Greetings once again, fellow scribes and faithful readers! Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite online friends, "The Hymn Lady." Lucy N. Adams is not only a writer and singer and the wife of a retired minister, she is also a mom, a grandma, and a great grandma. This busy lady knows more about the history of the songs of the Church than anyone else I know, and with God as her agent and publicist, she has successfully marketed her excellent book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions. Following are some of the ways she has seen that happen. Take it away, Lucy!
As a former pastor's wife, I utilized existing connections and was able to get the book placed into the United Methodist Women's Reading Program. That meant that each group in a Methodist Church all over the nation bought a copy for their church library and for their members. Now I am working on trying to get it to homeschoolers. I've already had some success in that area and have heard from students wanting to know more about the hymns they were studying. And, of course, there's my monthly radio outreach, where I'm affectionately known as the "hymn lady" to all my Seattle listeners. Each month, prior to the program, I donate a few copies of the book for giveaways in a "guess this hymn" game. The radio host, Michelle Mendoza, says that method has worked well in generating interest and response to the book. I have also started writing regularly for Crosswalk.com, and that has been a very successful venue for getting the word out.
This book has been out for seven years now. How do you keep it fresh for potential buyers?
The nice thing about this book is that it has a very long shelflife. The topic never grows outdated. There are always new readers and new generations who don't know the history of the great hymns of the Church, so my book is the perfect resource for that. That's probably the key to the continued sales and long life of my book. At my age I can't do a lot of traveling to promote it, but as God opens new doors for me to get the word out, sales climb.
How did this timeless book come into being in the first place?
I began this long journey in 1984 when I sang the first eight notes of "I Love to Tell the Story" on my original radio program by the same name. I then told the story behind a hymn on each broadcast, and the program became so popular that it went from an early afternoon slot to "drive time" Monday through Friday in Nashville. It soon became a favorite on Christian radio WWGM in Music City, USA. From there it spread to six other radio stations in Tennessee over a ten-year period. After that I did a two-year stint of newspaper columns called SongStories, and out of that came my twenty-five hymn story booklet, SONGSTORIES. Imagine my surprise when Abingdon Press asked me to write a one-year, once-a-week book of devotions, using 52 hymn stories! God never ceases to amaze me....
So in addition to writing, you're a singer. Tell us a little about that.
I sing the hymns with my autoharp as accompaniment, leading groups in singing when I tell of the book. The most requested hymn is "It Is Well with My Soul," which has such a beautiful and poignant story behind it. Of course, there are always hymns that seem to have no recorded history, and "Jesus Loves Me" is one of them. Maybe the reason for that is that God wants us all to make it our own personal story.
Thank you so much, Lucy, for sharing this great information with us. Where can our readers go to buy your book?
Amazon.com carries it, of course, but they can also come to my website (www.52hymns.com) to buy it and to learn more about the story behind it.