I put a lot of heart and soul into writing my first novel entitled The Crystal Bell, even though I dreamed it. One morning I awoke and told my wife, “I dreamed a whole novel last night. I dreamed the title, the characters, the plot, and the outcome.” Then I sat down at my computer and wrote a summary of the story and the first three chapters – before breakfast. Now how do I start marketing this dream of mine now become novel?
An important step for any author is identifying your readers. For my first novel and sixth book, the setting of the story provided a unique marketing opportunity. The Crystal Bell is a religious suspense story that is set in Richmond, Indiana where I grew up before moving across the country. The novel mentions and describes many places in Richmond and the small town of Fountain City seven miles north of the city. It describes the Glen Miller park, the crown jewel of the city, that is over 200 acres and one of the finest parks in the state. It mentions local restaurants where important scenes of the novel are set, and the main character Caleb Grant works at the local newspaper, the Palladium-Item. It details the First Presbyterian Church where Caleb receives counseling and becomes a member. So the way to begin my marketing strategy was by focusing on Richmond. It would be my primary market for getting my novel noticed and for creating a buzz about it. These Richmond area folks already have a built-in bias toward reading my story.
With this decision made, my wife and I stopped in Richmond on our way home from a family gathering out East. I talked with both the head of the Visitor’s Center and the local library. They were enthusiastic that my novel was set in their city. I was able to arrange for book signing events for both venues. They were as excited about the events as I was. And my novel was still in the proofing stage! That excitement is what every author likes to see.
Now at home waiting for publication, after signing off on the final proof, I sent a press release to the Richmond newspaper and to both venues. The idea is to coordinate the book signing events in Richmond, since I will travel a great distance to attend them on the way to our winter home.
If I am going to encourage readers to discover The Crystal Bell and relish all of the heart and soul that I put into writing it, then I will need to plan other venues as well. Of course, this includes my hometown here in the Great North Woods of Michigan. Since we live in a small town, I will take a copy of my novel to the local library and the book store in the mall as soon as the books arrive. Of course, I already sent the local newspaper a press release and then called the religion editor who has previously written great articles about me and my books. Then there is our winter “hometown.” My marketing plans just keep expanding.
Now for the books to arrive. Maybe today!
Author of the newly released The Crystal Bell, Dr. Gary R. Shiplett now has six books to his credit, the last two from Infinity Press. He is currently editing for publication three other books. The Shipletts live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and in the mts. of North GA. He retired somewhat early from his ministry as a pastor in the United Methodist Church to pursue his writing career. In addition to these pursuits, he has taught at both the college and seminary levels and recently taught a seminar on the Second Temple in the Time of Jesus at the Learning Center at Young Harris College near their Georgia mt. home..
He has a doctorate in Adult Education and Training from Indiana University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Religion from Florida Southern College.