Often authors are curious to learn which marketing and publicity ideas work for other writers and which do not. I, too, am curious about the very same thing. We blog and post interviews on various websites. We email newsletters to established fans and snail-mail publicity postcards to announce upcoming books. We Facebook and Twitter and network and then wonder if it does any good. Speaking engagements at local libraries were something I tried after my first release of Amish fiction. While writing about the Amish, I often spoke on steps to simplify life or ways my life changed after getting to know those God-fearing, passionate Christians. For the first time, I felt connected to readers, up-close and personal. I listened to their feedback and answered questions about upcoming books in a series. Wait a minute, you might be thinking. Authors want to interact with people who go out and buy books. I’m here to say libraries buy books too—plenty of them. Many readers who find your work in the stacks—or even on the twenty-five-cent clearance table—will buy in the future if they like your style. Readers need to watch their finances, same as other consumers. But I have made fans-for-life who originally found me in the library, but then purchased my next book as a keeper. Plus librarians are some of the nicest people on earth. They love to read and love authors who visit their community room, usually allowing you to sell and sign books afterward.
Since I switched to writing mysteries and romantic suspense, readers frequently ask how I get my story ideas and how I research the various locations. But what I’m asked about most often is my personal path to publication. Fledgling writers tend to haunt libraries and would appreciate any advice you can give. After answering questions, I also take the time to plug ACFW about what our wonderful organization can do to further writing careers. Over the years, I’ve discovered libraries aren’t just great places to read, research, and hide from the world. The librarians who work inside can often be a writer’s best friend.
Mary Ellis has written twelve best-selling novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is third of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. She enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog, and cat. Sunset in Old Savannah will release in early 2017. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or www.facebook.com/Mary-Ellis/Author
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