Thursday, October 20, 2005

Marketing--Day 3

A short post today. I think I’ve about covered the basics of marketing. One question from yesterday—does buying from count toward the CBA bestseller list? No. The sales have to be from Christian bookstores. But hey, if you don't live near a Christian bookstore, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Any sale, of course, helps an author. But you should be aware of those sales that prompt a book toward the bestseller list.

And Janet's question: Is this why it's so hard for a CBA book to cross into ABA? It's not so much the separation of bestseller lists that make CBA books hard to cross over. It has more to do with marketing and proper positioning of Christian fiction in secular stores. Christian novels are put in their own section, so, for example, a suspense reader perusing the mystery/suspense shelves in B&N won't run across my books. To catch the attention of that suspense reader, my publisher would need to buy space at the front of the store. Yes--those books that you see when you enter any big secular chain store--big bucks were paid to place them there. The space is bought, not earned through store recommendation, or sales, or quality, or whatever.

If there are any other questions, please shoot them over. I’ll do what I can out of my limited knowledge to answer.

Wonderful BGs, I have to tell you that I’m finding it more and more difficult to keep up this blog. We’ve covered a lot of topics, so I’m finding it harder to come up with new ones. And the posts often take quite a bit of time to write. What I hate to let go is the community here. You all have been so terrific to me. But time constraints and greater responsibilities in writing and making sales numbers are making this difficult to continue. I really don’t know what I’m going to do yet. If anyone has any creative ideas out there, I’d love to hear them.


Dineen A. Miller said...

Hi Brandilyn,
I wondered how you were managing all this. Your blog is really great, and mine takes some time too and it sucks! LOL! So I can only imagine how much time yours takes.

So, how about blogging less frequently. And you could even have contributors. Of what I don't know, but something like that.

You've built a BG community here, that's for sure. How can we help you?

Mary DeMuth said...

I agree with Dineen. Like Charis connection or The Master's Artist, invited 3-5 folks you love and trust to contribute on a certain day; it spreads the load and the joy!

Mary DeMuth said...

Oops. Should have been invite instead of invited. yikes.

Anonymous said...

Let the questions and comments roll in. Respond whenever you have time and the mood strikes. Nobody says you gotta do this every day.


C.J. Darlington said...

Yea, I was thinking to have a set day (maybe once a week) where you post. I'd hate to see this die, but of course we know how involved it is to keep up. Whatever it takes!

Anonymous said...

Praying for wisdom.... The weekly posts sound like a good idea to me, but maybe even that's too much. You don't want to burn out. A thought about purchasing ad space in Christian book store magazines - in Canada, our only chain is Blessings ( and they list your first two hidden faces books online - yup, that's all - and I don't think I've ever seen your books in store. They put out nice flyers a few times a year, and you might want to sick your friends at Zondervan on them. We're a small market, but Canadians do read. :)

Unknown said...

BC, I had the same issue come up with my blog, novel journey. So, I put off the majority of work on others, aka the author/editor/agent interviews. And recently solicited guest bloggers to write articles on writing related topics. It's good for everyone. You get a break and they get exposure. (Like you did with Terry whalin). Just an idea. I continue to learn so much from you and it's been so nice to have you as a mentor.

Stuart said...

Hmmm... weekly posts, guest posters, interviews. All sound like nice options. :)

And thanks for your posts on marketing. Self-marketing is one of the areas that I'm most unsure of.

Anyway, keep up the great work, even if we don't get to peek in on it as much anymore. :)

Domino said...

Although I know it takes a lot of time, I would hate to see this blog stop. If possible, how about a once a month guest author or editor and you post once each week to discuss that author or editor's topic.

And I'll echo Dineen: How can we help you?

Jason said...

I also follow Dave Long's blog at faith*in*fiction. He started out quite strong and regular in the beginning, but has had work and lack of topics/inspiration slow it down some. Over there we've gotten used to some weeks only having 1-2 posts. He's posted interviews, critiques of the industry, a variety of things.

One thing us BG's can do is make greater use of the forums. I know there's only so much internet time we can spare, but if there is an interest, that is an area where we can do things that Brandilyn doesn't have to provide everything.

Do what you need to! We appreciate everything here, and will take whatever you can find time to contribute. You just spoiled us a bit is all ;).

Anonymous said...

BC, what ever you decide to do with your blog (be it something from the list of suggestions the BGs have offered, or shutting down entirely), I want to thank you for all the wisdom you've imparted. I know that keeping these posts running every day has required a tremendous amount of work. The effort you've put into them has shown; not only have you taught us BGs so much about writing, but you've also shown what a huge heart you have. The teachings you've passed along - and you - are priceless. Thanks.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...


I agree. Your blog has been unparalleled (THANK YOU SO MUCH, but with this discussion on marketing, I was wondering what part blogging played in yours. I mean, below the tag line it says this is for readers and writers of suspense, but my guess is, most of the BGs are writers. (Of course, that's not a bad thing--we also read, and tell our friends what we're reading).

I will also say, one of the reasons I visit this blog regularly and others infrequently, is because I know you will be posting every day.

My suggestion: shorten the posts, but post everyday. I don't really care if you just link to an article or your editor's blog or your publisher's site. Something like, here's a new author you might be interested in getting to know: link

Or other tidbits: Did you know that X number of crimes go unsolved every year? Stuff that you've come across in your writing research, so it takes no more of your time than to type it in.

Or maybe a quote from a writing book (your own would be good!) or from notes you are preparing for some upcoming workshop you are teaching.

It is always fun to know where you are in your current book (I have this weird off-kilter feeling seeing ads for Web of Lies. I keep thinking, Where's Violet Dawn? I guess just a small window into what you go through), so something short like, Protag is working through emotional crisis today, is cool as far as I'm concerned.

Of course, it would also help if BGs wrote shorter notes too! : D

Whatever you decide, I'll remain a faithful Collins fan (you got me to read suspense, afterall--and I HAVE to see how you handle the deepening character in Violet Dawn).

mrsd said...

Post once a week if it's easier on you. :) Thanks for your efforts.


Pammer said...

Hi Brandilyn,
I know we take up so much of your time, but I really hate to loose the community too. Of course we are a community because of YOU. The others echoed the ideas rolling around in my head as to how we can keep it up. Also, if you just post once a week, if you wanted or less, you could give us a topic or a writing prompt and we could take it over to the forum. We could leave relevant questions on the comments, and sometimes another blogger will answer.

Prayerfully consider what you have to do. I will stand behind you and always be one of your biggest fans. (Still leaving your bookmarks all over the place too, lol. I did learn to keep one for myself.)

Hugs for you and know that I will be praying for you too.


Karen Eve said...

I have to echo the thoughts and prayers of all those who have posted today. I would hate to see this blog end, I've learned so much. I especially love the actual reworks of WIPs (or even published works). I also like hearing about the progress of your own books. But only you know your time schedule. You have been so faithful to this blog and us, we don't want to lose you. God Bless.

Val said...

I echo all the comments that have been mentioned earlier, and I'll understand no matter what happens: whether you shorten your posts, post less frequently, or stop altogether. You have been such a wellspring of knowledge that I know I'll be mining your archives for help for months ahead. Thank you.

I do have a question that I think is tied to marketing: You've mentioned in the past that you write the back cover copy for your novels (and that it's something most authors don't get the opportunity to do). What's the process you go through when you're writing the copy for that? What do you think is important to accomplish? What do you want the reader to walk away with?

D. Gudger said...

BC, I too, love your blog. I wouldn't mind if you only posted once a week or had guest bloggers, but it would be sad to see you go. This blog is the only one I really look forward to. :)

Camy Tang said...

Hi Brandilyn,

Thanks so much for your time put into this blog. I really appreciate what you've done.

Ditto Dineen and everybody. Blog when you can. Guest bloggers or other contributors. Whatever you can handle. We'll stand by you and help if we can.