Tracy is a best-selling author, playwright, artist, director, and teacher of Art, Drama, and English. She and her husband, a former Pastor, have lived in many locations in Canada’s far north and currently reside in Tumbler Ridge, BC. They raised four children and are now enjoying the empty nest.
Then my publisher started talking about all the ways that I was supposed to be promoting my book. What? You mean I actually have to spend time marketing? Thus began a crash course in building an online presence and all the other hard work involved in getting my work ‘out there’. Who knew that writing the thing was the easy part?
This brings up the question, ‘What is the value in networking with other authors?’ The short answer? You really can’t put a value on it – that’s how vital it is. (At least in my case, anyway.) Most of what I have learned about marketing and promotion has come from other authors. People who have gone before on this journey know a thing or two about what is necessary, what works, and what is just a waste of time. I have learned so much from direct interaction with other authors. To be fair, I’ve also learned a lot from the myriad of great articles, books and posts on the topic, (something I should have been researching before my publication, but . . .) although most of these sources have been recommended by fellow authors.
Social networking has been my primary teacher, without a doubt. I have also found it to be invaluable in terms of actual promotion. When you build a network of contacts in the ‘business’, so to speak, this can become a powerful force in terms of marketing. I found this out first hand last February when I planned a book launch for my second book MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER. Through the help of a unique group known as the ‘John 3:16 Marketing Network’ , as well as a host of other connections I had made on line, MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER hit the best sellers list on Amazon in the ‘Contemporary Romance’ category for three days running. (A category with over 45,000 other titles, by the way!) I could never have reached this status without the help of so many people – mostly other authors – I had met on line. It’s kind of an unwritten understanding out there among writers: you help me and I’ll help you. And it works.
But is this all that social networking among authors is good for? Promotional purposes? I should hope not. I must admit that in the early days I wondered if spending so much time and effort connecting with other writers was really worth it. It seemed we were all doing the same thing – pushing our books. The truth is, as much as I want to help other fledgling authors, I simply do not have the money to buy everyone’s book, nor the time to read and endorse everyone’s book. It seemed like an exercise in futility. Since then, I’ve learned the benefits, as I’ve shared above. But the biggest, and most surprising, benefit of all is the wonderful friendships I have made while on this journey. When it comes down to it, I think this is the real ‘value’ in all this activity. I truly feel like I have made some lasting friends (and not just because I ‘accepted’ a friend request!) Naturally, we can’t connect in meaningful ways with everyone. I am currently connected to about 15 social networking sites. I frequent some of them more than others. I figure a presence is better than nothing, even if it’s just maintaining a profile. But there are a few places where I actually go to chat. To discuss and ruminate and hash over controversial topics. This has become a vital source of inspiration and encouragement for me and I wouldn’t want to give it up, with or without any promotional strings attached.
I’m sure there are many out there who have doubts. Social networking takes time and effort, make no mistake. But the benefits, from where I’m sitting, anyway, far outweigh the inconveniences.
Relax? I don’t know the meaning of the word! Besides working full time as a teacher, I direct an amateur theater group two to three times a week, I lead worship at my church, and I spend two to three hours online each day. Somewhere in there I write books, paint, and look after my household. I like to say the creative process gives me energy, so I guess most of the things I do (like writing, painting, directing) are ‘energizing’, thus ‘relaxing’ in their way.
Wow, now that's a full schedule. I need to borrow some of your energy! As a romance author, what is your preferred type of book to read for leisure?
Technically I write ‘Romantic Suspense’, not straight up romance. (I prefer to say ‘suspense with a twist of romance’ but that gets too wordy on a book jacket!) It’s all about the ‘twist’ – the surprise at the end, so this is what I like to read, as well. My favorite genre to read is Sci-fi/Spec fiction. I’m not sure why I don’t write this genre myself. Maybe I love reading it so much I don’t think I could do it justice.
Are you a true romantic at heart or not really?
I am definitely not a romantic. I guess that’s why I lean more toward the ‘Suspense’ in my work. I actually do not like what I call ‘sappy’ romance at all. (In movies or books – give me some crazy twisted ending any day!) My husband on the other hand is very romantic, so I’ve learned to appreciate it in my own life and relationship.
A forty-something ‘cougar’s’ search for fulfillment keeps getting foiled when her prospects fall for one of her daughters instead. To complicate life further, her ex-husband is out of prison and looking for revenge. He’ll stop at nothing – even murder – to ruin her reputation as well as her relationship with their daughters. My Mother the Man-Eater makes for some truly tempting and redemptive reading.
Sounds like a great book. Definitely going on my TBR pile. Where can readers find your book?
Purchase link: www.kraussamazon.com OR - go to my website for more links to:
Website: www.tracykrauss.com Barnes and Noble, Chapters-Indigo, Blessings, or direct from the publisher.
AND THE BEAT GOES ON (Strategic 2009/ paperback 2011)
An archeologist unearths a remarkable discovery while at a dig in the mountains of Zimbabwe – pterodactyl remains and giant human bones buried together. Speculation leads to the possible existence of a mythical race known as ‘Nephilim’, alleged to have descended from both gods and men. But skepticism, sabotage, and even murder threaten to compromise the dig. Will they ever unlock the truth? And will they live to tell about it? Full of action and intrigue, And the Beat Goes On keeps the pages turning, and raises some controversial questions about the origins of life.
PLAY IT AGAIN (Coming soon from Strategic)
Sparks fly when an ex rock and roll junkie and a stuffy accountant rendezvous at a local resort, but neither are prepared for the emotional entanglements, family complications, and danger from the past that resurfaces in this story of how God can turn anything into beautiful music.
Both books sound very intriguing. I look forward to reading them. It was great that you stopped by today to discuss networking and share more about you and your books. I enjoyed our chat.
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