Monday, September 29, 2014

Promote Yourself

Trust me, it's okay to promote yourself - to let people know you have written a new book, learned a new song, opened a new store, or anything else that's new in your life.

In former days, when large publishing houses contracted for your book and poured a generous amount into promoting your joint venture, the publisher underwrote the cost of getting the word out to the public. Now, even if you are lucky enough to be offered a contract, the author must come up with a plan to market it.

The same with large companies. In the past, if you hired on as a junior partner, or landed a position with advancement possibilities, the company footed the bill for all your needs. Now, there are few large companies left in towns that once boasted several. You have to promote yourself.

Don't get discouraged. It's accumulative. You must be willing to lay a firm foundation, letting God carry the worry part of the load. You enjoy the fun part and laugh when you can.

I just finished writing an Advent 2014 Devotional Book with some very unique features, incorporating Social Media and Internet aspects people of today enjoy. It was just present on Amazon today, and I notice, they not only don't have the cover visible, they have the wrong cover posted. I sent in a correction - hopefully it will be up soon. In the mean time, I will laugh at the silliness of it all.

While I wait for Amazon, I'll promote myself. Check out the great cover on the side panel and order your copy of Waiting for Jesus in a Can't Wait World - Advent 2014 from Amazon. Or, get a signed copy at the Bread of Life Christian Bookstore in Greenville, OH this Saturday, October 4 where I will sign it and three other of my books:  Hiawassee - Child of the Meadow, Smoke from Distant Fires, Escape from the Belfry, and Length of Days - The Age of Silence.

Oh, and yes, I made the call, I set up the book signing and I promoted myself!

Monday, September 22, 2014


Busy, busy, busy! But, that's not a problem. Can you imagine being bored? As writers, it is suggested that we write about what we know. I agree. Another piece of that, when you're blogging, write about the needs and events of the day.

Non-writers see a fallen branch and make a phone call. In our neighborhood, that's Mike's Tree Service. Writers do it differently. We see an opportunity to jot down comments about the bark of the tree, how it looks, feels and smells. We make notes about the break itself, is it clean or splintered and how does that compare to our losses. We check the leaves and see if the limb was dead before it hit the ground.
Sorry, I could go on and one. All of this to say, there is no way to be bored as an author. Ideas, descriptions, textures, and experience are embedded in everything around us. Try looking at life, the successes and yes the failures, through the eyes of an author. Look at all the possibilities.

As a psychologist as well, I know that failures are also successes. We are just ruling out possible approaches to a problem or situation we don't have to waste time trying again in the same way or with the same attitude. Of course, you should stop trying to make a failure work. Find another way to accomplish the desires of your heart.

Don't get bored - get busy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway

I just posted a Giveaway on Goodreads for Hiawassee - Child of the Meadow. Two books will be awarded to two different readers on October 17, 2014. Enter to win by clicking on the link to the right.

It is important for all authors to get their books before the public. Goodreads is a wonderful way for your many readers to see your latest creations.

Another way, is through book signings. Just pick up the phone and request a signing at a local store or in a location near your vacation site. Also, many of you will be traveling for the holidays later in the fall. Call bookstores in your destination city for a possible signing in their store. In order for them to get advertising out, call well in advance of the date - three to four weeks.

Always remember, a book signing is not about selling books. It's about getting your book and your name before the public. Greet them with a smile and a friendly visit. Pass out small cards with your name, book title and ISBN so they can consider buying your book that day or later. Have a fun time. If they aren't interested, it's not about you or your book. It's about their immediate reading needs. Enjoy your time and your opportunity to get your name out. Happy signing!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Not Just Any Cover Will Do

“She is Hiawassee, isn’t she?” A friend said of the beautiful painting of the Native American girl, by artist Karen Noles, on the cover of my book, Hiawassee – Child of the Meadow. See the cover to the right in the side bar. The cover draws the reader to pick up the book; the words inside will prompt them to continue reading. At the Pow Wow last weekend, I sold out of Hiawassee before any of the other three titles I had taken. People wanted “that” book, although they could not read the back cover or hold it in their hand. The cover art is the first element of the book that tells the reader the book is worth their time and money. The cover is vitally important to the success of the book. Not just any cover will do.



The lovely cover for Christmases Past, a book of eight short stories from eight different authors, tells us the content with one glance. The weathered wood of the siding and window frame tells us that times were not always prosperous, yet it was clean and tidy. Though it’s cold outside, as represented by the slight frost on the pane, the warmth of the fire in hearth represents the presence life and love, shelter and security. The hand-hewn floor planks inside tells us of a simply way of life and yet, the presence of the Christmas tree lets the reader know that holidays were precious to those who went before us. It’s all there. It’s in the cover.


The first story, by Andrea Merrell, The Gift, is already on Amazon in Pre-order. My short story, Christmas Feathers, out the latter part of October, is the fifth short in the collection called Christmases Past. It’s the story of James and Rachel Bryson, my great-great-great grandparents, I first introduced in, Smoke from Distant Fires.


The stories will be released individually and then again later in the complete collection. Some have asked if a short story is worth $.99. In our fast-paced lives, an opportunity to read a faith-based story, and capture the entirety of the author’s heart within those well-crafted, carefully chosen words, for the price of one-third of a cup of latte, is a real blessing. Step inside the warmth of Christmases Past and enjoy a great story, dear readers!


Doris Gaines Rapp

"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Copyright 2014 Doris Gaines Rapp                        

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sign a Book Anywhere

“Book signings?” a friend moaned. “I saw an author in a bookstore standing near his stack of books and no one would even look at him. I won’t put myself through that embarrassment.”


He was greatly mistaken! A book signing isn’t about selling books! It’s about meeting readers and getting your brand, your name, out to the reading public. Unless you have a huge publishing house behind you, no one will have heard of you unless you introduce yourself. To be honest, even the large publishers expect the author to do most of the marketing.


Six to eight weeks before you go on vacation, call a bookstore in your destination city, tell them when you will be in their area, and ask if you can do a book signing for two hours on a Saturday or weekday evening. Ask to be placed near the front of the store then, like a Walmart greeter, say “hi” to everyone who comes in and looks in your direction. “May I tell you about my book?” Pass out fliers or cards with your name, book title and ISBN. I make up business card with two book covers, their ISBN’s on each side (total four titles) and my name. I include a line with my email address, Amazon profile, blog link and Facebook author page.


Remember, a book store is not the only place to sign books and meet readers. Take along some take-away information: cards, fliers, upcoming releases, to a variety of events. In the next few months I will sign at:


  • Last weekend, I signed at a Pow Wow with my two newest books, both with Indian themes
  • At the end of this month - a craft fair
  • A Christmas Bazaar
  • An author fair at a large library – Alert! People are there to borrow, not buy books. Be thrilled to meet people and hand out information. Have books to sell with a “Square” to accept their credit/debit card payments.
  • Local authors fair at a Barnes and Noble store. There will be several participants.
  • A one-person signing at a bookstore in a nearby city


By then, it will be time to market my short story, Christmas Feathers. It will appear on Amazon as a short story and then, as part of a completion, Christmases Past, with seven other authors. In fact, the first short story, Volume One – The gift by Andrea Merrell, is already on Amazon as a pre-order.


What could possibly be more fun, than fulfilling the plan God has for your life and meeting interesting people too? Go on out and live every moment of your life!



"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

Copyright 2014 Doris Gaines Rapp

Monday, September 1, 2014

What Tribe are You From?

A Native Chief with a weathered face sat down at my table and began to tell me his story of separation from his family, abuse from others, and the events that shaped his life, at the 54th Tecumseh Lodge Pow Wow yesterday. I was signing my two newest books with American Indian themes, Smoke from Distant Fires and Hiawassee – Child of the Meadow. The lines that were etched in his face traced his story. It was his tale to be told, not mine.

“What tribe are you from?” another Native American asked when he came up to my table.

“I’m not from a tribe,” I said and explained my books and their connection to the Shawnee and Cherokee tribes.

“Yes, you are,” he said confidently. “You’re a Miami.”

“No,” I said, slowly thinking. “We’ve traced many branches of my family tree and have found no Native Americans there.”

“I can tell by the width of your temples and the color of your eyes . . . you’re Miami,” he said again.

“Cool,” I responded. New genealogical discoveries are so much fun!

Then, like other writers, I began to think of the stories I could tell while I searched my ancestry. I have already researched back many generations and found those characters that sit on my branches just like you have. Now, I have an entirely different path to follow. I will track the steps of possible First People whose traits I may still display.

What stories are in your family’s past? If you search, you will never have writer’s block. You will have new/old material to inspire your writing for the rest of your life. What tribe are you from?