First Things First
I did a random drawing on the people who gave me feedback on my blog in last week's post. The winner is.....
You won a free copy of Christina Katz's book "Get Known before the Book Deal". Please email me your address and I will mail it out to you :)
Leave me your questions!
I have an interview coming up with Elizabeth Bird from School Library Journal Fuse 8 to discuss marketing to librarians. She is the children's librarian at the Children's Center at 42nd Street of the New York Public Library system. Please include any questions you have in the comments or email me offline.
Marvelous Marketer: Aimee Friedman
Hi Aimee! Thanks for coming here to answer a few questions. First, tell me a little about yourself.
I am the author of seven books for young adults. My first novel, SOUTH BEACH, a New York Times bestseller, came out in 2005, and my latest novel, SEA CHANGE, was released in the summer of 2009. My primary publisher is Point/Scholastic though I do have one book--A NOVEL IDEA--with SimonPulse at Simon & Schuster. I am also a children's book editor at Scholastic, a job I still love to this day!
I started my author website over 2 years ago and I've gotten lots of great feedback and lots of traffic since its inception. Please visit me--and write me! I love to get email from readers, and I try to respond as quickly as I can.
I have a blog but I don't blog nearly as much as I'd like (it's hard when juggling two full-time jobs), but I do spend a lot of time on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter (more on this below).
Scholastic has a blog that you can also follow on Facebook or Twitter. The imprint at which I publish, Point, also has a great website. You can check it out for book recommendations, author bios, links, giveaways, and more! You can also follow it on Twitter.
Wow, it must be very hard juggling being an editor and author. I can barely be an author. In your expert opinion, what are the top three things every author should and must do to promote their book?
A website is the a great basic place to start-- I think it's important for authors to have a home online where they can be found and contacted. Plus, a website can be relatively inexpensive and easy to set up and manage.
If social networking is your thing, Facebook and Twitter and the like are free, tons of fun, and a fantastic way to reach out and find fans, fellow authors, librarians, book-sellers, you name it. Blogging and being in touch with bloggers can be useful too--there's a whole, passionate community of literary bloggers out there who have a lot of reach and influence.
If social networking ISN'T your thing, there are lots of other options, too: saving the email and mailing addresses of your fans and sending out regular blasts and newsletters, etc. (Or sending these addresses to your publisher and asking them to send out email blasts).
Personally, I am a big proponent of social networking for authors! When I first joined MySpace, I got my very first bookstore event out of it! A bookseller who was a fan of my books found me on MySpace, and through that connection I ended up doing a reading. That would have never happened otherwise! Facebook and Twitter are great spaces in which to announce giveaways, appearances, pub dates, post reviews, and just generally get buzz going. It's important, though, to work in tandem with your editor/publicist on the timing of these kinds of things so that you're not posting covers or excerpts too early or too late.
I also love GoodReads since it's just about the good stuff: BOOKS. :) It's always fascinating for me as an author to read my reviews, and I love seeing what my friends are reading and what people are excited about.
I'm with you on the social networking thing. I love it. Since you seem to have a huge online presence, do you google authors when evaluating whether to take on a book?
I generally do--I feel like Googling has become almost a kind of reflex at this point--or maybe that's just me! :) It's mainly for me to get a sense of what this author is like beyond their work: if they've published previously, if they blog, etc.
What I find online, however, almost never influences whether or not I acquire the project. When it comes to that, it is 100% about the writing, about the story. An author can have a fabulous web presence, and a huge devoted blog following, but if the manuscript doesn't hold up, I'm probably not going to be able to acquire it.
Likewise, if an author doesn't have a web presence at all but the manuscript is whiz-bang fantastic, then it's a no-brainer. A web presence can ALWAYS come later.
As an editor, what marketing things do you automatically expect an author to do on their own?
It is always wise for an author to continually loop their publicist in about any promotions, giveaways, interviews, etc. they may be doing--just to be sure everything is kosher and nobody is working at cross-purposes. Communication is key! A great way for an author to start the process is to compile a list of all your ideas for promotions, as well as a list of any contacts you might have (alumni magazines, bloggers or journalists, etc.) and share this list with your editor, who can then check in with marketing and publicity and go from there!
And as an author, besides what you've listed above, what creative things have you done to promote your own books?
I've held signed galley giveaways on MySpace and Facebook (my publisher will provide the galleys to, say, the first 10 people to email in). I've sent out email blasts about upcoming events and publication dates, and I'm vigilant about posting reviews and book news on my social networking sites.
And of course in the end there's nothing quite like good old-fashioned word-of-mouth buzz: if someone I know has a teenage relative or friend, I'll be sure to pass my card or website to them and encourage the teen reader to check out my books! You never know where your next fan might crop up.
Thank you Aimee for stopping by!