Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing Nancy Mehl, a multi-published novelist. Her latest romantic suspense novel was just released December 4, the first book in her Kaely Quinn Profiler series.
Nancy, please tell us about your latest book, Mind Games.
FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn’s methods may be unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She’s established a new life after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she’s the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, it seems her old life has followed her.
Her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, is forced to move past his skepticism of her approach so they can work together to unravel the deadly riddle.
With a brazen serial killer on the loose, Noah and Kaely must race to catch the murderer.
How did you get into writing? How many books do you have published?
I started writing stories and poems when I was seven years old. When I got older, I played around with the idea of writing a novel, but I never did anything about it. In my 40s, I heard a Bible teacher say that if you want to know what you’re called to do, think back to your childhood. What did you do naturally?
That revelation, along with my favorite TV show, “Murder, She Wrote,” gave me the inspiration to try my hand at writing a mystery novel.
I’ve been writing ever since.
I have over 30 books in print.
How did you get your first book contract?
My first contract was through a small mystery publisher that was located in my hometown. I met the owner and showed her a novel I’d written titled Sinner’s Song. She offered me a contract, but because of certain questionable business practices, I had to seek legal help to get my rights back. Not a very encouraging beginning to my writing career!
What has helped you promote your books the most?
I believe your publisher has the most resources to promote our books. But I also think authors should help out in any way they can. I created a blog called the Suspense Sisters. I believe it’s helped to build my readership. I also have a newsletter that has a rather large number of followers, and I try to stay active on Facebook. I still think one of the best ways to promote our books is through word of mouth. If we have a large social media outreach chances are our contacts are reaching other people we may not be able to connect to on our own.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book?
When I first started writing, all my writing friends thought book signings were the way to go. After a few signings, I realized that most of the people who attended were friends and family. It wasn’t making me much money and it was actually a waste of resources. Eventually I stopped doing them. I’m not opposed to signings, I like to meet readers. But the next book signing I have will need to be something that will draw in lots of readers. And not just the ones I’m related to! LOL!
What’s the craziest promotional gimmick you tried?
Well, my husband used to go to my book signings and chase people around the store, trying to get them to buy my books! Bless his heart. It didn’t work and probably drove people away.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during a promotional activity?
I have to go back to a book signing where a woman stood next to me while I was trying to sign books for other people. She spent quite a while trying to convince me that I needed to write a children’s book about a bus!
Is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
I have to go back to my earlier responses about social media. But there is one other thing I can suggest. Promote other authors. In turn, they’ll usually help you by sharing your events, special promotions, etc. I try to help authors not only through my blog, but also on Facebook. I don’t do it because I hope the authors I promote will return the favor. But I believe most of them do. We should always be available to support each other.
What are your top tips for writers with their first book contract?
Be respectful to your editors. When they send you their suggestions for rewrites, don’t throw your computer out the window, curse the day you were born, or ask your editors if they might like to write your book themselves. Take a deep breath, listen to their suggestions, and do everything you can to accommodate their concerns.
I’m blessed to have a very astute editor. I’m not saying I haven’t been overwhelmed at times when I get her feedback, but I’ve come to learn that she’s almost always right.
If you do disagree with something your editor says, deal with it as a professional. Don’t act like a prima donna.
Try to get your book turned in on time. Stay in touch with your editors and prove to them that you can be trusted.
When your book is finished, do whatever you can to help them with promotion. If you treat them right, they’ll be more willing to do what they can to help you get that next contract.
Thank you for sharing with us, Nancy!
Writing for Him,