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Saturday, October 05, 2013

The Grand Hybrid Experiment

Heather Day Gilbert is about to plunder the self-pubbing world with her debut novel about Vikings. How's she doing it? Read on...


I’ve never been an in-the-box person. In fact, I’ve never been an in-the-box anything.

I still remember in high school, when people argued over which was best: Fords or Chevys? Which side did I choose? European cars, like Saab, which no one had ever heard of.

So it makes sense I’m going my own route in the Christian fiction industry.

I had a Viking historical, God’s Daughter, out on submission for over a year. My agent, an editor, believed in that novel. The feedback I received from editors was never negative about the writing, just about the time period. The bottom line was that no one wanted to market a book set in Medieval times. And yet I knew that Vikings were trending in the TV/movie world. God slowly opened my eyes to the fact that I could gather my courage and self-publish this novel, taking that marketing risk the publishers couldn't.

My story, based heavily on the Icelandic Sagas, is about a Christian Viking woman who traveled across the Atlantic with her husband. I felt people needed to see the very human side of Vikings. Gudrid, my main character, struggles with many of the same emotional and family issues we do today.

It’s easy to make Vikings seem like animals when we get only half the history. But Vikings were people, with emotions and dreams and families. And many Vikings were Christians. I felt it was time to show how Christianity affected the Viking practices--for the better.

So that’s why I went hybrid and decided to self-publish God’s Daughter. My agent supported this decision. I have another book (contemporary Appalachian mystery) out on submission with traditional publishers.

I’m happy to throw myself out there as an experiment for all my writer friends. I’m not any kind of professional marketer, but here are a few things I've done to increase publicity:

· Lined up early readers/influencers, from groups or personal friendships. Asked published authors to read the MS early and possibly endorse if they enjoy it.

· Announced my e-pub date months ahead (11-1-13), for all my friends/followers, so excitement could *hopefully* build. I also launched a pinnable quotes series on my blog, incorporating quotes from God's Daughter.

· Had cover art ready to go with the influencer copies, so early readers could picture the finished product. Also posted cover art/book listing on Goodreads so people could add to their To-Be-Read lists. Sad to say, if you're a debut self-pubbed author, you can't do a Pre-Order option--I have had several people ask about doing that.

· Vlogged about my endeavor to let followers know the route I was taking and why: God's Daughter Vlog

· Prepared guest blogposts ahead of time. Also prepared Amazon book and author blurbs, based on input from my FB Author Page followers.

· Started a FB Author Page Photo Blitz to celebrate launch month--in which people send in their photos of themselves and their favorite Bibles, since my main character didn't own a Bible.

· Called in any favors I might have *totally kidding there. I think.*

All in all, being the writing rebel I am, I can’t really articulate the freedom I felt when God brought me to my self-pubbing decision. After years of waiting and praying, massive writer highs and lows, and never quite hitting the CBA marketable-book jackpot, I’m ready. I’ve knocked on every door with this book-baby.

But, like a true Viking, I might just have to plunder my way into the Christian book scene.

Heather enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling her three children. Heather is the ACFW West Virginia Area Coordinator.

You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert--Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Look for her Viking novel, God's Daughter, coming to Amazon November 1, 2013!




33 comments:

sally apokedak said...

Go Heather! I can't wait for the book . . . well, I'm not finding a lot of time to read for sheer enjoyment these days. So I guess I can wait. But still . . . I'm so happy to see this book coming out. And I love that cover.

I love Vikings, too.

Good for you!

sally apokedak said...

Go Heather! I can't wait for the book . . . well, I'm not finding a lot of time to read for sheer enjoyment these days. So I guess I can wait. But still . . . I'm so happy to see this book coming out. And I love that cover.

I love Vikings, too.

Good for you!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thanks so much, Sally! I know you've "known" me probably since I first started commenting on Novel Rocket, all those years ago. I have loved this site and I'm so pleased to be able to visit today. And thanks for the enthusiasm about God's Daughter!

Gina Holmes said...

Good for you Heather. That's interesting about the vikings. I know so little.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thanks, Gina! I hoped to open eyes to the Vikings who did take stands for God...but it was challenging writing in a time period when my main character had no access to the Scripture (or really know how to read it!). Really made me think about how God was moving among the Vikings at that time.

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Ha ha! I love the way you put that, "plunder my way into the Christian book scene". You've had a lot of good ideas for promoting "God's Daughter", and I'm excited to see this wonderful story launched. Bless you, Heather! May God take this story and use it to bless and inspire readers all over the globe.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Gwen! Thank you for all your support, and thanks for thinking global! I'm definitely trying to do that, too. I know there are those of Viking descent all over the world who might be interested to know a bit more about their heritage. Hoping to get some hard copies into museums someday...and save up money to travel to Iceland and Newfoundland, too! Um...that might be a long time....grin.

Becky Doughty said...

Heather,

Did Vikings use AK-47s? Plunder away, Mrs. Gilbert! I'm so excited for this book to come out! What a journey this has been - so proud of you.

Becky

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Ha....so says the crit partner who knows me all too well! No AKs, but they did have some cool weapons like this little number: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/192599321534414760/. And I'd have never had the courage to do this without your help.

Stacey said...

Heather, this book sounds amazing! I look forward to reading it. I love the cover. It is perfect! I wish you the very best in your journey!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Stacey, I appreciate that so much! I had hoped it would be a really eye-catching cover! And truly hoping people will love the story/characters as well!

Erin Unger said...

I can't wait to read this book, Heather. What a beautiful cover.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thank you so much, Erin! I'm already trying to figure out cover #2 in this series...I have a wild curly-haired redhead MC in that one! Grin.

Ian Acheson said...

Heather, many of us are watching your self-pub experience. I'd suggest you'll be a bit of a trailblazer for many other authors.

It will be fascinating to see how consuming the marketing experience will be.

Keep pressing into Jesus and allowing Him to continue to kind you. May God's Daughter be simply a vehicle for His glory.

Praying for you, Heather,

Bless, Ian

Graeme Ing said...

I am lucky enough to have read this book and it's great. An extremely nthoughtful, informative and compelling read. An absolute must for Viking fans but definitely not your stereotypical view of Vikings. Love the cover too. Go Heather!

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Great article Heather! Would love to read this book!

Jill Weatherholt said...

I'm so happy for you, Heather! I look forward to reading your book. No doubt it will be a huge success!

Beth K. Vogt said...

Love your attitude, Heather. And I'm looking forward to reading your novel!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Ian--thank you for always pointing me back to Christ in this process. Sometimes you feel so beat-down, especially with the non-stop marketing! But you are SO right. The waits are worth it, just to get that first book out there, when you know it's what God wants you to do. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thank you so much, Graeme! Your thoughts and suggestions really helped me hone the novel. I've appreciated all your support and I'm thankful to have you as endorser for this book-baby!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Aw...Carrie, thank you so much. I know you've been praying for me all along this journey. You're a blessing to me!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Jill, thank you! I appreciate your optimism there! Grin. I'm certainly hoping it hits its target audience. The cool thing I've heard about self-pubbing is that it's more of a slow burn...so you can market before, but you can also market afterward as long as you want, and word keeps spreading. Of course, at some point you get that next book out there for your readers! (Yeah...gotta get working on that one!). Thanks for all your encouragement along the way.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Beth, thank you so much. Those wait times are no fun but it's interesting how they all work together for good in the end. In the meantime, I've made wonderful author friends like you, who are real mentors and know how to encourage the "newbier" amongst us when we're in the dumps! Blessings to you!

Elaine Stock said...

May your writing--any of your stories--be blessed, Heather.

Bookishqueen said...

I love stories with vikings, I can't wait to read it!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thanks so much, Elaine! Looking forward to visiting your lovely blog soon!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Glad to find another Viking-lover! There are many of us out there! Hope you enjoy.

Brenda Anderson said...

Love your attitude, Heather! I'll be rooting for you.

And as a Minnesota Viking fan, I'm definitely adding this book to my to-read list. It will be interesting to get a real perspective of the Vikings.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Brenda, I'd love that! I don't know much about the FOOTBALL Vikings, to be honest! But I know there are lots of people of real Viking heritage up there in Minnesota, too! And all over the world, really. Glad this sounded like something you'd like to read!

Nicole said...

Heather, so proud of you. Not a reader of historicals, but I'll be cheering you on. Way. To. Go. Girl.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thank you so much, Nicole. I appreciate your support and kind wishes!

Charles Eckstein said...

yea way to go Heather kick some ass

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Well, thank you, Charles!