Ramona Richards

Ramona Richards started making stuff up at three, writing it down at seven, and selling it at eighteen. She’s been annoying editors ever since, which is probably why she became one. Twenty-five years later, she’s edited more than 350 publications, including novels, CD-ROMs, magazines, non-fiction, children’s books, Bibles, and study guides. Ramona has worked with such publishers as Thomas Nelson, Barbour, Howard, Harlequin, Ideals, and many others. The author of eight books, she’s now the fiction editor for Abingdon Press. An avid live music fan, Ramona loves living in the ongoing street party that is Nashville.

Winking in the Dark: The 40 Percent Solution
Part II: Published

Marketing is what gets you noticed, and that side of it something—this side of it, if you like, doing interviews—is the side of it that I least enjoy, and yet is 50% of the project.
                                                                                                    ~Rowan Atkinson

You’ve sold. You’ve turned in the final edit. Time to relax and wait for the book and all the ensuing praises, right?

You’re joking, right?

Most of us already know that the times when a publisher put a lot of time and dollars behind marketing new books have slipped away like ice on glass. These days an author will control much of the publicity about her book.

But, you protest, I don’t have a lot of money for mailings and websites. I barely pay the rent!

Don’t worry. As a newly published author, you don’t really have to spend a lot of money. The big key in building a reader database and higher visibility for your book isn’t money.

It’s TIME.

Forty percent of your time, in fact—that part of your time you used to spend trying to sell your manuscript will now be spent selling your book. You need to put as much effort into selling to READERS as EDITORS.


OK, back to our regular programming.

Now, I’m not going to tell you HOW to do the free stuff—and there is so much FREE you can do to market your book, it’s mindboggling. Christian Fiction Online Magazine has a store of good articles on how to build a social network, set up free blogs, get involved with a blog tour or blogger interviews.

You do need to look closely at joining ACFW or RWA, if you haven’t, so you can take advantage of the scores of

resources they have for the same thing. And the author loops and yahoo groups. Instead of doing mailings, write a press release and hand-carry books to local church and public libraries.

Start by contacting your editor and the marketing team at the publisher and telling them you’re available for any of their efforts. Ask if there’s a form they need you to fill out about future events. Ask if there are specific things they want you to do. Focus first there.

Then set about researching all the free stuff and making a plan. A REASONABLE plan for you, your time, and your family.

Then set it all aside and spend some time in prayer.

Pray? About MARKETING? About convincing people to spend money?

Yes. Because this isn’t about them spending money.

It’s about YOU using YOUR GIFT FROM GOD. You have been given something precious. God’s message in your heart. It comes out in your words, your stories. Your words are salt and light and you do NOT put them under a basket (Luke 11).

Marketing is showing people what you have. Asking them to read your book is asking them to engage in a much larger conversation. You don’t sit around winking in the dark and telling yourself how well you write. You’re out there to show them what God has done for you – and what He can do for them.

You get out there . . . and make it SHINE.