Last month award winning author Traci Slatton stopped by the blog to talk to us about her writing process. Today she's back and we're chatting about a subject most indie authors either love or hate. Book marketing is a necessary evil for some, and a fun way to connect with readers for others. Traci gives us her take on it and shares which marketing techniques have worked for her.
KB: How do you publish your books and why? Indie, traditional or both?
TS: I started out traditionally published. BantamDell published my first novel, Immortal. The crash of 2008 affected the publishing world catastrophically, and by 2011, I had started my own independent press, Parvati Press. Recently Parvati Press was recognized as a 501(c ) (3) not-for-profit corporation by the IRS, and that gives me an opportunity to expand the press. I want to take risks on new and original voices, and I’m talking to a few authors about their work.
KB: When you were traditionally published how much marketing support did you get from your publisher?
TS: Very little! The marketing department at Random House actively thwarted my attempts to sell books. They were horrible to deal with. They were rude, dismissive, condescending, aggressive, and belligerent. It’s shocking how badly they treat authors. I hired a PR company to help with promoting Immortal.
KB: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
TS: Yes! The cover is crucial. It has to be knock-em-out-of-the-ballpark appealing. It has to make buyers part with $18 of hard earned cash and buy the book, or $6 or $7 for an eBook. It’s essential that the cover be beautiful and appealing.
KB: Who designed your book cover?
TS: The cover for Broken came from a painting by an Italian painter named Roberto Ferri. My husband Sabin Howard is a famous classical figurative sculptor and he is Facebook friends with Roberto Ferri. While I was working on Broken, Sabin saw the image of this painting online and said to me, “That’s the cover for your new book.” Since Sabin speaks fluent Italian, he skyped Roberto, who lives in Italy, and persuaded Roberto to give me permission to use the image.
Then cover designer Gwyn Snider of gkscreative.com took the image and turned it into the beautiful cover. She’s amazing! Gwyn makes gorgeous covers. She did the new covers for Fallen, Cold Light and Far Shore. Gwyn Snider is a design genius.
KB: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
TS: That’s an excellent question, and one I address every day of my life. For one, internet exposure is key. The book review bloggers are an important way to spread the word about a book. Targeted advertising sometimes works. Netgalley, a service for hosting egalleys, is excellent for reaching people I wouldn’t have been able to reach on my own; they’re expensive but worth it. Writing articles for online placement helps. Goodreads giveaways can spread the word. I wrote extensively about marketing in my book How to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book, Yourself, Independently: A guide for the courageous and persistent.
KB: What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
TS: Several hours per week.
KB: What is your view on social media for marketing?
TS: I’m a bit skeptical but I think it can’t hurt; it all works together synergistically to spread the word about your books. It seems like Twitter is all authors trying to sell their books to other authors. Facebook is what it is. I’m wondering how Google+ will turn out.
KB: Which social network has worked best for you?
TS: As skeptical as I am about Facebook, it does seem that a few people have seen my books on my friends’ pages and have read my books and become fans that way.
KB: Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
TS: Selling my eBooks at a big discount on Bookbub and BookGorilla.
KB: Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
TS: I do have some trailers made by BookCandy Studios. I like the trailers. I think they’re useful. People like to watch videos.
KB: Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
TS: I give books away to reviewers and on Goodreads giveaways, as a means of spreading the word about the book. It makes the book available to people who perhaps wouldn’t spring for the books themselves, but who might enjoy them, and who will post their reviews online.
KB: Which publishing and marketing tasks did you outsource?
TS: I’m very much a jack-of-all-trades publisher right now, but I did hire a blog tour coordinator, Whirlwind Virtual Book Tours, for Broken, and SJ Miller Communications to do the general outreach for the book.
KB: In what formats are your books available?
TS: eBook and print, and perhaps audiobook soon.
KB: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Website: http://www.parvatipress.com and http://www.tracilslatton.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Traci-L.-Slatton/e/B001JRTKYU
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