Janice Hanna Thompson

Janice Hanna Thompson—a south Texas native—is the author of over sixty novels and non-fiction books for the Christian market. She supplements her fiction habit by writing magazine articles, devotions, write-for-hire books and more. One of the chief joys of Janice’s life is training writers to earn a living with the written word. Check out Janice’s “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” course at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The ten lessons in this course were developed to strategically train freelance writers to earn top dollar. Each lesson includes an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum. Email Janice at booksbyjanice[at]aol[dot]com to learn more, or visit her website at www.janicehannathompson.com.

Supplementing Your Fiction Habit

Less is More

Here in Texas the bluebonnets are peppering the landscape with their brilliant blue be-dazzlement. Looking at them gives me such hope for the future. Where there’s a budding flower, there is the promise of better days ahead. Sunny days. Happy days.

This month I want to continue a teaching that I began three months ago using the word GOALS. We’ve been breaking that word down into bite-sized pieces, using it as an acronym. In January we looked at the letter G (Go for the Gusto). In February we examined the letter O (Over, Not Under). Last month we tackled the letter A (Attitude Is Everything). This week we deal with the letter L (Less is More). As we begin, I want to reintroduce you to a little poem you learned as a toddler:

This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none

Now, here’s my question: What set the two piggies apart? Only one thing…one went to market, the other did not. And that’s what will set you apart as a writer, as well. Those who are willing to market for themselves, (especially those who don’t have a lot to spend) are passionate sellers.

So. . .to market, to market, we go!

A good writer is a solid marketer. There’s no other way to say it. So, how is less more when it comes to marketing? Less money to spend on marketing can often equal MORE sales, and isn’t that the goal. . .more sales? Whether you’re selling your own book/product or setting yourself up to do PR for money, making sales is key.

A couple of questions to get the ball rolling:

How do you feel about promoting yourself?
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
How comfortable will you be going “out there” among the masses to share
your talents?

There are so many ways a freelancer can promote his business. Let’s talk first about building Your Website. If you’re interested in getting a great site, I’d suggest hiring a pro. Technology is moving as such a rapid pace it’s tough to keep up. Just knowing how to build a site is not enough.

Now let’s talk about things to add to your website:
On your opening (or index) page, include your photo, your tagline (a few words to describe who you are/what you do). Make your main page easy on the eyes. Choose colors and texts that are easy to read in nice-sized fonts. Include a brief blurb about yourself. List your most current project, along with a photo of the book’s cover. Place a “links” bar on the page leading to sub-pages.

Here are some things you could include on your page:
A great opening hook on the home page
Services and prices
Tips from the Pro
Writing links
An “About the Author” page
Links to your blogsite, facebook page, etc.
Twitter feed
A shopping cart feature, so that readers can purchase your materials directly from your website.
Newsletter sign-up link
Your speaking topics
Fresh material or articles, updated regularly

Remember, less is more. Spend less, make more. Use the Internet to your fullest advantage.

Blogs (or “weblogs”) have become quite popular in the last year or so. A blog is set up like a journal. There are dozens of companies that offer free weblogs. They’re fairly easy to set up and provide one more way to get your name “out there” on the WWW.

Keep ‘em short/Avoid the diary syndrome
Beginning, Middle and End
Always Give the Reader New Information
Post Regularly
Hyper-Link and add Photos

If you have a book coming out soon, you might want to do a blog tour. Basically, it works like this: Put together an interview with/about yourself/your project OR send out a book for review.

One of the best ways to promote your freelance business is through a facebook fan page or group. There, you are free to promote. Do your best to avoid becoming an annoyance, though. Remember the 70/30 rule. 70% of your information needs to be helpful advice or relationship driven. 30% can be used to market your services or books. If you haven’t already opened a twitter account, do so as soon as you can. Utilize free apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to blast on info to multiple sites at once. The key to effective social networking (whether it’s a blog, a blog tour or social networking site):
Know yourself/your audience
Build a calendar/post in advance
Analyze what works and what doesn’t


All published authors need a press kit (a folder loaded with information about you). A good press kit might include the following:
o Author Bio with photo: You - at a glance. Include contact info,
o publishing credits, credentials, etc.
o Business Cards: Your contact information at a glance
o Flyers/Brochures: Your books/services/speaking topics at a glance
o Press Release: Your latest books (or project) at a glance
o Speaking Topics:
o Interview Questions:
o Endorsements:
o Community Service Sheet

Remember all of the things we discussed last month. Public speaking is still one of the best (and cheapest) ways to get the word out.

Of course, the most logical thing an author can do to promote his/her books is a booksigning. Here are a few ways to have a great signing:
Contact your local bookstores even before your book comes out.
Have business cards available
Have brochures or postcards available (if your publisher doesn’t provide these, you can make them yourself)
Connect with patrons in the store, whether they buy your book or not

Here’s a fun product idea: You can tailor your teachings to the groups where you’re asked to speak. For example, if you speak to the DAR, you might come up with a series of lessons to help people research their heritage/lineage. If you speak to a women’s ministry, you might come up with a series of lessons for women in ministry. If you speak to a church, you might sell your “100 Exciting Evangelism Ideas” CD afterward. Speaking to children’s workers? Offer several teachings on how to be a more creative teacher. You get the point. On and on the possibilities go. Burn the lessons to a CD as .pdf files and sell them after you speak.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but this little piggy is headed to market. She wants to sell as many books as possible to achieve freelancing success!