Interview with Deanna Nowadnick, Author of Fruit of My Spirit

Posted By on November 30, 2012

Interview with Deanna Nowadnick, Author of Fruit of My Spirit


1.     Can you give us a little background on why you wrote your book?

Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace started as one story. I just wanted my sons to know how I met their father in college. One story became many stories and soon I was announcing to anyone within earshot, “I think I wrote a book!” Fruit of My Spirit is actually part memoir, part confessional. Short stories tell of God’s love and faithfulness. The fruity theme connects personal stories of transformation, along with some cringe-worthy antics.

2.     What has been the most surprising thing about the publishing process?

I never expected to be a writer. Writers write books. I never expected to have a book in print. Real writers publish books. I feel so blessed to live and write in an age where there are so many ways in which to share our stories, the more traditional routes, independent alternatives, and self-publishing. As a first time author I quickly learned that the publishing giants of the world would not be fighting over the rights to my story. Connecting with Sue and Self-Publishing Resources, I was able to publish independently. She provided a circle of professionals who designed and edited and then guided me through the actual publishing process. The result was a book that I absolutely love!

3.     What has been the most surprising thing about the marketing process?

Marketing? You mean I now need to find ways to share the book? Just posting on Amazon and Barnes&Noble is not enough?

Honestly, I was so focused on getting the book published that I never really thought about marketing the book. Sue shared a detailed marketing outline that I glanced through quickly and thought, OK—I just need to create a Facebook fan page and tweet now and then, missing the scope and depth of her suggestions and recommendations. I’m a Christian writer and it actually took a little divine intervention for me to wake up to my responsibilities as an author with a story to tell. I slowly came to the realization that the book was more than a single story for my sons. The book was meant for a larger audience. And realizing that, I had to get busy!

4.     You’ve had great success in promoting your book online. Can you give us an overview of what you’ve accomplished?

Promoting Fruit of My Spirit online has been such fun! So far the book has been reviewed or featured at 50 sites. In addition, another 32 reviews and/or features have been promised. Some reviewers write for the print media or their online counterpart; some reviewers post on their blogs for online followers.

In addition to those who have said yes, I’ve also been turned down by 65 reviewers. Initially I was discouraged by the rejections, especially after deciding the book would be a great fit for a particular reviewer’s site. Then I remembered the importance of having a reviewer who wants to review the book.

5.     What are the advantages of online promotions?

Matt Lauer is not asking that I spend 15 minutes with him on a morning segment of the Today show. I don’t have a budget that allows for cross-country book signings and media appearances. Online promotions allow me to share my book with readers who will enjoy my book. Online promotions take time, but my only real costs are the books sent to reviewers, the very people I want promoting my book. What a great way to spend marketing funds!

Once a review is posted, there’s another advantage. I love having the opportunity to publically post my own thanks for the reviewer’s time and review and to reply to online comments.

6.     What is your favorite book marketing tool?

I’ve learned about marketing day by day, contact by contact. My promotional endeavors began with simple Google and Twitter searches for book reviewers. From there I began my inquiries. I use a simple email message , persistent follow-up, and immediate follow-through. Until a reviewer tells me to “cease and desist,” I’m finding ways to stay in touch every month or two. That’s an overstatement, but I’ve learned that a reviewer who didn’t have time for the book in April might be open to a review now in November. I’ve also learned that my professionalism is a direct reflection on my book. I take my contacts seriously, because I want them to take my book seriously.

7.     Have you ever received a less-than-favorable review? If so, how did you handle that?

I’ve gotten a couple 3-star reviews. I’ll read and think, Really? As authors, we learn that everyone is not going to think we’re just divine. The one reviewer who posted a 2-star review emailed me ahead of time, so I wouldn’t be surprised. I quickly replied asking that she not post on Amazon and B&N. I quickly replied a second time with my apologies. It was unfair of me to ask her to limit her posts. She was very kind and said she had no intention of saying anything beyond her blog.

Unfavorable reviews are difficult to handle. It’s the worst part of the entire process. On one of those days, I’ll take a moment to remind myself that I’m not writing for everyone. I know that as a person, I will not connect with everyone I meet. As a writer, I will not connect with everyone who picks up the book.

I’ve really appreciated that the reviewing community as a whole tries to be honest and thoughtful. They’re reviewers because they love books. We’re authors because we love writing books. It’s a wonderful match!

And if it really is one of those days, I’ll take a moment and read through a few 5-star reviews on Amazon. Some days you gotta do what you gotta do.

8.     Do you have tips for other authors in promoting their books?

Here is my step-by-step process. It’s easy and it seems to work!

Find potential reviewers.

· Use online search engines.

· Go to the reviewer’s website and confirm that your book will be a good fit for her and her followers.

· Get an email address to begin systematic contacts.

Begin systematic contacts and follow-ups.

Contact #1: Send a simple email (or message through website’s “Contact” tab) asking for review of your book. The message is short and to the point: I am the author of Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace, a memoir of short stories about God’s love and faithfulness. Would you consider reviewing for your site, [Name of Site]? Attach a PDF of the cover, the first chapter, and press release and then thank her for her consideration.

Contact #2 (one month later): If you haven’t heard back, forward the original email with its attachments and ask to follow up. Is there any additional information that I can provide? Reviewers are inundated with requests. There are times when the first message has gotten lost in the Junk folder or just been overlooked.

Contact #3 (one month later): If you haven’t heard back, try to find and “friend” the reviewer on Goodreads. I do not send a message on Goodreads. I merely “friend” her.

Contact #4 (one month later): If you haven’t heard back, forward same email thread with another short message: Need a good book for the fall? or Do you think Fruit of My Spirit would be of interest to your followers?

Ongoing contacts: Depending on the situation, continue to contact reviewer every couple months. Honestly, I’m still contacting anyone who hasn’t given me a definite no.

Note: In your contacts, try to interact with the reviewer. Use information from her site or blog. Use her first name. Refer to her blog or website. If she’s a knitter, I open my first message with the fact that I knit, too. If she’s from the Northwest, I note that I’m across the bridge in Monroe.

Once a reviewer has agreed to read and review your book, mail a copy right away (or get an ebook sent promptly).

· Follow up in a week to make sure the book was received.

· Allow reviewer time to read. Pay attention to the date she may have provided for completion of review. Reviewers don’t like to be harangued about getting the review done, but if no date has been given, follow up after two months. Send a quick email offering to send any additional information as it gets closer to review time. Keep it professional and courteous.

· Set Google alerts for the name of your book and for you as an author. When a review is posted, be sure to post your own thanks. Also send an email thanking her. Remember that reviewers are doing us a service for which they are not paid

About The Author

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