By Ane Mulligan
This past September, I took a marketing course at the ACFW conference. Presented by three multi-published Southern authors, Janice Thompson, Kathleen Y'Barbo, and Anita Higman, the class taught me a lot about marketing. But the one idea that really struck a chord within me was creating a tribe. The people in a writer's tribe are those who love their stories and help promote their work.
Okay, but the conference took place less than two weeks after the release of my debut novel, Chapel Springs Revival, so while I came home with terrific ideas, I wasn't ready to put any in place. I mean, doesn't one actually need fans to have a tribe?
When reviews began to come in, I was thrilled at the response to Chapel Springs Revival. People responded to my whacked sense of humor and my characters. They loved them! I gained a few fans. Amazing. One sent me a photo he made that I've framed.
Excuse me while I bask for a moment.
I decided to go ahead and put into place what I'd learned from the conference. I formed a private Facebook group, naming it after the bakery in my novel, Dee's 'n' Doughs, where everyone gathers in Chapel Springs. I invited those who followed my blog tour and loved the characters. They help promote my book and future books. For that, they get sneak peeks at the next book in the series, special offers, and the chance to help name people and other things.
I uploaded a file with the names and roles of the characters in the series. Those who joined Dee's 'n' Doughs have taken on the persona of one of the characters and they interact as such. They're having a crazy lot of fun. In some of the dialogue between these "characters," I've picked up new ideas for another book in the series.
When someone mentioned a new item for the bakery, I got the idea to have everyone submit recipes as their character, and I'm putting together a small Chapel Springs Community Church cookbook. Some have added hilarious side notes to the recipes that come straight from Chapel Springs Revival.
If anyone has read Chapel Springs Revival and would like to join Dee's 'n' Doughs, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeesnDoughs/ and click join. We've left the light on for you, and I'll approve your membership.
While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, bestselling novelist Ane Mulligan has worn many: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.