Me: What is your official job title?
Nas: I don’t know! But recently I had some cards made with “Promoting New Release Books and Authors” under my name! Our local papers pick up my reviews for their Sunday Magazine so I needed cards. Can I share a secret? I’m in talks with our local TV to feature my authors and their books. Maybe interview via skype but this is all in the very stages at the moment.
Me: How long have you been operating a book promotion business?
Nas: I’m fairly new at book promotions. I have a background of Financial Management and Marketing after which I did some further studies in Information Systems while living in Auckland NZ. Computer Programming and Data Processing doesn’t really prepare you with proper English! But my passion has always been reading, so when we semi-retired to Fiji, I started reading to fill my time as there was no job available to someone with my qualifications in my age group. Then I got into online writer’s groups and into Harlequin community.
Actually Wendy S Marcus first suggested to me that I would be good at Marketing and Promoting books, using my marketing skills with a slightly different objective. Here I’m targeting readers. And not just online. I do it in my local bookshops and libraries as well, by distributing authors bookmarks and cards. This is actually a novelty here as there are readers but no authors. So our readers don’t even know what an author signing is.
Me: What services do you offer to authors? How do you promote a book? What mediums do you use?
· Nas: I create Author Pages with Buy Links for books and social media links for the author. A dedicated author page linked to my site, Romance Book Paradise, which has very high romance reader traffic.
· I arrange Blog Tours to coincide with new release books for the authors. In recent times we had many successful tours, starting with Wendy S. Marcus, Kate Walker, Christina Hollis, Helen Lacey and still ongoing are Lynne Marshall, Louisa George and Emmie Dark.
· Then I create Author and Book Pages on Fresh Fiction, Goodreads, Shelfari and Library Thing etc. I also make Romance Wiki page for my authors with separate pages for their books with excerpts and linked to their websites.
· With subsequent books I offer Banner Space and Books Space linked to author’s book pages/Amazon on my very high reader traffic sites.
Me: Why do you think author’s benefit from hiring an outside party to do their promotion?
Nas: You must know how hard an author works. And when they are engrossed in writing they are often absent minded. So how can they do their marketing? And if they do their own promotion, who will write their subsequent books? Mostly they are under deadline to complete books. And setting up a tour is a time consuming job. All the scheduling needed and liaising with various blogs for an author to appear there. Authors are busy people, they are not in contact with reader blogs as I am. Think of the tour as a Book Signing not around the country but around the Globe- wherever your books are sold without leaving your home or the associated expenses. Authors’ names are ‘Out There!’ by going on a virtual tour. So it’s easier on subsequent books as well.
Me: Do you promote e-books and self-published writers?
Nas: Yes, recently I promoted Tracy Sumner, who was re-releasing her Historicals as eBooks (self-publishing) and Nina Jade Singer who has an eBook out.
Me: Do you believe that authors who connect with readers via Facebook, Twitter and other social media are more likely to get reviews for their books?
Nas: The most rewarding part of writing, second only to holding your books in print should be connecting with readers. An author should connect with her readers via social media. This interaction is which make a reader pick up a certain authors’ book in the bookshop. And readers would say if they liked a book. So an online verbal review on social media counts as much as a written review. Anything once written online is saved there forever. It won’t fade. Just Google a sentence and it will come up again.
Me: What is your Top Do and Top Don’t for authors who are being promoted?
Nas: Answer and comment back at every commenter who reads your posts. If authors don’t comment, it feels like these commenter’s are being snubbed. Have your Blogger/Wordpress profile with your proper name and a photo which readers can focus on. You can’t comment back with a cute tag such as ‘sweet babe’. No. You have to have your author name out there.
And get the posts ready as soon as the schedule goes up. Some blogs ask for posts early up to two weeks in advance as they have newsletters or early promotion to do.
Me: How long before a book comes out do you start planning an author’s book tour? How long in advance do you need for someone to sign with you?
Nas: Eight to six weeks in advance. Some sites are booked up to three months in advance so we need to be prepared.
Me: Is self promotion frowned upon?
Nas: First, most readers recognize that authors need to market their books and promote themselves. No one begrudges a writer who talks about her book. In fact if you check an authors website and find nothing on their books or buy links, it is right to question that author’s professionalism. Not only readers tolerate marketing, we expect it! But there’s a fine line between self promotion and self absorption. Authors are in other authors and writers community not readers, so talking about their books comes across as ‘Me and My Book!’ Consider this, when we, as readers say this is a new release book so all readers out there listen. We are generating interest for your book as readers.
Have you heard someone say, ‘If your book is good enough, you don’t need to market it?’ Well, this isn't the case unless your name starts with “J” and ends with “ling”!
And don’t expect me to work wonders and shoot your book on the chart buster lists. We must do our best and work hard. The biggest and most obvious key to selling books is garnering exposure for the book and the author personally. The goal of marketing is to expose your book to as many people as possible in an exciting, cost effective and entertaining way. Guest blogging can achieve that goal. Blogs are archived, so your posts become and often are viral, spreading from site to site. That is LEVERAGE! You are leveraging your internet presence and duplicating yourself with every blog stop. Your Blog Tour is working for you even while you sleep. Try doing that at a bookstore or library signing!
Thanks Rachael for giving me this opportunity to do a bit of self promoting! I’ll be around to answer questions.
Thanks Nas - please bombard Nas with any further questions while she's here.
And I'd also love to hear from any authors who have used a service like Nas' - how did it work for you?