Friday, August 03, 2012

Marketing 101 -- Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of "Passion With a Purpose" underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as "Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction." Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of "The Daughters of Boston" series--A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her "Winds of Change" series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010. You can contact Julie through her website at

Leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of one of Julie's books. You'll find her beautiful covers after she shares her tips on marketing.

Marketing 101

1.) Are you agented? Do you feel it important to have an agent?
Yes, I am with Natasha Kern Literary Agency, an agent who, I might add, is one of the best in the business. And if you don’t believe me, believe the fact that she sold me in a 3-book deal within six months after four years of trying on my own with 39 rejections.

And do I feel it’s important to have an agent?? Absolutely, and, in fact, it’s point #7 on my publication tips—go for an agent first, publisher second. Case in point: I actually pitched A Passion Most Pure to my current editor at a conference two years prior. Would you believe it was still in her slush pile when she contracted me? It took my agent’s reputation for excellence to finally get my manuscript a serious look.

2.) What percentage of your marketing falls to your house and agent?
I have no way of knowing if this is true, but I feel that about 75% of my marketing is done by my publisher and 24% by me and maybe 1% by my agent.

3.) Do you have a brand? Why is it important to have a brand?
Well, an author “brand” is basically an image, perception or identity to market a particular author. For instance, my “image” in the CBA is of an author who writes Christian romance that is more romantically (and I hope, more spiritually) passionate than the average Inspy romance. Thus my tagline is “Passion with a Purpose.”

I think this “branding” is important because you want the readers to remember YOU, not a particular title or genre. I want them to walk into a bookstore and ask for anything written by Julie Lessman, not just specify “A Passion Most Pure” or “Christian Romance.” Think of it like ordering a Pepsi instead of just a “cola,” you know? When I walk into a restaurant or store and buy a Pepsi, I know I am going to get a cola with more carbonation that tingles my tongue. Likewise, when ordering a Julie Lessman book rather than, let’s say, an Amish book—my brand assures the reader that when it comes to romance, there will definitely be more “tingle.”

I think another reason branding is important because it solidifies your reader base. What I mean by that is when a reader is looking for what I have to offer—clean and spiritual romantic passion—they identify my name with that, not only for themselves, but for their friends who are looking for the same. According to the American Religious Identification Survey conducted by the Barna Group, “nine out of ten women nationwide consider themselves to be Christian.” Unfortunately, the majority of these women turn to the secular market to satisfy their need for compelling novels with strong romantic passion. But wouldn't it be wonderful if they were drawn to a novel of passion and encountered God's ideas on sexuality along the way? Hopefully my brand will help to accomplish that.

4.) Are you on any social networks? (Twitter, FB, Pinterest, Linked In. etc.)

5.) Book clubs? (ACFW, Goodreads, Etc.)
ACFW and Goodreads.

6.) Writing Groups? (ACFW, yahoo groups, etc.)
ACFW, Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Review of Books, The Book Club Network, Writers to Encourage, Fiction Addiction Fix.

7.) Do you feel being in these groups are important? Do they help you with promotion? Give an example of how?
Yes, because any networking you can do helps with promotion, and in the case of the groups above, I am able to promote my books via giveaways or announcements.

8.) How much time do you spend on these sites?
About 15-30 minutes a day.

9.) Can you over promote yourself?
I don’t see how … J

10.) Do you have a blog? How often do you blog?
Yes, I am part of a fabulous group blog of authors called Seekerville that encourages, teaches, prays for and promotes writers on the road to publication, and I blog about once a month there. Then I have my own personal blog which is called Journal Jots  where my reader friends (I hate the word “fans”!) can learn what I'm up to on my books, giveaways, fun things I'm doing or even my own personal devotional for the day, and I blog here once a week on Fridays.

11.) Do you use book trailers? Do you feel they are useful for promotion? Vlogs?
No, I do not. Yes, I think they can be useful for promotion if done well, as Vlogs can be as well.

12.) What do you know about Author Videos?
Not sure if this is the same thing, but has video-interviewed me several times, and I think it’s a great idea for promotion for both the author and the bookseller.

13.) Do you travel for book signings and other promotion? How often? What would take to be prepared?
Rarely anymore because quite frankly, I don’t think they’re worth the time and effort that has to go in to it. I do think it’s a real plus if you can teach workshops at ACFW, however, which Ruth Axtell Morren and myself did last year together. But the prep time is a killer, submitting workshop application, writing the workshop, creating handouts, practice, etc.

14.) Do you attend conferences? Other than learning and getting to talk with editors and agents do feel conferences are beneficial in marketing?
I usually always attend ACFW and yes, I do feel conferences are beneficial in marketing, especially if there is a bookstore or book signing involved like with ACFW.

15.) Do you use libraries for promotion? How?
Rarely, although I’ve done a couple of Skype workshops with libraries.

16.) Have you ever stopped doing a certain kind of promotion because you found it'd didn't work for you? Or was a waste of your time.
Yes, book signings and in some cases, blog interviews with giveaways because it’s a lot of time spent for very little return, although I do continue with some blog interviews because I love interacting with my reader friends via comments.

17.) Do you do public speaking? Do you feel that is important for promotion? What other public venues do you use for marketing?
Yes, I do some public speaking, and yes, I think it is very important for promotion. Other public venues include radio, newspaper and magazine interviews.

18.) What have you found to be some of the best uses of your energies for marketing?
Blog tours, Facebook and Twitter.

19.) What marketing ideas or guideline might you give an author who is just starting out?
Blog tours, FB, Amazon, CBD Author Pages, personal blog, group blog, Twitter, FB party giveaways.

20.) Do you hold contests? Do giveaways? Have they been helpful for promotion? Why or Why not?
All the time—in blog giveaways and newsletter contests, which I post on my website calendar and on my website “Contest” tab, and yes, I think they are helpful because they A.) hopefully get your book in a new reader’s hands and B.) Solidify a personal relationship with a reader.




“Katie, are you okay?” Luke loosened his tie and stared, concern creasing his brow as he watched her, her body slumped at the window with a hand to her eyes. She didn’t move, and the tightness in his gut increased. He approached quietly, afraid he would startle her. “Katie?”

“Oh!” She whirled around, staggering against the sill with a hand to her chest.

He clutched her arm to steady her, and the color drained from her cheeks. Softening his hold, he absently grazed her skin with his thumb, then ducked his head and smiled, eyes tender as he studied her. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you. Are you all right?”

She nodded stiffly, her gaze glued to the massive hand on her arm.

Worry wrinkled the bridge of his nose and he braced both palms on her shoulders, convinced something was wrong. Her face was white and her breathing labored, and he could swear he felt a hint of a tremble. “No, I can feel it. Something’s bothering you.” He pressed his hand to her forehead. “Are you sick?”

She jerked back from his hold and butted up against the window, arms crossed and hugging her waist. “No!” she said too quickly to suit him, clearly avoiding his eyes. “I mean maybe a little dizzy, but nothing serious. I just need to go home …”

He shifted, suddenly concerned it had to do with him. He plunged his hands in his pockets and softened his tone. “Katie … is it me? Did I say or do something to upset you?”
She shook her head, gaze bonded to the floor. “No, Luke, really, please, I just need to—”

He nudged her chin up with his thumb, and her lips parted with a sharp intake of breath. And then he saw it. The gentle rise and fall of her chest, the soft rose in her cheeks, the skittish look in her eyes, flitting to his lips and then quickly away. Comprehension suddenly oozed through him like heated honey purling through his veins. Could it be? Was it possible that cold, callous Katie O’Connor was beginning to warm up? To him, of all people—Cluny McGee, the leper from her past? The thought sent warm ripples of shock through his body, thinning the air in his lungs. His gaze gentled, taking in the vulnerability in her eyes, the fear in her face, and all he wanted to do was hold her, reassure her.

As if under a spell, his gaze was drawn to her lips, parted and full, and the sound of her shallow breathing filled him with a fierce longing. “Oh, Katie,” he whispered, no power over the pull he was suddenly feeling. In slow motion, he bent toward her, closing his eyes  to caress her mouth with his own. A weak gasp escaped her as she stiffened, but he couldn’t relent. The taste of her lips was far more than he bargained for, and he drew her close with a raspy groan. With a fierce hold, he cupped the back of her neck and kissed her deeply, gently, possessive in his touch. His fingers twined in her hair, desperate to explore.

And then all at once, beyond his comprehension, her body melded to his with an answering groan, and he was shocked when her mouth rivaled his with equal demand. Desire licked through him, searing his body and then his conscience. With a heated shudder, he gripped her arms and pushed her back, his breathing ragged as he held her at bay. “We can’t do this,” he whispered. He dropped his hold and exhaled, gouging shaky fingers through disheveled hair. His gaze returned, capturing hers and riddled with regret. “Believe me, Katie, as much as I want to, I’ve learned the hard way to take things slow. I should have never started this, and I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
Forgive him? She stared at him through glazed eyes, her pulse still pumping in her veins at a ridiculous rate. She never wanted this, couldn’t stand the sight of him, and now here she was, tingling from his touch and desperate for more. Addicted to the “King of Misery.” The very thought inflamed both fury and desire at the same time, muddling her mind. Dear Lord, she was torn between welding her lips to his or slapping him silly. With a tight press of her mouth, she opted for the second and smacked him clean across the face.

His jaw dropped a full inch, complemented nicely by a slash of red across his cheek.
Her chest was heaving, but at least it wasn’t from his touch. She narrowed her eyes and clutched her fists at her side, not all that sure she wouldn’t slap him again. “So help me, if you ever touch me again, you will be the sorriest person alive.”

He slowly rubbed his cheek with the side of his hand, exercising his jaw as if to make sure it still worked. His eyes glinted like blue glass, sharp and deadly. Even so, the swaggering smile of old eased across his face. He bent forward, his tall frame looming over her like a bad omen, and his voice held that cocky drawl so reminiscent of his past. “What’s the matter, Katie Rose,” he whispered, “does my touch make you nervous?”
The heat in her cheeks went straight to her temper. She iced him with a cool gaze. “Nervous? Around you? Hardly. You can dress up in a suit all you like, Luke McGee, but to me you’ll always be the same cocky street brat with a twang in your voice and grime on your face.”
She knew her words hit their mark when a red blotch crawled up the back of his neck like a rash gone awry. A nerve pulsed in his temple, but his smile never wavered despite the steel edge of his jaw. One blond brow jagged high in challenge. “Is that a fact? Well then, how about a little experiment? Kind of like when you were eleven and I bet you couldn’t be nice?”

He leaned close, his voice as hard as his eyes. “What d’ya bet I can make you nervous now?”

She tried to shove him out of the way. “I’m going home.”

“Not yet,” he whispered, blocking her in with a push to the wall. His voice, like the dominance of his hold, was a force to be reckoned with. “You always packed a wallop for a little girl, Katydid, but this time you picked the wrong street brat. You can turn your nose up at me all you want, but we both know that slap wasn’t so much about an innocent kiss …” He bent close, his eyes on fire and his breath hot  against her face. “As how it made you feel.”

His words seemed to vibrate through her, low and thick in the air. She shuddered, and the force of his savage look trapped all protest in  her throat.

“To you I’ll always be riff-raff, something vulgar and crude. Well, welcome to my world, Miss O’Connor. And, please, let me show you how we do it on the ‘streets.’ Because if I’m going to take a beating, you can bet your bottom dollar on two things for sure. One—I’m going to get my money’s worth.” A dangerous smile surfaced as his gaze focused on her lips. “And two …” His mouth hovered just above hers while his voice trailed to a whisper. “I’m gonna make you real nervous in the process.”

In a catch of her breath, he took her mouth by force, his late-day beard rough against her skin. A faint moan escaped her lips and all resistance fled, burned away by the heat of his touch, leaving her weak and wanting. His mouth roamed at will, no longer gentle as he devoured her, ravenous against the smooth curve of her throat, the soft flesh of her ear. With a guttural groan, he jerked her close with powerful arms, consuming her mouth with a kiss surely driven by the sheer will to ravage.

And then in a frantic beat of her heart, he shoved her away. She gasped, numb as she thudded against the wall. His chest was heaving and his eyes were hard, focused on her with cool disregard. “There. Now that makes two of the sorriest people alive.” He grabbed her purse from the floor and threw it on her desk, then rubbed his mouth with the side of his hand. “Better run home, Katydid. God knows the riff-raff that roam the street this time of night.”
He turned and walked into his office, slamming the door hard.

She stared, her body still quivering from his rage. Closing her eyes, she sagged against the wall, too stunned to move and too shaken to care. She pressed a trembling hand to her mouth, her lips swollen from the taste of him. She was doomed, she realized, and the thought shivered through her like a cold chill. She wanted a man she didn’t really want, and the very notion weakened her at the knees. He had called her one of the sorriest people alive. She grappled for her purse and put a hand to her eyes.

And God help her, she was.


Ladette Kerr said...

I have just "found" Julie through an interview/review/giveaway week she did (or was done with her) at another blog! I LOVE her books (I've read 2 so far) and can't wait to read more. I really enjoyed this interview. I think it's good for readers to learn more about the author side of things. Thanks!!


DebbieLynne said...

Julie! Hey girl! You are one busy lady! Great advice on marketing. Love your new book cover. Going to throw this up on the Fiction Addiction blog. Thanks for having Julie on, Tina. She's a sweetie!

Julie Lessman said...

LADETTE!!! I am SOOO glad you "found" me too, girl, because I was sooo lost!! ;) Seriously, thank you for your kind words and for reading my books -- you are a blessing, my friend!!

DEBBIE!!! Talk about a "sweetie," girlfriend -- THANK YOU for putting this up on Fiction Addiction Fix -- sooo appreciate it. My head was in the clouds this week (so, what's new???) and I forgot to promo this on FAF and Seekerville. Bad Julie!! Thanks so much for coming by, Deb, and for ALL of your amazing support. :)


Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Julie,

Great advice on Marketing, in your usual "tell it like it is" style!

Love the analogy of your writing to the 'tingle' of Pepsi! LOL. That is so true. Probably why I don't read Amish fiction.

Have a wonderful day!

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

LornaFaith said...

Julie, I love your books:) Love the passion and detailed descriptions you paint so vividly. I haven't read your newest book "Love At Any Cost"...need to read it(Love the cover page BTW).

Thanks for your insights on book marketing...and for sharing your thoughts on writing:)

Thanks Tina for having Julie as a guest too!


lornafaith at gmail dot com

Jean Kinsey said...

I love Julie's books and would like to have her latest.
I enjoyed the promotional hints.

Marissa said...

I just LOVE Julie Lessman!! I've read all of her books so far and I can't wait to read her new series, plus Steven's story!


Ann Lee Miller said...


Thanks for sharing your marketing savvy with us!


Lane Hill House said...

Julie Lessman personalizes answering comments. Appreciative of the interaction and time! I would love to read Steven's story. Thank you for this interview. Kathleen

Tina Pinson said...

Good morning everyone, lovely to see your smiling thumbprints pictures... :-)

I see Julie beat me to my page.


welcome, Julie.

I always liked the Pepsi Tingle

Marianne said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing, and for the great giveaway. Love at any Cost is one i've not heard of before.


Vince said...

Hi Julie:

I don’t see your books as being ‘Christian’ Christian fiction but rather more like the TV show, “Blue Bloods” which is about a Irish Catholic family. They have strong Christian values, they pray before meals, they go to church and yet I don’t think anyone would call “Blue Bloods” a Christian show. In fact, I don’t know how this show could have been bought by a major TV network. I just think your books fit very comfortably on the mainstream table.

BTW: Is your new series about Catholics?


Julie Lessman said...

SUZI-Q!!! Thanks for coming by, my friend, and yep ... gotta love those Pepsi tingles!! ;)

Gosh, LORNA, thanks SO much for your kind words and Love at Any Cost won't be out till next April 1st (not a joke!!), but I hope it's worth the wait. :) And you have two other "passionate" books coming your way before that -- A Love Surrendered (Steven's story) and Marcy and Patrick's Christmas prequel, A Light in the Window, both releasing in October (the second as an e-book only). So, hopefully they'll tide you over till April. :)


Julie Lessman said...

Hey, JEAN ... thanks for coming by AND for "loving" my books -- SO appreciated!! Good luck in the contest, darlin'!!

LOL, MARISSA ... and I just LOVE you and your enthusiasm, my friend. It takes a passionate reader to appreciate a passionate author, eh?

LOL, Ann ... I don't feel like I have a lot of "savvy" as you call it, especially after following the rest of Tina's Marketing 101 guests this week, but oh well ... I'm just thrilled to be included in her incredible lineup!!


Granny said...

Definitely one of my favorite authors. Excited to read any Julie Lessman books because the ones I've read have been great!
Blessings to you.

Granny said...

So excited to read any Julie Lessman books. So far all I have read have been great!
Blessings to you.

Tina Pinson said...

You certainly held your own, Julie,

and appreciate your willingness to come by and share.
It's awesome.

I know I've learned something from everyone already.

Dan Walsh said...

Great advice, Julie. Pay attention folks...this is good stuff here!


Samantha Kuiper said...

I have read every one of Julie's books... they are all just so good!!!


Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, KATHLEEN, but not a lot of being noble in answering comments from people I love and appreciate, you know? One of my favorite things to do, which is WHY I do it -- connecting with reader friends. You guys ROCK!! Good luck, sweetie!!

LOL, Tina ... the "Pepsi tingle"!! Ah, yes ... gotta love "tingle" in any form, right?? Thanks for having me in this amazing lineup, Tina -- were you on cold medicine when you made the decision to include me on a marketing blog?????!!!! ;)

MARIANNE ... Love at Any Cost is my brand-new series coming out next April about an Irish-Catholic wealthy and political family in 1902 San Francisco. Think Dynasty meets Little Women ... ;) You can read an excerpt (a good one, if I must say so myself -- it's my fave!!) on the Excerpts tab of my website, so here's the link if you want to check it out. Just scroll all the way down to the very bottom to find the last excerpt at Julie's Excerpts


Tina Pinson said...

I wasn't on cold medicine. Honest. I just figured you might have some marketing wisdom to share.

and I know you. Well somewhat.

I just hope after all this, people won't stop answering my emails LOL

with all I've learned, watch out world, I should be on the best sellers list soon.

It doesn't hurt to dream. :-)

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE!!! What a WONDERFUL surprise to see you here on one of my guest blogs -- VERY COOL!!

And you said: "I just think your books fit very comfortably on the mainstream table."

LOL ... so do I, but I write for the Christian market which means that, unfortunately, very few "mainstream" readers read my books unless another Christian recommends them, which does happen a lot, thank God!! But I really appreciate your sweet comment because it was my original intent to reach the secular world for God with my books by hooking them in with a more passionate take on Christian romance.

And, yes, you will be happy to know that the McClares in my new series are Irish-Catholic, but I'll be honest -- they weren't originally. My publisher wanted me to tone down any specific reference to a particular religion simply because it opens me up to a broader audience. And I started out writing them that way (i.e. Protestant Catholics), but I changed mid-book back to Catholicism because believe it or not, it enhanced my plot, so plot comes first with me, right?

Thanks for coming by, Vince -- always great to connect with you!


Julie Lessman said...

Oh, GRANNY, you just made my day, sweetie-pie!!! Don't know how old you are, but when "grannies" like my books, it blesses the socks off of me!! You go, girl ... and good luck!!

Hey, DAN, thanks for coming by!! And anyone reading this comment needs to go back a few blogs this week in Marketing 101 to see what the amazing Dan Walsh had to say -- it was GREAT!!

Aw, SAM, BLESS YOU!!! I appreciate your kind words and the fact that you read my books in the first place -- THANK YOU!!


Liz R said...

Julie is just the sweetest person and her books are absolutely amazing! Great marketing advice and thanks for a fantastic giveaway!


Michelle said...

Hi there, Miss Julie! So good to connect with you here! Not that I need marketing tips, but like Ladette mentioned it's great for readers to have the opportunity to see the author side of things. :)

And as much as you like interacting with readers, I love watching you interact with readers -- I always lovyurts axing your comments! You're so genuine and sincere, with a huge heart for God! Just some of the reasons why I (and so many others) love you so much! :)

October is fast approaching! Can't wait to get my hands on ALS!! A Julie Lessman book is truly one of the richest treats!!! :D

Thanks for a chance to win!
Scraphappy71@ sbcglobal dot net

Michelle said...

Ugh! Just noticed major typo in my post above. That's what I get for typing a comment on my iPhone. That should say I always love reading your comments. :)

Darlene Keith said...

Thanks for an opportunity to enter this giveaway. I haven't read Julie's books---just discovering her books but I would love to win one--they all look so good---how to choose???

Darlene Keith

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Julie and Tina, I have read 2 of the Winds of Change series but still need to read A Love Surrendered. Got it and Boston series on my wish list. Thanks for the great info you posted. If I ever have a book to publish I will get an agent.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie Lessman said...

LOL ... LIZ ... not sure my hubby or daughter would always agree, but then they have live with me, right? And that canNOT be easy with a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen!!). :) Good luck in the contest, sweetie.

MICHELLE!!! Gosh, my heart does a little flip every time I see your cute face pop up because I miss talking to you, girl!! But, boy, it's been crazy busy for both of us, I know. But you and your fam are still on my prayer hit list, darlin', so I think of you ALL the time! ;)

DARLENE, YES!!!! Just the type of gal I'm looking for -- new blood!! ;) And your last name is Keith, which is the name of the love of my life, so I like you already!! If you win, darlin', I will send you book 1 in the Daughters of Boston series, which won American Christian Fiction Writers Debut Book of the Year in 2009 because this is really a family saga that is best read in order due to a couple of HUGE surprises, okay? I can't wait to introduce you to the VERY passionate (both romantically AND spiritually) O'Connor family, so GOOD LUCK!!


Julie Lessman said...

MISS KALLIE!!! How are you doing, my friend??? It's getting to be that time of year when I do a lot of giveaways, so I expect to see you a lot in the months ahead until you win, okay? GOOD LUCK!!

EMILY ... thank you SO much, sweetie, and I'm hoping you like ALS as much as I do -- keep the Kleenex handy,okay?? :)


Tracy Krauss said...

I'd love to read one of Julie's books. I appreciated her candor, especially about the importance of an agent and the fact that she doesn't see book signings as that beneficial.

MaryG said...

It's good to know that book signings aren't always so good for everyone. Also the importance of an agent is helpful. I'd love to read one of Julie's books.

Debbie curto said...

Would love to win a book. I love to find new authors to read! Then I ntell my mother about them

Julie Lessman said...

TRACY .... your name is SO familiar to me, and now I know why -- you are a member of Edgy Christian Fiction Writers Blog Tour -- VERY COOL!!! I'm a member of ECFL too, so it sounds like we would like each other's books, girl! Michelle Sutton is a good friend of mine, too, so we have a lot in common. Book signings are a LOT of fun if you invite all the people from your son's wedding invite list (which I've done), but otherwise??? Uh, no.
And I'm pretty sure most every other author would agree with me on that. Sure hope you win, Tracy, so good luck!

Mary G ... AND I would LOVE for you to read one of my books, too, my friend, so check out my Excerpts page link given in the comments above to check out my writing style, okay? Good luck!

LOL, DEBBIE ... what a sweetheart you are, sharing your books with you mom!! Well, I'll if you and your mom like LOTS of romantic passion in your books ... along with LOTS of spiritual passion, then I'm the gal for you. If you want a peek at my writing style, check out the excerpts link I gave in a comment above, okay? And GOOD LUCK!!


jude urbanski said...

Julie and Tina, thanks for a wonderful post and all the work involved. Julie, I've enjoyed your works. Continue the good work.

Pam K. said...

I find it interesting that authors have to do so much marketing on their own. That takes away from their writing time. I guess over time they find a good balance by becoming wise time managers. I do appreciate the authors, like Julie, who take the time to be featured on blogs and give away some of their fabulous books. My book club has been able to meet several authors, either in person or by Skype. It is always such fun for us to meet the author of a book we greatly enjoyed. Though I've never met Julie in person, it is always fun to meet with her through a blog. She is one of my favorite authors.

Martha A. said...

The marketing is what scares me so so bad about writing! So you find that interviews on blog are not worthwhile, but blog tours help? Hmmm....I would love to do a blog tour for you. = )

Anonymous said...

Oh what a pleasant surprise!
Julie Lessman!
Nice blog today, Tina and Julie.
And I just HAVE to give you a shout out for today's J.J. Jules!

Many Hallelujahs and amen and even tears (close) on my part.

THAT is why I looove YOU!



Ganise said...

Oh and e-mail, should I win...
ganise_4life (at) hotmail (dot) com

Tina Pinson said...

I think blog tours work, but they aren't always easy to set up either, well not for me. But I am getting better at it. that's one thing you have to set up a couple or more months in advance.

With a book out in Nov. I'm already getting ready to promote.

Julie, what steps would follow at this point?

Ganise said...

Actually, let me correct that, please.
There are many reasons I truly think Julie is special and this is just one of them.

Seriously. This Journal Jot is breathtaking (no pun intended). I'm thiking of reading it again and I'm inviting everyone else also.

Angi said...

Hi Julie! Great post today. I love reading posts like this, even though I'm not an author. It gives me a greater appreciation of what authors do to get their books into the hands of their readers. Thank you for the insight. My favorite marketing tip, of course, is the interaction with your readers. :) As always, would love an opportunity to enter to win one of your books.


Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

I love Julie so much that Debbie Lynne embroidered a bag for me that says "I love Julie Lessman books" and I carry it to the library and other places. Thanking God you've continued to visit with us at Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help. There is no one like Julie.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, JUDE, thanks SO very much, my friend, and I can't help but wonder how many people want to break out in song when they say, "Hey, Jude," to you, you know??? Hope you were a Beatle fan ... :)

Aw, PAM, you are SUCH a doll to always encourage me like you do -- THANK YOU!! And it would be lovely to pull your name from the hat on this giveaway, so GOOD LUCK, my friend!!

Oh, MARTHA, tell me about it!! Marketing scares the pejeebers out of me, truly, but without it, you just don't sell books unless you are one of those phenoms like Stephanie Meyer. Of course, "with it" you might not sell books either ... ;)

The reason blog tours are so successful is because you get a lot of reviews out there at once, hopefully good, and I don't have to do anything because my publisher sets it all up.

But blog interviews like this one or like the ones I'll do closer in to my book release eat up a lot of time -- responding to the questions, then responding to comments, so my publisher doesn't like me doing too many, which is why I am limiting myself these days. I used to do about 30-35 blog interviews/giveaways PER book and with six books, that's over 200 interviews, approximately 8 questions average per interview, for a total of over 1,600 questions to answer, so you can see the time involved.

THEN, when you see how long some of my comments are, you get the picture because I am just flat-out a chatterbox on these things. :)

Thanks, Martha, for coming by and GOOD LUCK!!


Melody said...

Friends always pass me their books and the one author most visible has been you! We're usually in Nicaragua so I pass them on to our translators. They love them and say it helps get them familiar with more English. Thank you for the tips, I need to take what time I have to get my cookbook out there by using your ideas. Word of mouth as sold 400 in a few months, hmmmm...what to do, what to do!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, GANISE, ALWAYS good to see you, my friend!! You are you like the sun -- you pop up faithfully everyday when I'm on a blog and you are ALWAYS shining!! Love you to pieces, kiddo!! Thanks for your kind words on the JJ -- we're just both weepy types, you know that, which is one of the reasons we get along so well! ;)

Well, TINA, that's where I'm lucky because Revell has one specific gal who sets up/coordinates all of the authors' blog tours, and she is FABULOUS!! I don't do squat -- she does it all, and VERY well! Not sure what you mean by "what steps would you follow at this point," but if you mean a blog tour, I'm about to find out on my self-pub e-book, so I'll let you know! ;)

Hey, ANG!!! Always good to see you, sweetie and I'm with you -- one of my favorite types of "marketing" is interacting with you friends like you too, trust me!! Good luck in the contest, girlfriend!


Julie Lessman said...

LOL, CARRIE ... STILL cannot believe you had Debbie embroider that, my friend, but it makes me laugh every time you say it. Do you know I have really been missing you A LOT lately and have been meaning to just drop you a hello, so I am SO glad you came by. Please know that I miss you and am praying for you, my dear, sweet friend.

WHOA, MELODY, 400 in a few months??? You're cooking, girl, no pun intended!! And thank you SO much for your kind words -- your comment blesses the socks off of me, truly. Good luck in the contest, Mel, AND with your cookbook, okay?


beckydoughty said...

Julie and Tina,

Finally getting around to reading your post today - been following along all week and so appreciative of this series. I think the consistency in the answers from such very different authors is really telling - especially regarding how and where to spend time and about agents.

Julie - love your books, you hot mama. So glad you were given a spot this week. I really appreciate how you just live out loud, not only in your books, but in real life, too. Even your comments on our comments are friendly and exuberant and, well, YOU!

Would love a copy of one of your books: beckydwriter(at)gmail(dot)com

Blessings to you both,

Julia M. Reffner said...

Wow, I can't think of a better author to talk about marketing than Julie. She treats her readers as friends not fans. But the reason her marketing is so great is because she is genuine, viewing her books as an outreach. If I become published I pray I really have a heart like Julie for my readers.

Melissa said...

I would love to win Julie's upcoming book. I have read all of her books that have been release. Love, love them!

Amy Campbell said...

What a fantastic post. Julie, you are new to me and your books look great!
Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Deborah Heal said...

Loved the interview and especially the excerpt. It worked: I'm intrigued and will be buying a copy. I've been looking for Christian fiction that isn't silly when it comes to sexual attraction. I once read a Christian "romance" novel where there was absolutely no hint of sexuality the whole story. I was totally surprised when they got married at the end. I look forward to seeing how you handle it in the rest of the book. Thanks for participating here.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Woops, forgot my email address.


Julie Lessman said...

LOL, BECKY!!! I do believe that is the very first time I have been called a "hot mama" on a blog, so congratulations for making me laugh with a unique comment!! And, yes, I guess I am a "hot mama" because I am definitely a "mama" and definitely "hot" most of the time (even post menopausal, those flashes keep coming!!), but I get your drift. I DO love LOTS of passion in my romance. What can I say? I was raised on Gone With the Wind and actually started writing A Passion Most Pure at the age of 12 after reading that amazing novel, so YES, I do like it "hot" when it comes to my Christian romance, but ALWAYS with God in the center!! Thanks SO much for coming by and for your incredibly sweet comment. :) Good luck in the contest!

JULIA!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend!! Hope this means some of your incredible busyness has slowed down?? And THANK YOU for that wonderful comment because I really do "have a heart" for my reader friends, I guess because they are passionate women just like me, both for Jesus and romance, so we just click. And ... ahem ... yes, I'm pretty right out there, what you read is what you get, which isn't always good in the CBA, but it's honest, something I value A LOT!! Thanks again for coming by, my friend, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!


Julie Lessman said...

MELISSA!!! And I would LOVE for you to win Steven's story, too, and if you do, will even send you a packet of Kleenex 'cause you're gonna need it, girl, okay?? Good luck in the contest and thanks for reading my books!!

LOL, DEBORAH, you have just made my day, my friend!!! We are two peas in a pod on that mindset, trust me!! And, YAY, that you plan to buy/borrow one of my books because based on your comment, I think my style of Christian romance is JUST what you've been looking for, trust me. If you DO decide to get one of my books, PLEASE start with book 1 in The Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, which as I said in my FB note to you, won American Christian Fiction Writers Debut Book of the Year for 2009. This is a family saga best read in order due to a number of big surprises along the way and the excerpt above is from the first book in the 2nd series, Winds of Change, which is actually the fourth book in the family saga. Anyway, I hope you read it and if you do and like it, let me know, okay? And if not ... uh, never mind! :)


Julie Lessman said...

AMY!!!! PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR SKIPPING OVER YOU, GIRL -- let's blame it on not enough coffee yet this morning, okay?

And, oh boy, oh boy, how I DO love new readers because it is SO much fun to introduce them to the very passionate O'Connor family!! If you do decide to read my books, which I hope you do, please read my comment above to Deborah, okay? And if you would like to read more excerpts than the one given at the end of this post, you can click on the "Excerpts" link given above in the 20th comment, third paragraph to Marianne. I give both romantic excerpts AND spiritual ones for each of my books there.

Thanks SO much for coming by and hopefully for giving my books a shot. Good luck!!


Diana Lesire Brandmeyer said...

I remember meeting Julie when she was on her search for an agent. One thing she left out of this post is the research she did on agents. She knew Natasha would be the best bet for her when she walked into that appointment.
dlbrandmeyer @gmail .com

Tanya Eavenson said...

I've really enjoyed this! Thanks for the insight, Julie!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, DIANA ... soooo good to see your cute face looking back at me, my friend. I LOVE that new pic of you!! And, yeah, I'm VERY blessed to have signed with Natasha Kern -- she is simply THE BEST in my opinion and that of Writer's Digest at that time, which listed her as #11 on the Top Twenty-five Best Agents for a new author to have. Of course, it helped that she was the only one of 25 agents I queried that didn't reject me as well ... ;)

Thanks, TANYA, for coming by -- glad I could shed some light on the process, dim though it may be ... ;)


Cara Putman said...

Great advice, Julie. I think I've reached the same point with booksignings. I did one last weekend on Mackinac Island that my publisher asked me to do. It was good to connect with the bookstore staff, etc., but they are a lot of time away. There are so many vehicles out there to promote ourselves it's hard to know what to do. I think we have to pick the pieces we enjoy. I'm playing with ideas on pinterest right now because I really enjoy pinterest.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Wonderful interview! Thanks.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Yeah, its a bit slower right now, we're off homeschool but we're slowly starting up again. The prayer group I lead and co-op where I'm on the board both start up in a few weeks so the craziness will start again soon :)
But conference will be a nice break from that, albeit more than a tad bit scary. We're just gonna have to meet up at a future ACFW :)

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...


Uh, yeah, definitely with passion! I had my hero nuzzle my heroine's neck AFTER HE PROPOSED and it got cut from the book as too sensual. She didn't even 'groan' or 'shiver' or 'tremble'.


KatieC said...

Great interview, and full of inspiration. I love Seekerville!

Tiffany said...

I love Julie's books so much, and am so happy to hear that her books will now be coming out every 9 months!! And I am super excited for my little bundle of joy on the "A Love Surrendered" copy!! Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Love Julie's books; have read them all and am anxious to read A Love Surrendered! Please count me in.

Jackie S.

Rachel Christine said...

What an exciting array of books and authors on your blog. Hope I win one of your books. Thanks for offering.
Rachel at

rubynreba said...

Thanks for the chance to win this book. Looks very good!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net said...

Enjoyed your thoughts on "branding" Glad to have found you and will look at your blogging sites. Thanks!

Rose McCauley said...

Hi, I have been a Julie Lessman "reader friend" for years ever since reading A Passion Most Pure! I do have a question about how to differentiate between blog posts with giveaways and a blog tour. Do you not do giveaways on the blog tour? My first book came out last fall, and I did blog posts with a giveaway almost every day for a couple months and thought that was a blog tour. I'd love to know the difference! Thanks, crmcc at setel dot com

Susanne Dietze said...

Great tips, Julie! I took notes. :)

I enjoyed meeting a few of your fellow Seekers at RWA.

Thanks for the post.

srdietze at sbcglobal dot net

Anonymous said...

Janet K. Brown was unable to post so I'm posting for her.

Julie, your thoughts on marketing were wonderful. I'd been told guest blogging was the thing to do, so I've raced from 1 to the other, but didn't do a blog tour as such. I do agree that FB & twitter sure help get the word out. I had wondered about trailers. Thanks for your help.

Tina Pinson said...

See what happens when I spend the day trying to help get a truck fixed and me only with my cell phone. Lots of wonderful people show up.

How awesome.

thanks everyone

And Julie you're the bestest guest hostess.

Edwina said...

Hope I'm not too late! Love, love, love Julie's books!

Susan said...

Thanks for all the great info! Your work looks and sounds intriguing.

Patty said...

Julie is one of the best in the inspirational fiction market, at least in my humble opinion! I always looke forward to each of her new releases.


karenk said...

a great posting...looking forward to reading julie's latest masterpiece :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

I just have to ask: Is the heroine in “Love at any Cost” wearing a whalebone corset? Her waist can’t be any more than eighteen inches.

Please put me down for a chance to win a book. I can’t read the print type but I’d like to give the book to my very Irish Catholic sister for her birthday.


Vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

Anonymous said...

All of your book covers are beautiful. I would love to win one of your books. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Julie Lessman said...

Hey, CARA, thanks for coming by, my friend, and yeah book signings are SO not worth it and in some cases, downright demoralizing!! I had one where two reader friends of mine arranged for me to come to their small town to sign in the bookstore there, and the first two of the three people who came up to the table -- yes, THREE -- just happened to be church librarians who wanted to know why I had to include all that awful passion in my books, telling me they would not put them in their church library because of it. Sigh. But I admire you for tackling Pinterest, girl!! I wish I had the energy to get involved with another social media, but I'm fresh out! ;)

Thanks, JESS, JESSIE, JESSY!!! Goodness, I sure hope only one of those is your true name or it's going to take you FOREVER to autographh books, girl!! :)

JULIA, I have a feeling you are going to LOVE ACFW -- it's a class act and the people are SO nice and the atmosphere, intimate and spiritual as well as professional. Have fun, my friend ... until I can give you a hug next year in person!


Julie Lessman said...

HOLY COW, VIRGINIA ... no "groaning, shivering or trembling"???? I'd be asleep on the keyboard if I had to write like that!! ;) Just like the variety of Christian music, from Gospel to Metal Rock, I like the idea of a wide range of Christian romance to draw in those types of women who wouldn't read an Inspy novel to save their soul ... but they might if it were more relevant to the temptations young women encounter today in our amoral society, right?

I take it from the surprise in your comment that you have never read one of my novels, Virginia?? Well, as you can see from the clip above or from the "Excerpts" tab on my website, they are definitely more "passionate" than the average CBA romance, but what do you expect??? I was raised on Gone With the Wind!! :)

Thanks, KATIE!!! And I love Seekerville too! ;) Good luck in the contest, girl!!


Julie Lessman said...

LOL, TIFFANY, THANK YOU for ordering that "little bundle of joy," my friend -- I hope it doesn't keep you up nights with all that crying ... ;) If I must say so myself, Steven's story made me cry more than any of my other books, so you may want to keep the Kleenex handy ... Good luck, sweetie!!

Hey, JACKIE -- it's getting to be that time again for all the blog giveaways, girl, so I'm hoping to see a lot more of you, my friend -- GOOD LUCK!!

Gosh, RACHEL, I hope you do, too, because you sound like you haven't read any of my books yet, which is good because I LOVE fresh blood!! ;) Here's to a win!!


Julie Lessman said...

RUBYNREBA ... LOVE that addy, girl -- are those your cats, Ruby & Reba, or are you Ruby or Reba??? Either way, good luck in the contest to both of you!! ;)

SHERIDA ... thank you SO much for considering looking at my website and my books -- MUCH appreciated!! They are definitely passionate books -- both in the romance realm AND the spiritual realm, so let me know if you read them and like them, okay?

Hey, ROSE, soooo good to see you here and THANK YOU for reading my books, my friend. And, WOW, SUPER CONGRATS on the new book -- that's AWESOME!!

As far as the difference between a blog interview/giveaway and a blog tour, a blog tour is when a blogger signs up to review your book and the publisher or you sends them a free book to do so. They are then supposed to post that review during a certain time period when the blog tour is going on so that your name/reviews pop up all over the Net in a blitz-type promotion. Sometimes, if asked, I would do an interview/giveaway for a blogger on a tour like this, but am shying away from that now because my publisher has asked me to. A blog interview/giveaway (such as this one) is when I am asked for an interview, which I always provide a book giveaway for.

My publisher discourages me from doing too many interview/giveaways because of the time it takes away from my writing, which is true because on prior books, I literally would take the months off before and during a release to simply do interviews and not write, which is NOT good for the deadlines ... :|

Hope that answers your question, Rose. :)


Julie Lessman said...

SUSANNE ... you took notes??? Gosh, I feel like I didn't say all that much, but thank you for taking the time to read it and taking notes. And, yes, Sandra and Deb went to RWA and maybe Missy too??? If you go to ACFW, you usually can meet all the Seekers in the lobby bar every night after nine where we convene and have fun getting to know everyone. I won't be there this year, but hopefully will get to meet you at the Indy ACFW next year??

JANET ... a blog tour is definitely preferable over a blog interview, in my opinion, because of what I told Rose in the comment above, but if you are a new author, both really help to get your name out there, especially with a giveaway.

Thanks, TINA ... I don't know about being the "bestest guest hostess," but I'm certainly the most verbose!! :)


Julie Lessman said...

EDWINA!!!! How the heck have you been, girlfriend -- miss you!!! Hope all is going well and good luck in the contest, my friend!

SUSAN, you're welcome, ESPECIALLY since you've never read my books before, girl -- we need to rectify that, so good luck in the contest!! And if you want to get a better handle on my style of writing, you can check out the "Excerpts" link I gave in the 20th comment above, third paragraph to Marianne, okay?

Aw, PATTY, you are SUCH a doll -- THANK YOU for your kind words and here's to a win, darlin'!!


Julie Lessman said...

LOL, KAREN ... "masterpiece" may be a wee bit over the top, but I just heard from a dear reader friend who's already read ALS that she absolutely LOVED it, so hopefully you will to, my friend. GOOD LUCK IN THE CONTEST!!!

Hey, VINCE ... I highly doubt the model on the cover for Love at Any Cost is wearing a whalebone corset because it is SO easy for artists today to taper a waist or enhance a bustline (uh, like I had them do to Charity on the cover for A Passion Redeemed because she is supposed to be generously endowed, but the model was flatter than Faith on A Passion Most Pure, which just wouldn't do! :)). Soooo ... which book do you plan to give to your Irish-Catholic sister, I wonder??? :) Thank you for considering gifting her that way and here's to a win!!

ROSE ... THANK YOU!! Both for your kind comment and considering reading my books. Like I told all the commenters who haven't read my books yet, you might want to check out my style of writing on the "Excerpts" link I gave in the 20th comment above, third paragraph to Marianne, okay?



joye said...

I am always looking for new authors to read and your books sound really good. I like the covers they use to depict your story.

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, JOYE, that's good because I'm always looking for new readers too!! ;)

Like I told Rose above, if you haven't read my books yet, be sure to read the excerpt included in this blog at the very end of the interview because it's one of my favorite romantic scenes, okay? Then if you like it, then you might want to check out more of my style of writing on the "Excerpts" link I gave in the 20th comment above, third paragraph to Marianne, just to get a good feel whether you will like my books or not, okay? then good luck in the contest too, sweetie, and thanks for coming by!!


Kara said...

Can't wait to read one of your books!

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

I didn’t mean the real life model. I meant the character in the book. I thought you had to wear a whalebone corset to fit into that style dress. I thought it would be an interesting social comment to have the heroine being laced-up in the corset while she asks, “are men really worth all this?”. It’s kind of an icon of the times.

I gave my sister, APMP, when I couldn’t read the print version. She runs the bookstore in her church and I told her to carry the series. I’m not sure what she did about this. Any book other than APMP would do fine.


Julie Lessman said...

KARA ... me either, sweetie!! Let's see if we can get one in your hands through this contest, okay? GOOD LUCK!!

VINCE ... ohhhhh, the character, not the model, eh?? Well, as a matter of fact, our down-to-earth Texas heroine grouses aplenty about the silly "s" curve corset she is forced to wear because of Charles Gibson and his confounded Gibson Girl image he's created. And believe me, my friend, she takes plenty of pot shots at the worth of men and corsets throughout the course of the book, guaranteed!! ;)

And you "told" your sister to carry the series"??? LOL!! :) That's what I like -- a forceful reader friend!! :) Thanks for your support, Vince -- you are always SUCH a blessing.


Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,
That was AWESOME!!! I have to say I LOVE your blog!!!! I want to be a writer too and I liked your remarks about agents!! Thanks!!! That is so amazing that because you had an agent a publisher looked at your book!! I guess they are very necessary!!
Can't wait for your next series!!!
Jacinta Rose Swindell

Julia M. Reffner said...

I so can't wait, especially to meet my Writer's Alley friends!

Jeffrey and Tiffany said...

I would love to read one of Julie's books. I have seen them, just haven't had time to read one yet. :(


Julie Lessman said...

Hey, JACINTA, YES ... agent first, ALWAYS, sweetie, so be praying for the right one now, okay, and may God bless you with the very best to guide you and lead you. Thank you for your kind comment and I have to admit -- I'm pretty excited about the new series too! ;)

JULIA, you are going to have SOOO much fun, you sweet thing, especially with that group -- AC's ROCK!!!

Hey, TIFF, then we have to get one in your hot, little hands, girl, and soon, don't we?? So good luck in the contest, and like I told a number of gals up above who've never read me before, be sure to read the excerpt included in this blog at the very end of the interview because it's one of my favorite romantic scenes, okay? Then if you like it, you might want to check out more of my style of writing on the "Excerpts" link I gave in the 20th comment above, third paragraph to Marianne, just to get a good feel whether you will like my books or not. Thanks for coming by!!


Donald James Parker said...

Always a pleasure to behold Julie's book covers. Even more pleasurable to hear from the author herself. It's been gratifying to see her rise up the ranks of Christian fiction while maintaining her sweet spirit.

Julie Lessman said...

DON!!!! What a treat to see you here, my friend -- thanks SO much for coming by and for your kind words. But "sweet spirit"??? You should see me in the morning or behind the wheel of a car -- gosh, that notion would be squashed like a stinkbug!! :)


Rachelle said...

Would love to win one of Julie's books! I devoured her first series and just picked up Katie's story in a thrift store the other day! Thanks for this giveaway! :)

biblioprincess15 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, RACHELLE, thanks for coming by AND for reading my books!! Good luck in the contest, sweetie!


Jo said...

I have recently found Julie's books and just know that I am really going to enjoy them all.


Julie Lessman said...


Thank you SO much for coming by and for reading my books. I sure hope you started with A Passion Most Pure, my friend, and be sure to check my website calendar every now and then for upcoming giveaways so you can win the next one, okay?