Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California. As Valentine's Day approaches, it's especially fun to feature Christian romance author Cecelia Dowdy! Cecelia has a unique background for a writer - with a degree in finance, she worked as an accountant for a travel agency and was able to travel the world. Nothing stokes story ideas like travel!
About fifteen years ago, I didn't have a book to read during my lunch break, so I started writing. I've been writing ever since.
How many books do you have published?
Five. Three of my titles (John's Quest, Milk Money, and First Mates) have recently been re-released as e-books.
Christian fiction author Tracie Peterson referred me to former Barbour editor Stephen Reginald when he was seeking African-American Christian romance authors for an anthology he was producing as an exclusive for Crossings Book Club.
What has helped you promote your books the most?
Blogging and networking through writers' groups like ACFW and RWA.
What challenges did you face marketing your first book?
Since my first book was released through Doubleday's Crossings and Black Expressions Book Clubs, it was only available in book club catalogues to book club members. I had to try to find people willing to join the book club (or were already members) to purchase my book.
What's the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
I've always been a fan of the movie, Titanic. And I've always wondered what life would've been like for the characters if Jack (the hero) had lived. I wrote a fan fiction story where Jack lives after the sinking of the ship, and he and Rose (the heroine) accept Jesus as their Savior. My whole point in doing this was, I wanted to reach a broader audience, outside of marketing to the same people that I knew through my writers' groups. I wondered if the people in the fan fiction community read my romance fan fiction and liked it, then, I wondered if they'd purchase my Christian romance novels. Did it work? I'm not sure. I just did this recently, so it's too early to tell if there has been a boost in my sales figures.
Did you see God open any doors in the promotion of your books?
I was once invited to speak at a church and I was floored when they gave me $500 to speak. I really wasn't expecting to get anything since I don't speak very often. Also, the group was warm and loving, and I gleaned a lot of new readers.
What's your top tip for writers with their first book contract?
Start writing another book!
Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Cecelia!
Writing for Him,