Pls send some extra prayers tonight.
Marvelous Marketer: Laini Taylor
(Author of Dreamdark Series)
Laini, thank you so much for joining us today. Before we get into marketing, can you tell me a little about yourself?
Hi Shelli! I write middle-grade and YA fantasy. My middle-grade series, Dreamdark, is published by Putnam. The first book, Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer came out in 07, and the sequel, Dreamdark: Silksinger, will be published in September 09.
My first YA will follow shortly in October. It’s called Lips Touch, and is published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic.
I’m so excited about this year!!!
(Shelli's peanut gallery: Laini is also a wonderful artist and is responsible for the Laini Ladies Collection of which I own also every one :) My fav is the Writing Muse!)
Do you have a website/blog? When did you start it and who manages it?
I have a website and blog that I started in 2006 and still manage myself.
(Shelli's peanut gallery: Laini is being very modest - her blog is very popular and she just posted her 500th post :)
I don’t know html, but my husband (illustrator Jim DiBartolo) found some great software (Freeway Express) that enables non-programmers to design their own websites using Photoshop. It has some drawbacks, but I like being able to update it myself—which I need to do soon!
In your opinion , what are the top 3 things every author should and must do to promote their book? (web sites, blogs, tours etc)
Um, I personally don't think I'm a brilliant self-promoter. But I love blogging because it’s a community; my blog isn’t all about my books and trying to sell them. Blatant self-promotion blogs are pretty boring, and instantly recognizable as such.
As for three things, I would say:
1. Getting your books or ARCs out to good book review sites/blogs.
2. Having a website—though the trick is to get people to your site.
3. Speaking at events and conferences, to teachers, librarians, and other writers. School visits are great too.
In your opinion, how important is social networking? Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, GoodReads etc.
I’ve found these things to be a great way to network with other writers, but I wouldn’t say that I’ve really used them for direct promotion.
How important is technology to an author’s marketing plan?
Well, there isn’t much face to face promotion that authors can do on their own. Besides, many of us want to write books and may not be comfortable really putting ourselves forward (I am very shy about looking for my book or my art in stores).
However, the online aspect is something we can control, and even the more timid personalities need not be terrified. I think today’s authors have a tremendous advantage that the online book world exists. Before, there were mainly just print reviews? And those are so hard to come by.
Did you think about marketing before your book was published? Did you start prior to getting an agent or selling your book? If so, when and what did you do?
I thought about marketing in a “I-hope-my-publisher-will-do-it” way; I didn’t do anything at all on my own. Fortunately, through blogging (which I started shortly after selling my first book, long before it came out), I lucked into some getting some interview requests and articles that helped spread the word about my book, and I started to become familiar with many review sites.
I also went to the first Kidlit Bloggers Conference, right after my book came out, and then I co-organized the second one. This was a great way to network with other writers and reviewers. (The third one is going to be in D.C. - in October - and should be great fun!)
Do you feel it is beneficial for authors to team up and promote books as a group? If so, why?
I’ve read some good group blogs. It seems like a good way to maintain constant, interesting content that will keep a variety of readers coming back. I have some friends in debut author groups who help each other self-promote, and I imagine there can be some strength in numbers. Thought I have not done it myself.
What other advice do you have for authors/writers regarding marketing?
Do more than I did!
I didn’t even try to do a local launch party at a bookstore when Blackbringer came out. Though I know those tend to be about friends and family, it’s still a way of marking the birth of something incredibly important. Since I didn’t do anything, the utter ordinariness of my book birthday was a little depressing!
I would say definitely make an effort to connect with the online book community. If you want to get reviewed by other bloggers, know their sites, leave them comments, and be respectful. Don’t just suddenly appear, ask for a review, and disappear. Being a part of the community is rewarding far beyond garnering reviews, and you never know what might come of the connections you make.
What creative things have you done to promote a book?
When my very first book was coming out—The Drowned, a graphic novel from Image Comics— Jim Di Bartolo (my husband/illustrator) and I made cool review packets that included the book, a parchment scroll, a crow feather, and a rusty key. These got really nice attention at the places we sent them.
(Shelli peanut gallery: Jim will also be joining as a Marvelous Marketer in April/May!)
For Lips Touch, I’d really like to make up a small limited edition book on the “story behind the book” which will include some of the art that didn’t make it in the final, as well as a very early version of one of the stories.
I also did a drawing on my blog where readers could *win* an early draft of Silksinger. The catch was: they had to give me feedback for the next draft! (So really, it was work for them, and they were awesome!)
Do you have a formal marketing plan or is your marketing more random? If not, why? Would you like to?
So far, I would say very random.
Fortunately, my editor at Putnam, Tim Travaglini, has been a star when it comes to getting my book into as many hands as he possibly can. Since the sales/marketing folks at Penguin Young Readers have so many titles on their plate, it’s great to have an editor who really goes the extra mile for you.
To be honest, marketing is not my favorite thing. Well, the blogging part of it is great. Everything else causes me some anxiety!
I am thinking now about what I can do for my books this year! Of course, I’d like to just focus on writing the next one, but I really want to give my books every chance to find readers.
Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us. Good luck with your book or should I say BOOKS coming out this year!
Comment Contest Update
Some rule clarifications...... BTW I LOVE all my new blogger buddies!!
- The point of this contest is to get you to comment and find other bloggers to visit.
- You can comment on past posts.
- Remember to email me if you do any of the extra credit ;) I dont have time to go out and look :( wish i did.
- You guys are determined visitors :) Please don't split up your comments so that you post a fraction of comment every minute in a row.
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