Episode 98: On The WWII Sand Pounders, Writing Historical Fiction & Audience Targeting with M.J. Evans (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 98: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors, including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books, then you are in the right place!
In this week's information packed episode, award-winning, bestselling author, M.J. Evans, returns to the show. You'll learn ...
Watch Author M.J. Evans Interview on YouTube!
Or listen to the audio version.
About M.J. Evans
Award-winning, bestselling author, M.J. Evans grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and graduated from Oregon State University. She spent five years teaching junior high and high school students before retiring to raise her five children. She is a life-long equestrian and enjoys competing in Dressage and riding in the beautiful Colorado Mountains. “The Sand Pounder” is her twentieth book. Most of her books are centered around horses or horse-fantasy creatures.
M.J. Evans Interview Excerpt
Carly: Tell us about your newest book.
M.J.: The Sand Pounder is a Young Adult historical fiction set during World War II. Fearing an invasion by German and Japanese forces during World War II, the U.S. Coast Guard enlisted horsemen to patrol the beaches along the east and west coasts. The unit was called “The Sand Pounders” and they rode their horses up and down the beaches from 1942 to 1944.
In Tillamook, Oregon, a young equestrian decided to join them. There was only one problem—they were only accepting men. That didn’t slow her down. The world is at war. A teenage equestrian takes on a man's world to make a difference and finds love along the way.
The Sand Pounder – Love and Drama on Horseback in WWII is available wherever books are sold but AUTOGRAPHED copies are available on my website: www.dancinghorsepress.com
Carly: Talk to us about how you target the audience for your books. Where are your readers?
M.J.: A lot of my audience are horse people. My first books were non-fiction trail guide books for Colorado. It happens that those readers, buyers, and users of my trail guide books also buy my fiction books. They buy the picture book for their grandkids. They buy my YA novels for themselves or for gifts. I've kept it all centered mostly around horses, staying true to the readers of my books as a horse person.
Carly: How did you create the relationship you have locally with Dover Saddlery? They have supported you through 20 books and always host a launch party for you.
M.J.: I developed the relationship by going in and talking to them. I started approaching them about the trail guide books. The trail guide books are for the Denver area, so they're for horse riders in Colorado. They are just sold through tack and feed stores in the Denver area between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs—that geographic area.
I just got a little case that held five of the books and walked into the tack and feed stores. I asked them if they would sell my books with a guarantee they can return if they don't sell. My first printing was a thousand books. They were sold out in three weeks.
If you really want to sell books, non-fiction and romance are the two biggest sellers. Non-fiction sells if you fill a niche and you fulfill a need for that niche audience. My niche audience was horse people in the Denver area. I fulfilled a need because we have so many fabulous fabulous trails, but people didn't know where they were.
If you're interested in writing and really selling, write to market. Who is your market? In that case, it was trail riders in the Denver area. Don't overlook the power of your local community and what you can do with your books inside of it. It doesn't have to be a bookstore. We horse people are really good at spending money, and my books are going to be where they buy feed, clothing, and tack. Those are the places I went to, and those books have sold like crazy.
Connect with Author M.J. Evans
Listen to M.J. Evans' First Interview with Carly
In this episode, we discuss:
Select Horse Books by M.J. Evans
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About Your Podcast Host Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning author, horse owner, creativity coach, and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast. She helps fellow writers start, grow, and expand their author careers. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Carly's In the Reins equestrian romance book series was written with horse lovers in mind, no matter which discipline they ride. The horses are as vital to moving the story forward as the human characters are.
These books are perfect for poolside reading, taking to the beach, or settling down with after a day of horseback riding.
Books by Carly Kade
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!
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