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Monday, September 5, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: What to do first? (with Vonnie Hughes)

Vonnie Hughes is my guest blogger today and she's a woman on a mission. Read on...

What to do first?

Are any other readers/writers in the same dilemma as me? If so, help!

In May, The Wild Rose Press accepted my romantic suspense, LETHAL REFUGE. To tell the truth, it started out more of a thriller but TWRP prefers the softer romantic suspenses so I took out the multiple points of view and eased back a bit on the punchiness. So there we were, TWRP and I, happy little campers. Publication date: 13 January 2012.

In June, Aurora (who are now owned by Musa Publishing) accepted two Regencies from me. Their titles are THE SECOND SON and MR. MONFORT’S MARRIAGE. Their publication dates? Umm…the week before Christmas and—you got it; mid January 2012.

Then my original publishers, Robert Hale Ltd, UK, contacted me and asked if I would like my hardback Regency, COMING HOME, e-published, a venture they were entering into with great trepidation. They probably figured they’d start out with someone who had at least dipped her toe in the waters of e-publishing. And of course you guessed it: publication date, early January.

As any self-respecting author knows, marketing books nowadays is hard slog, time-consuming and downright embarrassing. Look at me! Buy my book! You have to force yourself to remember it’s all about the book, not about the humble author. But can you imagine the marketing necessary for four books over only six weeks?

I cast out questions on a couple of loops and eventually got a sane answer from an Australian author named Kez Delaney. She sensibly said, “Do it one at a time.”

Aha, but there is a little sting in this tale (tail?) You see, COMING HOME is actually the prequel to THE SECOND SON. So I should probably bundle the marketing in some way. But they are from two different publishing houses.

It all just gets messier! Anyone out there with any ideas? Anyone? Please…

As a little incentive, gentle readers, an eco-friendly, calico tote bag (see below) is up for grabs for one lucky person who offers Vonnie the most practical idea.

You have until noon, Monday 12th Sept. (Aussie time) to leave an answer. The winner will be announced Tuesday 13th Sept.


  1. On the one hand...ouch that sounds like a lot of work and yes, a lot of ' self promo & smooching up'
    On the other hand...Well done you!! look at all the great books you have coming out =D

    As to a solution...good luck, I sadly have no wise words of advice ;p


  2. Hi Vonnie - congrats on your four books!!
    Maybe choose a couple of different blog sites for each of your books for promo (eight blogs in all) and in each one - mention your other books as well =)

  3. Kaz Delaney says: Hi Vonnie - I think I'm out of suggestions, having answered in detail earlier. Gosh,again, I offer my congrats and simply say, 'Go You!'

    As author problems go, it's a nice one to have. I'll trade you my copyedits. Yeah?

    Whatever you do, my biggest advice is to relax and have fun with it!
    Cheers, Kaz

  4. This is a response from Vonnie to Mel (as blogger won't let her post comment here for some reason - very annoying!)...

    "Thanks for that idea, Mel. Not a bad solution." (Vonnie)

  5. This is from Janet Woods to Vonnie:


    Commiserations, my next book is due for release on 29th December. Hands up everyone who buys books on that date!

    As for 4 releases over 6 weeks, you should look on it as an achievement, which it is. Not many authors get to have 4 books released in one year, let along in 6 weeks.
    I'd be inclined to try and make a big splash of it. It would make a nice headline. "Christmas comes all at once for Vonnie Hughs." type of thing. You could write an article and send it to all the newspapers to start with.


  6. Hi Vonnie and congratulations!

    Have you tried the Marketing for Romance Writers Yahoo loop? It'd be worth posing the question on there. The group has nearly a thousand members and discussions are focused solely on how to market romance novels. Well worth joining.


    Hope this helps and wishing you all the best with your releases. What an exciting time!

  7. Hi Vonnie! Yep, I sympathise but am also doing a little cheer for you :-)

    Okay, what about a blog tour with a bunch of authors who have the same release date? Work shared is work halved! And people love giveaways so you could do a special prize draw at the end of your tour.

    Think about what you want to blog about now and schedule those posts in your calendar. What about an interesting fact or snippet of research you needed for each book? .e.g if it's a fascinating time period you could blog about the local architecture, customs, clothing, food etc. You can also cross-pollinate and be a guest on a corresponding food/architecture/clothing blog.

  8. Thanks Paula. I've actually got lots of nice people hosting me during december/January. The art is in trying to say something unique in each blog!

  9. You've already organised the December/January blogging so good on you! As Janet suggested, your nice dilemma is a good angle for a press release. In addition to the newspapers, are there any specialty magazines you could approach that would be relevant? Perhaps an historical magazine where you can write an article on the battle or time period where it would be appropriate to make a link to your book. Paula suggested architecture, clothing, etc, in terms of blogging, but you could also search out specialty mags who might be interested in a general article, and then you'd just subtly mention your book so readers who mightn't normally read romance would be intrigued.

  10. Thanks so much everyone - there are some good practical ideas here for Vonnie! Appreciate them!

  11. Promotion is a full time job - and yes a hard slog.

    If it were me I would contact a heap of bloggers - offer to do a giveaway of one of your books (even just some swag) in return for doing promotion on you as an author. Do an interview or guest post etc. There are thousands of bloggers out there who would love to help you.

    Try and get the images of all the releases in the post - so the covers are in peoples minds. Even if you don't get a chance to talk about them all.

    Giveaways on Goodreads usually get a lot of attention and get your books on peoples TBR lists.

    If you want to do something on my blog please let me know. I would be happy to pimp you out.
    Jodie @ Riverina Romantics

  12. Hi Jodie,

    Great idea about contacting book bloggers - there are so many out there, narrowing it down to a manageable selection might be the hardest part though - LOL!

    And your offer of pimping...promoting Vonnie is appreciated *grin*.

  13. Thanks for all that Jodie. I tried to email you but it didn't get through. Perhaps you could email me on vonniehughes@gmail.com

  14. I second Janet's suggestion above - make a story out of the fact that it never rains but it pours...and mention the links between the prequel and your other book. Though they're being released by different publishers hopefully the same readers will be able to access and buy them from the same online retailers? If not, that'd definitely be something to work on.

    Good luck...and congratulations!

  15. Hi Adina! Thanks for dropping in and helping Vonnie out.