Sunday Dinner with Carrie Schmidt

Sunday Dinner

For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited Carrie Schmidt. Carrie is a cool aunt, avid reader, reviewer, KissingBooks fan, and Book Boyfriend Collector who somehow ended up co-writing a nonfiction book. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot.

Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!

Without further ado, please tell us interesting readers would enjoy learning about you.

I never formally learned to read – one day I just went from Dick and Jane to the 2nd chapter of Philippians (and I’m old enough that you know it was NASB at the very least). Also, William Shakespeare is my first cousin, 14x removed (but I’m totally counting it lol).

Can you tell us about your latest book?

I cowrote Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers with an agent, an editor, and a small press publisher to help authors – no matter what stage of the process they’re in (aspiring, debut, or multi-published) – win the hearts of the industry gatekeepers.

My section of the book (10 chapters) is all about how to find and keep readers, because once you’ve made it past all the other gatekeepers you now have to leap that final hurdle – getting your words read!

Your segment relates to the relationship between an author and readers. What made you interested in participating in this book series?

I honestly had no intentions of ever writing a book, much less a nonfiction book. I’m all about story! But ultimately my heart is to help authors, and the number one question authors ask me is how to get their book in front of readers. So, the opportunity to answer that question in depth – and to give back to the authors who have blessed me with their stories – was too special to pass up.

How has your background contributed to you being an authority on this subject?

When I started in 2015, I really had no goals except to review books and introduce readers to new-to-them authors. But in 2016 I was approached by two sweet bloggers – Annie of JustCommonly and the late Bonnie Roof – who asked for my help in starting what would become the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat – a first-of-its-kind event in Christian fiction that brought readers and authors together in a setting that allowed for fun panels and personal interaction and building community. A couple of years later, I started JustRead Publicity Tours with Annie and got a hands-on, real-time education on how authors work, how readers think, and the best practices in uniting the two forces to create buzz about books and get them read. Basically, I live and sleep and breathe books and authors and readers lol.

What additional research was required to write about the author-reader relationship?

I interviewed several of my fellow influencers and avid readers about what draws them to (and away from) authors and books. And I also interviewed several authors about what they wish they knew about readers. The answers I got from those questions were really interesting to me.

What is one thing you wished readers could know about how to help authors?

A review on Goodreads or Amazon, etc. doesn’t have to be long or in depth. Just tell other readers why you loved the book, what you loved about it, who you loved in it, and why they should read it too. A few sentences is all it takes! (And no spoilers! That’s technically two things but they go together lol)

What is one thing you wish authors could know about how to connect well with readers?

Focus on building community between your readers and yourself. That authentic engagement leads to connection, and connection leads to reader investment in your career for the long haul. However, if you are only engaging readers with ‘buy my book,’ that’s not community. Community engages us with YOU. Book marketing is more about building relationships than selling books.

Do you have a favorite resource for how readers can help authors?

Shameless plug here but my personal favorite is JustRead Tours, the company I started with friends to help promote books. 😊 They can join our review teams, or the blog or social media team if they have accounts and are so inclined… and they can help our hive buzz about all kinds of great books and authors from a wide variety of Christian & clean read genres.

Do you have a favorite resource on how authors can connect better with readers?

Author-reader events like the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat (which is now ACFW’s Storyfest), Fiction Readers Summit, the Mississippi River Readers Retreat, and the Faith & Fellowship Book Festival. This helps you get started building that community I was just talking about.

The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Carrie, thank you for joining us today!

If readers would like to purchase a copy of Getting Past the Publishing Gatekeepers, where might they be able to do so?

They can go to for Amazon or other places on my website.

If readers would like to learn about you or your other books, how might they find you online?

The best place to find me is at – there, you can grab links to all the other places I show up 😊 Or just hang out near books and I’m sure to pop up eventually haha!

Over Sunday Dinner next week historical romance author Roseanna M. White will join us to talk about her latest release. See you then!

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