Guest Post: Sandra Orchard–Marketing: It Doesn’t Have to be Painful

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I’m excited to host my friend and fellow Love Inspired author, Sandra Orchard, on my blog today.
Sandra Orchard lives in rural Ontario, Canada where inspiration abounds for her romantic suspense novels set in the fictional Niagara town she’s created as their backdrop. Married with three grown children, when not writing, she enjoys hanging out with family, brainstorming new stories with fellow writers, and hiking or kayaking in God’s beautiful creation. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, The Word Guild, and several RWA chapters.
Marketing: It Doesn’t Have to be Painful
For most writers, the word marketing is akin to the sound of fingernails scraped down a chalkboard. But with a month-long book launch behind me, I’m here to assure you that marketing can be a lot of fun, even if you don’t have a publisher with an unlimited budget willing to jet you off to whatever exotic location your novel is set in to do some fabulous publicity stunt.
No, gaining publicity can be as simple as locking out your roommate.
Yes, for those who attended ACFW, I am the Sandra Orchard who forgot her roommate!
But wasn’t that a great publicity stunt?
It wasn’t deliberate, of course, but a perfect example of how we can turn our foibles into fun marketing opportunities.
For those of whom my reputation hasn’t preceded me, and to set the record straight for the others, here’s what really happened: I had a different roommate for the first night of the ACFW conference. The next morning, she checked into her new room, but the hotel didn’t check her out of mine, so it remained in her name instead of mine.
Okay… I hadn’t remembered to add my second roommate’s name to the reservation when I checked in, either. I blame that on Air Canada cancelling my morning flight, but that’s another story.
So when roommate number 2 arrived the next afternoon, the hotel staff couldn’t find her name OR mine in their system!
With 750 people at the conference, roommate #2 had little hope of running into me, so…
Brandilynn Collins declared from the stage in the first general session that “Sandra Orchard had locked out her roommate” and could she please meet her after the session at the doors. We actually connected immediately, because she sat only a couple of tables away, but my reputation had been sealed.
The next morning, Brandilynn asked that Sandra Orchard meet her at the stage before leaving for classes, and my tablemates burst out laughing when I threw up my arms (yes, flying body parts) and said, “What did I do now?!”
Later that day I played up my newfound notoriety during the door prize giveaway. Brandilynn asked for someone who’d forgotten something important. I stood up. When she asked what I’d forgotten, I looked at her in shock disbelief and said, “My roommate!”
Needless to say, after that almost every person I met said, “Oh, you’re the one who forgot your roommate!” the moment they saw my name tag.
Of course, I’d whip out a bookmark and offer it to them saying, “It was a publicity stunt!”
Although not deliberate, it certainly worked. My book sold out, and I daresay that few attendees didn’t know my name.
When Lisa invited me to do a guest post to shamelessly promote my debut Love Inspired Suspense, Deep Cover, I had already agreed to do…um…forty-five-plus blogs in six weeks. As grateful as I felt about her enthusiastic support, I was a tad hesitant.
I don’t recommend taking on quite so ambitious a schedule, unless you don’t need to eat, sleep, or do anything but write blogs for six weeks. But I highly recommend forgetting your roommate!
For the sole blog reader who may not have heard about Deep Cover, which is in stores for another week or so, it is book 1 in my series Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line.
Deep Cover explores how a Christian undercover officer might handle the lying aspects of his job, including lying (for the sake of his cover) to the woman he’s falling for.

Connect with Sandra:  
Her website ~
Or to learn about future releases, you can subscribe to her newsletter ~

And for those of you who can be bribed to feign interest in someone who would actually resort to locking out her roommate to sell a few books… On October 1st, she’s drawing a name from all of her subscribers, blog commenters, and FB fans for a $25 gift card for the winner’s favorite online retailer.
Your Turn: What’s the best marketing strategy you’ve seen or used?
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  1. Melissa Tagg

    Haha, such a fun post. And you're write – forgetting your roomie, great marketing strategy even if unintentional! 🙂

    By the way, one of my favorite conference moments was listening to you read from Lisa's book. Priceless…and I've got it on video!

  2. Melissa Tagg

    Oh my goodness, I said "you're write" instead of "you're right." Apparently I've not caught up on sleep after ACFW yet!

  3. Sandra Orchard

    Hi Melissa, it was great meeting you at ACFW. Can you email me the video? I'd love to see it.

  4. Beth K. Vogt

    There was that author who did the YouTube video highlighting a bad review–and then had people (including his mother or grandmother) trashing his book. H-Y-S-T-E-R-I-C-A-L.
    You did give your roommate a key, right?
    But not Brandilyn?

  5. Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

    No way can anyone top what you did at ACFW! Bought your book after you were a guest on the Ponderers blog and got it as soon as it came out. Loved it! Looking forward to the next one.

  6. Sandra Orchard

    Yes, Beth!! Within a second of meeting her 🙂 And she's even asked me if I'd like to room with her again next year. Even offered to get locked out again if it'll help book sales. LOL

    Pat!!! Thank you so much.