Thursday, February 9, 2012

Promotion of books – Pain or Pleasure?

My husband and I have been getting excited the last couple of days as we have seen for the first time the cover for his new book in his 31 Day Devotional meditation series. Captured by Calvary will hopefully be available around Easter time this year.
Then we became excited to discover that my out of print, inspirational romance back list of books will be released again as e-books. So, here is the preliminary announcements of these books. We are excited but know these contracts will also bring us both great pleasure but some  pain too as we try to promote them so people will know about them and hopefully be able to buy them. Our prayer has always been that God will use these efforts to bless, challenge and entertain our readers

For some time now, I’ve been realising how fortunate I was back in the 1990s about how much personal promotion I was expected to do for my published books. Certainly, I was very busy then too. There were a couple of contributions to the Heartsong Presents Book Club newsletter. I contacted Christian bookshops and an Australian distributor to shops about my books published by Barbour. I had a book-signing for my first medical romance from Harlequin Mills & Boon. I joined writers’ groups, especially Romance Writers of Australia, went to writer conferences. I had as many speaking appointments as I could that focused on my writing efforts.

Sounds busy? Yes of course it was, but even though I had teenage children still at home for most of the time and was a busy “minister’s wife”, I simply had more time to actually write my novels than I seem to these days. Of course, being older now too doesn’t help but there simply seems to be so much more promotion and publicity I need to do now and thus far less time to work on this current manuscript.

The main culprit seems to be the internet. There is so much information on other writer’s blogs, websites, newsletters etc to try and read to keep up with not only books by my own favourite authors, but current trends in Christian fiction, publishers, conferences and all that we need to keep up to date with and know as published authors in this writing career.

And now my dear husband is discovering how much he too should be doing about promoting his books. Until now he has quite vigorously resisted getting involved in having his own website, his own blog and especially his own Facebook wall. As you know only too well it has been great sharing my blog with Ray and also the information about him and his writing on my (our) website. But as I mentioned to him today, when anyone would do a Google search for Ray Hawkins to find out more about him and his writing, would they find many sites? Would they find out both his 31 Day devotional books are also e-books?

I have had to spend heaps and heaps of time learning about websites, how to publish blog posts and about Facebook, how to have an “internet presence”. Now it is time to make sure Ray knows how to do these things – and eventually without my help!without my help!

However, I hope he too discovers that while promotion, especially on the internet will take time, there is also often great pleasure in hearing from readers, connecting with other writers and learning from them– especially those targeting the same kind of audience as ourselves.

So often pain and pleasure can go hand in hand. Discipline and having a God directed priority will keep it more pleasure than pain. Of course, what I really need is a secretary/helper to do some of the “business” of writing for me, but that is still just a dream.

Okay, this is where I am at the moment – enjoying making contact with readers of my blog and Facebook, but suffering “pain” too because of the time it all takes me away from writing my books. Would love to have some comments about how you cope with your own responsibilities and, if a published author, what you do to make time to write your next book.

Oh, and by the way, you will be hearing a lot more about books from Mary Hawkins and Ray Hawkins in coming days!
Mary Hawkins is a best-selling inspirational romance author. A Queensland farmer’s daughter, she became a registered nurse before going to Bible College. She and her minister husband have three adult children and five grandchildren, enjoyed over 47 years of ministry including church planting in Australia, two years in England, three short term mission trips to Africa and now live in Tasmania, Australia's island state. Her first inspirational romance novel, Search For Tomorrow was released in 1993 Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents book club which was recently sold to Harlequin. 19th title, Justice at Baragula was released May, 2011.
Read more about her books, her husband Ray and his devotional books on their blog from the website:


  1. Congratulations, Mary and Ray. All these techie means of promotion are challenging to learn, aren't they? Theoretically they bring us new readers. May God draw in those who need to hear.

  2. Congratulations to you both. Enjoy the buzz of your new releases and don't let the techie stuff get in the way. The latest edition of "RWR" showed that fb, blogs, etc. played only a minor role in readers' decision to buy a book. It's still the story that matters most.

  3. You've described the dilemma we face as writers very well here, Mary! You know, I think we can do only what we can do in the end. And the only other thing I can suggest here is that we stay very close to God in it all and try to listen to what he wants us to take on. God bless - and lovely to hear about your ebooks and Ray's new book.

  4. Thank you all! So very true, Jo-Anne, and always a constant challenge each day - each hour in fact to spend enough time in the Word. Perhaps my biggest problem time-wise on the computer is enjoying reading other blogs, websites, Facebook etc just too much. More self-discipline required!

  5. Mary, congrats to you and Ray on your upcoming new releases! I look forward to hearing more details soon :)

  6. Yes, Mary, always a balancing act. I love meeting readers and fellow writers whether it's over the internet or in person. Like you I did tons of conferences and personal appearances in the '90's. It was all amazingly time consuming, but everything seemed to get one. Same now with internet.

    Much on my mind at the moment because I'm having a book launch at our local bookstore tonight, need to be finishing up a ms and have loads of internet promo I want to do. Of course, it helps to be compulsive.

  7. OH Mary we should be on the same continent. Better still, in the same town! I share so many of your challenges, although you're way ahead of me on the publishing scene. But husbands? Oh yeah. They could be of help and encouragement to one another too (and maybe to us as well!) Every blessing to you both as you move forward. And to Ray - I look forward to signing up on your FaceBook page!

  8. Thank you, Donna, and all the very best with your book launch. Above all, have fun!

  9. Shirley, there have been times when I've read your blog posts and thought the same thing. And I know Ray would feel the same about sharing with your husband about having a wife who is also a crazy writer! LOL. So, we've been to Africa long before we "met" on the internet. Now it might be your turn to visit Australia?

  10. Had to smila a little at your comment, Narelle, especially as the post is about promotion. Let me assure you that you will hear aboutthose books agin and again!

  11. Good to read your post and finally comment, Mary.Tried to the other day but Blogger didn't like me. Congrats to you both. It sure is hard striking that balance. To date I haven't yet ventured into Facebook territory.Hard enough keeping up with what's on the plate at present.