buying my book, even if they weren’t huge fans of my genre.
  • The connections I’ve made opened the door for other promotional opportunity (like the blog interviews I mentioned above).
  • Followers who didn’t want to read my book, bought it for others they thought would be interested.
  • Interestingly, my book made it to the CBA best seller list about three months after its debut. I’m convinced that my web presence helped contribute to that.
Be sure to read Jody's post on The Snowball Effect of Social Media for more insight into her experience as a debut author.

Thanks Jody, for taking the time to share your experiences! 

If you are a published author and you would like to share your experiences with marketing and promoting your book(s), I'd love to share your story! Please contact me at anpstevens [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. What a fascinating interview ladies. Allison, I'd agree that Jody's blog is a fantastic resource for all us writers and bloggers. Jody, it was very enlightening to read about the practical steps you took to market your book (and congratulations on its success!).



  2. I met Jody on twitter, and I think having an authentic online presence is the most important, and budget friendly marketing an author can do. I don't have a book published, but I already have people asking me if I do. I like that :) One day. I followed a link on twitter to get here. Hi everyone.

  3. Hey guys!! Thanks for swinging by! This is really a great series you're having, Alison! I think you're going to learn so much in talking with a variety of authors, because I think every author will probably have a different story of what works well for them, mainly because we're all so different with unique gifts and abilities. And of course publishers are all so different too in what they offer for their authors. Thanks again letting me share on your blog today! I appreciate it!

  4. Rach: I'm glad you found it useful!

    Simon: Thanks for stopping by! I agree about the authentic online presence.

    Jody: It was my pleasure!

  5. Great interview! I've read some of the posts on Jody's blog. They're so helpful. I'm going to try some of the things she's done to promote my books.

  6. Alison, I'm loving this new series of yours. Genius! Jody's blog is one of the few I read religiously, so it was a treat to see her here too.

  7. Clarissa: let me know how it goes. Actually, come back and let us all know how it goes!

    Julie: I'm glad you're enjoying it. I have a local writer friend who has come up will all kinds of fun ways to market her book (see the lovely book cover on the right). She opened my eyes to the variety of things authors can do and inspired me to find out what other authors have done, as well.