Friday, January 14, 2011

Jeff Gerke Blazes His Own Trail and Teaches You How To Do the Same

Don't miss today's spotlight and book giveaway with Jessica Zondervan and her book Breathing On Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One

The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

Guest post by Jennifer Slattery

Jeff Gerke, author of Plot Versus Character, has taken his publishing company further in three years than many do in decades, because he approaches marketing with the same focused investigation that led to his great books on the craft. Today he shares a few nuggets on marketing and advice on how you can become a Marcher Lord Press author.

Me: I remember reading something you said in another interview about there being a large, perhaps hidden, speculative fiction market. I believe you said that Ted Dekker fans clamor to buy his books, but might not necessarily think of themselves as speculative fiction readers. Those are the readers we at Clash of the Titles love to meet! Besides participating on our site (grin), how can authors reach these readers?

Jeff: Ah, the $64,000 question. Since I'm not in bookstores--and since there aren't any magazines or bookstore chains dedicated to Christian speculative fiction--it's quite difficult to find these people. Facebook advertising, with it's targeted audience approach, is the best way I've found so far.

I'll give you my 30:1 Rule of Marketing. You have to do 30 things to market your book to find the 1 that actually helps. But you don't know which 1 it will be--and it's never the same 1 twice--so you have to do all 30 to get the 1.

Try to do one thing every day to add to your continuously starting over stack of thirty.

Me: That is excellent advice! Obviously it's worked for you because Marcher Lord Press has gained the respect of authors and readers alike. And now, for all our aspiring authors out there: What are you looking for in a novel? What would make you say, "Wow, I've got to contract this book?"

Jeff: I have certain guidelines (posted on the MLP site) that disqualify most novels from my consideration. But once those conditions are met, then it comes down to 1) excellent fiction craftsmanship (and I've written three books on how to write fiction, so I know what I'm looking for), and 2) a story that just takes me away. When I have that electrified moment, that zing of "Oh, my goodness, this is AWESOME," I know I have to try to publish that book.

Another possible way to get in at MLP is to have already written a classic in our genre that is now out of print. LOL. That's how I've acquired Kathy Tyers' trilogy (and add-on books), Randall Ingermanson and John Olson's Oxygen and The Fifth Man, and Sharon Hinck's Restorer trilogy.

Me: There you have it. My suggestion: Start with his book, Plot Versus Character. Then use it, obsessively, along with his other great titles, to craft a phenomenal story. Then, hop on over to Marcher Lord Press and follow Jeff's guidelines.

This has been a great week! Jeff, thank you for taking the time to answer my million to the umpth power questions. I ordered Plot Versus character on the third day of our interview and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.

Jeff is giving away a copy of Plot Versus Character. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway multiple times--once on each day's spotlight post.

Jeff Gerke is an author of fiction and nonfiction including such books as the Operation: Firebrand novels. He has worked as an editor for numerous publications and is the founder of Marcher Lord Press, an indie publishing company dedicated to producing the finest in Christian science fiction, fantasy, and other wonderfully weird genres.

Guest post by Jennifer Slattery

Don't miss today's spotlight and book giveaway with Jessica Zondervan and her book Breathing On Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One.


dge said...

Wow, this sounds like the book to read.

Julie Arduini said...

I enjoyed the entire interview. Thanks, Jennifer!

Joanne Sher said...

So wanting this book, and have been blessed by this week! Thanks!

Jennifer Slattery said...

Thanks all, for stopping by. Must admit, this was my favorite interview yet. Jeff is a blast! I'm gonna be laughing about the LOLB for quite some time! When my nose isn't in his book, of course, which I'm still waiting for my post man to deliver. :-)

PatriciaW said...

30:1? Every time? Seems like from each iteration, it might be possible to learn which things absolutely don't work (or maybe from several iterations) and remove them from the 30, replacing them with new ideas, so that eventually you get down to a set of 10-20 things that actually yield results. I don't know. Just thinking out loud...

PatriciaW said...

Also wanted to say I really enjoyed this series, Jennifer.

Elaine Cooper said...

Great series! And sounds like THE book to get!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i'm with patricia....excellent series with an excellent guest.

targeted facebook advertising seems to be the wave of the future.

the character therapist

Ruth Ann Dell said...

Jennifer and Jeff thank you so much for an interesting and thought provoking series of blogs this week.

May God bless you both.

Ruth Ann

Meredith said...

Great interview! I'd love to read this book.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

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