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 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!