Dealing with a Bounty of Publishing Riches

Michelle Ule

Blogger: Michelle Ule

I’m filling in for Wendy Lawton this week and next as she travels with Lauraine Snelling on an  author tour–Lauraine’s signing books at the Lifeway Christian Store Tuesday, August 19, in Toledo at 6 pm.

Managing Multiple Book Releases

In January I realized I had three books releasing in 2013. It seemed an embarrassment of riches–not to mention an enormous amount of work to keep all the marketing straight.

A month later, I learned my first novella, “The Dogtrot Christmas,” would be re-released in a new edition of CVR_LogCabinChristmas.iddA Log Cabin Christmas Collection.

That meant all four projects I’ve written for publication would be available this year–with two releasing the same day: September 1.

If that wasn’t stress enough, we sold our house, had to find a new one, and moved last week. My heart is still hammering.

How did I prepare for the releases?

First things first: upgrading the website

I knew I needed to upgrade my website.

In January I hired a young electrical engineer as my webmistress. We looked at many websites for ideas, and read through the advice given by a variety of website and media designers.

I went to self-hosting and renamed my site: www.michelleule.com.

The first thing I did for the new site, and you should do this now, is put together a media kit! Click to Tweet

We included information about the books, added a Twitter link, Goodreads, noted who represents me, and even found the nifty widget that provides world flags of the blog readers’ countries.

Second Things: upgrading social media

After the revamped website  launched, I focused on upgrading my social media contacts. I experimented with Twitter , developed an author Facebook page, and played with Goodreads. I contacted bloggers for interviews and met local booksellers.

I dabbled in Pinterest and got Twitter counseling from my niece, who is finishing a master’s degree in Social Media at the London School of Economics.

I required remedial re-training for Pinterest and help from friends on Goodreads, but could gratefully relax with Facebook.

It all takes a lot of time. If life ever slows down, I probably should master Hootsuite.

Did I mention the fantastic writing idea I’ve been researching?

Whew! I’m tired just reading this,and the books haven’t launched yet!

Third Things: launch party

My first book came out in February–Bridging Two Hearts–a Heartsong story about –listen to the pitch I BridgeCovermastered–”A young woman who gets a job at the Hotel del Coronado, but is terrified of the Coronado Bridge. She falls in love with a Navy SEAL who is not afraid of anything–or so he thinks.”

We had a SEAL and spa-inspired launch party  with all my friends and local relatives. Rachel Kent wrote about the party here, and we laughed at those who came in character costumes–mostly relatives–dressed either as SEALs (my brother-in-law in his snorkel gear; others in camouflage) or as if going to a spa (bathrobes over clothes).

It was fun, but an extraordinary amount of work. Fortunately, the church youth group needed money to go on the summer mission trip and could be hired for cheap.

Fourth Things: postcards

My next novella, “An Inconvenient Gamble” in A Texas Brides Collection, came out in May, three months after the novel, and we didn’t feel TexasCapturecomfortable inviting everyone to another party –besides we were now officially house-hunting.

Instead, I invested my marketing dollars in Library Insider, a library database that provided me with the names and addresses of all the library book purchasers in Texas (which has the most public libraries in the US). Barbour Publishing provided postcards, and I sent them to libraries, large churches and all the Christian bookstores in Texas.

The other six writers in A Texas Brides aided in the marketing, which was a relief. My webmistress constructed an app for a legal Facebook contest, and I ran a Goodreads contest for both Texas Brides and Bridging Two Hearts.

Fifth Things: collaboration

A Pioneer Christmas Collection and A Log Cabin Christmas Collection release on September 1. We’ve been moving the last two weeks, but I began planning discussions with my co-writers six weeks ago. Being able to share the marketing with these women has been easy and fun. Margaret Brownley (who has six books releasing this year) and I are in both collections, and we have worked on different marketing schemes slanted to each book.

A Pioneer Christmas CollectionA Pioneer Christmas, right now, is running The 12 Days of Pioneer Christmas campaign featuring twelve different blog posts about the authors and themes found in the nine novellas. We’ll finish up on September 1. More items and interviews are planned. Since my story is about the Alaskan gold rush, I purchased Library Insider databases for Alaska and Washington. The postcards are in the mail.

A Log Cabin Christmas has an enormous gift basket contest running in September. A Goodreads contest is going on right now. I used the Library Insider Texas database to send postcards (two stories in the collection are set in that state).

The new edition of A Log Cabin Christmas wears a sparkling badge: A New York Times best-seller!

Last Things: enjoyment

The writing life is full of pitfalls and uncertainties these days, and so I’ve been savoring the experiences while I have them.

An embarrassment of riches? A bounty of work? A labor of love?

All of that and an opportunity to work with fine people to tell stories that inspire, bring hope, laughter, and a great deal of satisfaction.

How will I end the year? Another launch party: for the two books and our new home.

It makes perfect sense to me.  :-)

How would you/have you managed multiple books being published in a short period of time? Click to Tweet

Did I miss anything?

Oh, why not?

Would you like to win a copy of one of my books?

Comment here and tell me which one! Click to Tweet

I’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday.

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32 Comments

  • Michelle, I love these real life examples of hard work, collaboration, and success.
    Thanks for the motivation to keep growing, and the permission to dream big publishing dreams.
    Winning a copy of the Pioneer Christmas Collection would make my Christmas merry. :-)
    Do you have any verses that have kept you grounded during this busy season?

  • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

    I’ve been spending a lot of time with Oswald Chambers and his pithy remarks spring to mind all the time. For the house hunt, it consistently was along the lines of “don’t accept the good at the expense of the best.”

    For the writing? The joy of the Lord is my strength. :-)

    One of the themes from The Gold Rush Christmas also has resonated–”I am doing a good work, I cannot come down.”

    The trick was recognizing which of the works was the good one. :-)

  • I loved reading about how you balance writing, marketing, and personal life! I particularly enjoyed the idea of hiring the church youth group to help with the launch party in return for summer mission trip funds. That is a winning idea in so many ways!

    I would love to win Bridging Two Hearts. We live near an Air Force base (pilots, not Navy SEALS), but I could pass the book on to a military wife — after I read it!

    • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

      They were very helpful and of course got a signed copy of the book when the party was over.

      I’ve already contacted the youth director about lining up kids for the next party. :-)

      I love win-wins!

  • Jeanne T says:

    Wow, Michelle. You’ve had a full plate this year! Congratulations on all your releases this year. What a season of fruitfulness you’re in. :) It sounds like you planned well for all the marketing you’ve been doing. Since I haven’t come into a time of needing to market yet, I don’t have any suggestions. It sounds like you covered all the bases. Thank you for sharing with us what you’ve been doing to market your books.

    If you had to choose one method, which would you say has been most effective for you?

    I’d love to win Bridging Two Hearts. I love the Hotel del Coronado and all its elegance. Living in San Diego (years ago), the bridge was something I saw a lot of. My hubby is retired Air Force, and I enjoy stories of people in the military.

    Congratulations again, Michelle! Oh, and have fun unpacking. :)

    • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

      I don’t have the results yet of any of the marketing. The preliminary figures we’ve seen on one book are good.

      It’s important to emphasize that my publishing life began, literally, the day we took our youngest child to college. (You can read that story here: http://bit.ly/16ZVhjV).

      I could NOT be doing all this if I still had children at home. My evenings and spare time are filled. I’m on hiatus from teaching Bible study until October. My husband is pretty self-sufficient.

      I believe God puts circustances and opportunities in our lives at specific times for His purposes. Ask me next year what was really going on. :-)

  • Hi Michelle, living through my own craziness with six books out this year, I honestly don’t know how you found time to buy a house, move and still whip your anthology co-writers into shape! I assume that you still found time to write. Ever think about teaching organizing skills?

  • MeghanCarver says:

    Wow, Michelle. Congratulations on all the releases! Thank you for all the organizational tips.

    I already have the original version of A Log Cabin Christmas. I love having so many novellas together. With the busyness of the Christmas season, I can complete a whole story in a fairly short time. But then more are waiting for my next moment. I would love to win a copy of A Pioneer Christmas Collection. Thank you for the opportunity.

    • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

      The trick is to do as much ahead of time as you can. That’s why I emphasized in the above tweet to put together a media kit right now. It saves so much time for you as well as anyone interested in your writing, if you can just send a link. I followed the advice of several media savvy people (points I read about on the B&S blog) to know what to include.

      Get a good photo taken now. I told my husband, “even if I never get published or need it for that, now at least I have a good picture for my obituary!” :-)

      And working with six and eight other writers on these novellas has been very helpful in learning curve, having people cheer on your project and for just the encouragement. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

      Besides, 20,000 words is an excellent tutorial in writing, editing and using words wisely. I had so much story in The Gold Rush Christmas, my editor and I looked at almost every single word. They all had to count and be muscular and strong!

  • Lori says:

    Congradulations Michelle! You have been busy! As to did you miss anything, posssibly. You need to just breathe but I suppose that could that could put be under enjoyment.

    I would love to win one of your books. I would let you pick.

    It’s nice to see that Wendy and Lauraine are in my neck of the woods! I will have to try to meet them, though after looking at the schedule I am going to have to take the day off from work. But I have quite of bit of time coming to me and I already have half the day off.

    • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

      They’d love to see friendly faces, look them up!

      Breathing is on the agenda for October. I don’t have time until then!

      Buy you know, friends are so helpful. One of my military-wife pals just texted–she’s on her way over tomorrow to help me unpack.

      Perfect.

  • Congratulations! You’ve encouraged me to press on! What a full schedule you’ve had…and I thought my life was in a “hur-rah.” (That’s a family saying from my husband’s great grandmother.)

    I’d love to receive a copy of “A Texas Brides Collection.” My Daddy was born in the Texas panhandle and I have fond memories of visiting his birthplace.

    Thanks again for your posts and may you continue to be blessed.

  • Wow! And you’re an agent too??? I hope I have half that energy marketing my book.

    I’ll take any book you’d like to give. All sound great.

    • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

      I’m not an agent. I’m the editorial assistant at Books & Such.

      Hope of someday getting another contract spurs a lot of that energy. I have a fantastic story I’d love to see in print. If helping market these books will shoehorn that one into being published, I will feel I’ve done a good work–particularly for the kingdom of God.

      It’s always so interesting to see what God will do, don’t you think? :-)

  • And you’ve done all that in addition to working for Books & Such? I’m amazed! Congratulations on all your achievements.

    • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

      Again, I’ve been able to stream line my “normal” life during this season. I’m not teaching the lead Bible study in September at church, for example.

      My long-suffering husband is making up for all the years I supported his Navy career, by supporting me this year. I could NOT do this if any of my children were at home or if a family member were in crisis.

      I’ve also made use of a lot of friends, young people needing work, and the wisdom I’ve gleaned from reading so many blogs, websites and advice about the writing and marketing process.

  • Karla Akins says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of books to launch! I’m saving up my pennies right now to revamp my website and bring it into modern times. :-) Your books look awesome!

  • Kim H says:

    I love reading the stories behind the stories.

  • Peter L says:

    Busy, busy, Michelle. Congrats on the new books and house. I’ve never read any of your stories, but have read some of your blog. I also don’t often read romances, but perhaps one of yours would be worth the read. Any suggestions for one of us men who doesn’t get into mushy romance novels?

    • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

      My husband says Bridging Two Hearts is a “man’s romance.” Someone in your household would probably like it!

  • Cheryl says:

    I’ve read and enjoyed two of yours already . . . but can’t even imagine keeping up on all the social networking besides trying to write even one book. But then, I’m still trying to figure out how to balance freelancing with being a new bride and a stepmom of young adults, while tackling rewriting some “older” projects at the same time.

  • Jo says:

    Wow, Michelle, what a busy time. Thanks for sharing what is involved besides the writing. I love to hear all the behind the scenes story. I am an avid reader and will be adding your books to my list. I will also have to request them at my libraries. Will any of them be available on Kindle?

    • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

      All of them, though Bridging Two Hearts is not available just yet. Thanks for your service, too, so far from a book store!

  • Congratulations, Michelle! I appreciate the terrific advice, especially the social media kit. I need to get cracking on that.
    Thank you to your husband for his service too.
    I would love to win your book, Bridging Two Hearts.
    I’m the wife of a retired USAF hubby. But I would like to give the book, after I read it, to my daughter-in-law, Lisa. My son is a USAF Special Forces Combat Controller, and he can retire in March/2014. So close. Chris served with Navy Seals in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The enthusiasm and energy you share here is both an inspiration and encouragement to me to plug forward. Thank you.

  • patrice says:

    How exciting! A bonus from all this, will be making you an even better agent, due to your own experience as a writer. I would love to win a book.Wishing you continued success!

  • Michelle, Thanks for this most helpful post. Thinking positively, I’m saving this for my own possible bounty of publishing riches–some day, maybe! :-)

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