Monday, March 8, 2010

Jill Marie Landis talks about Self Promotion...

Heart of Stone: A Novel (Irish Angel Series)Readers, please join me welcoming Jill Marie Landis, author of Heart of Stone who's guest blogging here today.

Jill's twenty+ novels have earned distinguished awards and slots on such national bestseller lists as the USA TODAY Top 50 and the New York Times Best Sellers Plus. She is a seven-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's RITA Award in both Single Title and Contemporary Romance as well as a Golden Heart and RITA Award winner.

Her latest book, Heart of Stone is set in the 1870s and introduces readers to Laura Foster, a woman with dark secrets in her past --- stemming back from her childhood as the daughter of Irish immigrants. Having escaped a life she never chose, Laura is finally living her dream. But even after four years of posing as a respectable widow in Glory, Texas, Laura is always afraid someone from her past might reveal her true identity. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. His reputation would be shattered if Laura’s former life is discovered. But it’s not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring him down --- it’s also his own.

And here is Jill herself to talk all about...
Shameless Self-Promotion

My 22nd novel is hitting the stores in March and with it comes a more grueling task than actually writing the book—promoting it.

When published writers agree to appear at book signings, it’s for various reasons. Appearances are a great excuse to get out of the house, dress up, and converse with real and not imagined characters. Signings are a way to connect with readers, to hear about what they like to read and how they choose certain books and authors over others. Sometimes booksellers provide a tray of cookies or other yummy treats to entice readers to the autograph table. (Now we’re talking!)

When I was first published there were long lists of independent bookstores to visit. Stores owned by enthusiastic booklovers who hand-sold volumes of books to loyal readers. They rallied the troops for signings and each event had a fun party atmosphere. It was a joy to travel around the country visiting them.

Over the years those cozy little book nooks began to be replaced by the big box chain and mall stores. Thankfully many of those corporate stores did and still do employ enthusiastic booksellers who know books and authors and can make recommendations to readers. But nowadays many of those chain outlets have gone by the wayside, too.

Today a large percentage of promotion is done via the web. Sites like A Book Blogger’s Diary connect writers with more readers than they could possibly meet one-on-one in stores. Book give-aways put books in the hands of readers who might not pick one up on their own, but after “winning” a book, they discover a new favorite author.

Blog tours aren’t as intimate as talking to readers face to face, but booklovers are booklovers no matter where you find them. And for a writer like me, who would much prefer to stay at home with my hair in a scrunchie, wearing my ratty p.j. bottoms and rubber flip flops, a blog tour is the perfect venue for promotion. I can pen blogs full of wonderful scenarios describing my “fabulously glamorous writing life” and no one but my close friends and family will ever know whether they are truth or fiction.

The one thing I miss about real book signings—besides the cookies—is making new friends and hearing feedback. I miss not being able to personally pitch my latest, HEART OF STONE , a story set in a fictional town called Glory, Texas in the 1870’s, because it’s a book that I loved writing. It’s one of those rare books that seemed to write itself. It’s also the first book in The Irish Angels series. Not only are these page-turning western historical romances, but stand-alone stories of four sisters separated when they were very, very young and how they come to find each other.

HEART OF STONE features Laura Foster, a woman whose past is so dark and shameful that she’s changed her name and her life, hoping her secret will never be revealed. What Laura never counted on was falling in love with the wrong man; the one man whose life would be ruined if the truth ever surfaced. What she doesn’t know is that he is not without a secret himself.

HEART OF STONE is story of two people who can no longer outrun their pasts, a hero and heroine who must stand up for who they are and, through the love that brought them together, find the strength and courage to teach themselves and others to forgive.

Since I’ve just taken the time to talk about HEART OF STONE, I’ll spare you sitting through a story about my glamorous writing life. But could someone please send me a cookie?
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Just one? How about an entire pile of delicious Girl Scout cookies? Right, all yours then :) You deserve them for writing such yummy stories! 

I know it's the digital era and all that. But I'm glad you stopped by anyhoo, Jill. It was fun having you here and reading your refreshingly honest and fun guest post.

Readers, as always, your thoughts and comments are most welcome.

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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  1. You are so right about the loss of indy book stores. It has almost gotten to the point where the grocery store, Walmart, or Sams are the only place to buy new books. That does nothing for a varied and good selection and you certainly won't find sales staff that is knowledgeable about the books being sold. We are lucky to still have a Books-A-Million and a Barnes & Noble in town. It is even getting hard to find people at the local libraries that have knowledge of a wide variety of books. Everyone is getting more specialized and not everyone likes to read a wide variety of books. It makes it even harder when those ordering the books have a limited knowledge of what is out there and what people are reading.
    I have read and enjoyed many of your books. I'm certain HEART OF STONE will be equally as good.

  2. Looking forward to reading Heart of Stone. I have read many of your books and really enjoyed them.

  3. Interesting. It's intriguing to know that the main character is so afraid of from her past. What could she be hiding? Thanks for this nice post.

  4. This sounds like a wonderful read! Sad about the no cookies but yay for getting to stay home in your jammie bottoms and meet new readers on line.