Shelley Schanfield’s passion for Buddhism and yoga arose sixteen years ago, when she and her son earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The links between the martial arts and Buddhist techniques to calm and focus the mind fascinated her. By profession a librarian, Shelley plunged into research about the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500 years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some form, has a role in all of these traditions. Its transformational teachings soon prompted Shelley to hang up her black belt and begin a yoga practice that she follows to this day.
Because she loves historical fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. When she didn’t find one that satisfied her, she decided to write her own novels based on the spiritual struggles of women in the Buddha’s time. She published the first book in the Sadhana Trilogy, The Tigress and the Yogi, in 2016 and will publish the second, The Mountain Goddess in early 2017.
WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS
Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz. Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?
I’m very excited about publishing The Mountain Goddess, the second book in The Sadhana Trilogy, novels that follow the transformational journeys of women who knew the Buddha. They are set In a time when ancient India was torn by political and religious strife. (The first, The Tigress and the Yogi, was published in January 2016 and has garnered excellent reviews.) In the second book, rebellious and beautiful Dhara, a warrior’s daughter, captures the heart of Prince Siddhartha, who will become the Buddha. Her lust for power and his yearning for spiritual freedom threaten their love and their kingdom.
What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?
With my first book, I had already established author pages on Facebook and Goodreads as well as a website and presence on Pinterest. I also purchased reviews from Foreword Clarion and Blue Ink, which my local booksellers recommended as respected sources for information on indies. My first book won a bronze the IPPY awards in 2016, and I’ve entered the second book for 2017, as well as signing up for reviews from Foreword and Blue Ink.
What’s your opinion on blogging? Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales? If you blog, do you blog often?
Most of the best advice I’ve read says don’t blog unless you have something to say, so to date I have not pursued that angle. But I’m beginning a whole new bunch of research for Book Three, and I’m beginning to have a sneaking desire to write about that and some of the work I did for the first two books. So sign up on my web site to see what I’ll be doing there..
I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool. What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?
As I mentioned, I’m on Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest. I found my Facebook author page was a great way to advertise my book launch and have tried out some advertising which had nice responses. On Goodreads, I ran a book giveaway for my first book and got over 700 entries and good, honest reviews from the winners. I also run an ad campaign on Goodreads which is cheap and easy and gets a steady stream of clickthroughs, which helps get my name out there.
Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?
Check out my Virtual Book Tour through PumpUpYourBook. I’m excited to see the results from it.
If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?
Honestly, word of mouth, which includes reviews posted on Goodreads and Amazon.
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