Every morning I start my day eating my cereal, fruit and milk while checking my email. It’s a good way to fire up my writing engines and rev my gas pedal even before I get showered and dressed. Between 10 and 20 emails greet me as I open Outlook and I’ve become pretty adept at deleting, replying, and filing some for further consideration. A few days ago my eyes popped when I saw a certain sender: Helen Hollick at HNS Reviews.
Since I read and write historical fiction, the Historical Novel Society magazine is a must-have subscription and, once The Loyalist’s Wife was published I wanted a review by HNS. Ten months ago I sent my first query to that magazine and received a polite reply where the gentleman said he would see if anyone was interested in reviewing it. I sent the file electronically as instructed.
On October 19, 2014, the second book in the trilogy made its debut and I soon emailed my contact once again about getting reviews for the two books. I also suggested I’d be happy to ship print copies. He jumped at that and I sent them off. He let me know when they arrived and then I heard nothing. Until last Thursday.
Helen Hollick, whose Pendragon series I’d read and written about on Goodreads, was sending me an email! From the Historical Novel Society! She had my attention.
You can read the review by clicking the link. It’s pretty nice. I’m happy. And this whole thing reminds me to just keep up with my marketing forays and good things will happen.
Things I’ve Done to Increase My Readership
I’m not shy about talking to people about my writing. Last December I met a couple of readers at a monument to the Battle of the Longwoods in 1814. We got talking and they both wanted my bookmarks and website information as they are history fans. They may or may not look up my books but they certainly wouldn’t if I didn’t tell them about them. It’s just fun to hear other people’s stories in those situations.
I walked into a London bookstore and asked them to take my books. They did and I did a signing there, too. It wasn’t wildly successful because I picked a bookstore in a mall where most of the customers were rushing to buy kids clothes or new boots. I learned being in a book store where those who come in are actually looking for books was a much better idea.
I contacted a lot of museums and historical sites and got several places who wanted my books. And they buy them outright usually. (The consignment stuff gets a bit tedious because the author takes all the risk.) I even got a speaking engagement at the wonderful Fort Erie Historical Museum in Ridgeway, Ontario. All it took was an email.
I’ve contacted and been contacted by a number of book clubs and organizations asking me to speak. These are a lot of fun because so many love history and historical fiction. The questions I get are really fantastic and make me think. And I sell books.
Another simple thing I do is include my author signature with every email I send. That means that in my capacity as Speakers Committee Chair for a large organization I get to connect with a lot of speakers who are writers. One of those, Terry Fallis, winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, actually read my manuscript and gave me a back cover quote. And it was a good one! It doesn’t hurt all of those who get my emails to see that I am a published author.
Being a writer is so rewarding when people come up to me and tell me they enjoyed my book. I’m getting better about asking them to write a Goodreads or Amazon review. You can do this, too. And use the technique for your own books. You can even do a post on just how to write a review.
One of my best sales was to my financial advisor when my first book came out. He emailed me and bought a large number of books to send to his clients, so excited was he for my success. I just had to ask.
Somewhere I read that we authors must market every day for at least 3 years. Sounds a lot but I find it’s a mindset. As I go about my daily life opportunities just suggest themselves. I wonder what I’ll do today to keep my books out there? Oh, for sure I’ll tweet about the Author and History tour I’ve been asked to join. And I’ll find somewhere else to do a speaking engagement. My Powerpoint presentations are growing in number. Lots of fun. And I’ll keep in mind that pie-in-the-sky things happen if you just open the door for them.
For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!
Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!
John and Lucy escape the Revolutionary War to the unsettled British territory across the Niagara River with almost nothing. In the untamed wilderness they must fight to survive, he, off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she, left behind with their young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy–her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy. With John’s reputation besmirched, she must walk a thin line depending as she does on the British army, and Sergeant Crawford, for her family’s very survival.
The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!
When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.
With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.